Category: Interview

November 09, 2011

Getting Ready for the Veterans Virtual Career Fair

102111_virtualfair-250x166You may have been to a career fair before -- it's quite an experience: joining hundreds (or thousands) of job seekers, all in one place, to meet employers who have positions to fill. Great if you happen to be in the same neighborhood -- but not so convenient if you're a few hundred miles away. As part of our continuing efforts to help veterans manage their careers and find great jobs, Monster and are hosting a "virtual" job fair: an online version of the traditional career fair, with all the benefits of a live event (but without the long lines!).

The Veterans Virtual Career Fair will run from November 14 to 18. If you're a vet, register today. All you have to do is sign up, post your resume, and start visiting the virtual "booths" of employers. Each booth will have information about the employer and the jobs available, and there will be opportunities to speak with recruiters right at the event. From your computer, you'll be able to communicate and engage with job exhibitors and attendees in a virtual environment. As long as you have Internet access, you'll be able to participate.
As with any job interview or in-person career fair, being prepared is key. Here are some tips:

1. Make sure your resume is up-to-date. Because this is one of the first things that potential employers will see, it's important proofread carefully and highlight your top accomplishments clearly. Start your resume with a clear summary of your background and what you have to offer an employer. (For tips on crafting your resume, check out's Resume Writing Archive -- and use the Military Skills Translator to "decode" your military experience into language that civilian employers can understand.)

2. Research employers. You never want to enter a conversation with an employer without knowing a little bit its goals, its products, and its mission. See the list of participating employers at the bottom of this post; then go to the company websites and do a bit of research. This is knowledge that will serve you well during the fair.

3. Set some career goals. You may think that telling an employer that you're "open to any opportunities" will make you likelier to land a job. In fact, hiring managers want people who have specific skills, interests, and specialties. Think about what your career goals are, so you can target your efforts (this is much more effective than scattershot applications).
A good exercise before going into the fair is to develop an elevator pitch or "personal brand" statement -- something that will help you explain the value you bring to an employer, in easy-to-remember sound bites.
For more tips on career fairs -- virtual and real-world -- read "Learn to Work a Career Fair."

As of this writing, the following employers have secured "booths" at the virtual fair:

  • USAA   
  • Military to Medicine   
  • Amazon   
  • CMTC   
  • Vivaro Corporation   
  • Cisco Systems  
  • Bowhead   
  • Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.   
  • Verizon Wireless   
  • Signtronix   
  • Concorde College   
  • Department of Veteran Affairs   
  • MRI   
  • Public Storage  
  • Goodrich   
  • DirectTV   
  • Philips   
  • Hewlett Packard   
  • Deltek   
  • Guident   
  • Tenaris Global    
  • Old National Bank   
  • Pacific Gas & Electric
  • Carrington Mortgage  Holdings   
  • Wyle Labs   
  • Ceva Logisitcs   
  • Great Harvest Bread
  • Brinks   
  • Optima Network Services    
  • Lowes     
  • OfficeDepot  

Register for the Veterans Virtual Career Fair today -- and tell another vet!




Military to Medicine 






Vivaro Corporation


Cisco Systems




Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.


Verizon Wireless




Concorde College


Department of Veteran Affairs




Public Storage








Hewlett Packard






Tenaris Global


Old National Bank


  PG&E  (Pacific Gas & Electric)


Carrington Mortgage  Holdings


Wyle Labs


Ceva Logisitcs


Great Harvest Bread Co




Optima Network Services






Posted by Charles Purdy on November 9, 2011 at 12:30 PM in Current Events , Interview , Networking | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 27, 2011

Get Hired for the Holidays: Seasonal Retail Jobs

RetailAccording to the Monster Employment Index (MEI) -- a monthly review of millions of job opportunities posted on online job boards and corporate career sites -- the retail trade sector grew 21 percent between September 2010 and September 2011. All told, the sector has shown 19 consecutive months of positive year-over-year growth since March 2010. And according to the National Retail Federation, retailers are expected to hire 480,000 to 500,000 seasonal workers in 2011.

So what can you do if you want one of these seasonal retail jobs?

Doing research is key -- because retail employers want to hire people who are enthusiastic about their products. One way to do this is to find and follow the company's social media efforts (on Twitter, for instance), to keep informed not only about products but also about local job opportunities and hiring events.

