How to Ace an Interview: 5 Tips from a Harvard Career Advisor


Have you recently secured a job interview? Are you feeling nervous and uncertain of what to do next? Don’t stress. Chances are all you need is a quick refresher on how to prepare for a job interview, and what better way to do so than getting it straight from a career expert.


Linda Spencer is the Assistant Director of the Office of Career Services at Harvard. In this video, she discusses her five job interview tips in-depth to help you feel more confident during the interview process. Here’s a breakdown of each strategy:


  1. Do your research– on yourself, the position, the employer, and the industry
  2. Practice your responses– by preparing short, relevant stories about yourself and answering commonly used interview questions
  3. Make a good first impression– arrive early, display positive body language, and have an upbeat personality
  4. Prepare for different types of interviews– behavioral, technical, case, phone, or Skype
  5. Determine next steps and follow through on them– ask questions, provide a closing statement, and send out a thank you email after the interview


Final Tip– It’s common and normal to experience job interview anxiety, but if you take the time to prepare, you’re more likely to suppress such fear. Remember, you and your qualifications acquired this interview; therefore, acknowledge your worth by displaying confidence in yourself and your contribution during the interview. Undoubtedly, the employer will value it.

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For more job interview tips, please read 5 Must-Do’s To Prepare For A Job Interview, Displaying Positive Body Language During A Job Interview, & Commonly Used Interview Questions


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How to Present Yourself to the World of Employment in an Interview

Commonly Used Interview Questions


You can never be too prepared is a common expression fittingly for someone preparing for a job interview. There are many things to do prior to this evaluation, such as reviewing your resume, researching the company, preparing a professional outfit, and gathering a list of references, to name a few (Read 5 Must-Do’s To Prepare For A Job Interview). Naturally, however, the hardest one to prepare for is the actual interview.


Although you cannot know for certain how the conversation will go, you can (and should) review common interview questions that are often asked by a hiring manager. This will help you formulate the best possible answers ahead of time and without pressure. And even if you don’t get asked most of these questions, taking a few minutes to answer them will undoubtedly have you feeling more confident for the big day.


General Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want this job?
  • How did you hear about this position?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What attracted you to this company?
  • What do you know about this industry?
  • What were the responsibilities of your last position?
  • When were you most satisfied in your job?
  • What did you like least about your last job?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • Are you willing to travel?
  • Would you work holidays/weekends?
  • What salary are you seeking?
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • Why is there a gap in your employment?
  • What can you offer us that someone else cannot?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Do you have any questions for me?


Personal Characteristic Questions

  • How would you describe your work style?
  • What would be your ideal working environment?
  • What techniques and tools do you use to keep yourself organized?
  • Tell me about your proudest achievement.
  • What is your management style?
  • Who was your favorite manager and why?
  • Was there a person in your career who really made a difference?
  • What kind of personality do you work best with and why?
  • How do you handle working with someone you don’t get along with?
  • What motivates you?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What do you like to do on your spare time?
  • What are your lifelong dreams?
  • What is your dream job?
  • What is your personal mission statement?
  • What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?
  • What negative thing would your last boss say about you?
  • How would your co-workers describe you?
  • If you were interviewing someone for this position, what traits would you look for?
  • What is your greatest fear?
  • What’s the most important thing you learned in school or training?
  • Why did you choose your major/career?
  • What will you miss about your present/last job?
  • What is your greatest achievement outside of work?
  • What are the qualities of a good leader? A bad leader?
  • How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
  • How would you feel about working for someone who knows less than you?
  • Who are your heroes?
  • What do you like the most and least about working in this industry?


Scenario Questions

  • Give me an example of a time that you felt you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.
  • What is your greatest professional achievement?
  • Have you ever been on a team where someone was not pulling their own weight? How did you handle it?
  • What was the last project you oversaw, and what was its outcome?
  • If I were your supervisor and asked you to do something that you disagreed with, what would you do?
  • Give me an example of a time you did something wrong. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about a challenge or conflict you faced at work, and how you dealt with it.
  • If you found out your company was doing something against the law, like fraud, what would you do?
  • What assignment was too difficult for you, and how did you resolve the issue?
  • Describe how you would handle a situation if you were required to finish multiple tasks by the end of the day, and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them.


