Ultimate Job Search, Interview &
Career Management 2009
Cover Letter.......................................................................................................................Page 3
CV Mistakes to Avoid.......................................................................................................Page 6
CV Optimisation................................................................................................................Page 9
Job Search A Beginners Guide........................................................................................Page 11
Job Search Mistakes........................................................................................................Page 15
Online Recruitment Benefits...........................................................................................Page 18
Power CV........................................................................................................................Page 22
Reasons You Were Not Hired.........................................................................................Page 24
Self Assessment Tests.....................................................................................................Page 27
Ways to Stay Upbeat During the Job Search...................................................................Page 30
What Employers Look For..............................................................................................Page 33
Winning Cover Letters....................................................................................................Page 35
Your First Job..................................................................................................................Page 37
You're out of work...........................................................................................................Page 40
Avoid Interview Stress....................................................................................................Page 43
Common Interview Mistakes..........................................................................................Page 46
How to Negotiate your Salary.........................................................................................Page 48
Informational Interview...................................................................................................Page 52
Interview Basics..............................................................................................................Page 55
Interview Don'ts...............................................................................................................Page 58
Interview Q & A..............................................................................................................Page 60
Interview Tips..................................................................................................................Page 65
Questions to Ask at your Interview.................................................................................Page 68
Dealing with Difficult Co-workers..................................................................................Page 69
Effective Management.....................................................................................................Page 74
Employee Everyone Wants on Their Team.....................................................................Page 78
Essential Networking.......................................................................................................Page 81
Fitting into the Company Culture....................................................................................Page 85
Getting Ahead in Your Career.........................................................................................Page 88
Job Stressbusters..............................................................................................................Page 90
Maximize your Marketability..........................................................................................Page 97
Negotiate a Salary Raise..................................................................................................Page 99
Optimize Your Relationship with Your Boss................................................................Page 104
Performance Appraisal..................................................................................................Page 106
Powers of Success.........................................................................................................Page 108
Promotion to Management............................................................................................Page 109
Recharge Your Career...................................................................................................Page 112
Salary Negotiations.......................................................................................................Page 114
Starting a New Job.........................................................................................................Page 117
Stay Motivated at Work.................................................................................................Page 120
Steps to a Better Life.....................................................................................................Page 122
Stress and the Workplace..............................................................................................Page 125
Succeeding as a Team Player........................................................................................Page 128
Successful Hire..............................................................................................................Page 131
Time to Quit..................................................................................................................Page 135
Winner's Traits...............................................................................................................Page 138
A cover letter introduces you to a potential employer and lends your CV a more personal
touch. A cover letter should communicate to the employer your objectives and interest in
his/her company as well as your skills and experience. Use it to grab an employer's attention
and highlight any special attributes that make you uniquely qualified for the job. A successful
cover letter will leave the employer with a favourable impression of you and will make him
interested in reading your CV. We recommend you include a cover letter every time you send
out a CV.
Below we have provided a rough framework and some tips and examples for building your
cover letter. Remember to use Action Verbs:- a list is provided.
1. Introductory Paragraph
This is the most significant part of the letter. Use it to grab the attention of the potential
At a recent lecture in (name of place), your company's name arose repeatedly as one
of the rapid growth prospects in the (name of industry)
As a (teacher, social worker, etc.) I have developed my skills in (team motivation,
public speech, public relations, etc.). I am known for (meeting deadlines, following
through commitments, being well organized, etc.)
With just less than 7 weeks until my graduation from (name of school) with a (type of
degree) in (area of study), I am eager to gain and learn some practical experience and
apply my skills.
(Name of person) suggested I get in touch with you, etc.
(Name of person) at (name of company) mentioned that you are looking for an
experienced person to develop, etc.
My interest in the (position) recently advertised, has prompted me to forward my
resume for your consideration.
Use this introductory paragraph to introduce yourself, your capabilities and skills.
If you mention where you learned about the job opening, try to write a sentence or
two about the research you have done about the target company. You will come
across as someone professional who has done their homework.
If you are writing at the suggestion of someone who is known to the hiring manager,
mention it. However, make sure you have permission to use that person's name.
The body can be up to 3 paragraphs long. Use it to list your achievements and qualifications.
Remember to keep it positive and sell yourself!
I would like to be part of an organization that offers (potential growth, advancement
opportunities, stability, etc.)
My background in (i.e. graphic design) would be a great asset to your company's
work in (i.e. advertisement)
My past experience in (i.e. market research) would complement your company's
(strategy, objectives, visions, projects, etc).
I have a record of outstanding success in the management of (i.e. corporate financial
operations) in multinational and international environments.
My experience has encompassed the successful management of (i.e. corporate real
estate, human resources, and general operations).
I received several commendations for my dedication and professionalism, and
continually received recognition for my communication skills and leadership
Based on my qualifications, I believe I am the right person to oversee the delivery of
(type of service) for one or more of your clients.
Try not to use too formal a tone when writing your cover letter. Personalize it in order
to show the prospective employer your positive and personal qualities.
The letter is only a few paragraphs long. Try to only include vital information that
will directly show the hiring manger what you can do for the target company.
Emphasize your skills and past experience.
If you have been out of the workforce for a while, mentioning what you have done is
a plus. Mention organizations you have joined, volunteer work, types of activities,
conferences you have attended or private classes you have taken.
Remember to use active verbs!
Double-check for spelling and grammar mistakes!
3. Concluding Paragraph
The concluding paragraph is usually brief and is mainly comprised of a thank-you message
and a request for follow-up.
The enclosed resume is a brief summary of my qualifications. I would be delighted to
meet with you in a personal interview and will call your office during the week of
My resume is a good summary of my background and general experience. I would
like to arrange a mutually convenient time for a meeting, during which we can further
discuss your current or anticipated openings. Thank you for your consideration.
I will call you next week to see if we can arrange a meeting. Thank you for your time.
I would like a chance to convince you that my skills and energy would be an asset to
Thank you in advance for your generous consideration. I may be reached at my home
number indicated above should you desire to contact me. I would be happy to make
myself available for a personal interview at your convenience.
State in the concluding paragraph that you will call on a specific week or day in the
near future. You need to work for an interview!
Remember to thank the recipient for his/her time and co-operation.
Do not forget to attach your resume!
CV Mistakes to Avoid
Make sure your CV is your springboard to the next stage
of the job search. Here are some key CV mistakes to
Your CV is often the first impression a hiring manager has of you and more often than not
you will only have a few seconds to grab his/her attention and leave him/her wanting to read
more and invite you in for an interview. It is essential that you get this vital piece of
communication right and use it as a springboard to the next stage of the job search. The
following are some common CV mistakes to avoid at all costs.
1. Insufficient Contact Details
Make sure your CV clearly details your full name, address and contact details for a
prospective employer to reach you including phone numbers and email address. This may
sound obvious but remarkably, a few candidates will send their CV out omitting key contact
information or with outdated contact details. If your email address reads particularly
unprofessionally (eg hotbabe) or is a work email address it may be well worth while changing
it for a different one to utilize for correspondence with employers.
2. No Objective
Every CV should begin with a clear and concise objective citing the position you are seeking
and a supporting short skills statement summarizing the reason you are highly qualified for
this role; e.g. quot;Seeking a senior marketing analyst role where I can apply my 3 years
experience in marketing analysis gained with a leading Fortune 500 FMCG company as well
as my skills in copywriting, strategic analysis, business development, client servicing and
media planning.quot; Remember, the goal of the CV is to outline what you can do for your
prospective employer not what your employer can do for you.
3. Passive Language
Remember to use active verbs that show leadership and accomplishments rather than weak
passive words. Words like achieved, spearheaded, managed, exceeded, pioneered, led,
created, developed and motivated convey an active, dynamic successful professional.
Substitute all weak descriptive sentences for sentences that detail accomplishments in no
uncertain terms eg instead of quot;Managed the firm's emerging markets equity portfolioquot; try
quot;Managed and achieved a 34% annualized return on the firm's flagship £200 million
emerging markets equity portfolio.quot;
4. Writing in the first person
Do not start sentences with the word 'I' or use the personal pronoun in your job descriptions.
Keep your sentences short and dynamic and begin them wherever possible with strong action
5. Lack of Focus
Every CV should be focused on the particular job and industry you are targeting. If you are
applying to jobs in 2 different industries make sure you have different CVs that cater
specifically to the different skills required in each industry. The best CVs are customized for
the individual job at hand and emphasize objectives, skillsets, past accomplishments,
aptitudes and qualifications that are uniquely relevant to that role. Generic, unfocused CVs
rarely make the mark.
6. Poor Formatting
Your CV will get no more than a cursory glance if the formatting is poor and it shows bad
planning, poor organization or clutter. Makes sure you adhere to an acceptable format that is
professional, simple and attractive to the eye. Use bullet points wherever possible rather than
long, winding prose and be consistent with font, headings, spaces and layout. Avoid the
coloured paper, illustrations and glitzy touches - if you are applying for a creative position
show your creativity in your portfolio not by jazzing up your CV. Aim to send your CV on
high quality paper (if not on-line) and make sure it is no longer than 1 page if you are entry
level and a maximum of 2 pages if you are a seasoned professional.