But take advantage of spur-of-the-moment opportunities, too -- don't hesitate to walk into a store with a Help Wanted sign in the window, because seasonal hiring often moves a lot faster than a traditional hiring process. With that in mind, it might make sense to put on your interview outfit, print up copies of your resume, and head to your local mall -- preferably on a weekday afternoon (when it's less crowded and a manager may have more time to speak to you).

Update your resume and prep for interviews by highlighting experience that's relevant to a retail environment. Even if you've never worked in a store, your past jobs may have required managing client relationships, data entry, simple accounting, merchandising, inventory, and similar transferable skills. And to seal the deal, be proactive about following up with a phone call, within a week after you drop off your resume. 

(And working retail isn't all cash registers and stock rooms. Read "Cool Holiday Jobs in Retail" for more ideas.) 

 Don't want to work in a store? Many other industries hire seasonal workers during the winter holidays: catering companies and some restaurants add staff, there's demand for short-term temporary office workers in a variety of occupations (to fill in for vacationing staff members or help with end-of-year crunches), and delivery companies hire thousands of seasonal workers to handle increased volume.

All of these temporary opportunities can be great resume builders and networking opportunities -- and one might just be a step to a full-time, permanent position. A rise in overall temporary hiring is expected next year. (Read "Temp Jobs Expected to Be on Upswing in 2012" for more.)

What are your holiday-hiring tips? Do you have a seasonal-job success story? Tell us about it in the Comments section.


Posted by Charles Purdy on October 27, 2011 at 02:25 PM in Current Events , Interview , Job Search , Resume | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 23, 2011

The Monster 5 for Friday -- Careers Edition -- September 23

On Fridays, we take a look back at the week that was, and show you five of our favorite career-advice articles -- tips and news you may have missed during your busy week.

5. Early this week, CareeRealism posted an article that might be of interest to older -- or, rather, more mature ... or perhaps just overqualified -- workers. Read "How Do I Avoid Revealing My Age in a Resume?"

4. We, too, were sharing resume advice for the worker of a certain age. Read "Five Ways to Rejuvenate Your Resume." 

3. Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail published (via some very helpful resume advice on jargon and buzzwords that can send your resume right into the No pile. Read "Cliches to Ditch on the Job Hunt."

2. We've just been through the Autumnal Equinox -- there's no more denying that summer is over and fall is here. has a great collection of articles appropriate to the season. Peruse "Get Back into the Swing of Things with Your Career.

1. And now to close the week with some advice and encouragement -- U.S. News and World Report is here to help people who spent at least part of this week waiting by the phone for that hiring manager to call. Read "Why It's Taking So Long to Hear Back After Your Job Interview."

Do you need job-search advice? What job-seeker topics would you like to see covered? Leave a message for us in the comments section below, or find @monstercareers on Twitter and send a message. Also, get support and great job-seeker advice when you join our community on Facebook.

Posted by Charles Purdy on September 23, 2011 at 01:50 PM in Career Development , Interview , Job Search , Resume | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

September 16, 2011

The Monster 5 for Friday -- Careers Edition -- September 16

On Fridays, we take a look back at the week that was, and show you five cool career-advice articles you may have missed during your busy week.

5. To start, we'll point to a post on this very blog. Did you know that September is both National Preparedness Month and National Update Your Resume Month? The two clearly go hand-in-hand, because having an updated resume is an important way to stay prepared for career emergencies. Read "The Importance of Being Prepared." 

4. The Wall Street Journal ran a lengthy interview with "What Color Is Your Parachute?" author Richard Bolles -- in which he shared his thoughts on new job-search technologies, as well as his outlook on the search for "dream jobs" (which echoes Monster's beliefs). Read "People Are Still Finding Their Dream Jobs." Yes they are!

3. BostInnovation reported on the latest thing in mobile networking -- that is, Monster's own BeKnown application, which is now available on the iPhone and Android. Read "Monster Worldwide Adds Mobile Functionality to Facebook App, BeKnown."

2. career expert Alison Doyle provides some great tips on digital communication in one of her latest posts. Read "How Not to Email About a Job."