Career Development Questions

  • Where would you like to be in your career five years from now? Ten years?
  • How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
  • What kind of goals would you have in mind if you got this job?
  • How long will it take for you to make a significant contribution?
  • What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/90 days on the job?
  • If I were to ask your last supervisor to provide you additional training or exposure, what would she suggest?
  • What do you think we could do better or differently?


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100 Potential Interview Questions

How To Answer The 31 Most Common Interview Questions

50 Most Common Job Interview Questions


Stay tuned for…

[The Right Way To Follow Up After An Interview]

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How to Present Yourself to the World of Employment on Paper

Four Outdated Cover Letter Techniques

In today’s modern world where high speed energy and time productivity are viewed as the necessary driving forces to a nation’s thriving working class, it would seem as though cover letters are a thing of the past. After all, an employer’s time is important and limited due to numerous responsibilities and deadlines; thus, having to read cover letters on top of stacks of resumes is not considered the most productive way to narrow down the hiring search.


As a result, many corporate and staffing companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to help make recruiting more efficient (O’Brien et al.). The software system works by pulling specific information from a candidate’s resume to match a job’s description or requirements, such as Bachelor’s Degree in Communication or Microsoft Office, for example. Often times, cover letters are not used in this process or even read.


 23However, there are still many hiring managers that expect a cover letter attached to a resume. And although several success experts advice other modern ways to land a job, such as networking, many agree that if given the choice to submit a cover letter with a resume, one should always provide both forms as it may make all the difference.

Since there are mixed reviews on this topic, it is important to read job descriptions and requirements carefully when applying for a job. Also, identifying the formality of the work place might help to determine the appropriateness of a cover letter. For instance, a bank would be considered a formal place of employment when compared to a salon, who would most likely not require a cover letter when applying.


Although the option to submit a cover letter has not been ruled out, here are four traditional writing techniques that are considered outdated and should be avoided when drafting a cover letter:


#1- To Whom It May Concern

Why it no longer works:

This once formal greeting now appears generic and quite frankly, lazy. You should address your cover letter to the person who will be evaluating you for the position. Now a days, job postings almost always provide the contact information of the hiring manager, HR department, or the specific department in which the job falls under.

What to do instead:

In the case that the employer’s email is not provided, you can research the job title or department using LinkedIn, the company’s website, or an engine search. You can also call the company directly to ask to whom you should address the letter (Graves). “If nothing is available, which is highly unlikely, then – and only then – you can use a generic addressee, like ‘Hiring Manager’” (Morgan) or “Hiring Professional” (Graves).


#2- Using A Cut & Paste Introduction

Why it no longer works:

A cover letter template can be useful when used as a reference, but not when the only thing modified are the fill-in-the-blank information. One of the most commonly used sections in a free template is the introduction. It sounds something like this: “I am writing to express my interest in the (blank) position” or “Attached you will find my resume for your review.” Similar to the first no-no on the list, starting your cover letter with this generic introduction gives a passive and amateur first impression.

What to do instead:

Employers want to know quickly if you’re qualified for the position; therefore, start by identifying yourself and your passion for the industry by stating how long you’ve been a professional in your field, what specializations you practice, and what overall interests you possess that match the position. If you’re applying for an entry-level position, you should mention the education or training you’ve had to make you knowledgeable and successful in this occupation; as well as what drew you to the profession and perhaps how this position can allow you to accomplish future goals.


#3- Singing The Company Praises

Why it no longer works:

In the past, people were advised to start their cover letters with a praise to show knowledge of the company and its accomplishments. One way to do this was to share an informative company statistic. This writing technique called a hook is effective when writing persuasive essays, not cover letters, because you shouldn’t be trying to convince an employer to hire you; especially not by using insincere recognition.

