Friday, April 30, 2010

The Top Seven Things To Do To Get A Job

Helen Coster,
Figure out what you might be doing wrong, and fix it. Here's how.

If you've been out of work for several months and aren't getting any interviews--or you're going on interviews but not getting any offers--you should adjust your approach to job-hunting.

First, reevaluate your résumé. Replace hackneyed expressions like "strong team player" and "possess organizational skills" with strong, active verbs that demonstrate results. Whenever possible, use numbers to indicate performance. Instead of saying "Managed a team of three" say "Managed a team of three employees who interacted with clients and had a 100% client retention rate over two years."

Include keywords related to your skill set and background, since many big companies use computers to screen résumés for phrases like "analyst" or "financial modeling." Have a friend double-check your résumé for spelling and grammatical errors, and always be honest. "You cannot succeed in this competitive market if your résumé isn't 100% accurate," says Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio, a career coach and former chief operating officer for Merrill Lynch Campus Recruiting.

Write a one-page cover letter that makes a compelling case for why you should be hired. It shouldn't be a regurgitation of your résumé. The introductory paragraph should state the position you're applying for. The middle few paragraphs should highlight the critical three elements of the job description, explaining why you're a good fit for the job. Use the hirer's language. If the job ad says the candidate needs 10 years of experience using communication skills, describe how your communication skills brought in new business at a previous job.

Conduct a targeted job search, applying only for positions that you truly want and are truly qualified for. Make a list of the companies where you'd most like to work, and use your personal network and sites like LinkedIn to find connections at each one.

First, make sure that your online reputation is clean. Either set your Facebook settings so prospective employers can't see your updates and photos, or choose to post information that presents you in a positive, professional light. Post your résumé and a good photo on LinkedIn.

Start a Twitter account that you use professionally, and follow human resources people at companies that interest you. Retweet what they write when it's good, and comment on any interesting posts. After a few weeks of following them, send them a message directly, saying, "I'd love to talk about your company. It's a place I've always wanted to work, and I'd love to hear about your experience there," suggests Dan Schawbel, author Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success.

Learn as much as you can about the company and the position before you go in for an interview. Always prepare at least three smart questions in advance. In the actual interview, don't be afraid to look eager. Be enthusiastic, and convince the hiring manager that you truly want the job. Don't boast, but boldly state your accomplishments, and tell stories that illustrate your best qualities. Never badmouth a former boss, co-worker or company. Try to mirror the interviewer's tone; if he or she is casual and friendly, try to loosen up.

Page Two and Original Article

Job Search Networking - Two Essentials and Neither is Your Resume

The hidden job market really isn't all that hidden.
It's actually right in front of you, and all you need to do is network your way in. You'll be surprised at how willing people are to assist. You can accelerate getting into the hidden job market when you are prepared for networking.

So if you're going to a networking meeting-coffee with someone, an association meeting or conference where you will meet people who can hire you, an informational interview phone call-please have these things in place first.

First create your search strategy.
I'm amazed at how many people ask to talk to me about their job search without having defined who they want to meet, companies they would like to work in, etc.

I was talking to one job seeker and told her that I was really unfamiliar with her job function. But I might know people in her target companies so could perhaps help by introducing her. I asked if she had a list of companies where she wanted to work. What was her strategy?

Her response was that she was hoping she could just network and not have to create a strategy. When you have a strategy defined, you know exactly what to ask for. One way to guarantee they won't be able to help you is to say, "Well if you hear of anything I might be interested in, let me know."

Creating a strategy takes some time and perhaps some introspection and honesty. It's time well spent.

The second essential is your career brand.
This is how you become memorable. By having your brand statement, you help people talk about you! You stand out and capture their attention.

Sadly and surprisingly, most job seekers today cannot tell a recruiter, hiring manager or networking connection what is compelling about them-what makes them the candidate to hire. In today's economic climate, it may feel as though experience and skills are just commodities. What can put you in the lead, make you memorable to your networking contacts and irresistible to the hiring manager is all built around your brand.

With these two essentials in place, you're ready to make a big impact with your networking. Enjoy!

Admitting to being the original reluctant networker, Katherine Moody would do almost anything, including hiding out in the ladies room, to avoid a networking event. So she interviewed some networking masters to learn their simple and rarely discussed secrets. Then she went on to get her last 4 jobs by networking her way into the hidden job market with those simple secrets. Katherine shares those insider techniques on her job secrets blog. http://hrjobsearchsecrets.com While there, get her free report: How to create a memorable brand for your networking. You'll love what it does for your networking!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Own Your Brand: Be The CEO Of Your Job Search

As a job seeker, your brand distinguishes you in whatever way you choose. How you cultivate your profile will directly speak to your next employer.

It's often said that to be successful in the career world, those who are job searching need to be able to showcase their experience on multiple plains and platforms to capture the attention of those hiring. To de-mystify the process, think of your skills and accomplishments as a product; a valuable service to a company that is looking to solve a problem. Essentially, online profiles on social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are a way to personalize your brand and secure your future career. A few rules apply for all:

Your picture speaks volumes. In fact, it probably gives the recruiter or H.R. manager a much deeper glimpse into who you are than one might originally think. Your picture should be professional. If ageism is a concern, consider taking a picture of your networking or business card.

Profanity is out. Remember, you are speaking to your future boss and company. By using cursing, or otherwise questionable phrases, or even linking to questionable pictures or articles, it will make those looking question your integrity.

What happens on social media, stays on social media. There's one question to ask yourself once your profile is complete: "Are you being authentic?" What you post on Facebook, tweet on Twitter and proclaim on LinkedIn will remain in search engines for months to come. Personal integrity is vital to your brand.

Jason Douglas, online marketing manager for Spyder Trap Online Marketing, has often spoke the phrase, "Be who you are, with a filter." When questioning what to say and where, consider this easy guide:

LinkedIn is the office: Be professional and courteous in every way, never using slang or adopting lax speech.

Twitter is the water cooler: It's the perfect place to discuss your next opportunity, last night's game, challenges and display what you bring to a potential employer.

Facebook is the bar: It's a much needed rest from the suit and tie, however, profiles should be privatized except for your name and network.

Douglas sums it all up perfectly, "People care about what you achieved, but want to know how you did it. The ability to answer the what, how and why is essential." With authenticity and the correct marketing, you can shorten the job search period and heighten the passion behind a career transition.

Original Article

5 Ways to Optimize Your Resume For Database Search

1.) The first thing you should not overlook when submitting your resume is to include a keyword summary. This lets you add keywords that may be used by the searcher even if those same words are not found specifically in your resume. Be sure to separate each keyword with a comma.

2.) Just providing a keyword summary is not enough. Having a keyword loaded “Qualification Summary” at the beginning of your resume creates a visually stunning document in addition to making your resume database search friendly.