1. And now maybe you can end your week with a laugh (while learning an important lesson about the need to proofread your resume). This week, Yahoo! ran a Monster advice article that provides a collection of cautionary tales. Read "10 Classic Resume Bloopers."

Do you need job-search advice? What job-seeker topics would you like to see covered? Leave a message for us in the comments section below, or find @monstercareers on Twitter and send a message. Also, get support and great job-seeker advice when you join our community on Facebook.



Posted by Charles Purdy on September 16, 2011 at 04:56 PM in Books , Career Development , Interview , Job Search , Networking , New Media , Update Your Resume Week | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

September 15, 2011

6 Potential Job-Post Caution Signs

IStock_000009462166Small Wondering whether a job post is worth the effort that applying will take? Monster customers pay to post jobs on our site, and we work with them to craft effective posts -- so you have much less to worry about on Monster than on, for instance, job boards where potential employers can post for free. (And if you suspect that a job post is a scam or is unethical, we want to hear about it right away! Check out our Monster Security Center for more information.)

Nonetheless, it's the companies themselves that are responsible for the actual application and hiring process (as well as, obviously, the working conditions and so on), and there are some caution signs to beware of when you're looking at a job post. Note that these signs don't necessarily mean there's something wrong -- but they are clues that you should perhaps proceed with a little bit of caution.

1. The job was posted months ago, or the job is continuously reposted.
Often, the reason for this is perfectly legit: a large company simply may have lots of similar positions to fill, or an employer may have typically high-turnover positions (such as seasonal hospitality jobs). But if that's not the case, this may be a flag that the company is has put the position on indefinite hold or has high turnover for reasons that might inspire concern. (The employer might also just be waiting for the absolute perfect match for the description, so if you're it, you'll want to apply.

2. The post says "Company Confidential."
You have to ask yourself, "What's going on here?" Is the position not truly open yet? Is an agency collecting resumes without a company’s consent? Why the secrecy? There may be no cause for concern; however, a post like this makes it difficult to tailor your resume and do the appropriate research

3. The post says "Fax your resume to ..."
This may be a company that isn't keeping up with the times. (Then again, the company may just be testing your ability to follow instructions.) 

4. The post has lots of phrases like "Must be extremely hard-working" and "Must be able to handle extremely high stress."
An ability to work hard should be a given, so if a post says "extremely hard-working," know that it means "extreeeeeeemely hard-working." For you, such an environment might be perfect. And lots of high-stress jobs are extremely rewarding. But if a job post is focusing on the difficulty of a job (instead of selling the company as a great place to work, in order to attract the best, most-appropriate candidates), you should at least go into the application process knowing that your life-work-balance issues will not be a priority at this company. 

5. The post lists the salary as "Earn up to $500k per year."
This is another matter of simply being aware of what you're signing up for. Speaking aboout the salary in terms of "up to" indicates that the job pays on comission, and that's usually fine. Just be sure to ask about base salaries and average incomes when you get to discussing things with a hiring manager. If something sounds too good to be true, it just might be

6. The post is discriminatory.
In most cases, this is illegal; in others, there is a gray area -- for example, if a company states that it is not considering unemployed people. (Of the more than a million posts on, we haven't seen one like this in a while, we're very happy to say.) Although this form of discrimination is not illegal, such a statement of bias is a clear indicator that the company is not one you'd want to work for (clearly, just for starters, the people doing the hiring aren't doing a good job of looking for the best and brightest employees!).

Maybe it's good that the rare companies that do this also advertise the fact that they're engaged in this practice, so you don't waste your time with them. But you might consider writing a letter to someone in the company's public-relations department or to senior management -- because they might not know what their recruiting department is up to.

Wondering which companies are the best to work at? Check out Fortune magazine's 2011 list, as well as's brand-new 2011 list. or more tips on avoiding a questionable employer, read "10 Warning Signs of a Toxic Boss."



Posted by Charles Purdy on September 15, 2011 at 07:04 PM in Current Affairs , Current Events , Interview , Job Search | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

August 12, 2011

OfficeTeam Reveals Five Hiring-Manager Secrets

What's going through a hiring manager's mind during a job interview? The answer may surprise you. OfficeTeam, a leading administrative staffing service, has identified five things job seekers should know about the interview process -- from the interviewer's point of view.
"Many job candidates may not recognize that hiring managers can be as anxious as they are during interviews because of the pressure to find just the right person," says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Hiring mistakes are costly, in terms of the time and money invested and the toll on staff morale. Interviewers are looking for subtle clues the applicant has the right job skills and work ethic, and will fit in with new colleagues and the corporate culture."