What to do instead:

Having confidence in your professional abilities will be more impressive to an employer than your use of flattery. Instead of praising the company, simply compare common interests to draw a connection between the company’s achievements and your own professional goals or values. For instance, some companies put forth a lot of effort and training into building customer relationships, while others get involved in their community through fundraisers, donations, and outreach programs.


#4- Making Plans To Follow Up

Why it no longer works:

Many of us were taught to take the initiative by concluding your cover letter with your intentions of contacting the company a few days after submitting your resume. The problem with this strategy is that more often than not, an employer or hiring manager will not be available when you call. And if you choose to leave a message, instead of appearing highly interested in the position, you risk the chance of coming off as impatient or controlling.

What to do instead:

There are better ways to conclude your cover letter; one of which is to thank the employer for his or her time and consideration. You should also take this opportunity to reiterate the skills that make you a highly qualified candidate for the position you are applying for. A more effective way to show initiative is to share ways in which you plan to improve or excel the department or company if given the opportunity. Finally, provide your contact information and availability for a phone or office interview.



Graves, Jada A. “The 7 Deadly Sins of Cover Letter Writing.” US News. 11 Oct. 2012. Web. 23 Sept. 2015.

Morgan, Hannah. What You Need to Know About Cover Letters. U.S News. 18 Mar. 2015. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

O’Brien, Patrick and Davis-Ali, Susan. Do Cover Letters Still Matter? USA Today. 8 Nov. 2013. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.



What are some additional writing techniques you find outdated in a cover letter? Any do’s and don’ts you’d like to share?


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Stay tuned for…

[Preparing References]

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How to Present Yourself to the World of Employment Online

Five Overlooked Digital Footprints That Can Hurt Your Reputation

fIn an age where most information you seek can be found on the Internet, it makes you wonder- is there such a thing as online privacy? The answer to this question is of course complicated. While it is true that there is no guarantee that someone willingly cannot access your information, there are ways to protect yourself and your image from getting a bad rep online.

Since avoiding the Internet is no longer an option if you expect to demonstrate proficiency to a potential employer, it is imperative that you use caution and sense before posting any content on the web. After all, creating a positive online presence can be highly rewarding to your profession, but a negative online presence can do the complete opposite to your career. Consider this- if today an employer were to google your name, what would he find? Would this information support or hinder your professional respectability?


According to an article in the Huffington Post, “80% of employers google job seekers before inviting them into an interview” (Job Search Tips). And unsurprisingly, employers may continue to check your online activity after you’ve been hired to avoid costly mistakes to their company. By now, you might have heard about the frequency in referencing Facebook accounts or other social media sites prior to hiring, but a common mistake is to assume that that is the only place to search. Here’s a list of five digital footprints often checked by employers and all-too-often overlooked by employees that could potentially hurt your reputation:


#1- YouTube

Similar to social media sites, YouTube gives people the opportunity to communicate through video sharing and discussion. As you visit the site, a history of videos you’ve watched, liked, or subscribed to gets generated and becomes available to anyone that visits your account, unless you specifically set it to private. Like images, professional or home-made videos can easily be found offensive or be misinterpreted; therefore, use your best judgement.


#2- Comments

Most websites provide the option to leave a comment under a shared article, image, product, or video. Unfortunately, many individuals use this tool to vent, argue, or express disapproval, often insulting others and starting an online war. Obviously, you wouldn’t want a potential employer to read such comments, so the best advice is to avoid participating in these conflicts all together.


#3- Product Reviews

Like comments, if you choose to share a product review online, make sure to do so in a respectful manner; whether or not it is a positive or negative review.


#4- Tagged Images

Just when you thought you were in the clear, you realize that a friend has tagged you in a not-so-professional image or content.  The good news is that you can prevent this from ever happening by simply requesting notification and approval before someone can tag you, or opting out all together from this tool under your account settings.