3.) Use your industry’s most preferable search terms. Get keyword hints from the job itself. You will find that each employer may use certain keywords to explain the position that they are hiring for in the job description. Use those words to your advantage when compiling keywords for your resume.

4.) Fill your resume with top keyword titles. These titles should also expose valuable keywords to search engines.

5.) Lastly, spell out exactly what you are looking for from your future employer. If you plan on working in Colorado, type the entire word: Colorado. Don’t use abbreviations in your resume.

If you aren’t getting a call to interview with a recruiter or hiring manager, use these basic tips to optimize your resume for database searches.

By Cass Fisher. Remember to specifically gear your resume towards the features of your next position. See Unemployment Effect 2010 for more ways to find out what hiring managers are really looking for.

Original Article


Tuning Your Resume to the Right Keywords

At large companies, recruiters rely on a computer program called an applicant tracking system that stores and filters resumes to find the best candidates for a job. To make the match, ATS software relies on keywords – words and phrases that tell the program a candidate is a good match for a specific job description. Just as search engines like Google use keywords to find the right Web pages, ATS software uses keywords to find the right resumes.

How Employers Use Keywords

While they can’t guess the exact keywords recruiters are using, resume writers try to find the likeliest possibilities for your industry and function.

Where do you find the right keywords to include in your resume? Professional resume writers recommend you start with the job posting, which will contain a description of duties and qualifications. The ATS will try to match as many of the words in the job posting to the words on your resume. The more matches, the better the fit and the better the chances you will get an interview.

Repeated words, section headings and specific terms comprise good candidates for keyword selection. Also look at similar job postings as a cross-reference to find the most likely candidates for keywords. Recruiters and headhunters can often guide you. Online and print publications also include guides for keyword research.

Other sources of keyword research:

1. Go to Web sites that represent companies and associations related to the candidate’s target industry in search of other buzzwords.

2. Search LinkedIn profiles of users who have similar jobs to see what keywords they’re using.

3. Go to association Web sites to see what keywords other industry professionals have used.

While you’re researching keywords, keep a master list to make sure the important words are represented in your resume when you apply for specific jobs.

The specific words employers seek relate to the skills and experiences that demonstrate your experience with the skills necessary to do the job. Both hard and soft skills will fall in this category. Industry- and job-specific skills are almost always included in keyword lists. Highly technical fields can also include specific jargon or terms that demonstrate subject expertise. Job titles, certifications, types of degrees, college names and company names also demonstrate an applicant’s qualifications. Awards and professional organizations can also be considered strong keywords.

Ultimately, job hunters should ask themselves, “What keywords would I use if I were writing this job description?”

Matthew Rothenberg is editor-in-chief of TheLadders.com, the premier Web site for online job listings for $100K+ jobs, resume writing tips and resume advice.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Getting Your First Teaching Job: The Job Search

So, you’re about to graduate from college. Where do you start looking for a job? Newly-elected MENC Collegiate National Chair-Elect, Diana Hollinger, has some tips for you.


Tips When Job Searching

  • Start early, even before you finish school
  • Observe deadlines
  • Define what you want and what you offer
  • Be flexible, expect a less than perfect job, and set realistic salary expectations
  • Update resume/portfolio, manage your letters of recommendation and contact information, and maintain your files
  • Use letters of inquiry, and follow up on those inquiries
  • Network constantly, create a website, and think outside the box
  • Make a good impression early and with everyone
  • Be willing to take on extra duties
  • Focus your search—create a list of possibilities
  • Target your letter/resume to the job listing
  • Get experience, substitute teach in your desired districts, and look in urban and rural areas where there are shortages

Where to Start

Networking

  • College ensemble conductors
  • Music education professors
  • Music store staff
  • Other music teachers, former teachers, master teachers
  • Other students, recent graduates, friends
  • Administrators from student teaching
  • Relatives, friends, and colleagues in other cities
  • Studio teachers
  • Substitute teach
  • Conferences – MENC National and State, local workshops, etc.
  • LinkedIn/Social networks

Out of State Job Considerations

  • Must have state certification
  • Each state has different standards
  • Some states have “reciprocal licensure”
  • You may need to take exams or coursework to be re-certified in a different state



These ideas and tips were used in the “Job Search and Interview Strategies” session given by Diana Hollinger and Jill Sullivan during the 2010 Biennial Music Educators National Conference, March 26, 2010, in Anaheim, CA.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Watch out for job-search time traps

Dear Liz,

I've been job-hunting since November, and I keep getting sidetracked. At first, it was wonderful to have so much free time, but now I feel like I have no free time at all. I can barely make time to throw a couple of resumes into the job sites every week. Any advice?

Thanks, Shel

Dear Shel,

It is a gift to get some time for yourself after years without any. Who can blame you for smelling the roses, enjoying nature and sampling some coffee shops? No doubt you needed recovery time, especially if you underwent a painful departure from your last job. It's great that you got to take a breather.

Now, it's time to spring into action.

You'll need a job-search schedule, and a commitment to stick to it. Five hours a day of active job-hunting is a great target. And please, no more tossing resumes into the void. Every resume you send must be targeted to the job, and accompanied by a pithy Pain Letter that speaks to the need behind the job ad. Avoid the Black Hole where resumes go to languish, Shel. When you lob a resume into the abyss, you've wasted your time. Put in the extra 20 minutes it'll take to make every job-related outreach count.

Here are the most dangerous job-search time traps I've encountered. If any of these are gumming up your job-search engine, take action.

Volunteering

It is wonderful to volunteer for organizations we believe in; moderation is the key. If you've overbooked yourself and are stressing out about cupcakes, silent auction donations, or some other volunteering obligation, you're taking the focus off your job search. Cut back.

Home Organization

There is nothing like a garage so clean you could eat off the floor. (So they tell me.) That's a much lower priority than getting a new job. Don't let your house, your spice cabinet, or your garden rule your schedule. Your job search is Job One. You can clean the garage once you've signed the offer letter.

Job Search Groups

Job search support groups are wonderful. But when you're spending so much time in support groups that you're no longer job-hunting, the tail is wagging the dog. The best job-search support groups are the ones where you hold one another accountable for taking job-hunt steps -- not commiserating about the state of the job market.

Having Fun

I've seen you on your bicycle whizzing down Baseline Road at 40 mph, and you look cool, believe me. But riding another 50 miles today won't help you get a job. Researching employers, making overtures, meeting friends one-on-one to network and applying for posted jobs (not through the Black Hole, but directly) will get you a job. After your five hours of assiduous job-search activity, go ride your bike, or go hiking, or have fun another way. You deserve it.

Sleeping

You've probably heard that unemployed folks sleep more than other people. If you're sleeping the day away, your job search is not moving forward. Set your alarm like you used to do when you were working -- because you're still working. Your job right now is to find a great job to fund all those bike rides.