7. No Proofreading
Spelling mistakes, poor grammar and glaring errors are a surefire way to get your CV
dismissed and stop the job search process in its tracks. Read and reread your CV before
sending it to the employer, run a spellcheck and have some-one else read it for an extra check
before sending it out.
8. Omission of Key Facts
Educational qualifications and professional experience must be included in your CV with
proper dates, titles, institution names and descriptions. Use plenty of keywords in describing
your role and accomplishments in each job as well as in the Skills section - these will often be
the hook that makes the difference between your CV being considered or overlooked,
particularly with an online employer CV search. If you are unsure what keywords to use, read
the job description thoroughly, read detailed job descriptions for similar jobs with other
companies and ask peers in the industry what skills/qualifications are particularly relevant for
Lies and half-truths will be discovered sooner or later and you are better off omitting them
from the start. If you have not finished a university degree make that clear on your CV
without neglecting to include the coursework you did complete and the educational
accomplishments you do have. Similarly do not list promotions, jobs, titles, dates or job
descriptions that do not accurately reflect your work history. Most companies run very
detailed background checks and lies and exaggerations that are not glaringly obvious on the
CV or at the interview will often be discovered at the reference or background check.
10. Poor Targeting
Make sure you send your CV to the right person at the company and accompany it with a
short, concise cover letter that personalizes it and summarizes your skills, objectives and the
value you will bring to the job. Spend some time researching who heads the division you are
targeting and what the most relevant skills are to target in your correspondence and send your
introductory CV and cover letter directly to them. Your CV is more likely than not to be
disregarded completely if you send it to the wrong person or to a nameless quot;To whom it may
Five tips to supercharge your JobsOutNow CV and get
1. Refresh Often
One of the most popular ways hiring managers search CVs on JobsOutNow is by the date
they were posted. Keep your CV updated in the system by renewing it at least once every 30
days. To refresh your CV on JobsOutNow:
1. Log on to your JobsOutNow account.
2. Click on My Workspace to manage your CV.
3. Find your active CV and click on Refresh My CV.
2. Target Your Position Sought
Position Sought is one of the most important sections of your JobsOutNow CV. When hiring
managers search for CVs on JobsOutNow, they often look at the Position Sought first to
decide whether or not to view a CV. It's best to include the specific job title you're pursuing,
along with a brief description of your top credentials. These keywords will help employers
target your CV easily and quickly in a search. Examples of good headlines:
Network Administrator - CNA Specializing in NetWare - 5 Years' Experience.
Technical Sales Representative - Maximizing Sales for the Technology Industry.
Secretary/Administrative Assistant with 10 Years' Experience.
3. Maximize Your Keywords
One of the best ways to increase the number of times your CV is read is to include an
abundance of keywords that are relevant to your job and the industry you are applying into.
Search jobs on JobsOutNow to get an idea of what credentials hiring managers value. Then
look for places in your CV where you could incorporate these keywords. The Skills section
on JobsOutNow is a great place to include keywords that don't appear elsewhere on your CV.
4. Show that You Care About Employers' Needs
Revise your objective to show the benefits you offer potential employers. Consider these
before-and-after ideal job descriptions:
Before: A challenging position with a large firm that offers great pay/benefits and a
comfortable working environment.
After: Customer service position providing world-class service to international guests.
Employers are immediately turned off by CVs with spelling mistakes, so thoroughly
proofread your JobsOutNow CV, and take advantage of the spell-check function offered on
the JobsOutNow CV Builder. Show your CV to a friend or colleague with excellent
proofreading skills to make sure it is perfect.
Job Search: A Beginners Guide
Your first task as a job-hunter is to identify your area(s) of interest from the universe of
career possibilities out there. In this age of opportunity, it is quite common to be torn between
multiple career directions. Today's fresh graduate may well start off his search indifferent
between careers in cardiology and dolphin training and that's okay! Many of us are unclear
about what road to take and what the opportunities are ahead of us, and it is entirely your
prerogative to explore different career paths. The risk here however is that your search and
CV will be too broad for either role and you end up with nothing!
So what to do? Approach each search INDEPENDENTLY and make sure your CV, cover
letter and research activities are tailored for the particular search. Once you have one or two
well-defined targets, you can hone in on a few select companies/ institutions that excel in the
particular area and from there start a dialogue with the companies and search for actual
Do your homework. Research target companies thoroughly and make sure you understand the
relevant industry, the competition, the challenges the company is facing and where it is likely
to expand/ change direction in the near future. Refer to industry journals, research newspaper
archives, ask for company annual reports and marketing materials and look them up on the
Internet. Most companies are more than happy to send you information packages and annual
reports so just pick up the phone and ask for information.
Leverage the media. Read trade magazines and business sections in local newspapers many
of which are available on-line and can be a rich source of information on the latest industry
trends. Also research the requirements of the actual position you are applying for. Do you
really understand what responsibilities a Financial Analyst at an investment bank has or what
an Account Executive at an Advertising Company does on a day-to-day basis. Asking
questions relating to jobs and job descriptions in the chatrooms and forums of online
jobboards is also a great way to get the inside scoop. University chatrooms are another rich
source of career tips and potential leads.
Your best source of information is your circle of friends and family. Most jobs are filled by
word-of-mouth referral before they are ever advertised or publicized. Talk to everyone you
know including old teachers, family doctors, lawyers, reporters, clergy and neighbors. Make
it known that you are in the market and don't be shy about asking for leads.
As part of your networking activities, start building professional relationships. Call up
companies and ask to speak to people in the relevant departments. Ask pertinent questions
that show you have done your homework and portray you in the best possible light. Try to get
an 'informational' interview to learn more about the company and introduce yourself face-to-
face. Failing that, always try to get a recommendation of someone else you can talk to in the
particular industry. Industry insiders are usually well-connected and a false lead in one
company may well generate 'But I have a friend at the Bridge Corp. who may be looking to
Remember, you are searching for 'hidden' positions - those that have not yet been advertised
or are still in the human resources pipeline as well as currently advertised positions.
Aggressive networking and research should assist you in finding these positions before your
competition has even heard of them.
Perfect Your Marketing Kit
Think of your CV and cover letter as your marketing and introduction kit. They will either
open doors to the next stage of the process or eliminate you from the search. Use them to
reflect all you have learnt about the industry and position through your research and
networking activities. Fine-tune them for the relevant target and make sure they portray you
in the best possible light. Finally, make sure they are interesting and well-presented. A sound
investment at this crucial stage in the job search process will definitely reap rewards. Make
sure you have different CVs/ cover letters if you are exploring different career options eg.
marketing and investment banking.
JobsOutNow's CV Builder and Cover Letter Guide take you through the CV building process
step-by-step. Refer to other articles such as JobsOutNow’s 'Power CV' as well as CV-
building books (some recommended in JobsOutNow’s Career Center) to perfect the final
product. We highly recommend attaching a Cover Letter to every CV to introduce you in a
more personal light and highlight your areas of strength and personal skills. A strong or
interesting cover letter may well compensate for a less than relevant CV.
Don't Wing the Interview
Interview skills are acquired. There is a fine art to presenting yourself in an attractive,
interesting and professional light. Practice makes perfect is extremely applicable at this
junction in the job search process. We highly recommend you take the time to prepare for the
Interview in all the ways described below:
1. Research the company inside and out. Be aware of current events in the industry and
any noteworthy news on the competition.
2. Research the position you are targeting.
3. Read a book on Interview Skills (see JobsOutNow’s recommendations) and make
sure you have thought of and have answers for all the possible questions.
4. If you have little Interview experience, practice with a friend.
Once you are firmly ensconced in the interview chair, a few pointers to alleviate the stress:
1. The employer may be just as nervous and stressed as you, especially if he is not a HR
person. Try to make their life easier by being pleasant, relaxed and proactive.
Imagining yourself in their shoes trying to balance a day's work with the demands of
numerous interviews should make you feel more confident and in control.
2. Remember, you are interviewing them as well. This may well be the wrong position/
culture/ team for you. Ask lots of questions that reflect you know the company and
know what you are looking for.
3. Employers like to work with people they like! Compensate for a less than stellar track
record by emphasizing your enthusiasm, willingness to learn, professionalism and
personal qualities. Aim to appeal to the employer's human as well as professional
Employers want enthusiastic employees. Persistence with the follow-up indicates you mean
business and are genuinely interested in the company/ position. Follow up at every stage of
1. After you mail your CV and cover letter, call to confirm receipt. You may at this point
ask for an interview
2. Call again if you do not hear from the employer and use this opportunity to again ask
for an Interview
3. Follow up after the Interview with an immediate Thank You letter.
4. Allow some time to pass and then follow up with phone calls until you secure the job.
Ask questions at this stage like 'Is there any other information you would like to know
about me' or 'I would like to send you some samples of my work' or 'I read in the
news yesterday that your company was xyz etc.' Your goal is to keep the dialogue
going until you secure the job!