#5- Usernames

Often, when creating a username or email address, we tend to personalize our accounts to showcase our interests. While there is nothing particularly wrong with this, you should, however, consider how your name may be perceived by a professional. As you know, emails are one of the most common ways for an employer to communicate with a potential employee. Therefore, avoid using personal nicknames or cool adjectives, and stick to your full name or initials instead.




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Stay tuned for…

[Why Join A Professional Association?]

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How to Present Yourself to the World of Employment (for Students)

Student Tips On How To Choose A Career For Success


One of the biggest decisions in life is choosing a career. For most people, it’s hard selecting a single profession that they feel confident or passionate about to do for the rest of their lives even after starting college, mainly because of the many interests we hold as individuals. However, whether you have a list of career choices in mind or you’ve narrowed down your options to two, there are several things you can apply now as a student to help you choose a successful career that’s right for you in the future.


Tip #1- Start with what you like

First, ask yourself, “what am I passionate about?” or “what are my interests?” Personal hobbies are good examples of things that you value, enjoy doing, and are interested in learning more about. Often times, they are also things that you are good at. Once you’ve established a list of interests, determine what specific qualities you like performing in each of these pastimes to explore career choices. For example, if you enjoy playing video games, perhaps some of the things you like are the graphic designs, solving problems, collaborating and competing with other players, or the process of learning new technology with each game.


From these skills, you can form a list of professions that remain in the gaming industry or venture out, such as video game designer, programmer, animator, audio engineer, technical support, script writer, or translator. Like the old proverb states, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” If you’re able to turn your favorite activity into a career, you are more likely to be successful in your profession, because you’ll find satisfaction in the work that you do day in and day out.


Tip #2- Research all of your options  

The more you learn about the careers that interest you, the easier it becomes to choose one that is most suited for you. It is important to take the time to research and learn the requirements and responsibilities of the profession you care to pursue before committing to a college or training program. It’s a good idea to review the daily tasks and duties performed in these professions to visualize yourself in these roles and truly determine if those are things you would like to do regularly.


Then, find out what type of education or training is needed, and how long and costly these preparations will be in order to move forward. Naturally, salary should also be considered, entry-level as well as the desired position, to ensure that it is satisfactory to your needs and expectations. Last but not least, familiarize yourself with the demand of these professions and if they’re specific to a region. Some careers are harder to acquire if the demand is low or if the competition is high in certain areas. This information is useful to know beforehand when planning a successful career.


Tip #3- Take advantage of your resources

As a college student, you have access to numerous resources that are precisely meant to assist you during your career development in school. One of which is your college advisor who can help guide you in choosing courses that introduce topics of interest before declaring a major. Fortunately, these classes will also connect you to professors in the field and students that share similar interests. Networking during college can further assist you when making decisions about your career as well as in your job search post-graduation.


If you are interested in hands-on learning, consider taking courses that provide field work experience, which is an excellent way to get exposed to a profession. Student clubs and organizations, including club fraternities and sororities, also provide opportunities to socialize and circulate with individuals training in similar fields or industry. Taking advantage of these student resources will surely make it easier to choose a career path.


Tip #4- Become a working professional

You don’t have to wait until you graduate to work in a related field of study. Like most professions, collaborative work is needed for success; therefore, many entry-level positions are available both part-time and full-time that can provide work experience and networking possibilities for someone starting out.


Internships are also good opportunities to work closely with a professional who can serve as a mentor during your volunteer work. This person can share his/her training and work experience, demonstrate day to day duties and responsibilities, introduce you to other professionals within the industry, and answer any questions you may have about the profession. Whether or not you get compensated for your work, getting exposure to a profession before pursuing it as a career will further ensure success when determining whether or not this occupation is right for you.