Hosking adds, "Job seekers who do their homework and remain poised throughout the interview process will be able to engage in more productive, relevant conversations with prospective employers."

Here are five things most hiring managers may be thinking about the interview but won't tell you:

1. I haven't prepared in advance. You may have spent hours creating your resume, but there’s a good chance the hiring manager doesn't remember exactly what’s on it.

Advice: Always have an extra copy of your resume handy, and offer to walk the potential employer through the highlights, particularly if he or she seems at a loss for questions.

2. I'm wary of phonies. Think again before you claim that your greatest weakness is that you "work too hard." Most hiring managers have heard it all before. Inauthentic responses are a red flag to employers.

Advice: Come to the interview with several job-related anecdotes in mind that reveal the real you and speak to how your specific talents can help the business. Don't be afraid to show some personality.

(Read "What Are Your Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses?" for more tips.)

3. I love to talk about my company and myself. Interviewers are advised to let the candidate do most of the talking. But hiring managers are only human and enjoy discussing things they are passionate about, including their careers and interests.

Advice: Ask the prospective employer about his or her professional advancement within the company; this can yield valuable information about growth potential at the firm and get the conversation going. You don't have to wait until the end of the interview to ask questions.

4. I may intentionally make you uncomfortable. Job seekers often rush to fill in awkward pauses between interview questions. Hiring managers hope that if they keep you talking, you’ll reveal more of yourself. They also may throw curve-ball questions to see how you react and to gain insight into your thought process.

Advice: Rather than rambling and potentially saying something you regret, keep your responses concise and on point. It's OK to stop and collect your ideas before you begin to speak. Don’t be too concerned if you’re stumped by a tough interview question. Showing your reasoning skills is often more important than finding the right answer.

(Read "100 Potential Interview Questions" for more advice.)

5. I'm going to ask my assistant about you. Six in ten executives surveyed by OfficeTeam said they consider their assistants' opinions important when evaluating new hires. It should go without saying, but make sure you treat everyone you meet with respect when you arrive for an interview. You never know who may be weighing in on the hiring decision.

Advice: If the administrative professional isn't busy, make polite small talk while you wait. Also, avoid irritating behaviors, such as loud cell phone conversations.

Posted by Charles Purdy on August 12, 2011 at 11:07 AM in Career Development , Interview , Resume , Salary | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

August 10, 2011

Going the Distance in Your Job Search (This Is Not a "Pep Talk"!)

IStock_000014687303Small As a job search stretches out, week upon week (and as the economy remains, shall we say, turbulent), it can be all too easy to give up -- to think, "There are no jobs out there, so why bother. There's nothing I can do to find a job."

Here at Monster, we hear this sentiment frequently from job seekers -- and we understand that many of the people giving voice to it are facing desperate times and very difficult circumstances.

But at the same time, we also know that we have more than a million jobs posted on our site at any given time -- and we talk to employers every day who are searching for people to hire.

So what's the disconnect?

Get Past "Positive Thinking"
Sure, positive thinking works -- to a point. For one thing, people with a positive, can-do attitude are more attractive to employers. But a larger reason that positive thinking works is that it inspires action.

Thinking that "it's hopeless" and that you'll "never find a job" are self-fulfilling notions -- because if you think that there's no use in trying, then you don't try.

The Secret Is Positive Doing
So that's the key: trying. Personal pep talks are helpful (and for tips on positive thinking, read "Reframe Six Career-Limiting Beliefs"), but it's also important to act.

On Twitter and Facebook, our job seekers tell us, "I've tried everything." Gently, I want to say, "Are you sure?"

Just to help you be sure, here are a few ideas: ways you can keep your job search going (as an added bonus, positive doing causes positive thinking -- and vice versa). Try one of these things when you feel as though you've "tried everything."

>> Read a book on your industry or on job-search techniques.
In a 2010 HotJobs poll, site visitors were asked, "In the past year, how many career- or professional-development books have you read (not mandated by an employer)?" For 60 percent of respondents, the answer was zero. That's a lot of job seekers who aren't keeping up on the latest job-search tactics and on developments and new ideas in their industries. Give yourself a leg up on this slacking competition.