Liz Ryan is the CEO of Ask Liz Ryan, a Boulder human-resources and career-development consulting firm. She can be reached at liz@asklizryan.com. Her "Job Search Over Fifty" workshops begin May 6. For more info, visit asklizryan.com/spring2010.html.

Monday, April 26, 2010

3 Guerrilla Job Search Case Studies

If you're job hunting in this tough economy, take heart from the following three stories of people who found work in three to four months -- about half as long as the average job search, which takes nearly 8 months (31.2 weeks) as of March 2010.

If you’re job hunting in this tough economy, take heart from the following three stories of people who found work in three to four months -- about half as long as the average job search, which takes nearly 8 months (31.2 weeks) as of March 2010.

How did they do it?
By using Guerrilla Resumes (explained below), LinkedIn, and smart networking, among other tactics.
Read on to learn more from the Q&A I did with each of them …
Case Study #1: Brad Viles, from suburban Madison, WI.
Time to hire: about four months (hired on March 8, 2010)
Tactics used: LinkedIn and Guerrilla Resume
Kevin: How did you find the production supervisor job you just accepted?
Brad: I made contact on LinkedIn with an HR person at the company. I used Linkedin to forward my resume to them because three weeks earlier they had advertised the position.
I figured I might as well apply. I really had nothing to lose. And I got a response within about three days. The interview and everything went fine after that.
Kevin: What did employers say about your Guerrilla Resume?
Brad: I can’t begin to tell you how many times they complimented the form and the info on it. The quotes [from past managers] -- you’re showing the people comments about what you do and how they relate to you and what you can offer to a company.
Case Study #2: Patty L, from suburban Detroit, MI
Time to hire: about three months (hired on April 5, 2010)
Tactics used: Guerrilla Resume, list of target employers, smart networking, and preparation
Kevin: What was the most-important tactic that helped you find the Director of Customer Service job you just accepted?
Patty: Probably making sure that people in my network -- especially those who are at my target companies -- had my short, one-page Guerrilla Resume.
Kevin: By targets, this was a list of employers you wanted to work for, regardless of whether or not they were hiring. How many companies did you target during your three-month search?
Patty: Probably six to ten companies.
Kevin: What was the general reaction of employers to your Guerrilla Resume?
Patty: They liked it because it was different from the other 100 resumes they got in the mail.
Kevin: What else helped in your search?
Patty: Preparing. The morning of my phone interview, I stood while speaking and stuck my resume on the wall.
Kevin: Yes. Here’s why that’s important …
Stand and deliver: When you’re on your feet or walking around, your voice has more energy and enthusiasm, which employers can sense over the phone.
And taping your resume on the wall eliminates the sound of paper shuffling, which makes it appear as if you’ve memorized the whole document. You can’t help but sound smarter this way.
Obviously, Patty’s new employer agreed.
Case Study #3: Scott Melrose, from Mokena, IL
Time to hire: about four months (hired on April 2, 2010)
Tactics used: Guerrilla Resume and Linkedin
Kevin: How did you find the Account Executive you just accepted?
Scott: It found me! I got contacted via one of the people who will be my counterpart saying, “Hey, you look like someone we would like to have on our team.”
Kevin: So they found you on LinkedIn?
Scott: Yes. When I started using the Guerilla Resume and building it into my LinkedIn profile, people started finding me. They started coming out of the woodwork. I actually ended up with a position that is a better fit for me than anything I was able to find through research.
Kevin: What was the reaction employers had to your resume?
Scott: It was killer. Everybody that I showed it to was really impressed.
Kevin: Do you think that helped you interview more confidently?
Scott: Absolutely!
Now.
The astute reader will note that each of these job seekers used a Guerrilla Resume to find work about 50% faster than the national average of 31.2 weeks.
Google “Guerrilla Resumes” for my past columns on this topic, but for now, know that this resume format has two essential elements:

  1. logos and/or graphics (from past employers, clients or schools) and
  2. quotes (glowing recommendations from past managers or clients).
In addition, these job seekers used “smart” networking and/or Linkedin to connect with the companies that hired them. The common element in both tactics? Meeting people.
Whether you’re networking smartly (by telling people exactly what job you seek and the 10-20 companies you want to work for) or using LinkedIn correctly (by making connections at target employers), it all comes down to meeting more people. That’s the only way to find a job fast -- in this economy, or any other.
Kevin Donlin is contributing co-author of “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0.” Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. For a free Guerrilla Job Search audio CD, visit www.MyNewJobHunt.com

How to pay for vocational training

How to pay for vocational training


Highlights
  • Learn about Job Corps and apprenticeship programs in technical fields.
  • Find specialized awards for vocational and technical school students.
  • Pay your tuition through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

With low tuition price tags, nonexistent room and board costs and significantly reduced student fees, vocational training schools and technical colleges are cheaper than four-year institutions, but may be harder to pay for. Because vocational students have lower costs, they also have reduced fiscal need and therefore qualify for fewer and lower federal grants than four-year students, say the experts.

Some vocational students won't qualify for need-based federal aid like the Pell Grant, but merit-based awards, dislocated worker assistance and other programs are available. Here are some waysto pay for vocational, technical and trade schools.

The government is bigger than FAFSA

Students should start the search for vocational aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at www.fafsa.ed.gov, says Anne Falk, financial aid assistant for the South Hills School of Business & Technology in State College, Pa. Then they should check out other federally funded options.

"Vocational students are still eligible for the same federal grants and loans as four-year students, but they're also eligible for funds through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program," she says. "A lot of students have a large portion of their tuition at vocational schools paid for through those programs."

Currently, the Trade Adjustment Assistance program provides dislocated workers who have lost their jobs to overseas competition up to 104 weeks of paid occupational training they can use to attend technical colleges as well as four-year institutions. As of this past January, the Department of Labor created two additional job training grants totaling $250 million to help dislocated and young workers transition into such "green" occupations as hybrid auto technicians, weatherization specialists, wind and energy auditors and solar panel installers. Workers who aren't transitioning into a green field will be eligible for financial aid and low-cost retraining, too, says Veronica Meury, executive director and vice-president of Universal Technical Institute Foundation, the Phoenix-based funding arm of Universal Technical Institute vocational school.

"Through the Workforce Investment Act, there are vocational programs for disadvantaged youth, vets through the Veteran's Administration and programs for the military and National Guard," she says. "Representatives from the Native American community could qualify for extra money and free courses as well."

To maximize their federal funding, future technical school students should first fill out the FAFSA form, then head to their local One-Stop Career Center for information on retraining opportunities. Making contact with your state department of labor can be beneficial as well. Certain states like Michigan have separate funds to train workers to fill high-demand occupations in the area.

