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Organized Job Hunting

job hunting picJob hunting can be a stressful task, whether you are seriously in the market or just casually looking.  Accordingly, you ought to be focusing on ORGANIZED job hunting.  Doing so will help you save time, better manage your search and increase your chances of landing your next dream job!

1. Organize ALL information

It really doesn’t matter how you organize, as long as it is an effective way to keep track of the jobs you have applied for and what has been happening with those jobs. For example, you might use an Excel spreadsheet that provides the name of the company, position, when you applied and notes indicating the contact you have had with them.  Then you should also include reminders for future contact to organize your future job hunting activities. Here’s a short example of what I mean:

Sample Job Hunting Excel Template

Company Position Date applied application type follow up/notes
Energy Northwest Janitorial 9/5/2018 online 9/6 called to confirm application receipt.  9/8 spoke to hiring manager (George Jetson), positive.  Call back 10/7
Campbell and Company Front desk associate 9/10/2018 in person 9/5 spoke with employee, but manager, Don Juan, wasn’t there.  His # is 509-555-555, call 9/6 when returns to office.  9/6 great conversation with manager.  Call back 9/10
Benton REA Night janitor 9/18/2018 online 9/20  got email saying I’m not hired
Trios Health Housekeeper 9/28/2018 online 9/30  Spoke in person to hiring manager, Sasha.  Call her back if she doesn’t call me by 10/4

Keep it Simple, but Organized

It is a good idea to keep a copy of the job description too.  You can simply copy and paste it into the next cell or include it in a “sticky” note within Excel.  Now if you are called for an interview, but the posting has been taken down, you will have something to study prior so that you are prepared.

Keep in mind that the theme here is to keep a record of what you are doing.  Thus, you may want to use paper folders and print and file information or use Excel.  Just use what works best for you, but no matter what method you use, organization will increase your chances of getting a job, cut down the amount of time you spend applying and make the entire job hunting process more efficient and effective.

2. Create templates

First you need a general cover letter.  You should create one that can be used for every job with minor tweaks.  This way, you don’t have to start from scratch every time you want to apply to a new job.

My Cover Letter

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is John Doe and I am excited about the ___________ position with your organization.

I graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Physical Science with an emphasis in mathematics and chemistry and thereafter filled a management position at XYZ Corporation.   In this position I was able to be involved in the health and fitness industry, one of my passions.  Consequently, my science training proved to be an asset as customers learned to rely on my knowledge of how products functioned rather than simply what they do and I successfully trained my team-members to do the same.  As a result, I achieved tremendous success and was promoted twice within my first six months.  Thus, my additional responsibilities included the management, training, and auditing of other store locations.

Later, I began employment with an attorney who had just established his own firm.  Since I had recently completed an MBA and he recruited me to build his business.  To improve efficiency, I constructed a portfolio of Excel-based letters, fax sheets, and other documentation that eliminated errors and saved hours of time each day.  Additionally, I managed the office and was involved in the hiring and training of new employees, as well as the opening of an additional office.

Next, I was appointed as an instructor at ABC College where I mostly taught classes on student success, professionalism, and Microsoft Applications (Word, Excel and PowerPoint).  While at ABC, I also acquired certifications in Word, Excel and Access 2010 and also taught mathematics, physics, anatomy and economics.  Now I teach math and business for XYZ College at the state penitentiary and an online math class for RST University.

In addition to my teaching, I have recently completed another master’s degree, this time in applied nutrition.  Thus, with my combination of education in chemistry and now nutrition and my extensive teaching experience I am certain I would be an ideal addition to your organization.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to discussing my qualifications with you in greater detail.

John Doe MS, MBA

Also, do the same for your resume and your references.  As you are job hunting, it will be far quicker and easier to change a few little details rather than coming up with brand new ones each time.

3. Post Interview “Thank You”

You also want to have a template for your post interview thank you.   Doing so can really make you stand out.  First of all, you should take a thank you note with you and a stamped enveloped.  Then after the interview is over, stop by a mailbox.  They will receive it within a day or two and be totally impressed with you!  Here’s mine:

John Doe
1234 W. 1st St.
Kennewick, WA 99336
555-555-5555
myemail@email.com

(date)
(name of interviewer)
(position of interviewer)
(company name)
(company address)
(company state, zip)

Dear __________,

I sincerely enjoyed meeting with you yesterday and learning more about the _________ position with your company. Our conversation confirmed my interest in becoming part of (name of company).  As a result of our visit, I was particularly pleased to hear that (something that “struck” you).  Accordingly, I would like to re-emphasize my interest in the ________ position.

I feel confident that my experiences in the workplace and the classroom would enable me to fill the job requirements effectively.  So please feel free to contact me if I can provide you with any further information. I look forward eagerly to hearing from you and thank you again for the courtesy you have extended.

Sincerely,

(my signature)
John Doe

Good luck and happy job hunting!

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Odd Jobs that Pay Well

odd jobsBounty Hunter

This is no job for pansies, but when fugitives have posted bail and failed to appear in court, someone has to track them down.  Bounty Hunters often end up making much more than law enforcement officers when they catch a bad guy.  Of course, you must become trained and licensed, which differs from state to state.  However, it may be worth it for the potentially six-figure income.  One major advantage of some odd jobs like bounty hunting is that you can be your own boss.  Perhaps you want to be a cop, but not be tied to a specific schedule.  Look here to learn the specifics of becoming a bounty hunter in Washington.