Final Tip

When considering a career path, it is important to establish early on your own personal definition of success; whether it pertains to the amount of knowledge or work experience you obtain during your career, the accomplishments and titles you achieve in your profession, and/or the salary you strive to make in your line of work. These factors play an important role in establishing a successful career, because they help outline your professional goals. With these objectives in mind, you will be more likely to make the right career decisions to assure a profession that is both successful and fulfilling.


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Stay tuned for…

[Why You Should Become A Member Of A Professional Organization]

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Read & Learn – Quote Series


“Your body language can communicate more about you than your actual spoken words in making a first and lasting impression during an interview. The belief is that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of your voice, and only 7% is the actual words spoken.”
Jill Klees, SJSU iSchool Career Center Liaison


When it comes to preparing for an interview, people mostly concern themselves with updating their resumes, wearing the appropriate attire, and speaking professionally. Unfortunately, little time is spent on preparing oneself mentally to establish a positive attitude that is both reflective of one’s inner and outer appearance. There are many types of body language, such as hand gestures, eye contact, facial expressions, and even posture that communicate feelings and personality traits about you through the interpretations of those observing.


According to Wikipedia, “body language refers to various forms of nonverbal communication, where in a person may reveal clues as to some unspoken intention or feeling through their physical behavior.” In other words, your body language can express to others the mood you are in, what you may be feeling or even thinking at the time. Needless to say, regardless of what is happening in your personal life, you should remain professional at all times. This means that during a job interview, your body should read, “happy to be present.”


In addition to dressing and speaking professionally, employers want to hire individuals that can work well with others, and the best way to judge this skill during a job interview is to observe the excitement a potential candidate expresses when communicating, particularly when discussing work experience and goals. Enthusiasm is contagious and the truth of the matter is that most employers and employees want to work with people that have good personalities.


If you can showcase a positive attitude and passion for what you do, you will undoubtedly make a good impression. Even if you hated your last place of employment or you left under bad terms, your interview should focus on the knowledge and skills gained in your previous position, not on any negative experiences. This does not mean you lie about the cause for leaving, but by putting more attention to the value of your work experience, you show your potential boss your ability to look on the bright side of any given situation and more importantly, your ability to come out of a negative situation triumphantly and appreciative. After all, good or bad, experiences provide opportunities to learn and grow.


Want to learn more about body language and what yours may be saying about you? Check out the following link: It provides information on how to read body language and how they may be interpreted by others.

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Stay tuned for…

[Building Communicational Skills]

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How to Present Yourself to the World of Employment in an Interview

5 Must-Do’s To Prepare For A Job Interview


Securing a job interview is something to be proud of; after all, you managed to stand out and impress an employer enough to want to learn more about you and your work experience. Although this presents an exciting opportunity, job interviews tend to cause a great deal of anxiety and stress for even the most qualified candidate. Luckily, there are several things you can and should do to prepare yourself for the big day, which will ultimately help alleviate some of the interview jitters:


  1. Review your resume– It’s obvious. Most of the questions that will be asked during your job interview will be generated from your resume; therefore, it should be the first place to start when preparing for your interview. Even if you’ve read and edited your resume a hundred times, reviewing it will help remind you of specific information you’ll want to highlight during your interview, such as roles, tasks, and skills practiced and obtained during your work experience, schooling and/or training. Reviewing your resume will also prepare you to discuss pros and cons, as well as reasons for leaving previous positions. Finally, evaluating your qualifications will help you to determine what further knowledge or skills you may need to fulfill the desired position. Expressing long term goals as an employee of the company you’re applying for demonstrates initiative and interest.
  2. Notify your references– It is important that you inform your references ahead of time of a possible contact from an employer, so that they make sure to be available and also have sufficient time to prepare for the call or email. If it has been a while since you last worked with one or several of your references, it may be a good idea to review together some of the important details he/she will be asked about during the reference call, such as dates of employment, position held, responsibilities, and reason for leaving. A word of advice- if you didn’t leave a previous position in the best of terms, you should consider removing that employer from your reference list (not your resume).
  3. Research the company– It’s always a good idea to know as much as you can about the company you are applying at before a job interview. For starters, you want to be certain that it is indeed a good match for you both professionally and personally. If you find that you are a good match, you’ll want to discuss the connection during the interview. Perhaps through research you find that you share similar professional interests or goals as the company. The interview is the ideal place to discuss your specific interest in the company and why you feel you would be an important addition to the team.
  4. Dress professionally– Although certain professions require distinct attire, business casual is the standard office dress code appropriate for job interviews. Please note that even though the clothing style is considered casual, this does not mean all clothing items are acceptable. Here’s a quick reference:


For men, choose shirts with collars, such as button-down long sleeve shirts, tucked in with a pair of cotton slacks or khakis, a leather belt and matching shoes.

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For women, choose skirts or dresses where the hem falls right above the knee or longer, button-down shirts or conservative blouses, cotton slacks or khakis, and closed shoes. Wear minimal make-up and accessories, and style your hair professionally.


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For both genders, avoid clothes with bold colors or loud patterns, clothes that are tight fitting, revealing, or oversized, jeans, open toe shoes, or any garment that is distracting or simply unprofessional. When in doubt, search the Internet for “business casual for men or women.” WikiHow is a good place to start.


  1. Display positive body language– Being qualified for the position is important, but it isn’t everything. During a job interview, employers are also assessing your personality and body language to see if you’re personable and able to work well with others. Some examples of positive body language are making eye contact, sitting up straight, smiling, nodding, and giving a firm hand shake. Negative body language is appearing disinterested, avoiding eye contact, yawning, tapping foot or fingers, or slouching. It’s important to remember that an interview is mainly a conversation; therefore, participate in answering and asking questions, as well as listening attentively throughout the interview process. If both you and the employer enjoy the conversation, chances are you made the right first impression.

What are some additional things you do to prepare for a job interview? Are there certain things that help you limit interview anxiety? Let’s discuss!

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Stay tuned for…

[Commonly Used Interview Questions]

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How to Present Yourself to the World of Employment on Paper

6 Tips for Writing the Perfect Resume

resumeWriting a resume for the first time can be a daunting task. More often than not, young adults learn how to write a resume only after graduating from school and are consequently in need of employment. Luckily, there are many websites that provide free access to hundreds of resume templates, which can be both a good and bad thing. It certainly is helpful to have a polished outline guide you through the process as it displays your qualifications in a professional manner. However, deciding on what template works best for the position you’re applying for and one that helps distinguish you from the rest as a potential candidate can be quite the challenge. Here are a few tips to help you write the perfect resume for the job:


Tip #1: Less is more– Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much information on a resume. When searching through templates, avoid the ones that provide too many categories or is overly designed. The truth of the matter is that employers are not interested in seeing your picture, learning about your favorite hobbies, or knowing what clubs you participated in while attending school. Similarly, a resume with bold colors, a variety of fonts, or distracting images can deter an employer from reading it and taking the candidate seriously. What they quickly want to know is- do you possess the necessary skills to adequately do the job? That is why your work experience, related skills, and education are the most important information to provide and emphasize on your resume. All else is just extra.


Extra-Tip: If you have additional information that relates to the position you are applying for, such as business accomplishments, professional recognition, or awards, you can and often should include them in your resume to showcase your success in your line of work.


Tip #2: Match the resume with the job– If you apply for a job, it should be because you qualify for that position. Therefore, you should make your qualifications work in your favor by presenting them strategically. One way of doing this is by providing a precise one to two sentence objective at the top of your resume that asserts your long-term goal as an employee of that company should you land the job. Alternatively, you can provide a short summary of three to five bullet points that highlight your best attributes as an employee, such as skills and personality traits that will contribute to your work performance in that particular field. Both openers can be highly effective when written correctly; therefore, make sure you take sufficient time to revise and edit your writing before moving on to the rest of your resume.