5. DON'T FORGET THE THANK YOU. Thank the employer sincerely and
professionally whenever you can: for their time on the phone, for any written
materials they send you, for the Interview and for every follow up from their side.
Even if you do not secure the job, you will be remembered in a positive light and may
well be called again the next time there is an opportunity. It helps to remember that
everyone you meet in the job search process is a potential client or future employer.
Don't Jump the Finishing Line
Okay, so having followed JobsOutNow’s advice, you now have a job offer and are en route to
Ferrari dealer to celebrate with a new set of wheels. Before you do, we recommend you make
sure you have soundly crossed the finishing line.
1. Get the offer in writing. Many a verbal offer has gone up in smoke.
2. Negotiate the package. NOW is the time to ask for more. An employer expects you to
negotiate so don't let him down. Ask for more pay and then maybe settle for
additional perks such as club memberships, house allowance, car allowance
insurance, educational assistance etc.
3. Enquire about career progression. This is a good time to ask for a guaranteed bonus or
a raise after x months providing you meet a required set of criteria etc. Try to have
pay milestones included in the contract.
4. If you are an Expat, you should be entitled to moving costs and airline tickets home
once a year in addition to house, car and schooling allowances. Make sure you have
them all in writing.
It Ain't Over
Ready to rest on your laurels? Well, you could, but it isn't advisable. Your career is an
ongoing learning and growth process. You will constantly be facing challenges, whether they
be technical, financial, client-related, competitor driven or simply office politics. Your
success depends on your flexibility and your willingness and ability to continue to grow and
adapt to the challenges of a dynamic market place. Arm yourself with all the tools you need
to learn and grow. Ongoing education through industry seminars and night courses,
independent reading, networking activities, and special help in those areas where you are
having difficulties (eg. technical, quantitative, interpersonal) will strengthen you and make
you an ever-qualified candidate in today's marketplace.
Job Search Mistakes
Learn how to avoid a few common mistakes while
approaching your job search.
Is your job search crawling at a snail's pace when it should be cruising at a high altitude? To
get on the fast track, make sure your search approach is not suffering from any of the
following fatal flaws:
Lack of structure and discipline
Treat the job search process as a job in itself and apply the same discipline and structure to
your activities that you would apply to your job. Create a ledger of job search activities from
researching a company on the internet or in publications to sending initial introduction letters
to follow-up calls, follow-up notes, interviews and thank-you letters. Update this ledger
systematically and make sure you follow a disciplined process. Keep accurate records of your
research results and be ready to refer to this knowledge in your telephone soft sell and in the
A process of haphazard mailings and phone calls to companies you know very little about
rarely yields positive results. Successful research will benefit you in three major ways.
Firstly, it will help you find the focus you need to target the right companies and positions.
As you research investment management jobs for example, you may find that you would like
to focus on those institutions that are strong in the emerging markets area as that will utilize
your experience working in Asia and your Asian language skills. Your research effort will
develop a momentum of its own as you identify areas and industries that appeal to you and
research them further.
Secondly, it will reveal those skills and character traits that you need to highlight in your cv
and other correspondence with the firm. You should be able to discern from your research
activities whether you are in fact suited to jobs you are pursuing, in background, skills and
temperament. Your research activities should be accompanied by thorough self-assessment in
order to weed out unsuitable jobs such as those jobs that require hours longer than you would
like, those that have demands too stringent for your taste, jobs with a workstyle or philosophy
that doesn't suit you or companies where the general 'fit' is simply not right.
Thirdly, it will make you sound like an insider at the interview stage. Even if you have never
worked in that particular field before, talking the industry lingo and being aware of company
and industry developments will impress the person interviewing you.
Poor focus, major omissions, spelling and grammar mistakes and lack of emphasis on
pertinent skills are common mistakes that immediately eliminate your CV from the search
process. Perfect your CV. Make sure it represents you in the best possible light and that it is
geared for the job you are targeting. Highlight those skills and attributes your research efforts
have indicated would be in demand for the job.
No cover letter
Your cover letter is your chance to really sell yourself and highlight exactly those skills and
personal attributes you think the employer is looking for. This is your opportunity to really
shine so don't waste it or take it lightly. Write a glowing high impact reference letter for
yourself that makes the employer eager to read your CV and meet with you. Too many CVs
sent out without a cover letter get little more than a cursory glance from employers. Letters
that are bland, boring, too long or lacking in enthusiasm rarely make the mark.
Many people make the mistake of networking just to quot;sell themselvesquot; for an immediate
opportunity or to be referred to a company hiring at the present time. Effective networking is
a long term give-and-take process that puts you on the inside track in the area that interests
you and establishes you in the running for any attractive position that comes up in the future.
Your goal is to create a dialogue with a contact that goes beyond one phone call. You should
aim to impress and develop a sufficiently good rapport with a contact for them to refer useful
information to you over the long run, refer you to friends of theirs in the industry and perhaps
even create a position for you. Networking should not only happen when you are actively
looking for a job.
Effective networking has the following advantages: -
1. There is a vast 'hidden' market of vacancies that are filled by word-of-mouth referral before
they are ever advertised. You need to be talking to people in the industry to learn about and
be considered for these positions. By opening a dialogue with professionals in your chosen
field and following up with them regularly, you will learn about people who are leaving their
position or have been promoted to a different position, others who will be expanding and
hiring in the near future, new units, new areas and developments that would support your
2. Talking to insiders reveals events and trends in the industry and specific companies that you
may not otherwise have learnt.
3. Even if a contact has no vacancy for you, the communication you have with him may tell you
a lot about what it takes to succeed in the industry, what skills you need to focus on and
develop further, who the different players are, what to emphasize in your communication
with other firms and how to approach your job search in general.
Sending a mass mailing of CVs and waiting for the companies to contact you is not an
optimal job search strategy. The key is in the follow-up. Plan your follow-up strategy and
execute it well. Follow up by phone to make sure the relevant manager has received your CV,
follow up again to ask for a meeting and follow up with notes regularly until you have
received some form of a response. Make sure you have a high-impact 2-3 minute phone pitch
prepared that describes your background, interests and what you have to contribute to this
particular company. Keep the dialogue open by sending relevant clippings from newspapers
and magazines that you think the manager would find interesting as well as information on
pertinent industry seminars and events. It doesn't matter if he already knows about them - the
important thing is that you do!
Poor interview skills
If you have made it to the interview stage, you probably have all the credentials, experience
and skills that an employer is looking for. Do not jeopardize your chances by shortselling
yourself at this stage or otherwise misrepresenting yourself or blundering.
Some common interview mistakes include:
1. Lack of preparation. Research the company thoroughly before the interview and have your
CV memorized inside out.
2. Not having answers to common interview questions. Read a good book on interviewing to
know what to expect, get into the mood and perfect your answers.
3. Lack of enthusiasm. Try not to sound jaded or tired even if you have been in the industry for
decades and the person interviewing you is younger than yourself. Try to sound excited
about the company and the position. Enthusiasm is infectious and managers hope that a
candidate's positive energy will communicate itself to the whole team. Moreover, employers
are looking for someone who can be managed and given directions so you need to
communicate that you are such a person not someone who has a problem with criticism and
4. Negative answers. Always respond to questions about your weaknesses with a commentary
on your strengths. The answer to quot;Have you done 'AB' before?quot; is not quot;Noquot;. It is quot;I have done
'YZ' in such and such a wayquot;. The answer to quot;What are your weaknessesquot; is quot;I am too
ambitious, workaholic, too dedicated, always looking to take on new projects with increased
responsibilitiesquot; etc. Everyone has weaknesses and the interview is not the time to showcase
Online Recruitment Benefits
Online job sites have revolutionized the recruitment
landscape for both employers and job seekers and largely
increased the efficiency with which hiring decisions can
take place. Read how employers and in turn jobseekers
have benefited from online recruitment.
Gone are the days when online recruitment was the exclusive domain of the technologically
savvy, the curious and the ultra-sophisticated. Today, with this medium tried, tested and
proven to be true and more importantly indispensable, professional recruiters and employers
alike rely on job portals as a primary source of professional talent both on a stand-alone basis
and in some cases to complement traditional hiring methods. There has been a paradigm shift
in the way companies recruit thanks to the value, efficacy and ease-of-use of today's career
sites and with internet penetration levels ever skyrocketing, geographic boundaries blending
when it comes to professional mobility and the quest for top talent at fever pitch in booming
regional economies, this medium is definitely here to stay.
So what are the benefits of online recruitment that have led to such a meteoric rise in its use
and revolutionized the way companies hire and candidates search for jobs in such a short time
span? Below we list some:
E-cruitment allows for immediate real-time interaction and 24 x 7 hiring/job search activity.