Job Corps and apprenticeship programs

Younger workers who need more than just coursework may be able to find a helping hand through Job Corps or apprenticeship gigs, says Michael Thurmond, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor in Atlanta.

"The benefit there is that (apprenticeship) programs combine vocational training with on-the-job experience," says Thurmond. "With an apprenticeship, the employer usually pays the student's tuition and gives them a paid job so the student isn't going into debt."

The federal Office of Apprenticeships currently lists registered apprenticeships in more than 1,000 career fields, but Thurmond adds that students can also find additional opportunities through local labor unions.

Job Corps offers another alternative to paying your own vocational tuition. Available for low-income youth ages 16 through 24, Job Corps offers free on-the-job training in more than 100 technical areas ranging from heath care to manufacturing, as well as free courses at local community and vocational schools in select fields. Job Corps programs are free, last anywhere from eight months to two years and provide students with no-cost housing, health care, a living allowance, career counseling and, at some centers, child care. Information on programs and eligibility requirements is available at jobcorps.gov.

Specialized scholarships and loans

"Most students don't realize that there are scholarships for vocational schools that four-year students aren't eligible for," says Meury. "Organizations like the Automotive Hall of Fame and The Home Depot offer strictly vocational scholarships."

Meury advises students to start the hunt for free tuition by checking out scholarship search sites like Fastweb.com, contacting their vocational school to find out about institutional funds and investigating aid opportunities through large and small companies in their field. Students can also win scholarships based on how well they perform on certain career assessment tests including the VICA SkillsUSA test and through vocational competitions in their field offered through companies such as Ford and AAA.

If students can't land scholarships, take out federal loans or afford school themselves, their options may be limited, says Falk.

"In the past few years, we've seen more private lenders back out of lending for students attending technical and two-year institutions," she says.

While several major private lenders have stopped creating small loans for shorter degree and certificate programs, other organizations such as Sallie Mae still offer loans specifically for accredited technical, trade and vocational schools. Check out student loan rates at Bankrate.com.

"The money is out there for trade students, they just have to do their research and apply," says Meury.

Get Hired: 15 Best Job Boards for Freelancers

Nowadays financial issues seem to be a common problem, with everyone complaining about what difficult situations they’re in and how they have no money. Freelancers face the same problem as all other people. Projects are fewer, payments are very low and the request for work is enormous. To help freelancers in their search for work, here is a list of opportunities for everyone.

1.48hourslogo

Pros:

Even if a quality logo requires a lot of time and work (including research, sketches and drawing) here a logo can be ready in 48 hours (but a competition can last as long as 6 days). A customer writes some lines about his project and the freelancers submit a jpg picture of their work. At the end the customer selects the winner which gives him the original format of the logo.They take a flat commissioning of 29$ for each project, which is paid by the client. The designer is paid via PayPal.

Cons:

Too few projects, this website and the concept itself are good but need some ads and promo.

2.99designs

Pros:

In my opinion this website is the best. Here the process is like the one at 48hourslogo. There are a lot of projects, the filters are perfect and the prices are high. Here you can find some of the best designers in the world. Also the blog gives you a lot of resources. A few months ago they started a new concept: a freelancer posts his work, a customer likes it and buys it. The freelancer then customizes the project depending on the demands of client. Interesting right? If you are the winner, then depending on which way of payment you agree upon ,it is possible you will have no fees to pay or in the worst case no more than 25$.

Cons:

The website is only for designers, I believe that this platform will be the best once it has jobs for developers too. I hope that the team of 99designs will read this article.

3.Coroflot

Pros:

In my personal opinion a place that allows you as a freelancer to present a portfolio is better than one without this feature. I listed Coroflot because of this option, even if it is useful only for designers.

Cons:

Many projects are only for developers.Another con: in order to post a job here you have to pay a lot (265$) and freelancers are free to bid.

4.Elance

Pros:

Elance is one of the biggest freelancing job’s website and there are a lot of jobs for everyone..They restrict the number of bids, depending on the type of account. Here in order to be a provider/client you have to pass an exam (few question about how to pay or how to be paid, how litigations are resolved etc). The fee of Elance varies from 4-6% plus 2,75% for the payment processors.

Cons:

The number of bids is restricted, which is generally a negative point but for such an important site I believe that restricting the access of amateurs is a plus.

5.Freelancer

Pros

This is a huge place with a lot of jobs. This website presents a great advantage: the jobs are from various domains as: websites, IT, mobile phones, writing, content, design, engineering, science, sales, and business. All the jobs are very clearly categorized so it is very easy to browse and find out what tasks you want. The pay is good, depending on the complexity of each project.. Freelancers need to pay 10% or 5$ of the total funds received and gold members pay only 3%.The system for employers is very variable depending on their preferences.

Cons:

On the downside there is no blog or collection of articles to help you in your activity as a freelancer (tips &tricks).

6.Guru

Pros:

This website has two ways of navigation: one for employers where they list all the freelancers available (they have also some good filters to find the appropriate ones) and one for freelancers that also has a good layout of their projects and a helpful assortment of categories. There you can find jobs in all fields; soon a blog will help you in your freelancing career on Guru.Freelancers are charged 5% or 10% of the project value, depending on their membership level (basic 10%, guru members 5%).

Cons:

As I was navigating as an employer I saw this title “world’s smallest price”. I believe that as a freelancer that is offensive, they could as well write this ”we have a lot of losers, come on!”. I understand the importance of publicity but morality is a must not an option. For freelancers they posted an interesting title “Be one in a million, not one of millions”.


Boards 7 - 15

Best-Kept Secret Twitter Tips for Job Search Full Article

The best kept secrets are not those which are hidden behind 1000 locks. The best kept secrets are those that are always in front on us — too obvious to be noticed.

If you have not believed this so far then start believing in it, as nothing is truer then the above statement is. And it will become more evident when you will read the best-kept secret twitter tips for job search in this series.

Twitter, as we all know by now, is a 140-word marketing nuclear bomb. It is also referred as virtual water cooler where people talk about things that matters to them. Twitter is not just a micro-blogging tool, but it is a search engine in its own right that has the strength to overpower Google. Twitter can be used in many ways, but we will focus on using it as a job search tool. All the tips in this and subsequent posts are geared towards that only.

For a novice, twitter may look useless, but so did search engines in their initial days.

Easy-to-remember username

Username is your twitter name, and this is the first thing that a person finds about anyone on twitter. This is akin to the first part of your e-mail ID — everything before @, and you will not want your username to spoil the party. Hence, do not use your nickname or any other silly things in there. While saying that I did not mean to say that your nickname is silly, all I meant was that your username should look classy. Cheesy stuffs do not cut it. Your twitter name should also be easy to remember.