Extra-Tip: Professional writers often wait until the body of their work is complete before composing their title or introduction. Likewise, you might find it useful to work on your experiences and education first before writing an objective. That way it’ll be easier to draft an introduction that sums up your resume as a whole. Think first impression!


Tip #3:  Stand out, when appropriate– Keeping the rules of the first tip in mind, realize when and how to personalize your resume to match the job and your individuality through template design. For example, consider using a template that illustrates (in a professional manner) the field of work in which you are applying for using images, fonts, and color. Note: Creative templates are usually appropriate for artistic positions, such as web designing, business advertisement, social media, blogging, or professional artist- to name a few. However, with so many templates available, you should be able to create a resume that showcases your creative talent without compromising your professionalism.


Extra-Tip: Times New Roman and Arial remain the professional fonts to use in a resume or cover letter, with a 12 point font size text for most of the content provided in the document.


Below are some examples of stand out resumes that match the job:



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Tip #4: List everything from most recent to least recent & most important to least important– For the most part, you should only provide work experiences that relate to the position you are applying for, unless you’ve only worked in a few places and like to show your active years of employment. Make sure to always present your work experience from the most recent place of employment to your last place of employment. Underneath each position, provide descriptive bullet points in the order of most important to least important roles, tasks, and responsibilities.


Extra-Tip: As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t go past the ten year mark when presenting your work experience. Therefore, really take the time to highlight your skills and accomplishments of the last ten years.


Tip #5: Use strong action verbs– When using bullet points to describe a previous position, always start your sentences with strong action verbs. Keep in mind that bullet points are exactly that- points, or brief details that describe your responsibilities in that position; therefore, stick to one to two sentences for each bullet point and refrain from writing paragraphs. Here are a few examples of strong action verbs that can replace the commonly overused verb wrote: composed, drafted, created, or developed.


Extra-Tip: To avoid repetition, keep a thesaurus handy, but make sure not to use words that you or most individuals are not familiar with or wouldn’t commonly use in a formal conversation.


Tip #6: Be prepared– Once you’ve completed your resume and have corrected all spelling and grammatical errors, be certain that all of the information you provided on your resume is accurate and up to date. Moreover, you should be prepared for an employer to verify the information and/or contact past supervisors, so make sure to have three to five references available and informed before you attend an interview. Lastly, do your homework by learning about the company you want to work for to truly demonstrate your interest in the position and to assure that it is indeed a good fit for you.


Extra-Tip: Don’t know where to start? is one of many sites that provide free resume templates, cover letters, and samples.


What are some additional tips you find useful when creating a resume? Any do’s and don’ts you’d like to share? Let’s discuss!

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Stay tuned for…

[Preparing a Cover Letter]


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How to Present Yourself to the World of Employment Online

Creating a Positive Online Presence – Using LinkedIn

With all the positive talk and equal amount of negative reviews about social media, it’s hard to tell whether or not a person should partake in these online communities. On the one hand, by creating a profile in a professional networking site, such as LinkedIn, you allow yourself simple access to hundreds of people and companies that share similar interests in your profession or industry.


At the same time, being part of an online community means your information is available for others to see, comment, or share should they choose to (but it often depends on your account’s privacy settings and of course, your decision to share certain information). Understandably, the latter can cause some feelings of reservation; after all, we’ve been brought up to steer away from strangers and to keep our personal information to ourselves. However, with that being said, the benefits of social media sites, particularly LinkedIn, are immeasurable for a professional and his/her career, and for that, I strongly encourage and advise everyone to get on board.


There are many social networking sites, but truth be told, none can compare to LinkedIn– the “world’s largest professional network” with its 300 million plus members. LinkedIn makes it easy to create a profile, or an online resume, that highlights your education, work experience, skills, affiliations, volunteer work, and so much more.


webOnce you have that completed, you can start to connect with people that you know, like your co-workers,  friends and family, but more importantly, people that you don’t know that will make excellent professional connections in your line of work. You can search for people by the college they attended, company they work for, organizations they are members of, or by name, and the beauty of making a few connections is how quickly those connections can double in size, because once a connection is made, many more will follow if you and those connections share something in common.