Employers can post a job in as little as 20 minutes on a career site such as JobsOutNow.com
with no limits to ad size and start receiving CVs in response immediately. The posting
typically remains active for as long as 30 days and continues to receive applicant CVs
immediately as job seekers come across it. This is in comparison to traditional methods
where a newspaper ad may take appear a week later and only for a day, or a recruiter has to
wait till month-end to reap the benefits of an ad in a monthly industry or geography-specific
publication. Typically, e-cruitment hiring is on average 70% faster than traditional hiring
methods and the recruiting cycle is speeded up at every stage from posting, to receiving CVs
to filtering to managing the contacts and workflow.
Costs of posting jobs and/or searching for candidates on job portals can be up to 90% lower
than the costs of using traditional search firms and/or advertising methods. Online postings at
approximately £250 on a site like JobsOutNow.com are substantially more cost-effective than
the 30% of annual salaries fee that many traditional recruiters charge or the costs of
newspaper/publication ads for the same reach and time period.
Wider reach for employers
Unlike traditional methods which are usually restricted by career level, geography, industry
or other parameters online recruitment portals typically have current and active talent
databases that cover all career levels, industries and regions. Top marketing dollars are spent
ensuring the databases are diverse, updated regularly, relevant and high quality. Sprawling
business development teams also ensure that affiliations are established whereby the portals
are always prominent and top-of-mind with the relevant candidates and are visited by the
target job seekers regularly.
Wider reach for candidates
Candidates benefit immensely from the wider scope they gain through online job sites. They
are able to access jobs in companies, industries and locations they may not otherwise have
learned of and can apply immediately with the click of a mouse. By posting their CVs online
they can be contacted by employers/recruiters directly for opportunities that may not even be
State-of-the-art filtration tools
State-of-the-art on-line screening/filtering tools allow employers/recruiters to immediately
hone in on the right candidate using up to 20 criteria on a site like JobsOutNow.com
including country of residence, skills, education, career level previous experience etc. This
dramatically increases the efficiency of the e-cruiting process and the quality of the
candidates selected. Easy to administer online Questionnaires which can be used to
administer standard evaluation tests provide another level of objective screening. State-of-
the-art tools and technologies usually also allow for the establishment of automated quot;Search
Agentsquot; which once set up search the database on a 24*7 basis scouting for CVs that match
all the employer's selection criteria.
Branding opportunity for employers
Employers can use their job ads to project a consistent brand and company image/values to
prospective job seekers. With the heat on for top talent, candidates can be very particular
about who they work for and these company descriptions often serve as a basis for their
Sophisticated management tools
The entire recruitment process is managed from one location which allows the employer to
post vacancies, receive CVs, screen, prioritize and contact candidates individually or
collectively and track all activities from the confines of a private and highly functional
employer Workspace. job seekers similarly can track the progress of their application at every
stage of the hiring process from their own functional Workspace. This allows for an enhanced
user experience for both employer ad job seeker.
Allows for confidentiality
Both employers and job seekers can elect to maintain their confidentiality. Employers can
elect to search the databases without posting a job if the vacancy is sensitive in nature, or they
can post a vacancy while keeping the company name confidential. Similarly, candidates can
post their CVs online while keeping their names and present employer's name confidential.
Allows for proactivity
The employer/recruiter is in full control of the hiring process with online recruitment, can
contact candidates real-time and directly and does not require a middleman to sift through,
filter, assess or select the required candidates. By being in the driving seat the employer gains
valuable insight into the nature of the marketplace and the competitive landscape for the
position. He is also able to ensure a superior match and a better fit for the long term.
Allows for database build-up
Employers can save high profile or particularly attractive CVs from an existing online search
to build a priority database of pre-screened star talent for future use.
Tips and tools to creating a winning CV that will get you
Your CV is your gateway to the universe of career opportunities and investing in the right
focus, structure, phrasing and syntax at this early stage of the job search process will reap
tremendous rewards in opening doors to the next critical stage: the Interview. Below we have
identified some of the key factors that differentiate a successful CV from those that never
make it through the search.
A good CV shows clarity of vision. The jobseeker knows what it is they are looking for and
has clearly highlighted what attributes/ skills/ experience they have that will enable them to
succeed in that direction. You will win the interview primarily on the strength of your
skills/experience and their direct relevance to the job at hand. Vague/ fuzzy statements in the
Title, Objectives or Experience sections will detract from the impact of your CV and raise
questions rather than opening doors.
Exaggerated claims on CVs are easily detected, if not immediately, then upon reference
checks at a later date in the process. To avoid embarrassment, you should be as factual and
accurate as possible. Ommit details that don't make you look good at the CV stage (eg. a less
than attractive GPA or the fact that you were terminated from a job) but do not present facts
that cannot be substantiated. Do highlight your areas of strength in the best possible light
(hobbies/ interests/ skills can be embellished); however, do not provide glaring
The structure of the CV is critical and a sound CV follows these simple guidelines
1. Clearly defined and catchy objective that makes an employer want to read more
2. Work experience arranged in chronological order to clearly show career progression with
strongest and most recent positions getting the most attention. Job descriptions should be
concise and impressive using strong action verbs and data to support claims wherever
3. Education and Qualifications should be organized to maximise impact and relevance.
Wherever possible, they should show a commitment to career development eg. ongoing
courses, seminars, workshops related to job.
4. Achievements and affiliations details will highlight professional roles above and beyond
direct job responsibilities (eg. Active Member of European Entrepreneur's Association,
Chairman of University Student Union etc.) This area is particularly important for fresh
graduates who do not have a lot of direct job experience.
The most impressive content will barely get gleaned over if the general layout is not user-
friendly. Some simple rules:
1. Avoid clutter.
2. Use short sentences and bullet points wherever appropriate.
3. Headings and dates should be clearly differentiated from other text
Avoid the jargon and flowery anecdotes. Deliver the message in the most concise, impressive
and relevant light. A successful CV will be well-researched and will be honed down to
contain many of the exact skills and attributes an employer has utilized in his job search
Keep in mind that an employer is hiring a human being not a robot. Do include skills, hobbies
and qualifications that will make your CV stand apart from the crowd and may endear you to
the employer. Most employers will sift through countless CVs while trying to weed out
Interview candidates so make your CV interesting and memorable.
Reasons You Weren’t Hired
Here are the top ten reasons candidates often fail to secure
the job of their dreams.
Your CV was prepared by a professional, you did all the necessary groundwork before the
interview and you thought the interview went extremely smoothly. So why aren't you
celebrating an offer letter yet? Here are the top ten reasons candidates often fail to secure the
job of their dreams.
1. Your CV missed the mark
Many jobseekers make the mistake of using the same generic unfocused CV to apply for very
different positions in different industries. Your CV should to the extent possible be tailored to
the specific job you are targeting and should show in a very direct manner skills,
qualifications and experiences that directly come to bear on the given job. If you are targeting
a number of different jobs, have different CVs for each job type so that your CV can be
customized to the unique requirements of each industry. Find out what skills and
qualifications to showcase in each CV by looking at the job description, researching the
position and industry and talking to people in the industry, then highlight the skills and
expertise that make you a perfect match. Employers want to hire people who are focused and
specifically interested in their industry and company, so having a generic unfocused CV with
a very vague objective statement and skills inventory will fail to capture the employer's
attention or convince them that you are the best fit for the job.
2. You omitted a cover letter
Every CV should be accompanied by a cover letter to personalize your CV and communicate
in a precise, specific manner your objectives and the specific value-added you will bring to
the job. The cover letter should be short and specific and should leave the employer in no
doubt as to your interest in the company and industry and your unique qualifications for the
job you are targeting. Cover letters, like the CV, should be tailored to the company and
industry and should communicate in no uncertain terms the suitability of the experiences and
qualifications listed on your CV to the job at hand as well as your enthusiasm to work for the
specific company. A CV sent without a cover letter will lack the 'personal touch' and will
likely be lost in the fray.
3. Poor follow up on CV
The average employer is inundated with CVs on an ongoing basis and is more likely than not
to add your CV to the pile, pending possible future follow-up. To ensure your CV is acted on
and does not get buried with the rest, you MUST follow up in a diligent manner. Remember,
the purpose of the CV and cover letter is to get an interview so call each employer shortly
after you send the CV and communicate you are calling to follow up, ensure receipt and
arrange for a face-to-face interview. Prepare a very short 'soft sell' for the phone conversation
to 'educate' the employer as to who you are and why you are uniquely suited to the job and
'excite' him to want to meet you in person in an interview situation to talk further details.
4. Lack of preparation for the interview
Many candidates make it to the interview stage and disappoint the employer with their
obvious lack of preparation for the meeting. Poor preparation includes slovenliness in
researching the company, not being up-to-date on industry news, not understanding what the
job requirements are and not having answers to common interview questions. You must,
must, must enter the interview armed with the maximum amount of knowledge about the
company, industry and specific job so you can then tailor your answers specifically and
position your skills and past experience in a manner that demonstrates your unique suitability
for the position in question and the valuable contributions you can make to the company.