Poop Scooper

Of all the odd jobs out there, this is a pretty gross one, but potentially profitable.  I don’t want to pick up animal waste and neither do a lot of other people.  Thus we will pay well for someone to do it for us.  Typically, the pay is $15 an hour or better for a job that requires no more than attention to detail and probably a love of animals.   Sure it is not the most glorious job in the world and since many people don’t want to do it, you can make some good money.   My Bomb Squad is one such business in the Tri-Cities.  While you could work for a company, this is an easy task to make your own business out of too.  You could do the poop-scooping on your own and keep all the profits!

Outhouse Route Driver

Ever wonder where all those portable toilets come from and who empties them out?  There are people out there whose job is to deliver outhouses and worst of all, suck all of the nastiness up into a huge tank on their truck and dispose of it.  This may sound like the “crappiest” of all odd jobs, but the pay is often$20 an hour or better.  Benefits are usually part of the deal as well.  That’s not bad for an job that at most requires a high school diploma.   BlueRoom, Ace Toilets, Sunshine Portable Toilets and 123 Portable Toilet Rental are some of the locals in this business.

Crime Scene Custodian

When a homicide, car accident or other deadly event takes place in which human fluids and body parts are strewn about, someone has the job of cleanup.  Much like other odd jobs considered here, this one is certainly not for the faint of heart.  You will probably see things that make experienced police officers sick to their stomach.  But while you are mopping up pools of blood you’ll at least be able to think about the $70,000+ salary that you get with no college degree.  CrimeSceneCleaning is one such local company that does this.

Glaziers

Have you ever thought about who put the glass windows on those skyscrapers?  These guys (or gals) do have a potentially scary job.  However, many of them do much simpler things such as installing glass shower doors or windows on homes.  That is usually the case locally as we don’t have many tall buildings.  It does require a 4-year apprenticeship, but it may be worth it for the $40-$80K pay scale.  There are a number of local businesses that need glaziers such as Perfection Glass.

Cruise Ship Entertainer

It is not easy to earn a spot on a cruise ship as a performer.   Although if you can, you pretty much get to travel around the world and get paid nicely to do an unusual job.  Talk about a deal!  Naturally you’ll have to audition for the position and it isn’t easy to make the cut, but if you can, you are one of the lucky few.  Check out any of the cruise lines at their respective website to find out how to apply.  They are always looking to fill odd jobs and while it is not local, it may be worth considering if you are fortunate enough to get hired.

 

What NOT To Say in an Interview

There is no question that what you say in a job interview is super important.  But don't let that overshadow what NOT say in an interview.  Despite your intentions, the

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Here is some unusual, but practical and useful career advice for anyone wanting to succeed in the working world. Don’t appear to be too busy This may sound counterintuitive, but

Organized Job Hunting

Job hunting can be a stressful task, whether you are seriously in the market or just casually looking.  Accordingly, you ought to be focusing on ORGANIZED job hunting.  Doing so

Odd Jobs that Pay Well

Bounty Hunter This is no job for pansies, but when fugitives have posted bail and failed to appear in court, someone has to track them down.  Bounty Hunters often end

Job Interview Tips for Success

Your may be totally qualified for the job.  You may want it more than anything and you may even be the best candidate...on paper.  However, if you don't nail the

Job Advice from Bill Gates

The world’s most successful college dropout Bill Gates, was recently featured by thejobnetwork.  Here’s what he had to say about being successful: Be aware of emerging fields. Scientists, engineers and

How to Get Money For College

1. Government grants. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for government grants, not loans (although there are those too) that can cover some, or even all of your expenses

Handling Salary Requirements

So how soon should you tell a potential employer what salary you demand?  The first interview?  After you are hired?  On your resume?  The best time to reveal this information

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Unusual Career Advice

Image result for moving upHere is some unusual, but practical and useful career advice for anyone wanting to succeed in the working world.

Don’t appear to be too busy

This may sound counterintuitive, but actually makes a lot sense.  Get things done to impress your boss and others, but if you are overloaded by taking on too much, that can be even worse.  Being too busy can make you stressed and frazzled, can appear that you are too stressed and frazzled to handle more responsibility or a promotion.  He may even think you are a great employee because you work so hard.  But at the same time he may also feel that you can’t handle his “pet” project on top of it.  You just missed an opportunity to shine because you work too hard!

Go the extra mile

Anyone who has ever said “that’s not my job,” or something similar, may have just as well said “I don’t even want to be promoted or make more money.”  Doing things that may not be specifically in your job description can be a great way of proving your loyalty and ability to adapt.

People that no longer work with you may be more valuable than those that do

Bob in the cubicle next door just left for a bigger firm and fatter paycheck, he may be the ticket to your next gig.  Now that he is there you have a connection and if you are considering changing companies, he becomes your ‘go to guy.’  This is especially true if your company is not likely to have a promotion for you for a long time.

Copy the success of others

If someone you work with is skilled at something that you want/need to be skilled at, do what they are doing.  You don’t have to do it exactly the same way, but if they are successful, then they are at least doing it better than you are.

Make the next guy’s job easier

Even if the next guy is ‘lower’ than you, it is important to impress everyone.  You never know if he will be your boss someday or be a connection you need for a future job or promotion.  For example, if you are a cook at a restaurant and always leave your area clean for the next shift, they will love you.  The more people that love you, the more likely you are to be promoted and/or paid more.  On the other hand, if you always leave your area in disarray, the next guy will probably gripe about you and soon others will too.

