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Interview Tips
Thank You Notes:
  1. Most people think the appropriate way to send a thank you note is to hand write it and mail it to the hiring manager. Wrong. In today's fast-paced business world, e-mail thank you notes are the best protocol.

  2. Be sure to have in your note one strong sentence to emphasize competencies that are pertinent to that position

  3. Never write "I think I can... or I feel that I can...." always say "I am confident that I can..."

  4. Don't start off with a lot of unnecessary words like "I want to take this opportunity to thank you for meeting with me....... Say "Thank you for meeting with me today to discuss the XXX position".

  5. Keep the thank you note short positive, personal and to the point

  6. Have someone double check your note - a good recruiter should ask to review your note before it goes out. Even with spell check things can be written wrong and words can be repeated.

  7. Send the thank you note out, if at all possible, the same day or next - it shows good follow up skill on your part.

Resume Revisions:

You would be surprised at how many candidates leave out important facts, such as the names and locations of companies where they've worked, or include too much information. Is your resume working for you or against you? Here are some points to help tweak (or toss) your résumé:

1. No Career Summary/Introductory Statement
Most hiring companies don't have time to match unspecified résumés to open positions, so lead off with a career summary or introductory statement that makes it clear what type of position you are seeking and why you are qualified for the job.

2. Lack of Keywords and Phrases
To pass through a company's applicant tracking software, your résumé must contain the keywords and phrases it is screening for. These words are not the verbs stressed in paper résumés, but nouns such as job titles and technical skills. Read the job description and throw in their big catch phrases and descriptors.

3. No Evidence of Your Experience
Your résumé should not merely list the jobs you've held; it should provide specific examples of how you achieved success. Résumé-writing professionals recommend using the PARS formula: Describe a Problem, the Action you took, the Results you achieved and Skills you applied.

4. Use of Personal Pronouns and Articles
With just two pages to sell yourself, make each word count. Write in a telegraphic style, eliminating all personal pronouns and articles like "the," "a" and "an." Removing the "I," "me" and "my" from your résumé not only frees up space, but creates a subliminal perception of objectivity.

5. Irrelevant Information
Irrelevant information keeps the reader from seeing your selling points. Weigh each portion of your experience from the hiring company's perspective to decide what to include and what to emphasize. If you're applying for an engineering position, for example, don't devote a whole paragraph to your job as a camp counselor unless the position has elements that are transferable to the engineering job. And never include information about your marital status, personal situation, hobbies or interests unless they are relevant to the job for which you're applying and no, they do not need to know whether you were a life guard back in high school.

6. Poor Formatting
Unless you have no work experience or have held a number of different jobs in a short amount of time, a chronological résumé is the most effective. That means using the following order:
• Header (your name, address, e-mail address and phone number)
• Career summary, profiling the scope of your experience and skills
• Reverse chronological employment history emphasizing achievements
• Education
Plus, don’t use caps, it makes it hard to read.

7. Typos and Misspelled Words
From the would-be administrative assistant who claimed to be a "rabid typist" to the executive who boasted that he was "instrumental in ruining the entire operation," misspellings communicate that you have poor writing skills or a lackadaisical attitude. Proofread your résumé carefully and have several friends and family members read it as well.

Last, remember that the purpose of your résumé is to communicate your experiences and accomplishments as they relate to an open position and to obtain a job interview. Because each situation is different, you should tailor your résumé to each opportunity.

The Counter Offer Dilemma

It's counter intuitive, but counter-offers are almost always counterproductive for your career.

I'm not talking about the give-and-take involved in a salary negotiation. I mean the kind of counter-offer you might get when you announce you're resigning to take another job. Sure, it's an ego boost, but a backhanded one, when you think about it. If you were so valuable all along, how come you had to quit to get your employer to recognize it?

The simple answer is that most companies don't have to be proactive in this labor market. They can coast because the demand for talent isn't that hot and there are lots of unemployed pros out there. No need to spend extra money unless the company is forced to do it.

That must be the case because they've made you a counter-offer. It looks like you're in the driver's seat now.

But you're not. You just think you are (read more).
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