Real name for real people

Use your real first and last names in the designated space. Do not use any cool-but-idiotic-sounding words in place of the first and the last name. It will hurt your image, and create hindrance in getting a job. A person without real name does not sound like a person, at least not on the Internet.

Real picture

I know how badly you wanted to look like Brad Pitt, but the fact is you are not him then why to use his picture as your profile picture? Believe me it will not impress your employer, and most of all they will come to know it is not Brad Pitt who is applying for the job. Take my suggestion and pull that picture down, and instead use your own picture, preferably in business attire.

In the twitter profile, nothing but close-up of your own picture should be there.

Write a powerful bullet bio

In twitter profile, you do not get a lot of space to talk about yourself; nevertheless opportunity is there to capitalize on the little space you get. You should write a powerful, sharp-edged bio. Every word should be telling. The space is limited, so use only what will make the employer click on the accompanying link. Write a powerful bullet bio.

Add a web address

Do not add URL of the website where you talked about your cool kitten. No employer will like to know about her. What you can do is add the URL of your cool kitten website in your website under fun and hobby section, if you desperately want to show that to your employer. But, reserve the web address space on twitter for your professional website — the one that will inform your client about your professional skills and expertise.

Add location

Using this is slightly tricky. You can only add name of your city, if you are living in a big metro, but generally use name of your county along with the city name. This will tell your employer about your whereabouts. It will help them make their minds.

Customize your profile

The best thing about twitter is it allows you to create a custom profile for your twitter account. You can choose whatever background you want for your twitter profile. Twitter background provides you a wonderful opportunity to brand yourself. Your profile page should speak volume about you.

Theme-based design

Do not choose just any background. This will not do any good. Always remember a good design begins with ideation. With finding a theme for the design. When I say theme I meant what is that one thing that you want to convey to the viewers of your twitter profile. Begin with writing down the points you want to convey until it boils down to one or two core points that you must convey. This will be the essence of your twitter profile.

Now think of a design theme of the blog based on the core you have found.

Designing background

Start designing a background based on the theme you have found. To find the dimension of the background, you can search Google. I do not suggest reinventing the wheel. Just conduct a Google search and you will find a twitter background template.

First tweet then follow

What most people do after joining twitter is they start following as many people as they can and as soon as they can. This is a very bad strategy to increase your twitter follower count. A good one is to start with posting informative and entertaining tweets followed by following people in the fields of your interest. This way you will get more active followers who will give you more opportunity.

No spamming please

Do not start tweeting in bulk as people with “spammer” tag does. Act with moderation and tweet only what is really, really important. If you want people to hire you for a job then do not post stuffs that will take away from your image.

Talking of quality content, I will recommend you to record a video of you talking about what you do, what is your qualification, and how much work experience you have, etc., and tweet this video cover letter once or twice a day.

Do not act desperate

This will not do any good. Tweeting too much may force people to ignore you, if not unfollow you. There is no need to post your résumé five times a day. Tweet your résumé or video cover letter maximum twice a day. That is enough.

You should not deviate from this tweeting practice for even a single day. Have patience, result will come.

Original Article

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Best-Kept Secret Twitter Tips for Job Search (Part 4)

So far in the series, we have talked about branding your profile on twitter through customizing your background, setting your URL, and writing your Bio, etc. In the fourth part of twitter tips series, I am going to talk the content part of branding. I will tell you how you can keep yourself in the good book of your prospective employers by being responsible in twitter usage.

First tweet then follow

What most people do after joining twitter is they start following as many people as they can and as soon as they can. This is a very bad strategy to increase your twitter follower count. A good one is to start with posting informative and entertaining tweets followed by following people in the fields of your interest. This way you will get more active followers who will give you more opportunity.

No spamming please

Do not start tweeting in bulk as people with “spammer” tag does. Act with moderation and tweet only what is really, really important. If you want people to hire you for a job then do not post stuffs that will take away from your image.

Talking of quality content, I will recommend you to record a video of you talking about what you do, what is your qualification, and how much work experience you have, etc., and tweet this video cover letter once or twice a day.

Do not act desperate

This will not do any good. Tweeting too much may force people to ignore you, if not unfollow you. There is no need to post your résumé five times a day. Tweet your résumé or video cover letter maximum twice a day. That is enough.

You should not deviate from this tweeting practice for even a single day. Have patience, result will come.

Original Article

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Best-Kept Secret Twitter Tips for Job Search (Part 3)

Twitter is the best thing that has happened on the Internet in the recent years. In just 140 characters it has changed the way we communicate. Its 140 characters have also forced the giant Google to remap its strategy, and redraw its SERP (search engine result pages) — Google said it will include social media status updates as well, and to take share of this [micro blogging wonder] end it also launched Buzz.

This is what twitter has done to the giant, and it will also help you a great deal in searching for a job. In this part, I will tell you how you can brand yourself on twitter, and how it will help you.

Customize your profile

The best thing about twitter is it allows you to create a custom profile for your twitter account. You can choose whatever background you want for your twitter profile. Twitter background provides you a wonderful opportunity to brand yourself. Your profile page should speak volume about you.

Theme-based design

Do not choose just any background. This will not do any good. Always remember a good design begins with ideation. With finding a theme for the design. When I say theme I meant what is that one thing that you want to convey to the viewers of your twitter profile. Begin with writing down the points you want to convey until it boils down to one or two core points that you must convey. This will be the essence of your twitter profile.

Now think of a design theme of the blog based on the core you have found.

Designing background

Start designing a background based on the theme you have found. To find the dimension of the background, you can search Google. I do not suggest reinventing the wheel. Just conduct a Google search and you will find a twitter background template.

This is it for now. Go ahead and customize your twitter profile to impress your prospects.

Original Article

Friday, April 23, 2010

Handy FaceBook Tip For Job Seekers

Don't want the world ( including prospective employers ) to know about you web visits???

If you don't want people to know that you have a FB account: As of yesterday, there is a new privacy setting called "Instant Personalization" that shares data with non-facebook websites and it is automatically set to "Allow." Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites and uncheck "Allow".

Best-Kept Secret Twitter Tips for Job Search (Part 2)

Yesterday we started a series with some obvious twitter profile optimization tips that will help you find a job. In this post, I will continue the discussion and will share some more twitter power tips for job search on twitter (click the link to read part 1). These are must-apply tips for all kinds of twitter profiles, so you can use these even if you are not in the job-search market.

Write a powerful bullet bio

In twitter profile, you do not get a lot of space to talk about yourself; nevertheless opportunity is there to capitalize on the little space you get. You should write a powerful, sharp-edged bio. Every word should be telling. The space is limited, so use only what will make the employer click on the accompanying link. Write a powerful bullet bio.