5. Unprofessional attire for interview
First impressions go a long way and you may be hard-pressed undoing the damage if you
send out a wrong message with your interview attire. Dressing too casually or completely
inappropriately for the interview may communicate a lack of respect for professional norms
of conduct as well as an unprofessional non-conformist attitude overall. Always aim to err on
the conservative side in your attire with crisp, clean business attire and avoid tight, casual or
loud clothes as well as unnecessary accessories and excess make-up for women.
6. Unprofessional behaviour during interview
The interviewer is screening you during the course of the interview for suitability to the job at
hand and is assessing you in terms of your ability to conform in a professional way to the
requirements of the job and the company culture; any unprofessional conduct will reflect
negatively on you and is likely to immediately take you out of the running. This includes any
behaviour that shows a lack of respect for the interviewer and professional norms of conduct
such as arriving late, arriving unprepared, aggressive or unprofessional body language, being
unfamiliar with your CV, treating the interviewer in a condescending or overly familiar
manner, talking at length about your personal life and problems and/or obvious exaggerations
or outright lies about your work history. It is very helpful to read some literature about body
language and interview skills if you are relatively new to the interviewing scene and
unfamiliar with the basics.
7. Lack of interest in the company
It is surprising how many jobseekers will make it to the interview stage and then demonstrate
a total ambivalence and lack of interest in the company not to mention an obvious failure to
research it in detail. Employers want to hire people who will be keen, enthusiastic members
of the team and will carry the company banner with pride; the last thing they want are
disgruntled employees who are less than enthusiastic about the company's products and
bottom line and will negatively impact the company culture. You must show a familiarity
with and interest in the company and ask intelligent, relevant questions, prepared beforehand,
that demonstrate you have done your homework and are very excited about joining the team.
Any reluctance you have about joining the company should be kept to yourself at this early
stage of the process; concentrate your efforts during your interviews on securing the position.
8. Unclear about value-added to company
If you are unconvinced about your value-added to the company, it is less than likely that you
will be able to convince the employer. Make sure as you sit in the interview seat that you are
intimately aware of the requirements of the position and can directly relate your past work
history, aptitudes, qualifications and skills to the requirements of the position. Imagine
yourself already on the job and communicate to the employer how you will contribute
significantly and in record time to the company's bottom line and how you will excel in
performance and exceed targets and expectations. Make sure to include every skillset and
past success in bringing to bear how you will positively impact the company's performance.
If you already see yourself on the job and can mentally apply your past successes and skills
inventory to achieving your new targets you are more likely to convince the employer across
the table from you of your unique and undisputed suitability for the position.
9. Poor follow up after interview
Many candidates make the mistake of assuming the ball is outside their court following the
interview stage and fail to follow-up, thereby losing what was a viable job opportunity. You
must follow up! Oftentimes the interviewer has had to travel following an interview, is
bogged down with a heavy workload and tight deadlines or is simply waiting for you to
follow-up to determine your proactivity, energy level and interest in the job. Immediately
after an interview while the questions and answers are fresh in your mind write a thank you
letter to the employer which leaves him in no uncertain terms as to your interest in the
company and your unique suitability for the job. Reiterate the qualifications and past
successes that are immediately applicable to the position and emphasize any points that
support your case and add gravitas to your application. If you would like to make up for any
important facts that were missed out during the interview process or if you feel there are
specific strengths you want to highlight following what your learned during the interview,
this is your opportunity. Then follow up on the thank you letter with a phone conversation
reiterating your interest in the position and enquiring what the next steps should be.
10. Poor reference checks
Before giving a prospective employer names of references make sure you are very familiar
with their professional opinion of you and there will be no unpleasant surprises. Many a
successful job application has ground to a halt because of unsatisfactory or outright negative
feedback from references at or after the job offer stage. Wherever possible, get the references
in writing so that you are intimately aware of the feedback your reference source has on you
and there is no margin for error.
Standing at the career crossroads with no idea what
direction to take? Why not start by taking a few self-
assessment tests to aid you in mapping out your strengths
Are you still uncertain of what it is you really want to be when you grow up? Do you
oscillate widely in your career preferences and wonder what profession you are really suited
for? The decision on what road to take as you map out your career is often a difficult one and
one which requires through self-analysis and much research. Self-assessment tests are a
useful tool to explore as you stand at the career cross-roads as they can shed light on your
personality, skills, strengths and motivations and help you find some focus and direction.
While no single test will provide you with the definitive answer on who you are and what
career to pursue, they are well worth exploring as part of a general self-analysis and as a
means to fine-tune your career planning activities, highlight strengths and identify weaker
areas that could use development.
The advantages of taking tests:
1. A quick, easy and reasonably accurate way to gauge your skills, interests, values, motivations
and/or personality as a foundation for planning a career move or making career change
2. Tests can highlight areas of strength and weakness to aid you in your career choice as well as
in your performance enhancement activities on the job.
3. Many tests are totally free and most are available on-line with comprehensive results often
ready almost immediately.
4. A great way to explore career avenues you may not previously have considered and identify
personality traits in yourself you may not have thought of before.
Tips to remember when taking tests:
1. There are very many tests available and some are much more professional and accurate
than others. Make sure the tests you take are credible and highly rated. It is always better to
take more than one test and compare results.
2. Trust your intuition when interpreting test results. If something seems way off the mark, go
with your gut instinct.
3. Tests should be used as part of a more comprehensive self-assessment and career research
effort. They are no substitute for talking to a career counselor and friends and peers in
different industries. Use the tests to complement a much larger research and self-
4. Remember that you have your own unique set of strengths, weaknesses, skills and values
and while a test may succeed in placing you in an appropriate 'category', it cannot capture
completely the essence of you and the full impact of your values, competencies and
experiences, nor can it predict fully how you will react in different circumstances.
5. Results are only as accurate as the accuracy with which you answer the questions. If you
answer in terms of how you would like to behave instead of how you really would behave
for example, or if you pick a random answer because none of the answers seem relevant to
you, the results will be skewed accordingly and will misrepresent your true behaviour and
Some of the better known tests are:
The MAPP focuses on measuring your motivations and interests and how these relate to your
aptitude on the job. The goal is to aid you in identifying your motivations in order to leverage
them to optimize your career and lifestyle engineering activities. Very detailed results for the
test are sent via e-mail and for a small fee, you can opt to receive even more detailed results
and guidance. The test is comprised of 71 questions and can be completed in less than an
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The MBTI is one of the most widely used and administered personality tests in the world and
is well known for its accuracy and effectiveness. The test analyzes your preferences in four
Where primarily you direct your energy (Extrovert versus Introvert)
How you prefer to process information (Sensing vs Intuition)
How you prefer to make decisions (Thinking vs Feeling)
How you prefer to organize your life (Judgement vs Perception)
The test then categorizes your results into 1 of 16 personality types such as ESFP or ISTJ or
The Birkman Method
The Birkman Method plots four behavioural types (expediting, communicating, planning and
administrating) and expresses possible career interests and work styles accordingly. The test
is claimed to remarkably accurate and is original in that it does not assume behaviour is
necessarily equated with motivational needs; in other words it does not assume the way you
act is the way you would like to be treated. A shorter version of the test is available on-line
for free and the full test which analyzes behaviour by four dimensions (interests, style, needs
and stress behavior) can be taken for a fee.
Holland Self Directed Search (SDS)
Dr. John Holland's Self Directed Search is based on the theory that both people and work
environments can be classified into 6 basic types and that people who choose careers that
most match their types are most likely to achieve success and job satisfaction. The 6 types
are: Realistic, Conventional, Enterprising, Investigative, Artistic and Social. An online
version of the very popular and highly respected test is available for a small fee and takes 15 -
20 minutes to complete. The results are summarized on a detailed personalized on-line report.
Keirsey Temperament Sorter
The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is related to the Myers Brigg Type Indicator and gives
results in the form of Myers Briggs types based on Carl Jung's theories of psychological type.
The four broad 'Temperaments' are classified as: Guardians, Artisans, Idealists and Rationals.
The 70 question test is available on-line for free.
ImproveNow Jobstyle Indicator and Personal Style Indicator
The two tests measure job style and personal style respectively and the results are provided in
the form of a very detailed report with an even more detailed report available for a fee. The
Jobstyle Indicator (JSI) seeks to improve job performance and satisfaction by helping you to
identify and articulate behaviour styles pertine/nt to the specific job. The PSI gives you a
profile of your personal style and analyzes the relative influence on your work and personal
life of four 'dimensions' of personal style: Behavioral (ACTION), Cognitive (ANALYSIS),
Interpersonal (HARMONY) and Affective (EXPRESSIVE).
