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For College Grads – Getting a Job Is About More Than Coursework

24 Oct

“What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?” asked 20 year old Jeremy Epstein of President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney at their Hofstra University debate. With this question he put before the nation the worry of today’s college students, plus the reality of approximately half of recent graduates and all their families.

I put the question of how a college student can best be positioned to gain employment after graduation before two top academic career counselors. One of them serves “creative entrepreneurs” – undergrads who aspire to a career in the arts. The other heads the career services department at a top rated southern MBA program. Learn what they have to say in my article published by USNews & World Report. Here’s the link:



4 Ways A Thank You Note Holds Sway!

17 Oct

Baseball season is nearing a World Series crescendo, and football season is well underway. Any pitcher or quarterback will tell you that the follow through after they throw the ball is critical to successful execution. The same holds true for you, the job hunter: Your follow through after the interview is just as important as the cover letter and resume that you submitted to get the interview in the first place.

In my latest USNews & World Report Careers blog post, I write about the importance of promptly sending individualized note to every person who interviews you for a job, from HR to the hiring manager. The note can do important things all at once. Click the link and find out more! Here’s the URL:



21 Sep

Successful job hunters, over the years, shared with me their “secrets for success.”

In my latest article, which appears in U.S. News & World Report, I share their tips for reaching a speedy and successful conclusion to a job hunt.

Find out how to orient yourself to the job of getting a job, why it is important to keep up to date with the latest skills and knowledge in your field, the key to networking success, and more. Learn about eight of my favorite rules to organize your search while maintaining your sanity and a normal life. Here’s the link:

Happy Hunting!


11 Sep

There’s more to an interview than just answering questions. In fact, often the answers you give are less important than the inferences that an interviewer makes from them. If you understand this, you can demonstrate that you have the strong communications skills that so many people claim, but far fewer actually possess.

A good interviewer is trained to get to know a candidate’s personality, temperament, self-confidence, overall maturity, and more. These are qualities that can’t be ascertained directly, but make a key difference in hiring decisions. In my article which is published by USNews & World Report, I explain the questions behind the questions you are likely to be asked in an interview,  and reveal what interviewers are really evaluating. Here’s the link:




4 Sep


“Do you have any questions for me?”

This is a very typical way for an interview to wind down a conversation. It gives the illusion of a level playing field, with each side having a turn to query the other.

The employer obviously understands you want to know where you stand in their priorities, how much compensation you will receive if you get the job, and other questions that relate to you and your needs/wants.

Don’t ask these kinds of questions! If you do, you will lose a precious opportunity to advance your chances for being hired. In my article posted on USNews & World Report this week, I’ll explain the very best things you can do toward the end of your job interview to close the deal.

Here’s the link:




28 Aug

Celebrities like Lady Gaga (approximately 28.8 million Twitter followers) and Justin Bieber (approximately 27.1 million followers) can advance their careers and gain even more notoriety with a 140 character long tweet. But can a job hunter with no followers actually use this site of very short messages to get a job? You bet you can!

In my article this week, I identify Twitter techniques that recruiters use, and how you can capitalize on them as you hunt for your next job. This major social media site can be mined for job opportunities not easily found elsewhere and help you track the activities of companies. When you carefully put yourself “out there” you can greatly add to the value of your own personal brand. To learn more, follow this link to the article:

Happy hunting !


21 Aug


Baby boomers have a special concern when interviewing for a new position: how to deal with the issue of age discrimination. It is important to show that you are not only capable of doing the job, but passionate about doing so.  In my article for USNews & World Report this week I offer key interview tips for how to make this happen.  Here’s the link:

Happy hunting!


4 Tips For Older Job Seekers Facing Discrimination

31 Jul
“I’m 58 years old, out of work… and I’m not ready or financially able to retire. My age is really making it difficult to find a job,” laments a job hunter. In my latest article I offer 4 ways older workers can confront age discrimination and level the playing field with their younger competition. It is now leading the Career Blog on USNews and World Report. Here’s the link to the full article:
Check it out, and be sure to comment. I’d love to know your thoughts, and any other strategies you think are/can be helpful.
Happy hunting!