If you are new, accept any and all invitations to lunch or drinks

Even if you don’t drink, you should go so you can build repore and friendships with those you work with.  This will pay off later, BIG TIME.  Taking advantage of situations to socially interact with your co-workers is a plus.  They will be more likely to respect you and listen to you if they like you.

Beware what you cook in the breakroom microwave

Enough said.

Solve the biggest problem

Ask your boss what this is and fix it.  When you it is done, you make your job easier and you become the hero.  For example, let’s say you work at a shoe store.  Your boss tells you that the biggest problem is keeping the products organized throughout the day.  By closing time, the store is a wreck.  So you develop a “cleaning” schedule. The whole team takes part by keeping up with organizing inventory multiple times throughout each day.  Pretty soon the store is looking great almost all the time and you are the hero!

You are entitled to nothing

Always show gratitude for what you are provided with at work.  You may recieve pay, benefits, free coffee, a breakroom, whatever.  They don’t have to provide these things and you should not expect them.  Even if you do, at least act like you are grateful.   Of course you don’t need to go out of your way to seem grateful either.  However, you should not be griping that the healtcare isn’t good enough or that the 401k doesn’t match and or the breakroom is too small.  If you have an entitlement attitude, you are not likely to get very far.  Although, you are likely to end up back on the unemployement line.

 

What NOT To Say in an Interview

There is no question that what you say in a job interview is super important.  But don't let that overshadow what NOT say in an interview.  Despite your intentions, the

Unusual Career Advice

Here is some unusual, but practical and useful career advice for anyone wanting to succeed in the working world. Don’t appear to be too busy This may sound counterintuitive, but

Organized Job Hunting

Job hunting can be a stressful task, whether you are seriously in the market or just casually looking.  Accordingly, you ought to be focusing on ORGANIZED job hunting.  Doing so

Odd Jobs that Pay Well

Bounty Hunter This is no job for pansies, but when fugitives have posted bail and failed to appear in court, someone has to track them down.  Bounty Hunters often end

Job Interview Tips for Success

Your may be totally qualified for the job.  You may want it more than anything and you may even be the best candidate...on paper.  However, if you don't nail the

Job Advice from Bill Gates

The world’s most successful college dropout Bill Gates, was recently featured by thejobnetwork.  Here’s what he had to say about being successful: Be aware of emerging fields. Scientists, engineers and

How to Get Money For College

1. Government grants. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for government grants, not loans (although there are those too) that can cover some, or even all of your expenses

Handling Salary Requirements

So how soon should you tell a potential employer what salary you demand?  The first interview?  After you are hired?  On your resume?  The best time to reveal this information

First Day at a New Job?

So What Should Your First Day at a new Job Look Like? Get into the “swing” of things Your first day at a new job means a new routine altogether

Do These 5 Things in a Job Interview

Dress for Success Fair of not, what you wear will say a lot about you in a job interview, so go top-notch.  Men and women are different, so we will

Handling Salary Requirements

Image result for confused about moneySo how soon should you tell a potential employer what salary you demand?  The first interview?  After you are hired?  On your resume?  The best time to reveal this information is after a job offer is given.  Until then, you should avoid the subject unless specifically brought up by them.  Often they ask something like: “what kind of salary are you looking for?”  Your response should be vague on the order of “enough to provide a comfortable lifestyle for my family, but what is most important to me is doing what I love and making a positive impact in my sphere of influence.”  Now you sound like a star!

If you are pressed for an actual number, bring up something reasonable and toward the higher end of what you think (or know) the job pays.  If they really like you, high-balling them won’t rule you out.  However, if you low-ball them, they may low-ball you when it comes times for an offer.  In any case, try to avoid the subject until an offer is made or you’ll look like you’re just in it for the money, which of course you are to some extent, but you want to emphasize the ‘make a difference’ side of you.

However, oftentimes online job applications ask for the salary you seek.  It is best to leave this blank unless it is a required field, at which point you should write “negotiable” if a number is not required.  If a number is required, again, ask for the top range of what you think they will offer and expect less.  Don’t put the low end however, because then they might offer less than you are interested in, thinking they can get you for cheap.  It is a slippery slope unfortunately, but you should always appear more interested in the job than in the pay and in fact it is best if you ARE more interested in the job than the pay, but it doesn’t always work that way.

 

What NOT To Say in an Interview

There is no question that what you say in a job interview is super important.  But don't let that overshadow what NOT say in an interview.  Despite your intentions, the

Unusual Career Advice

Here is some unusual, but practical and useful career advice for anyone wanting to succeed in the working world. Don’t appear to be too busy This may sound counterintuitive, but

Organized Job Hunting

Job hunting can be a stressful task, whether you are seriously in the market or just casually looking.  Accordingly, you ought to be focusing on ORGANIZED job hunting.  Doing so

Odd Jobs that Pay Well

Bounty Hunter This is no job for pansies, but when fugitives have posted bail and failed to appear in court, someone has to track them down.  Bounty Hunters often end

Job Interview Tips for Success

Your may be totally qualified for the job.  You may want it more than anything and you may even be the best candidate...on paper.  However, if you don't nail the

Job Advice from Bill Gates

The world’s most successful college dropout Bill Gates, was recently featured by thejobnetwork.  Here’s what he had to say about being successful: Be aware of emerging fields. Scientists, engineers and

How to Get Money For College

1. Government grants. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for government grants, not loans (although there are those too) that can cover some, or even all of your expenses

Handling Salary Requirements

So how soon should you tell a potential employer what salary you demand?  The first interview?  After you are hired?  On your resume?  The best time to reveal this information

First Day at a New Job?