Ansir's 3 Sides of You Self Perception Profiling System
This lengthy test (168 questions), is a 3 part self perception test that helps users identify
dominant personality styles in three realms, Thinking, Working and Emoting. The test is
based on the ancient premise that human beings are three-sided beings and recognizes
intuitive and spiritual personality styles. The Ansir 3 sides of You methodology recognizes
2,744 personality style combinations. The test is available for free and yields very
Ways to Stay Upbeat During the Job Search
Job hunting getting you down? Don't lose confidence!
JobsOutNow.com presents you with 10 ways to avoid the
job search doldrums and stay motivated and upbeat.
1. Recognize if you are in a slump
The first step to getting out of the doldrums is to recognize that you are indeed in a slump. If
you are suffering from the jobseeker blues take the time out to re-energize and seek the focus,
strength and inner peace you need to pursue your job search and get ahead with your career.
Talk to people you trust and seek professional help if you need it.
2. Organize your day
Even if you are out of a job, structure your day with the same discipline as you would a work
day. Lounging about the house being unproductive will not further your job search and will
only feed your inertia and panic at being unemployed. Treat your job search as u would a full
time job and approach it with the same vigor, organizational skills and discipline as you
would a work day. Build into your day a multitude of tasks that will further your job search
including networking activities, research activities, training activities, visits with your
mentor, cold calls etc. Don't forget to document the results and make sure you stay on top of
the follow-up. By organizing your week days in this strict disciplined manner you will
maintain a feeling of control over the job search and lose the panic many jobseekers feel
which is often directly attributed to the feeling of helplessness and loss of control over the
course their life is taking.
3. Build a support network around you
Don't let negative types discourage or distract you from your job search. Instead, observe and
learn from successful, happy professionals who are where you would like to be and enlist
their support in getting there. Seek to surround yourself with encouraging upbeat people who
will inspire and motivate you rather than bring you down. Enthusiasm is contagious and the
more keen and confident those around you are, the more confident you will be in your
strengths, abilities and marketability.
4. Stay motivated
Learn from the success stories of others and the advice of motivational experts how to stay
motivated. Read motivational books and autobiographies from those who have made it in the
industry or line of business you are targeting or those whose lives and successes have
inspired you and motivated you to accomplish and succeed in the past. There are many best-
selling highly effective motivational books that come with audiotapes and you can build into
your daily routine listening to them even as you drive or engage in other important tasks.
5. Remind yourself of your past accomplishments
Often, it is easy to lose all confidence in yourself if your job search is extending itself
indefinitely and there are no positive outcomes in sight. Whenever you think you have
reached a dead end and your confidence in your abilities is waning, remind yourself of past
successes even as you re-energize and rethink the strategy for your job search. Picture your
last major success and remind yourself of how you got there and the feeling of euphoria that
comes with a major accomplishment, then visualize yourself repeating that success in your
new endeavors and outline a roadmap for getting there. You may want to keep a photo of
yourself after that last accomplishment prominently displayed or on you at all times to remind
yourself constantly of your capabilities.
6. Learn a new skill
Use this time in between jobs to learn a new skill. You may want to attend a course or read
books that deal specifically with certain aspects of the job search such as interviewing skills,
writing a CV, networking; or you may want to work on other areas you would like to develop
whether it be confidence building, public speaking, sales, managing a team, getting along
with peers, maintaining a work/life balance or just succeeding in life in general. You may
also have technical skills related to your chosen industry that you need to fine-tune or have
always wanted to acquire; use this time in between jobs to gain these skills and include them
on your CV once you have.
7. Reward yourself for achieving short term goals
Don't dwell on the downside. Set realistic short-term goals that advance your long-term
objectives and on a daily basis revisit and reward yourself for your positive accomplishments
for the day. These goals may include a specific number of CVs sent out, interviews gained,
cold calls made, new skills acquired, professional books completed etc. Make sure your goals
are reasonable and focus on achieving them one goal at a time.
8. Do some volunteer work
Volunteering is one way to feel more useful, widen your all-important networking circle and
in some cases, beef up your CV. You will enjoy the learning that comes with a new activity
as well as the immense sense of satisfaction that comes with helping others if you are
involved in charitable works.
9. Count your blessings
No matter how strenuous and uphill the job search may be remember your blessings in other
areas of your life and be thankful. Keep things in perspective at all times and don't lose sight
of your successes and accomplishments.
10. Don't lose balance
Include exercise and relaxation in your weekly schedule as well as other means to expend
positive energy, let off steam and indulge in activities you enjoy. Whether it's a daily 30
minute walk around the block, an hour of power yoga, cycling with the kids after school or an
hour looking after the daffodils and hydrangea in the kitchen garden, don't lose sight of the
activities that you enjoy best and that maintain a critical balance in your life.
What Employers Look For
There are 6 key areas an employer will evaluate you on.
Aim to outshine in every one of them.
The interview seat looks tired and worn and you know you have a difficult task ahead of you,
competing with all those candidates who occupied the chair before you. The next time you
find yourself seated across the desk from a potential employer, bear in mind that there are 6
key areas you will be evaluated on and aim to outshine in every one of them!
1. Work Experience and Education
Your skills, credentials and training will be paramount in placing you above the fray. Have
all your relevant work experience at the tip of your tongue and ready to recite. There is no
substitute for the right experience and qualifications and you need to be able to recite a
history and general aptitude for success in the given role and industry. The right credentials
coupled with sound examples of how these credentials have been professionally applied in
different positions to add to productivity will be the main determinants of your suitability for
2. Business Sensibility
Employers look for candidates with a sound understanding of how businesses in general, and
this business in particular, are run. They are looking for efficiency-minded people with an eye
for productivity and the bottom line and a keen sense of business policies and procedures. In
any position you apply for, the employers are looking for individuals with finely honed
problem-solving skills who can identify and define a problem with clarity and find and
implement the optimal business solution.
3. Enthusiasm and Willingness to Learn
Attitude alone will not get you the job but goes a long way in bridging the gap between you
and a potential employer. Enthusiastic employees with a positive attitude typically show
more initiative in their role and are more likely to go the extra mile. In any role, your initial
learning curve will probably be steep and employers want to be sure that you are willing to
make the effort and put in the time to learn the ropes, perfect the role and continue to take the
initiative to make positive strides forward. Moreover, employers know that enthusiasm is
contagious and they hope that adding an employee with a positive attitude and unbounded
energy will rub off positively on the rest of the team and elevate the general morale and spirit
of the unit.
4. Work Ethic
A professional attitude, work style and work ethic are critical in any business setting. You
need to demonstrate dedication and commitment to the company and your career, honesty,
integrity, sound business judgement, motivation and reliability. Make sure you always
present yourself in a professional light and have a keen understanding of how your
professional role impacts the company and the bottom line.
5. Interpersonal Skills
Your emotional intelligence and ability to get along well with peers, management and clients
will play a key role in your success and will be under the spotlight during the interview. Be
sure to demonstrate that you are a cooperative teamplayer and have no problems interacting
with other people.
Even star performers have to report to their boss and have to follow company rules and
procedures. An employer's worst nightmare is an entrepreneurial type who cannot take
directions and is focused on outperforming in his own little domain independent of the team
and the manager. Make sure you emphasize your ability to work in a team, follow the chain
of command and take instructions, advice and constructive criticism positively.
Winning Cover Letters
When trying to land a job, a strong, distinct cover letter is
one of the best tools you can use to get noticed. And unlike
other first impressions, the cover letter puts the
opportunity to succeed largely in your hands. Read on to
learn how to avoid wince-worthy moments and create a
terrific first impression with your cover letters.
Ever had a wince-worthy moment? A moment that you wish you could do over? One of mine
came during a job search several years ago. I had learned about a hot job opportunity through
a friend, and, convinced I had discovered my quot;dream job,quot; I quickly dashed off a cover letter
and resume. I still cringe today when I think about the hiring manager's parting words upon
viewing my materials: quot;Well, Liz, we actually liked your qualifications, but your cover letter
contained about ten spelling mistakes. You even misspelled the name of our company.quot; The
most upsetting thing about this experience is that if I had simply taken the time to carefully
review my cover letter, I could have avoided this wince-worthy occurrence altogether.
As the saying goes, we only get one chance to make a first impression. In a competitive job
market where human resources departments are flooded with applicants, a first impression
may be your only opportunity to make an impact. When trying to land a first job or
internship, a strong, succinct cover letter is one of the best tools you can use to get noticed.
And unlike other first impressions, the cover letter puts the opportunity to succeed largely in
your hands. To avoid wince-worthy moments and create a terrific first impression, read on for
a couple of winning cover-letter suggestions.
Suggestion #1: Try the Convince ... That ... Because
A strong cover letter doesn't just create a good impression -- it helps you sell yourself. But
selling yourself isn't always easy. So use a technique that marketers use to sell us stuff: the
convince ... that ... because method. When drafting your cover letter, think about the
Whom do you want to convince?