(And after you read a book, think about reviewing it in a blog post, recommending the book to someone in your network, asking the author a question via his or her website, or hosting a seminar on it for a professional organization.)

No time for a book? What about an article or blog post?

>> Ask someone in your field or at a target employer to do a five-minute review of your resume.
You're regularly updating your resume, right -- and customizing it for each job you apply for? (For tips, read "Creative Ways to Customize Your Resume.") If so, you're already better off than most of your competition: when we ask job seekers whether they're customizing their resumes for each job they apply for, more than half say no -- and that means their resumes are far less likely to make it past front-line resume readers (human ones and digital ones).

Here's a great way to get resume advice and put yourself in someone's mind as an active job seeker: Ask for a five-minute resume review (specify "five minutes," so it feels like a do-able favor -- but many people will go above and beyond) from someone whose opinion matters (someone in your industry or at a company you want to work at). Look not only to your contacts but also to second-degree contacts. Be sure to say thank you, and add this person to your network if you can.

>> Build profiles on professional networking sites.
A majority of workers say that networking played a role in their getting hired at their current or most recent job. Whom you know matters. Make sure you're active in the online communities specific to your industry, and that you're using all the networking tools available to you -- such as Monster's BeKnown Facebook app.    

But building a profile is just the beginning -- you also have to maintain that profile. One way to do this is to add connections (think of your former colleagues, former clients, former classmates, and so on). Then spend some time each day (even if it's just a few minutes) thinking about how you can reach out to your contacts in a positive (and professional) way. Write recommendations, share information, introduce people, and so on. Don't be a spammer -- online communication is more effective when it's personal and targeted. (For more tips, read "Online Professional Networking for Beginners.")

When you need to ask a contact for a favor, the attention you've paid your network will really pay off.  

>> Look to self-improvement and self-marketing activities.
Remember, you are your own "brand" and your own "product" -- and just like a successful company, you should continuously be making improvements to both. For brand tips, read "Build Your Brand." And for more self-improvement tips, read "Fun Ways to Beef Up Your Resume."

>> Don't stop here.
There are just some ideas to get you started. If you've already done everything on this list, great -- it's definitely time to start going through the list again. If you're saying to yourself, "This stuff won't help me," you're partially right: because it won't help you if you don't try it.

Find something new to try in your job search today.

(What are your creative ideas for keeping your job search going? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.)






Posted by Charles Purdy on August 10, 2011 at 04:39 PM in Career Development , Interview , Job Search , Networking , Resume , Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

August 03, 2011

10 Unprofessional Behaviors to Avoid

51v6MZLLSXL._SL500_AA300_ In his new book "The Professional," Subroto Bagchi, the vice chairman and cofounder of MindTree Ltd. and a columnist for "Forbes India," lays out a clear-cut set of criteria that can guide the modern worker in truly and consistently professional behavior. By exploring a variety of professional dilemmas in a broad spectrum of industries, he answers some of the tough questions that workers face.

He also describes ten behaviors that are clearly unprofessional -- his "top ten markers of unprofessional conduct." If you're not sure how to respond to a situation at work, let this list be a guide for what not to do:

1. Missing a Deadline
You know how much you hate it when other people miss their deadlines to you. Bagchi says you should keep this feeling in mind when it comes to your own deadlines.

2. Failing to Be Forthright
Bagchi points out that missed deadlines -- whether due to poor estimation of how much time it will take to get a job done or due to unavoidable circumstances -- usually "announce their arrival in advance," but that people ignore warning signs (or hope the problem will solve itself.)

"If communicated proactively to the right person," Bagchi says, "most problems not only get addressed, but they can also be converted into an opportunity."

He also advises delivering bad news in person (or at least via telephone).

3. Withholding Information
Bagchi describes not disclosing conflicts of interest as one area where this is likely to happen.

4. Not Respecting Privacy of Information
"Consent should never be assumed," says Bagchi. "However close and long-standing the relationship may be, consent has to be formally sought and formally recorded each time there is a transaction."