So What Should Your First Day at a new Job Look Like? Get into the “swing” of things Your first day at a new job means a new routine altogether

Do These 5 Things in a Job Interview

Dress for Success Fair of not, what you wear will say a lot about you in a job interview, so go top-notch.  Men and women are different, so we will

Job Advice from Bill Gates

Image result for bill gatesThe world’s most successful college dropout Bill Gates, was recently featured by thejobnetwork.  Here’s what he had to say about being successful:

  1. Be aware of emerging fields.

Scientists, engineers and economists are the “agents of change for all institutions.”  Everyone should beef up their knowledge in these fields if one isn’t already their specialty, so they can understand or at least interact with these folks.  You should also understand coding.  Not necessarily be a coder but know what they do.

  1. Be optimistic

Behind every success story is a string of failures, even for Bill Gates.  Be positive, confident and realistic and eventually you will find the success you are looking for.

  1. Be wary of success

The genius behind Microsoft says that a lousy teacher is the one that convinces smart people that they cannot fail.  Success comes to those who work hard, persevere and take chances, even if they aren’t the brightest crayon in the box.

  1. Be a fighter for the greater good.

It’s hard to say if he would have said this in the 80’s but becoming a billionaire has convinced Bill Gates to do a lot of good in the world and would have others do the same.  Improving the world is a great and noble cause, but hardly a requirement for success in your chosen career.

  1. Be open minded.

Don’t get stuck with the idea that things have to be done a certain way; they don’t.  Be open to new ideas because they are what define the future.

 

What NOT To Say in an Interview

There is no question that what you say in a job interview is super important.  But don't let that overshadow what NOT say in an interview.  Despite your intentions, the

Unusual Career Advice

Here is some unusual, but practical and useful career advice for anyone wanting to succeed in the working world. Don’t appear to be too busy This may sound counterintuitive, but

Organized Job Hunting

Job hunting can be a stressful task, whether you are seriously in the market or just casually looking.  Accordingly, you ought to be focusing on ORGANIZED job hunting.  Doing so

Odd Jobs that Pay Well

Bounty Hunter This is no job for pansies, but when fugitives have posted bail and failed to appear in court, someone has to track them down.  Bounty Hunters often end

Job Interview Tips for Success

Your may be totally qualified for the job.  You may want it more than anything and you may even be the best candidate...on paper.  However, if you don't nail the

Job Advice from Bill Gates

The world’s most successful college dropout Bill Gates, was recently featured by thejobnetwork.  Here’s what he had to say about being successful: Be aware of emerging fields. Scientists, engineers and

How to Get Money For College

1. Government grants. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for government grants, not loans (although there are those too) that can cover some, or even all of your expenses

Handling Salary Requirements

So how soon should you tell a potential employer what salary you demand?  The first interview?  After you are hired?  On your resume?  The best time to reveal this information

First Day at a New Job?

So What Should Your First Day at a new Job Look Like? Get into the “swing” of things Your first day at a new job means a new routine altogether

Do These 5 Things in a Job Interview

Dress for Success Fair of not, what you wear will say a lot about you in a job interview, so go top-notch.  Men and women are different, so we will

First Day at a New Job?

your first day at a new job sign day 1So What Should Your First Day at a new Job Look Like?

  1. Get into the “swing” of things

Your first day at a new job means a new routine altogether and that should begin on day #1 and continue until your last.  It may require waking up earlier (or later) than you are accustomed to, traveling a new route, even getting coffee at a new shop.  In any case, embrace the change and make it your new “you,” since it is the new you.  Even if you find the new routine not-so-great, discover ways to convince yourself that it is a wonderful change.  If you wake up earlier, think about how you are off so soon in the afternoon.  Think about the new scenery on the way to work and the unique choices at the new coffee shop.  Whether you love it or hate it, you still have to do it, so why not love it?

  1. Dress Appropriately

Knowing what to wear on your first day at a new job is sometimes a tough one.  My dad always taught me to go to any job interview in a suit no matter what the position!  But a suit is not always the best thing to wear as an employee.  It depends on the business and the sort of work.  The best way to gauge it is to wear what others are wearing, but go one step above just to be safe.  In other words, if others wear jeans and a t-shirt, wear nice jeans and a collared shirt.  Eventually you’ll figure it out, but you don’t want to be overdressed, or worse, underdressed.

  1. Be On Time

About the worst first impression in the world for a new staffer is to show up late the first day.  And on time is “late” too.  You want to seem excited, but not creepy, so don’t show up more than about 15 minutes early either.  Coming in on your first day at a new job an hour before your shift is just kind of bizarre but dashing in only a minute or two early suggests that you aren’t all that reliable.

  1. Go to Lunch

You definitely want to nurture relationships at work, so if you are invited to lunch, especially by your boss, GO!  This will give you a great chance to be with others in a casual, non-work atmosphere, but don’t take the opportunity to ‘let it all hang out’ either.  Be professional and make the conversation about them, not you.  Everyone loves to talk about themselves and you could score some serious points here.