For instance, you might be writing to a hiring manager who needs somebody with strong
writing skills. By knowing your audience, you'll have the opportunity to specifically address
the concerns or needs of your readers in your persuasive cover letter. One caveat: You may
find job announcements that instruct applicants to send a letter to human resources, rather
than provide a specific name of an individual. In these instances, you can try to track down,
through company sources or networking, the name and title of a specific individual to whom
you can address your letter. Otherwise, use the job description and knowledge of the
company to best gauge your audience's needs.
What are you trying to convince them of?
Using the example above, you are trying to convince a hiring manager that you have terrific
writing skills. You may also want the hiring manager to know about your ability to speak
French and your mastery of PowerPoint, if these are skills that are relevant to the job for
which you're applying. Be specific here: If you want to talk about your skills as a leader, be
sure to mention a situation in which you demonstrated leadership skills. And remember to
discuss the same skills that appear on your resume, providing additional information and
detail in your letter.
Why should you be hired over someone else?
Here's your opportunity to make a persuasive, convincing argument and sell your unique
abilities. Using the previous example, you want to convince a hiring manager that you have
terrific writing skills because you've consistently written on a wide range of topics for your
school's newspaper, providing valuable information to over five hundred students on a
weekly basis for the past three years. Whatever your example, make sure you point out how
your work made a positive difference, quantifying this difference whenever possible.
Suggestion #2: Look Sharp
Think of your cover letter as you, on paper. So you want to look your best and present a neat,
professional package to your prospective employer. For starters, choose a quality paper (such
as the kind used for resumes) in a conservative color (like white or ivory) to send your
message, and make sure you use the same paper and font for your cover letter, resume, and
envelope, since they are typically packaged together. Save the pink paper and funky font for
another time, and watch smudges, crinkles, and other sloppy marks. Finally, make sure your
letter is generally readable. If the font is too small (nothing less than ten points) or the letter
too long (over a page, generally), you've probably alienated your audience already.
Writing a winning cover letter isn't the easiest task, but it's well worth the effort, especially
when you know that it can make the difference between a good first impression and a bad
one. After all, taking the time to write a great letter ensures you'll impress a prospective
employer and practically guarantees a wince-free moment.
Your First Job
To help you out with your first job, here are a few steps
that are essential for success.
Any-one faced with the daunting task of finding their first job is likely to find themselves in a
quandary of perplexing proportions. Their CVs are thin if not non-existent, their industry
knowledge is limited and their contacts in the business world are few and far between. The
good news is that a record number of jobs exist in the region for fresh college grads and with
the roaring economies of the Persian Gulf and the emphasis on training, human resource
development and growing from within, this is unlikely to abate soon. To help you out with
your first job, here are a few steps that are essential for success.
You will not sound very convincing to a prospective employer if you are not convinced
yourself of your strengths and weaknesses and that you will be an asset to his team. Take the
time to understand what types of jobs interest you, what areas you enjoy and excel in and
what skills/competencies you have that can translate in meaningful ways to the jobs you are
applying for. Prepare an honest detailed personal inventory of your unique skills, strengths
and weaknesses and use it to hone in on the industry, companies and positions you think you
can do best in.
Various books are available for fresh grads and people contemplating a career transition that
help you identify your areas of strength and steer your job search in the right direction. In
addition, there are a number of personality tests, many of which can be taken free on-line,
that can help shed light on suitability for various professions. It is also very helpful to talk to
peers, professors and family members who know you well to get an added perspective. If you
are unsure what different types of jobs entail, there is no substitute for talking to people
inside the industry and asking the types of questions that help you identify whether this is
indeed an area you will excel in.
Once you have identified those areas you are interested in and believe you can excel in, focus
your efforts accordingly. Your CV and cover letter should be uniquely tailored to those
professions and industries as should your research activities, networking activities and any
training activities you undertake. Start reading the industry journals, attending industry events
and widening your circle of contacts within the industry. Envision yourself obtaining and
succeeding in the position you are targeting and then work backwards to see how you got
Research should be the core and foundation of your job search activities. Research will help
you identify what companies, departments and positions to target and will uncover who is
hiring in your target segments. The more you research your target industries the more
cognizant you will become of what a typical job in your target area entails, where the overall
industry is heading and where the best jobs are. Read the industry journals, look up target
companies' websites, read their press and talk to as many people as you can within the
industry to gain perspective. Research will also uncover jobs in the quot;hiddenquot; job market ie
jobs that are filled by referrals and word of mouth without ever being advertised. Websites
such as www.JobsOutNow.com are ideal for positioning your CV within the quot;hiddenquot; job
market traffic as a large number of companies use the website to find candidates without ever
advertising their jobs.
Perfect Your Toolkit
Your CV and Cover Letter are usually the first interaction you will have with a potential
employer so use them to leave a positive and high-impact first impression. Make sure the
format, content and flow of both is professional and appropriate. If you are uncomfortable
creating your own CV, have the experts prepare it for you. Companies such as
JobsOutNow.com have dedicated CV Services divisions that cater to jobseekers who prefer
to outsource the writing of your CVs to professionals.
Many new graduates have no work experience and are unsure what to put on their CV. Here
is where your education and activities during your college years must be highlighted.
Emphasize in your CV and/or cover letter all activities that have prepared you directly for the
job at hand including directly relevant courses, related research, special papers or
publications, leadership positions in college, internships, volunteer work, student or
professional organisations you joined etc. Spend a lot of time on skills you have acquired
such as IT skills, languages, presentation skills, project management skills, writing skills, etc.
Treat the Job Search as a Full Time Job
Approach the job search methodically, logically and systematically applying the same
discipline and organisational skills you would apply to a real job. Identify your targets and set
a game plan in place that includes companies you will target, activities you will undertake,
dates and follow up plans. Set aside a number of hours per day and develop a routine for your
job search that resembles a real work day. Keep a record of every interaction you have with
every company and make sure you follow up diligently and ask for leads at every juncture.
Widen the Net
Finding that first job is for many like swimming upstream so set a realistic gameplan and
maximize the number of companies you target in your given field. Talk to friends, alumni,
peers, family and the career planning team at your college and make sure your CV is
circulating in the right groups. Placing your CV on a website like www.JobsOutNow.com
vastly increases its visibility and allows you access to both advertised positions as well as the
quot;hiddenquot; job market.
Prepare for the Interview
Employers are primarily looking for candidates that have the right kind of experience, can do
the job and will fit in well with the company culture. With new grads, experience becomes
less relevant than whether you can in fact do the job and will fit in seamlessly with the
culture. The employer may ask you during the interview to demonstrate how you would
actually do a specific part of the job whether be it dealing with a difficult client, selling the
company product or service, solving a problem etc. The employer will also want to know
what aspects of your past endeavours position you directly for the job you are applying for. A
plethora of literature exists on common interview questions and what employers are looking
for during the interview. Be prepared. Above all act professional and display enthusiasm, a
willingness to learn and a knowledge of the company, its products and the industry
Your Out of Work
Who said being fired was the end of the road. Your life
may well have just begun! In 40 points, let us count the
1. Go for a walk A long walk. Preferably barefoot on a very long strip of beach. Imagine you're
leaving the past job and past life behind you with every step you take. Throwing pebbles and
large stones into the ocean optional. Avoid swimmers even if they resemble old colleagues.
2. Make a list of everything you hated about your job Keep referring to it when you feel like
3. Make a list of everything you hate about yourself Burn that list in a little bonfire in a
midnight ritual - you are now ready to resume life as a new, improved YOU.
4. Go to your favourite restaurant Order everything you've ever wanted to eat there and eat it
all at once. Then order some more.
5. Go for a long swim in the ocean Pretend you're never coming back - but make sure you can.
Alert lifeguard on duty before you embark on this exercise.
6. Go for a cruise in your car blasting your favorite song at full volume Then sing along at the
top of your voice and don't mind the stares you get from scared or concerned motorists. If
your boss sees you, all the better...
7. Take up kickboxing in the evenings A great way to vent your anger and frustration and at
the same time network with other angry overworked, underpaid or unemployed
8. Go somewhere you've always wanted to go Whether it be that 5-bedroom motel in a
neighbouring village, a riverside shack in Thailand or a 5* hotel in Switzerland now is the
time to indulge. Make sure you stay long enough to unwind without depleting your hard-
9. Get your finances in order Make sure you are on a sustainable budget and that your savings
are invested at the optimal risk/ reward ratio given your age, state of unemployment and
10. Buy a trashy novel and read it all in one go Comfy pillow and assorted junk food items need
to be at hand.
11. Call your best childhood friend Cry to her/him about the injustice and degradation of it all.
12. Go window-shopping in the most expensive part of town Make a mental inventory of all
those items you will buy when you land the next job.
13. Open a cook book and make a lavish dinner for 20 Invite everyone you can locate at short
notice. Tell them all when they come that you're looking for a job.