Add a web address

Do not add URL of the website where you talked about your cool kitten. No employer will like to know about her. What you can do is add the URL of your cool kitten website in your website under fun and hobby section, if you desperately want to show that to your employer. But, reserve the web address space on twitter for your professional website — the one that will inform your client about your professional skills and expertise.

Add location

Using this is slightly tricky. You can only add name of your city, if you are living in a big metro, but generally use name of your county along with the city name. This will tell your employer about your whereabouts. It will help them make their minds.

We will talk about twitter profile customization in one more post then we will move further. These are practical tips, and will only benefit you if you work upon them. Reading only will do no good to you.

Once you are done customizing your twitter profile, send me your twitter URL, so that we all can see your work. Meanwhile, you can use the comment box below to leave your suggestion and feedback on this post.

Original Article

Thursday, April 22, 2010

12 Tips to Get the Most from LinkedIn

Susan GuneliusBio | Email
Susan Gunelius is the author of multiple business books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, a leading blog for business women.

LinkedIn has grown into more than a social networking site for business people. Today, it's also one of the first places employers and business partners go to learn more about the people who want to work with them. It's also one of the first places that employees go to learn more about potential leaders, managers, colleagues and so on.

Not only does LinkedIn offer information about people you consider working with, but it can also open doors to new opportunities and relationships that can benefit your career in the long term. Don't just create your LinkedIn profile and forget it. Instead, follow the tips below to make your LinkedIn profile work for you.

1. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is comprehensive.

Simply entering your name and current job into your LinkedIn profile isn't enough. Instead, take the time to make your profile comprehensive, so it tells your entire story. Lead with your strengths and make sure visitors to your profile see your most important and relevant information first.

2. Continually search for new connections.

Use the LinkedIn search tool to find people to connect with. Search groups related to your business or expertise and connect with people you know or request an introduction to people you don't know from your own connections who are already connected with them.

3. Ask for recommendations (and give them, too).

The LinkedIn Recommendations tool is typically under-utilized by LinkedIn members. Recommendations act as testimonials of your abilities and knowledge. Write recommendations for your connections and request that they write recommendations for you in return.

4. Answer questions in LinkedIn Answers.

Leverage the LinkedIn Answers feature to search for questions related to your business or area of expertise and answer them. LinkedIn Answers offers an excellent opportunity to establish your expertise but also to connect with and build relationships with more people.

5. Search for and join groups.

There are many, many LinkedIn groups (including the ForbesWoman group, and you can join up to 50 with a free LinkedIn account (and additional sub-groups). Search for groups related to your business and area of expertise and join them. This enables you to connect with other group members and join conversations happening within those groups.

6. Start your own group.

If there isn't a group related to your business, expertise or niche on LinkedIn already, then create one! It's free and takes just a few minutes to create a group. Just be sure to keep the group active with new content and conversations, so people find enough value in it to join and to come back again and again.

7. Keep your content fresh.

Take the time to update your LinkedIn profile frequently and add to Group conversations frequently else you'll be forgotten quickly.

8. Automate some processes.

Save time by automating processes such as feeding your blog posts to your LinkedIn profile and groups that allow you to do so using the group news feature (not all groups allow this). Also, automate the feed of your Twitter stream to your LinkedIn profile, and link your SlideShare account with your LinkedIn profile using LinkedIn apps. By automating processes, you free up time for other activities and ensure your LinkedIn content is fresh and interesting.

9. Promote your LinkedIn profile to increase connections.

Include a link or icon on your Web site and blog inviting people to connect with you on LinkedIn. Similarly, include the link in your email signature and anywhere else you can think of to get more exposure and boost your quality connections.

10. Consider placing a LinkedIn ad.

LinkedIn Advertising is an easy to use feature that enables you to create ads that are served using the targeting criteria you select and the budget you determine. They can help you to promote your LinkedIn activities and your business.

11. Don't forget about LinkedIn Jobs.

The LinkedIn Jobs tool allows LinkedIn members to publish job postings for their own companies (for a fee) or search for job opportunities that fit their own skills.

12. Use LinkedIn Events.

Promote your events and accept RSVPs using the LinkedIn Events feature. Follow the link to get answers to frequently asked questions about LinkedIn events.

Connect with Susan Gunelius on LinkedIn.

Connect with ForbesWoman on LinkedIn

Original Forbes Article AND Other LinkedIn Tips

Simply Hired® Launches Integration with Facebook® Connect (beta)

Simply Hired® Launches Integration with Facebook® Connect (beta)

Today, Simply Hired announces the launch of the first job search experience to combine the world’s largest social graph with the largest jobs database. Through an extended beta integration with Facebook Connect, job seekers can now interact with their Facebook profile and friends on SimplyHired.com to receive customized job recommendations and land a job.

Simply Hired is committed to offering the best job search experience and providing tools to help job seekers find their dream jobs. We have been hearing from our users that they’re frequently using social sites such as Facebook to find a job. In fact, according to one of the latest SimplyHired.com polls, 65% of respondents already leverage their social graphs to job search. To better understand how we can successfully offer job seekers a search experience leveraging their friends, we are rolling out this Facebook Connect integration.

With this functionality, authenticated Facebook users will be able to discover jobs based on their current or previous work titles, location, interests and their friends’ companies on the home page of SimplyHired.com. From the search results page, job seekers will be able to browse friends’ companies and search for job openings. We hope that this integration will help users leverage their Facebook friends to get an inside track on a job.

To enable this feature, users must opt-in. Information or activity about a user’s job search will not be shared on Facebook at any time.

To start using this feature, visit SimplyHired.com.

Best-Kept Secret Twitter Tips for Job Search (Part 1)

The best kept secrets are not those which are hidden behind 1000 locks. The best kept secrets are those that are always in front on us — too obvious to be noticed.

If you have not believed this so far then start believing in it, as nothing is truer then the above statement is. And it will become more evident when you will read the best-kept secret twitter tips for job search in this series.

Twitter, as we all know by now, is a 140-word marketing nuclear bomb. It is also referred as virtual water cooler where people talk about things that matters to them. Twitter is not just a micro-blogging tool, but it is a search engine in its own right that has the strength to overpower Google. Twitter can be used in many ways, but we will focus on using it as a job search tool. All the tips in this and subsequent posts are geared towards that only.

For a novice, twitter may look useless, but so did search engines in their initial days.

Easy-to-remember username

Username is your twitter name, and this is the first thing that a person finds about anyone on twitter. This is akin to the first part of your e-mail ID — everything before @, and you will not want your username to spoil the party. Hence, do not use your nickname or any other silly things in there. While saying that I did not mean to say that your nickname is silly, all I meant was that your username should look classy. Cheesy stuffs do not cut it. Your twitter name should also be easy to remember.