  1. Identify Goals

Although you may have given the impression that you wanted the job to “make a difference,” when in actuality it is mostly because you need a paycheck, you still want to be successful.  Thus, it is imperative that you set a few goals that you wish to accomplish so that you will have something to work toward and evidence of your pure awesomeness.  What your goals are will vary greatly depending on the nature of the work, but in any case, seek to reach heights beyond expectation.

  1. Embrace Change

One of the worst things you can do in a new job is try to make things more like what you are used to from your last job.  Go with the culture and be a follower-even if your job is to be a leader-until you feel comfortable in the environment and changes that you might suggest or implement will be more relevant and more rational.  Sometimes people like to do things a certain way because that is what they are used to-don’t be this person, especially when it is your first day at a new job!

  1. Be You

There was something about you that made your hiring manager(s) decide that you have the training, experience, education and personality for the job.  So be YOU!  You want to be a perfect angel in the interview(s), but don’t become something different after you are hired.  You won’t likely last long or have a good experience.

 

What NOT To Say in an Interview

There is no question that what you say in a job interview is super important.  But don't let that overshadow what NOT say in an interview.  Despite your intentions, the

Unusual Career Advice

Here is some unusual, but practical and useful career advice for anyone wanting to succeed in the working world. Don’t appear to be too busy This may sound counterintuitive, but

Organized Job Hunting

Job hunting can be a stressful task, whether you are seriously in the market or just casually looking.  Accordingly, you ought to be focusing on ORGANIZED job hunting.  Doing so

Odd Jobs that Pay Well

Bounty Hunter This is no job for pansies, but when fugitives have posted bail and failed to appear in court, someone has to track them down.  Bounty Hunters often end

Job Interview Tips for Success

Your may be totally qualified for the job.  You may want it more than anything and you may even be the best candidate...on paper.  However, if you don't nail the

Job Advice from Bill Gates

The world’s most successful college dropout Bill Gates, was recently featured by thejobnetwork.  Here’s what he had to say about being successful: Be aware of emerging fields. Scientists, engineers and

How to Get Money For College

1. Government grants. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for government grants, not loans (although there are those too) that can cover some, or even all of your expenses

Handling Salary Requirements

So how soon should you tell a potential employer what salary you demand?  The first interview?  After you are hired?  On your resume?  The best time to reveal this information

First Day at a New Job?

So What Should Your First Day at a new Job Look Like? Get into the “swing” of things Your first day at a new job means a new routine altogether

Do These 5 Things in a Job Interview

Dress for Success Fair of not, what you wear will say a lot about you in a job interview, so go top-notch.  Men and women are different, so we will

 

Do These 5 Things in a Job Interview

man and woman in a job interview settingDress for Success

Fair of not, what you wear will say a lot about you in a job interview, so go top-notch.  Men and women are different, so we will treat them separately here:

Men

Wear a suit and tie, even if the job is as menial as a dishwasher.   Why?  Because you will be the ONLY potential dishwasher in a suit and that means big-time brownie points with the interviewer.  For more professional jobs, you will likely be competing with other guys that are also dressing the part, so you need to look at least as good as them.  This applies EVEN if you are interviewing at a company where the employees dress casually.  You might argue that you want to seem to fit in, but more often than not, they will see your professional dress as a sign that you are willing to go above and beyond.

Women

Wear professional, conservative clothing; the kind you would wear to church.  If you wear revealing clothing, the interviewer is likely to pass certain judgement about you; after all, that is his/her job.  If they like the revealing clothing, you may end up having a very bad experience at that job or at least attracting some unwanted attention.  If they don’t like it, then you figuratively lose points.  In short, conservative clothing will not hurt your chances in a job interview, but revealing clothing may.

Practice

Every chance you get, practice being interviewed.  Practice in front of the mirror and when you are alone, but even better is with someone.  Act like you are actually in a job interview and have them ask you actual job questions and make some up that you have not specifically prepared for.  You can find some of these in the article Job Interview Tips for Success.  The last thing you want is to be asked about something you haven’t thought about and be stuck asking if you can come back to that one.

Say “Thank You”

Every time you meet someone at the interview, thank them for their help/time.  For example, when you walk into an office and tell the secretary you are there for an interview, thank him/her.  Believe it or not, they may make a comment about your gratitude to the managers.  Of course, thank them as well as soon as you enter the room to be interviewed.  When the job interview is done, thank them again for their time.  On your way home after the interview, drop your pre-prepared thank you note in the mail that will get to their office in a day or two.  Very few people do this, and it will emphasize your interest in the job and make you stand out even more.

Talk to Insiders First

If you someone, anyone, that works for the company you have a job interview with, talk to them first.  Find out as much as you can about the company; everything is valuable.  Even if you speak to a custodian about an accountant position, you will at least be able to learn more about the environment, the culture and other inside information you may not have even thought to ask about.  Of course, if you know someone closer to the position you are applying for, all the better.

Do Your Homework

Find out whatever you can about the business, much of which is to be found online anymore.  What is their mission?  Vision?  Culture?  What do they do and where do they do it?  The more you know the better because an informed candidate appears more dedicated, interested and willing to do the leg work.  You want to be that candidate.  Remember, you are competing against other people, so you must do everything better than them to even have a chance!