14. Go for a manicure/pedicure Whine to the manicurist about the perils and boredom of
15. Go for a long massage Then have them remove you supine, on a stretcher.
16. Go through your old photographs Remember what it was like when you had your whole life
ahead of you and the world seemed plush with opportunities. Stay in that mind-frame.
17. Buy all the flavours of your favorite ice-cream brand Then invite one friend to a comedy
18. Organize all the cupboards in your house Purchase fragranced tissue lining paper, line your
clothes closets and put one fragranced tissue paper on top of each meticulously folded item
of clothing. Colour code your closets and tissue paper for an added sense of achievement.
19. Put fresh flowers in every corner and crevice of your house Nothing like that fresh scent
and the sight of live blooms to lift your spirits.
20. Take up a new hobby Now is the time to discover and nurture the nascent Botticcelli or
Tchaikovsky in you. Make sure to offend. Practice musical overtures on anyone who will
listen (or won't) and make sure your artistic endeavours grace everything from the milk
bottles you hand back to the milkman every morning to the t-shirt your best friend lent you,
the window that most overlooks the neighbours' living room and the dining room ceiling
your husband took pains to plaster.
21. Go to Disneyworld Regress to that time in your life when only the important things
mattered. Local variation on Disneyland will do if finances/ visa requirements/ state of
nervous breakdown don't permit travel.
22. Learn a Language Buy a beret and enroll in an intensive French course or pick up German to
go with your newly found infatuation with Beethoven. Make sure the course is a daily one
and that you take pains to immerse yourself in the language and the culture.
23. Buy a Goldfish Name him after the manager who fired you. That way when the goldfish is
deceased - and they have a horrible habit of doing that - your grief will be short-lived. In the
meantime, admire the miraculous peace and serenity of this life form in your house. This is
NOT a recipe for sushi.
24. Enrol in a Charity Nothing like doing good things for other people to lift the spirit and give
you a sense of achievement and fulfillment. You don't need to feel very strongly about the
charity - just do something that unselfishly puts you out on a limb for someone else's sake.
25. Open a stock trading account and try to beat the indices Move aside back issues of
Cosmopolitan and Archie and start collecting finance and trade literature. You will also need
spectacles (rectangular brown tortoise shell), a coffee maker and a computer in the
bedroom. Can be done in your Tintin pajamas but make sure you only put your bowling
money on the line at this stage.
26. Take up Photography Then redecorate your hallway with a series of bleached wood framed
black-and-white photographs of your favorite person or scene.
27. Find a Friend with a Baby Nothing like spending time with a candy-wrapped bundle of
innocence and laughs to recharge your batteries and remind you of what matters most.
28. Read Proust's Remembrances of Things Past And console yourself with dreams of buying a
French chateau, complete with bubbles, when you succeed in your next job.
29. Do a thorough self-analysis Who are you really? What makes you tick? What do you really
like and enjoy? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where would you like to be? Put
this self-analysis down on paper and use it to plan your next career move.
30. Take a Course Hone your skills whether they be business, finance, marketing or other by
enrolling in the best course available, in or out of town, and giving it your all.
31. Start polishing your Job Search Skills Sift through job hunting articles on a major site's
Career Center and read everything you can get a hold of on job hunting skills.
32. Learn to bake bread An endangered skill and one that is a conversation-stopper in cocktail
parties and a sure winner if you are inviting your other half to an intimate dinner for two at
33. Exercise your body back into shape Who says you can't look like you did when you were
twenty? Join a gym and attend daily for an hour; you should see results within 3 weeks.
34. Post your CV on the best regional internet job site Then lie back while the site's Saved
Search does all the work.
35. Practice your interviewing skills on anyone who will listen Read Interview Tips and
Interview Don'ts in JobsOutNow.com's career center.
36. Don't waste time No time like the present to network, research companies you want to
work for and apply to all the positions you find attractive on a regional job site.
37. Spread the grief Join a Workstyle Community Forum where you can share your experiences,
ideas, hopes and aspirations with other professionals.
38. Plan for Success Repeat 100 times:- You WILL succeed in your next job, you WILL succeed in
your next job, you WILL succeed in your next job... envisioning yourself as a high flyer in your
field. Then pick up a pen and paper and plan in intricate detail for that success.
39. Read industry literature Now is the time to catch up on all those trade magazines and
periodicals you haven't had time to read on your job. Bringing yourself up to speed on the
latest developments in your industry is sure to impress in your next interview.
40. Remember, the sky's the limit You will work hard, play fair and be good to those around
you. In short, you will SUCCEED wildly, extravagantly and beyond your wildest dreams. You
just need to get started...
Avoid Interview Stress
Do you experience severe interview stress? This article is
The interviewer is buttoned-up, formal and not smiling as warmly as you would have liked.
The interview chair is hard and unwelcoming, your palms and face are sweating profusely,
your normal eloquence has given way to stuttering and stammering and you have begun to
tremble from head to toe. If you are one of the multitude of jobseekers who begin to hyper-
ventilate at the very thought of interviewing for a new position and to whom the interview is
a source of unlimited stress and trepidation, the following are some basic tips to help you
through your interview woes:
Interviewer is more stressed out than you are
A technique favored by many to alleviate their own stress is to remind themselves that the
interviewer may be more nervous and stressed out than they are, especially if he is not a
seasoned HR professional and does not normally interview new candidates. The interviewer
may not feel very comfortable assuming a role normally reserved for the HR department and
may be more anxious than you are as a result. In this case you can shift your focus to
alleviating the stress in the room and lightening the mood realizing you are both new to this
role and that both sides will win by making the interview as smooth, fluid and informative as
It helps to remember when sitting in the interview spotlight that the interviewer himself is a
busy man with deadlines, a job and a boss to report back to. By mentally envisioning the
interviewer as a professional just like yourself who has taken time out of his busy routine to
give you an opportunity to interview for the job, you can begin to empathize with the
interviewer, relate to him and feel a sense of gratitude that you have made it as far as the
interview stage. Remember, getting this far is already an accomplishment and the fact that the
employer has given you such a generous block of time means they are interested in your
profile, abilities and qualifications. Convince yourself that the difficult part is already over
(providing you have not lied on your CV) and the interview itself is just a platform to build a
rapport with the team and articulate in person what they already know from your CV.
To take this a step further, you may want to put yourself in the employer's shoes - imagine
you are in full control of the interview and the aim is to deliver to the employer all the
answers he needs to sell you to the rest of the team clearly and succinctly. You can even go
so far as to imagine that you already have the job and are just getting to know the interviewer
as a professional colleague - this technique really works to alleviate the stress of the moment
and reveal your real work persona and interpersonal skills.
Your subject matter is primarily yourself and your professional achievements, interests, skills
and qualifications, particularly as summarized on your CV and as they relate to this particular
job. The interview is not the time to start racking your brain for the answer to quot;How long did
you work for ABC Motorsquot; or quot;When did you join DEFquot; - you should know your
employment history and CV like the back of your hand and be able to explain or expound on
any aspect of it immediately. Remember, you are the world's best expert on this subject
matter and for the length of the interview you are completely in control of the subject matter,
have an edge over the interviewer with this knowledge, and can deliver the relevant facts and
figures with utmost confidence.
Reading interview books will give you that extra self-confidence you need to appear calm at
the interview and anticipate some of the more common questions. By eliminating most of the
'shock' value of the interview and feeling you are armed with answers to most questions that
can come your way you will feel much more relaxed, comfortable and in control of the
Prepare and Practice
Nothing beats practice and preparation for confidence building. While knowing yourself is
the fundamental building block in the successful interview formula, knowing the job, the
industry and the company come in a close second. Research these areas extensively so that
the next time you are seated across from the interviewer you have a detailed knowledge of
what it is they are looking for, how recent market events have shaped and influenced the
company in specific and industry in general and what it is about your profile that is uniquely
relevant to the job in question and can directly influence the bottom line. Once you can see
yourself as a vital piece of the puzzle by virtue of the unique skills, attributes and value-
added you bring to the specific role, you can tailor the answers to all interview questions
accordingly. Practice your answers bearing in mind at all times what the employer is looking
for based on your research activities, and keep repeating and fine-tuning your answers till you
have perfected both the content and delivery. Ask some-one you trust to assume the role of
the interviewer and aim to perfect the answers to all the common (and any anticipated
uncommon) questions you are likely to come across in the interview.
Do not dwell on mistakes
Remind yourself that everyone is fallible and that should you stumble or falter with a
particularly difficult question, you can quickly recover. The secret is not to make a big issue
out of a bad or outright wrong answer but to quickly take stock of what went wrong, regain
composure, take remedial action if possible then refocus and move on to the next question.
Keep a professional front at all times and don't let yourself get mired in any interview traps or
potentially harmful comments you may inadvertently have made. It helps immensely to
remember that flexibility will win the day and that should you inadvertently slip, you have
the wit and intelligence to make it up with well-rehearsed, honest, sincere, exemplary
answers to other interview questions.
Be Optimistic and Smile