Real name for real people

Use your real first and last names in the designated space. Do not use any cool-but-idiotic-sounding words in place of the first and the last name. It will hurt your image, and create hindrance in getting a job. A person without real name does not sound like a person, at least not on the Internet.

Real picture

I know how badly you wanted to look like Brad Pitt, but the fact is you are not him then why to use his picture as your profile picture? Believe me it will not impress your employer, and most of all they will come to know it is not Brad Pitt who is applying for the job. Take my suggestion and pull that picture down, and instead use your own picture, preferably in business attire.

In the twitter profile, nothing but close-up of your own picture should be there.

Start fixing your profile now and when you are done send me your twitter URL. That’s all for today, will meet tomorrow with some more tips.

Original Article

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to Boost Your Personal Brand With Social Media

By Chris Garrett
Published April 21, 2010

Want to build your personal brand? There are few tools as powerful as social media for quickly building a positive personal brand. Whether you’re focusing on a global audience or a local one, social media can help you get visibility and help you forge connections.

In this article, I’ll share some tips to help you leverage social media to gain more exposure.

#1: Reap What You Sow

What are you aiming for? What is your goal?

If you want to get yourself known, social media is a great way to build visibility and a platform. Getting known might be your goal or it might be a means to an end. Again, social media can help you build connections that pay off in terms of opportunities and offers.

At the very least, when you do the right things in social media, you’re building a profile that represents you in the best possible light when anyone wants to look you up. It is a rare potential employer who will not do a quick Google search, and apparently even potential dates now do this routinely!

#2: Model Real Life

Social media grew out of real-world social rules and therefore what works in real life works well in social media, but with wider distribution and accelerated cause and effect.

Often people say to me that social media does not work, but what they really mean is they tried to extract value before they put any in. In fact, at the time of this writing I almost got into a protracted debate on Twitter about this very thing. Because this one person didn’t see any results, he believed social media “didn’t work.” The problem is, social media does not work for people who just want to take and be selfish, so he is setting himself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You can’t withdraw very long from an empty social capital account. Essentially, if you want to get out value, then you need to start putting value in.

#3: Be Likeable

Another aspect of social media engagement is that your basic interactions are communicating more than the 140-character status updates. People also read between the lines. Again, this can work for or against you.

Brands are built through experience just as much as what you say and any image you create. The brands you love and hate are much more about how they have treated you than their logos and corporate mission statements!

The same is true on a personal brand level. It’s about treating people well and giving them a positive experience with you. It really helps if you like people because you are going to need to be consistently a good person to know.

Using light humor, being kind, sharing about more than just your work—including your interests—allow people to connect with you on a human level as well as a business and technical level.

Beyond this we have to be aware of boundaries and limitations to sharing. We have all seen the damage that can be done through “overshare” or Too Much Information, and also what we find humorous might well put people off, or even cause emotional or professional damage.

Consider a popular blogger who is constantly on the attack, belittling people, making fun of people, “digging up dirt” and so on. Yes, he will gather a following—bullies often do—but how do these kinds of tactics affect long-term relationships and loyalty?

At SXSW I had a discussion about this very topic and we realized many of the highly visible people who used this approach 4 or 5 years ago are now seldom heard from and nobody will take their calls.

Social karma works in the negative as well as the positive, and the Internet has a LONG memory!

Does This Really Work?

At this point you might still be skeptical. So to reassure you that there is some real cause and effect going on here, just look at your own social media activity.

* Who do you follow? Think about your top three social media users and what they have in common.
* Which blogs do you read? Again, which are your “must-read” blogs?
* When have you had the best results? Think back to when you had your best win. What did you do?
* How do you attract new contacts? When you want a social media or list boost, what works best for you?
* What can you test today? Still skeptical? Good! Test, verify—what can you try today to move your metrics needle?

I am 100% sure that when you put out good, valuable, positive stuff—when you share only the best—that’s when you will get the best results. It also follows that the people you are most attracted to or listen to most are the people you get the most value from, be that entertainment or education, and with whom you feel the best connection.

#4: Share, Share, Share

Tactically this is about sharing good stuff. If you want to position yourself as an expert, then share what you know.

The more you share good stuff, the more people will want to listen to you. Even better, if you share your expertise with good stuff from other people mixed in, it shows you’re generous and have your followers’ best interests at heart rather than pure self-promotion.

* Answer questions in LinkedIn.
* Share links, videos and anything useful that you find in Facebook and Twitter.
* Post your slide decks to Slideshare.
* Upload advice videos and demonstrations to YouTube.
* Write valuable content in your blog and answer comments.
* Invite people to ask you questions on your Facebook fan page, Twitter and your blog.

#5: Conduct a Whuffie Audit

Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing fame invented the futuristic reputation, or social capital–based currency, of Whuffie. Some days I wish Whuffie really existed and that just by looking someone up we could see what kind of person they were and how much they added to society. Unfortunately we do not have Whuffie yet, but you can “audit” yourself to see how much social capital you are generating.

Keep an eye on your key metrics to see if they are growing and what behavior is influencing them:

* Followers, friends and subscriber counts—How many people you have following you is not the best metric, but it does tell you if you’re attracting versus annoying people!
* Retweets, clicks and shares—If people want to share your stuff, it’s a hint that what you are putting out is valuable.
* Comments, favorites, discussions—Can you spark discussion and debate? That’s value right there.
* Key contacts, referrals, recommendations and testimonials—Are you reaching people and are they telling others about you? What do people say about you behind your back? Will people publicly connect their name, and reputation, to yours?

Closing Thoughts…

I know how frustrating it is when we say things in interviews like “provide value, join the conversation.” Hopefully I’ve explained a bit more about what this means and some of the steps you can use. It comes down to having the intention to really help, inform and be an excellent person to know.

A reputation is difficult and time-consuming to build, but with social media we can damage it in an instant. When you have what’s best for your community in mind, you will not go far wrong.

How does this work for you? Got any tips to share? What has worked best in your experience? Please SHARE your thoughts in the comments! :)

Are You Doing It Wrong? How to Make Networking Really Work.

Networking. Does the very thought of getting out there, shaking hands, and schmoozing give you butterflies? You are not alone. But networking, either informally or at an organized event, is something that everyone should actively do--no matter how old they are or where they're at in their career.

"You always love a job until you don't--or until it no longer loves you--so continuing to build and strengthen your network even when you're employed will help you maximize your options if and when it's time to move on," says career expert Liz Lynch.

As founder of The Center for Networking Excellence and the author of "Smart Networking," Lynch knows a strong network can help you get industry information quickly and find opportunities to grow your business. But a recent Yahoo! HotJobs poll found that networking or an in-person referral is the most effective way to find a job today, too: over 20 percent of surveyed workers and job seekers say they've stepped up in-person networking activities in the past year.

Too often, poor preparation or lack of follow-up make networking ineffective. Fortunately, there are some simple things to do before, during, and after networking to ensure that you make a lasting impression.