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What NOT To Say in an Interview

what not to say in an interview picture man with hire me signThere is no question that what you say in a job interview is super important.  But don’t let that overshadow what NOT say in an interview.  Despite your intentions, the wrong words can spell disaster for your chances.  Be careful and be sure to NOT say these 10 things:

1. How much does this job pay? (or anything about pay)

This question, or anything about pay or benefits is a deal-breaker.  Employers want to hear that you are about ‘making a difference’ and ‘helping their company to succeed,’ not just a paycheck, even if that really IS why you want the job.  Let them bring up salary and benefits and if they ask you what you expect to be paid, be vague. Say in effect ‘enough to be able to take care of my family, but my real concern is doing what I love and helping this company to succeed.’  If they still press for an actual number, give them something a little above what you would accept.  The truth is that they will probably pay you what they’re going to pay you.  You will most certainly know what that number is before you are official..

2. Anything negative about previous employers

Talking trash about a former employer, boss or even colleague will only hurt you.  The interviewer can only conclude that you are difficult to work with, have a bad attitude and/or will be talking trash about them someday in a future interview if they hire you.  Even if you were fired or you really did have a bad experience and it was entirely someone else’s fault, put a positive spin on it, like ‘things just didn’t work out; we had a different philosophy on how to take care of customers,’ and then follow-up on what you learned from the experience (see, now they see you as teachable too!)

3. I’ll have YOUR job someday!

The sad fact is that you’re gonna get the ‘where do you see yourself in 5 (or 10) years.  The answer ALWAYS should include a postion with the company you are interviewing for, but should NOT include taking the position of the interviewer.  You want to ‘move up,’ but that doesn’t have to mean replacing who will be your manager.  That makes you look like future competition and why would someone hire you if they know your goal is to replace them?

4. My job sucks!

If you are currently employed, you’ll likely be asked why you are considering a new gig.  The answer should never include anything negative about your current employer (see above).  What you SHOULD is something positive about how you feel like you can be ‘more successful’ or ‘make a greater impact’ on clients if you are hired.

5. WOW, you are crazy hot for an interviewer!

So this is definitely something NOT to say in an interview.  Hopefully no one is dumb enough to say this outright, but beware of any compliments that could be construed as flirty.  Of course a woman can usually compliment a woman without any negative consequences, but if ayou are a man complimenting a woman, it will probably hurt.  A man complimenting a man is just creepy-weird, so don’t do that either.  Just be professional.

6. I’m perfect

When they ask about your weaknesses, and they will, don’t go with the ‘I can’t think of any’ BS.  The truth is you probably have tons of them, but lets focus on one.  You should already know how you respond to this question, but whatever you go with, turn it into a positive learning experience and DON’T make it something central to the job.  For instance, don’t tell them about how lousy your geometry skills are if you are applying to a carpenter position.  Instead, you might say that in the past you have struggled with being inefficient because you are so concerned about being exact, that when measurements are close enough, but not perfect, you sometimes spend extra time trying to get them exact.  HOWEVER, that is something you have worked on for the past few months and have improved a great deal and ensure that things are ‘close enough,’ but leave it at that.  So basically your ‘weakness’ is actually a strenght (attention to detail) and you don’t even have it anymore!

7. Why is your company circling the drain?

If you have applied to a company that is not doing so well financially (and you should know this from having researched a bit), be more positive and ask what ‘challenges’ they face and how you might be able to help them meet those challenges.  Then, hopefully they tell you why their company is circling the drain, but you also look good because you are already looking to solve problems and you aren’t even hired yet!

8. Can I work from home?

Some people want to work from home because they are slackers and you don’t want a potential employer to think you are “that guy.”  Assume you can’t work from home unless told otherwise.  If you can’t, it may just be a dissapointment for you and it certainly won’t make you look good.

9. I’m the best and you’ll regret it if you don’t hire me!

First of all, you can’t really know you are the most qualified and/or best choice.  In fact, there’s a reasonable chance you aren’t.  Confidence is a great thing to display in an interview, but there is a fine line between confidence and self-absorption.  Your best chance of landing the job is to give off an air of confidence mixed with humility and excitement.

10. No questions here…

You will be asked if you have any questions for them.  The best advice is to have a list of questions, if for no other purpose than to show that you are interested in the company.  More than likely they will answer some of these in the interview.  So write them down and ask questions throughout your visit, but at the end, ask any that have not been answered already.  If they have all been answered already, come up with something!  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Can you describe a typical week in this position?
  • What is the company’s management style?
  • How much travel will there be?
  • How soon will you be making a decision?
  • When will the position begin?
  • Do you have any concerns about my background and qualifications?
  • What are the company’s plans for growth and developement?

 

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Your may be totally qualified for the job.  You may want it more than anything and you may even be the best candidate…on paper.  However, if you don’t nail the interview, your chances are pretty slim, so here are some job interview tips to help you land that dream job.

Tell me about yourself.

Simple enough, right?  It is, but sadly many interviewers do not prepare for this one. What they really want to hear is stuff that relates to the job, not your hobbies or family life.  In fact, you may want to steer clear of things that may cause the interviewer to pass judgement such as your religion, political views and family life.  Focus on a few past accomplishments and how you ended up at this point.  For example, a nice response might be:I grew up in East Kansas where I graduated high school and then I attended college at Kansas State University where I received my bachelor’s degree in marketing.  My first job was with ABC Publishing where I helped increase revenue by about $1M through an aggressive marketing program that I was part of implementing.  Next I went to XYZ retail where I was placed at the head of marketing and again established a campaign that increased our bottom line.  Now I hope to have the opportunity to do the same for your organization.

How did you hear about the position?