5. Not Respecting "Need to Know"
Here, Bagchi uses the example of spouses who work and says, "It is important to avoid what is known as 'pillow talk' -- sharing official informaiton at home."

6. Plagiarizing
Bagchi outlines three steps for citing sources: "state why you have chosen to pull ... [the] information, acknowledge the source and, most important, state your own reasoned conclusion."

7. Passing the Blame
"Just as we say a poor workman blames his tools," Bagchi says, "a bad professional blames his associates."

8. Overstating Qualifications and Experience
"Unfortunately," says Bagchi, "job seekers sometimes trivialize the difference between exposure and expertise when it comes to writing resumes.... I have often received resumes of young engineers who have done just an internship of short duration in an organization, but who claimed to have designed an entire enterprise application while being there."

"While it may be easy to bluff one's way into a job or assignment, it becomes a complete loss of face at the time of execution and leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth," he adds.

9. Frequently Changing Jobs
Of course, not all job changes are voluntary, but Bagchi objects to "mindless job changes." He says, "Failed job changes have as much to do with the individual as with the organization, and ... people who pass off the blame simply demonstrate an opportunistic mind-set."

10. Not Taking Care of Your Appearance
"Your attire must inspire credibility," says Bagchi. He adds that it should follow written (and unwritten) rules for your organization and profession, and that dressing in a way that distracts is not a good idea.

Portions excerpted from "The Professinal: Defining the New Standard of Excellence at Work," by Subroto Bagchi, by arrangement with Portfolio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright (c) Subroto Bagchi, 2011.

Posted by Charles Purdy on August 3, 2011 at 05:27 PM in Career Development , Interview , Networking , Resume | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

July 14, 2011

Overcoming Job-Search Hurdles

We recently asked our friends on Monster's Facebook page about their biggest job-search hurdles, and how they overcame them. Here are five of their comments, as well as some expert advice to help you if you're facing similar challenges in your hunt for a new job:

1. K Bar Newman had one word for us: scams.

If you're looking for a job, you may occasionally come across a job posting that looks too good to be true. Word to the wise: it probably is. Don't let desperation or eagerness overtake your common sense. Generally speaking, if a potential employer asks you to make an upfront investment or perform work before a job offer is signed (or is imminent), you should be hearing warning bells. Research potential employers online before making a commitment.

(For more advice, check out's Security Center.)

2. Mary Mueller said, "Let's face it. The biggest challenge in any job is if you are going to get along with the boss and whether your boss has a clue about how to handle authority."

And that's an excellent point! Remember that a job interview is not only about them assessing you. You should also be assessing whether the company (and the boss) is right for you. Ask your interviewer how the team works together, why the position is open, and so on, to get a feel for the environment.

(For more advice and tips, read "10 Warning Signs of a Toxic Boss at the Interview.")

3. Dave Kelly said that having too many jobs in a short time was his problem.

And that can definitely be a problem on a resume, because it makes you look like a "job-hopper," which can be a turn-off for a recruiter or hiring manager. One way to provide context to a jumpy resume is to tell your story in your cover letter: "After my success at Company A, that company's financial situation forced layoffs. I then took a short-term job at Company B, where I …".

(For more advice and suggestions, read "Resume Dilemma: Employment Gaps and Job-Hopping.")

4. Mark Schiller said, "Hardest part is getting past inexperienced HR people who only do what the computer tells them to do instead of looking at possibilities and talents. That and the over-50 age discrimination that no one talks about."

And it's true that a bias against older workers does exist (sometimes unconsciously). One way to get around that (as well as to speed past HR people right to a hiring manager) is to network, network, network -- work those contacts! And to help you in that effort, has a great new networking tool -- the BeKnown app -- that lets you develop a professional network on Facebook.

(For more advice and suggestions, read "Overcome Job Search Ageism.")

5. Tracie Kim Grenier worried that she wasn't getting called for interviews because her resume was getting lost in the shuffle: "There [are] so many people looking for work, I seem to get lost," she said.

One key to making sure your resume gets noticed is to customize it for the job you're applying for -- this is key to getting past resume-reading software. Use the language in the job post, and highlight your skills that match the skill requirements listed in the post.

(For more advice and suggestions, check out "Make Your Resume Stand Out in a Crowd.")