Polish your image
You just never know when you'll run into a potential client or employer, so it's important to be ready to network at any time. That means keeping business cards handy and up-to-date with a mobile number and links to a professional website and/or a LinkedIn profile.

Prep your elevator pitch
Lynch says it's necessary to be able to answer the question "What do you do?" with a response that rolls off your tongue without being too long or full of jargon and buzzwords. "If you're currently unemployed, you want to answer confidently and in a way that focuses on what you're looking for instead of what you've been through," adds Lynch.

Rachel Weingarten, a marketing and brand strategist, says this is especially important if you've spent years repeating the same thing and ignoring how your skills may have evolved. An easy way to do this is paying attention to how people you admire in your industry are describing themselves. "Don't copy them, but use it as inspiration to create your own short, snappy self description," advises Weingarten.

Target your efforts
To make a real impact with networking, hone in on events and opportunities targeted to your industry. Freelance journalist Gina Roberts-Grey suggests joining a professional organization. "Members often introduce each other to colleagues and share contact information," says Roberts-Grey, adding that networking is also a main function of industry conferences. "Attendees expect to be approached in elevators, hallways, and even bathrooms."

Toot your horn (but pay attention, too)
Once you're talking, Roberts-Grey says, "Don't be afraid to brag a little. If you don't tell the world what you're doing, chances are no one else will." Lynch says that you should also listen and try to find ways to be of help. "Find out if they would be open to meeting with you so you can learn more about their company. Don't push your resume. Focus first on building the relationship," she adds.

Follow up
Roberts-Grey recommends sending an e-mail or follow-up note as soon as possible after the meeting. Weingarten says, "It's polite and professional and works toward cementing more of a relationship with the person you just met," and she suggests including specific details of the conversation.

You should also do your homework by researching growth sectors and average salaries in your industry so you'll be ready to negotiate if you have the opportunity. Says Roberts-Grey, "Don't be afraid to show that you're ready, willing, and able to work with them."

Original Article

6 Interview Mistakes To Avoid

I interview a lot of people. A lot. And, as some of you may have noticed, there are quite a bit more people chasing fewer jobs these days. So, in the interest of helping others out, here are some suggestions of things not to do during an interview.

To preface my comments, I work in the IT field and my interviewing technique was fine tuned during a long stint at a very demanding federal client. This environment was very fast paced and very high profile (I think one of the guiding comments from the client was “just keep my name out of the Washington Post”), which lead to an unfortunately high level of stress in the job.

When I had the opportunity to interview someone, I usually have between 30 to 60 minutes to determine if the person will be a good fit. After a few times, I believe I have created an interview approach to inject as much stress as possible into the situation to evaluate a potential candidate’s response. Some of examples of this approach would be:

  • Giving absolutely no feedback whatsoever. No smiles, no nods, no widening-of-the-eyes, nothing. I have found a lack of response induces far more stress than anything else I could do.
  • Asking questions to which there is no answer that could possibly be “right.” A textbook example from my undergraduate Morality & Justice class would be a train speeding towards five people with a switch: if you throw the switch, the train is diverted to another path on which a single person stands — but, that person would have no way of avoiding being hit; or, do nothing and the five die. What do you do? (Obviously, that’s an example, but it’s the kind of question where there is no “right” or “good” answer, so to speak; the whole point is to find out how the person gets to the answer more than the answer itself)
  • Providing real world scenarios, but somewhat contrived to avoid the usual canned answers.

The types of technical questions I ask usually contain buried knowledge; meaning, while the question was plainly asking one question, it would assume detailed knowledge of four to seven things required to formulate a reasonable response. As a hypothetical from an unrelated field, “when is it appropriate to use the feminine dative case?” This assumes you know:

  • Latin
  • The declension of a verb through all three genders and all five cases
  • The applicability of said genders and cases



Here are a few of the mistakes I see from interviewees:

  1. Trying to know it all:
    In the IT field, there are too many possible variants on too many details to know them all. “I don’t know” is a perfectly valid answer, if for no other reason because you cannot know it all. “I don’t know, but here’s how I would find out” is an even better answer. But, if you try to BS your way through an interview (where there’s really nothing that can go wrong, other than maybe not getting a job), you’ll try to BS your way through the job (when lots of things can go very wrong).
  2. Trying to have it both ways:
    Q: “If you had to pick between planting a garden or weeding a garden, which would you choose?”
    A: “Well, I can do both.”
    Yes, I’m sure you can, but that’s not what I asked. I know you’re worried that if you say “planting a garden” while you think I might be looking for a weeder so you’ll miss the job. But, in actually, I usually have slots open for both; by trying to straddle the fence, I think you’re telling me what you think I want to hear, rather than actually answering the question. Which leads to the next thing…
  3. Not answering the question asked:
    Q: “Tell me about the time you worked in McDonald’s”
    A: “Well, I learned a lot there. But not as much as I did volunteering for the United Way!”
    (a) This isn’t politics; you don’t get to answer the question you wanted to answer. (b) If I wanted to know about the United Way, I would have asked about the United Way. Now, I have to go back and ask you – again – for details about McDonald’s.
  4. Giving obviously canned answers:
    Q: “What do you see as your biggest fault?”
    A: “I care too much.”
    No self-respecting interviewer should ever ask that question, but – even if it does come up – no interviewee should ever hand out the generic advice column answer. Take it from me, we interviewers read those columns, too.
    A side note for interviewers: If you must ask this question, here’s a better formulation – “When you look back over your career, what would you say is your biggest success story? You know, ‘I did good there’?” and the converse, “When you look back over your career, what would you say is your biggest failure?” *Everyone* has both succeed and failed at least once. If they say they haven’t, that’s a red flag.
  5. Not having any questions for the interviewer:
    As a general rule, that shows you didn’t prepare, don’t know anything about the company or the position and don’t seem really all that interested. If you do ask questions, ask about the work itself, the conditions, the staff turnover, the client interactions, what would be their biggest problem du jour – anything to show some interest.
    Do not, however, ask about vacation time, pay ranges, bonuses and the like. The time to ask that is with the HR person and/or manager. Technical/line people either don’t know those answers or (probably) won’t be allowed to answer. Not to mention that it may not present you in the best light.
  6. Asking how you did:
    Perhaps it was because of my interview style, but I have a surprisingly large number of people asking me how they did — and usually in just those words (“So, how’d I do?”) in a serious, not self-deprecating or joking around kind of way. It almost always ends their chances. In my opinion, you should have the self-confidence to know how you did — even if you’re wrong. But, that’s just a personal pet peeve.

Of course, now that I read this, I might sound a little bitter. Really, I’m just trying to help out a people who are looking for a job and may run across someone like me.

Original Article