Another seemingly innocuous question that actually isn’t.  They DON’T want to hear that you happened across the position by pure accident and figure ‘what the heck.’  Your response should be more focused on your diligence, even if you did happen across the position.  Ideally you learned about the company because you sought them out and researched their company and then applied for the position.  However, realistically you likely came across it like everyone else; on a job board or other similar place.  In any case, talk about what impressed you about THIS company.  For example:I first learned about your company on Indeed.com and it sounded like exactly what I was looking for.  I decided to research your company before applying and was quite impressed what others were saying about you and how you make a real difference in the lives of your customers with such high quality products.

What do you know about the company?

You should already know plenty about the company because you should have done your research.  Particularly pay attention to their mission statement and goals.  If it is a wheelchair manufacturer and their mission is to ‘increase wheelchair access through innovation that decreases costs that can be passed on to clients in savings,’ then you ought to mention something about it in your response.  Don’t quote it, but comment on it.  For example:

I know you have been manufacturing wheelchairs for almost 60 years now and are one of the leaders in the industry.  But what really impressed me about this company is the honest desire to improve manufacturing in such a way as to keep costs low and pass those savings onto customers so that those that need a wheelchair can get one.

Why do you want this job?

Your response to this (like most others) should be about how you can help them, not the other way around.  They don’t want to hire you because of what will help YOU, but how you will help their business succeed.  Even if YOU want benefits, YOU want higher pay or YOU want a less stressful job, telling them that will only make you look like you are a taker and NO business wants a taker.  So here’s an idea:

In my research of your company I was really impressed with your mission to serve all customers like family and that is the same way I feel.  I want to be part of an organization like this and help it to grow and serve even more customers.

Why should we hire you?

Here is where you should be VERY familiar with the job description.  They are looking for you to mention how you can accomplish the things they want.  For instance, if they need a manager who can motivate their team, increase sales and improve customer satisfaction, they you darn well better tell them how you are the person to do those things.  Again, this is NOT about YOU, but about how you can help THEM!

First of all, I have a naturally cheery disposition and I think that is always good for morale.  Besides I have helped motivate teams in the past.  I’m also great at interacting with customers and teaching my team to do the same.  In fact, in my last job, they referred to me as the “Beast Tamer” because I was known for turning irate customer returns into additional sales.  Overall, I am confident that sales would increase with morale and customers will be happier than they ever have been.

What are your strengths?

Of course the question they are asking is about strengths that relate to the job.  This is not a list, but maybe two strengths that you have (they should be real strengths) and examples.  For instance, if you are applying for a position as an administrative assistant, you might talk about how fast you are at typing and good under pressure.  You might say:

I am a really fast typer, with a record of 93 wpm and I do really well under pressure.  One time, my boss brought me a hand-written transcript that had to be typed up within 15 minutes, but it was 6 pages long.  So I got right on it and finished just in the nick of time, even though it seemed impossible.  It’s funny, because I’m pretty sure I did more than 93 wpm that day, but I hardly had time to keep track of course.

What are your weaknesses?

Be careful with this one.  Don’t answer that you have none because that is of course not true, but also arrogant.  Also don’t raise any red flags such as ‘I really don’t like people’ or ‘I have trouble getting to work on time.’  Pick a real weakness, but one that is not-that-bad AND include how you are working to overcome it.  For example:

I would have to say public speaking.  I get pretty nervous speaking to groups of people, but in my last job I often volunteered to do presentations because I wanted to improve on it.  I’m still not great at it, but I’m getting better.

What is your greatest achievement?

Here is your chance to really shine because interviewers want to hire people that will help their business excel and if you have a track record of just that, you’re a shoe-in.  Of course make sure you have already identified and thought about your greatest achievement and don’t be afraid to embellish.  Don’t lie, but talk yourself up.  Briefly describe the situation, what YOU did and the result.  For example:

When I was hired to manage the Coach store, things were in disarray and the store was on route to be closed in a couple years if it didn’t turn profitable.  There were so many things to be done, so I did all of them every day.  These included making the store and products clean and presentable at all times, organizing back stock and the back room, training employees on product knowledge and customer service and scheduling better to meet customer demands.  Within 3 months the store became profitable and within 6 months, we achieved an all-time record in sales.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Whatever you say, the answer should include still being employed by the company you are interviewing with.  If it isn’t, then maybe you are looking in the wrong place.  They want to know you are ambitious, realistic and if you are right for the position.  So don’t suggest you will be the CEO in 5 years, in the same position or retired.  Instead, look to the next position “up” or one that is similar.  For example:

I can see myself moving from Junior Account Manager to a senior position.  I think my work will speak for itself and the management will see that I could have a bigger impact on the company in a position of greater influence.

Tell me about a conflict you faced and how you handled it.

The interviewer is trying to get a sense of how you deal with conflict with this question because there always is some.  Depeding on the job, there may be a lot.  Regardless, you should have a good example ready to go and again, embellishment is OK.  Just make sure to briefly describe the situation, how you responded to it, how that “fixed” it and the happy ending that resulted.  You might say:

When I worked at the employement center, we would interview clients and that information was passed on to the secretaries, one of whom did not seem to like me.   She was just plain rude sometimes, so I decided to approach her about it.  I calmly entered her office and asked why there was such a problem between us.  In the process of the conversation, I learned that I had been inputting some of the information incorrectly into the system and she had to fix it all the time.  I asked her if she would be willing to show me how to do it properly so as to avoid the problem in the future.  She did exactly that and we are still good friends today.