What are your job-search hurdles, and how have you gotten over them? Share your story in the Comments section or on our Facebook page, and find us on Twitter for daily career-advice tweets, follow @monstercareers.


Posted by Charles Purdy on July 14, 2011 at 07:25 PM in Career Development , Interview , Job Search , Networking , Resume | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

June 22, 2011

The Right Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

It can be a make or break moment in any job interview: when the interviewer asks, "So, do you have any questions for me?" This is your chance to demonstrate your understanding of the position and the company, to show that you've done your research, and even to give the interviewer a little bit of insight into your personality.

"Often, hiring decisions are made in the last few minutes of an interview," says resume authority Laura Smith-Proulx. "The right questions give you an edge in demonstrating that you have thought more broadly about meeting company needs, rather than simply proving you have the experience to meet the minimum job expectations."

Smith-Proulx and Tony Deblauwe, the founder of consulting firm HR4Change, recommend preparing your questioning strategy as carefully as your original interview answers -- not only because it'll help you demonstrate your abilities and expertise to the interviewer, but also because asking the right questions gives you insight into the job, the company, and people you’ll be working with.

"The interviewer’s responses will allow you step back and ascertain whether the job aligns with your personality and career goals," says Deblauwe.

When you're devising your questions, here are the three key questions Smith-Proulx and Deblauwe say you should focus on:

Questions About Job Duties
"If you’ve been observant or taken down notes during the interview, you’ll be able to reflect back on projects mentioned and challenges discussed," says Deblauwe. "Now you want to probe deeper into the specifics."

Smith-Proulx explains that asking what a typical day looks like, or the role's impact on the team's or company's performance, shows the interviewer that you're thoughtful about doing a good job and have a sincere interest in the company’s vision of the perfect candidate.

Here are some questions that these experts recommend asking:

   > How can the person you hire be of most value to the team in light of the project goals you mentioned?

   > What types of tasks should your ideal candidate be prepared to face on a day-to-day basis?

   > What do you believe will change with this role within the first year?

"Your goal," explains Smith-Proulx, "is to ensure that the interviewer sees you as a person who wants to fit in quickly, who can add value, and who will anticipate business needs."

Questions About the Boss's Expectations
"The hiring manager has already formed a vision of the ideal candidate, and here’s your chance to find out how you stack up -- or decide if you even want to," says Deblauwe. "Since the employee-boss relationship is so critical, it’s important to gauge whether the expectations are realistic."

"Questions like this can also help gain information about the company's culture and unwritten rules of conduct," adds Smith-Proulx.

Here are some questions that these experts recommend asking:

   > How would you recommend that a new employee build relationships in this job?

   > What qualities does your team value most in a new member?

   > What type of team member have you hired in the past that worked out well? What about new hires that didn’t fit in?

"Your goal," explains Deblauwe, "is to show yourself as a realistic, committed employee who's willing to take on the task of bonding with the team and delivering a strong contribution."

Questions About the Hiring Process
Deblauwe says that these questions can be some of the most difficult questions to ask -- but being prepared and confident will help you put your best foot forward. "Ideally," he says, "you want to walk away with a sense of next steps, the level of urgency the company has for filling the role, and the company’s level of organization and commitment to candidates."

Note that these types of questions should be asked last, and that interviewers may not be allowed to answer some of them.

Here are some questions that these experts recommend asking:

   > When do you expect to have a shortlist of final candidates?

   > What types of information do you still need in order to decide on a candidate?

   > How soon will the new employee be expected to fill this position?

"Your goal," explains Smith-Proulx, "is to remind the interviewer that you’re eager to fill the role, but that you also have a responsibility to give a reasonable notice to your current employer and/or to make arrangements for starting the new job. You want the process questions to form a framework of how decisions will be made, not to convey that you are overeager or desperate."

The questions you ask at the close of an interview will be the final impression you make on the interviewers -- make those moments count! (For more tips on questions to ask, read "Own the Interview.")

About the Experts:

Laura Smith-Proulx
A unique resume authority and former recruiter, Laura Smith-Proulx is a five-time global resume industry competition award-winner:

Tony Deblauwe
Tony Deblauwe is the founder of consulting firm HR4Change and a former HR manager with more than 15 years' experience:

Posted by Charles Purdy on June 22, 2011 at 05:57 PM in Interview , Job Search | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)