Now you may be thinking, “How does having a LinkedIn account help my career?” The shortest and most direct way to answer this question is with the following task (and friendly reminder) – stay current in your profession. I’ve said it before and believe me, I will continue to say it again; you must remain current in your profession in order to be a highly qualified professional in your field.


LinkedIn makes it effortlessly simple to be aware of what’s going in your industry, locally, nationally, and internationally through your connections. Your home page is set up as a live feed that continues to upload and update information that gets posted throughout the day by the people you’ve connected to. So if your alma matter, for example, posts a link to an article that discusses the upcoming policy changes in your degree, you are instantly informed.


Similarly, if one of your connections posts a career webcast or a local workshop they are attending, you can sign up as well or make future plans to attend a webinar that might teach you something valuable to your line of work. Finally, if you’re looking for a new job, LinkedIn lets you search for jobs and even communicate with the right people right through the website to maximize your chances of being interviewed and hired. All of these perks are free to members, making LinkedIn a deal too good to pass.


Are you a member of LinkedIn or another social networking site? If so, has it helped you professionally? Let’s discuss!


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Stay tuned for…

[Does Your Google Search Matter?]

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How to Present Yourself to the World of Employment

Earning a College Degree: Is It Worth It?

hatAlthough we’ve been taught otherwise, college isn’t for everyone. If it was, there would exist degrees in waste management, janitorial maintenance,landscaping or dry cleaning to name a few. Sure, there may be programs for training in these fields, but normally a college degree is not required or expected in order to obtain a position in these industries. However, in our modern-day society where the growth in population continues to increase along with the U.S unemployment rate, professional career opportunities are becoming less frequent, and more challenging to acquire and maintain.


The truth is, in order to compete in the employment world these days, a person must have at least a bachelor’s degree; and more often than not, show an interest in furthering one’s education through a graduate program or the like to remain qualified and current in one’s profession. According to Shierholz, Davis, and Kimball’s 2014 comparison of college graduates versus high school graduates labor market outcome, the unemployment rate for young college graduates was 8.5% and an even higher increase of 22.9% for high school graduates (The Class of 2014). Landing a job has become quite the challenge for even young professionals in a labor market with “a deficit of more than 7 million jobs,” but like the saying goes, “education is the key to success,” and the more education and/or training one receives, the higher the chances of employment and career-related opportunities one will obtain. Ultimately, employers want to hire highly qualified adults that are academically well-rounded; therefore, a college degree is the best investment a person can make to acquire competency in a professional line of work.


Perhaps you’re thinking, What about entry-levels? Although with some entry-level positions a high school diploma or GED is sufficient, some employers may require post-secondary education. And even if a college degree is not mandatory for the position, it can be assumed that most employers prefer someone with a college degree over someone without one. Consider the following scenario: an employer is interviewing two individuals with similar work experience and upbeat personality; however, one has a higher degree. Chances are that the candidate with the higher degree will have the upper hand in being considered and offered the job. Why? Because the employer sees the more qualified individual as being a better investment for his business.


In addition, employers want their employees to remain highly qualified in their careers; therefore, they often provide information, access, or reimbursement to work related training, workshops, and even college courses. If they don’t, it wouldn’t hurt to research your options and present them to the appropriate personnel. Perhaps by showing initiative, your boss will become interested in providing you with assistance or at least appreciate your desire to stay current in your profession. Worst case scenario, even if you are stuck paying for your education, the knowledge obtained through higher learning will serve as an investment to your future by keeping you informed and trained in your industry.


Do you think earning a college degree is worth it? Have you benefited from having a college degree or from not having one in your line of work? Let’s discuss!

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Stay tuned for…

[Choosing a Career for Success; 5 Online Tools That Help You Stay Current in Your Profession]

Posted in From Dixie, Keeping the Job | Leave a comment