 

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So how soon should you tell a potential employer what salary you demand?  The first interview?  After you are hired?  On your resume?  The best time to reveal this information

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How to Get Money For College

how to get money for college graduate celebrating1. Government grants.

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for government grants, not loans (although there are those too) that can cover some, or even all of your expenses for college. This depends mostly on your financial status according to your previous year’s tax return if you are an adult and your parents’ if you are a dependent.  Start by creating a FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) HERE and learn how to get money for college.

When I was approaching graduation, we were quite poor with 3 kids.  I was working and only taking one class at a time so I did not qualify for grants or even loans.  After talking to a counselor, I discovered that if I quit my job and took a big fat load of classes I could finish school in  one more semester.  Because of my financial circumstances, I qualified for a grant that enabled me to get money for college and put over $4000 in my pocket!  I did and finished more than a year earlier than if I had continued on the same path.  Partly because of that, I finished my undergraduate degree without any debt.

2. Scholarships.

Free money is also available for all sorts of reasons and for all sorts of people, you just have to find them. They come from many different entities including private businesses, government agencies and even just wealthy individuals. It is also helpful to be a “minority” of some kind as some scholarships are aimed toward a certain demographic such as Hispanics, Catholics, women or libertarians (just to name a few). Billions of dollars go unclaimed every year because many people don’t search them out, but if you find and apply for scholarships that few or no others have, you are virtually guaranteed to get it.  You can find a ton of them HERE.

3. Go into the Armed Forces.

Although this can be a good career choice in and of itself, if you enter a branch of the military for a period of years (usually at least 4), you not only receive a paycheck and some sort of training, but are eligible for thousands toward school. There are also programs in which your branch of service will pay for your schooling with the stipulation that you work for them for a period of time following graduation.For example, the Army offers several options for how to get money for college.  First is the GI Bill, which pays depending on the amount of time you are enlisted.  It can cover more than $60,000 of college expenses.

4. Work there.

Oftentimes colleges will give free tuition to their employees, who can work for the school and attend at the same time. For instance, an admissions counselor may work by day and go to school by night. Of course not all schools offer this option, but even if not, tuition usually is substantially reduced.  The downside of course is that they usually don’t pay well.  Think about it.  In a college town with thousands of potential employees with limited credentials (that’s why they are in college after all), there is a huge supply of menial job workers.  You may be able to find a job outside of the school that pays better although it is not likely and there definitely won’t be tuition benefits attached.

5. Tuition waivers.

Sometimes schools give “waivers” for particular situations. For example, you might be really smart, a minority, employee, a senior or a dislocated worker and qualify for a tuition waiver. Again, this will depend on your school of choice, so if you intend to employ this route, make sure it is even an option where you plan to attend.  This is how to get money for college without ever even having to get the money in the first place!  For instance, Washington State University accepts applications for tuition waivers for the following individuals:

  • Civil service employees working half time or more and have permanent status
  • Civil service employees serving in trial appointments and meet the above requirements
  • Teachers from public or vocational schools that are pursuing endorsements or assignments in areas designated as “shortage”
  • K-12 teachers seeking coursework relevant to their current appointment

6. Get your boss to pay.

Many companies will pay for you to go to school, although sometimes it must be directly related to your work and/or they may require you to continue employment for a period of time following your schooling or you have to pay some back. For instance, you might work in the HR department in a hospital doing payroll and your company is willing to pay for you to attend classes at the local college or online to get your bachelor’s degree in human resources.

Fluor is one such company that provides a great way to get money for college.  They encourage ‘educational enrichment’ and will pay for tuition, fees, registration and even books.  The rub is that, like many companies, they pay after satisfactory completion.  In other words, if you don’t pass, they don’t reimburse.  But if you do pass, they pay you back for every bit of it.  Yes, you do pay up-front, but ultimately it costs you nothing.

7. Get into a high demand field.

Oftentimes schools offer incentives for those entering programs that will lead to jobs in high demand. Scholarships are also often awarded to people who plan to study something in particular, like nursing. Nurses are not easy to come by, so a nursing organization may give scholarships to those entering that particular field.  Some of these include:

  • Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Finance
  • Mathematics
  • Economics
  • Physics

These are all high demand jobs because they require high mental demands to complete.  No fool ever graduated in one of these majors!  In short, not just anyone will or even can succeed in these subjects and so relatively few finish, if they ever even start in one of these subjects.  If you have the brains for it, then you are among a small majority and there are companies and organizations out there than are interested in you graduating.  You will have little trouble figuring out how to get money for college, but you may still have to go find it.

 

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Odd Jobs that Pay Well

Bounty Hunter This is no job for pansies, but when fugitives have posted bail and failed to appear in court, someone has to track them down.  Bounty Hunters often end

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Your may be totally qualified for the job.  You may want it more than anything and you may even be the best candidate...on paper.  However, if you don't nail the

Job Advice from Bill Gates

The world’s most successful college dropout Bill Gates, was recently featured by thejobnetwork.  Here’s what he had to say about being successful: Be aware of emerging fields. Scientists, engineers and

How to Get Money For College

1. Government grants. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for government grants, not loans (although there are those too) that can cover some, or even all of your expenses

Handling Salary Requirements

So how soon should you tell a potential employer what salary you demand?  The first interview?  After you are hired?  On your resume?  The best time to reveal this information

First Day at a New Job?

So What Should Your First Day at a new Job Look Like? Get into the “swing” of things Your first day at a new job means a new routine altogether

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