Top 10 Ways To Slow Down Your Job Hunt

22 Feb
  1. Play The “Happy Game”. Don’t deal with depression, frustration or other emotions.  Don’t cultivate a support network to which you actually can go to for support.  And if you already happen to have a support network, don’t let them know how they can help you… make ’em guess.
  2. Channel the St. Louis Rams with their .125 Win percentage this past season. Have as few goals as possible.
  3. Believe Your Resume Is “Where It’s At”. Embrace Resume Paralysis.  Don’t bother to tailor it to every job you apply for.
  4. Become One With Your Laptop. Spend the majority of your time at home, behind the screen.
  5. Nurture Your Inner Child. Be helpless. Focus on yourself and your own needs – don’t worry about what any perspective employer would want from you.Do the bare minimum to get by.
  6. Become An “Island”.  Avoid meeting people.  Don’t even think about going to a networking meeting where you don’t already know someone.
  7. Discount Your Contacts – Even Better, Annoy Them!  Don’t bother to follow-up every lead that someone gives you.  Don’t bother to write thank you notes to people who help you.  After all, you are entitled to all the help someone can give to you, right?!
  8. Avoid Non-Traditional Paths. Pass up contract and temp work, and don’t even think about just taking on a project to keep you skills up to date.
  9. Talk Until They Drop. Don’t bother to listen to what people are asking you – just hammer away at your own canned message.  Be as vague and ambiguous as possible – that way no one can pin you down to anything specific.
  10. Believe In Your Heart That Your Next Job Is Forever. Stop networking as soon as you land.

I’ve seen various forms of this list floating around on the internet, but I don’t know the original authorship.  I have added some of my own comments throughout.

If any of these suggestions are ways that you are actually conducting your jobhunt, you need a jobhunter coach!  If you mention this article when you sign up for three hours of my coaching service between today and March 31, 2012 I’ll throw in a 4th hour absolutely free!  This offer is valid for new clients only.

Happy Hunting!




9 Feb

Not long ago, I was at Disneyland on vacation.   While waiting to get into the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor in the Magic Kingdom, I spotted a sign on a door that read:  “Inhuman Resources”.  Good humor, of course, is best based in reality, and the reality here is simple: most Job Hunters think of HR as inhuman.  Like the late great Rodney Dangerfield, HR staffing specialists often get “no respect”.

Take a minute, however, to look at the hiring process from the other side of the desk.  A typical HR staffing person might be assigned to deal with 20 to 40 job requisitions at a time.  Each one of them will likely attract 100 – 500 candidates in today’s job market.  Assuming each applicant has a 2 page resume, that amounts to 200 – 1,000 pages of repetitive, boring, and all too often, irrelevant resumes to be considered for EACH job requisition.  Overburdened staffing specialists can’t possibly afford the spare seconds to ask: “The candidate said XXX.  I wonder if that means he/she has done/can do YYY.”  They simply don’t have the time to contemplate what the resume writer is “really getting at”.

The reality is that the HR person’s role is screen OUT more than screen IN, to look for any excuse to reject rather than to accept a candidate.  The human impulse to help people is replaced by the unfortunately necessary “inhuman”, unforgiving response to any typographical error or small doubt about any given candidate.  It isn’t about whether any given candidate might be able do the job if given a chance.  Rather, it is about winnowing the field to find 5 or 10 exceptional candidates out of hundreds to pass on to the hiring manager.

I know this to be true, because I used to be one of those people, sorting through the resumes, dealing with Applicant Tracking Systems, deciding who merits an initial interview, and conducting those phone screening interviews.  The wise job hunter will look at the phone screening interview as a prized opportunity to gain an initial advocate.  Here are tips how to do so:

  1.  SPOON FEED INFORMATION IN A WAY THAT THE INTERVIEWER WANTS IT.  The screening interview is about doing Due Diligence on the part of the company, dealing with “red” and “yellow” flags on otherwise stellar resumes, discerning a candidate’s true interest level in the job, knowledge about the company, and general fit for the position.  It is ALL about the EMPLOYER’S NEEDS, and NOT AT ALL about the candidate’s concerns.  If you are asked about a potential “red flag”, be grateful for the opportunity to deal with it and put it out of the way—and be ready to do so.  By the way you deal with these and other issues you can build rapport and give the ammunition needed to help the HR staffer make your case, or you can shoot yourself in the foot.
  2. BE COOPERATIVE, AND UNDERSTAND THAT EACH QUESTION HAS A PURPOSE THAT ISN’T ALWAYS OBVIOUS.  Often hiring managers provide HR with questions that every candidate must answer, even if the answer is as plain as day on their resume.  Responding by saying, “If you read my resume you would see what you are talking about,” will be regarded as hostile.  The process, especially at this stage, is all determined by the employer.  You may not like it, but you have to conform to its contours.  From your answers your interviewer will derive insights about your intelligence, ability to communicate effectively, emotional disposition, eagerness to learn from failure or mistakes, and more.
  3. DON’T BE DEFENSIVE OR COY.  For example, if you respond to the question, “What will be your salary requirement?” with an answer like, “I’m negotiable”, or “Make me an offer and I’ll consider it”, you are more likely to generate antagonism than a next interview.  It’s much more reasonable to say something like:  “In my last/current position, I was/am earning XXX, but I can’t at this stage know how that would equate to this position in your company.”
  4. DON’T WASTE TIME WITH PROCESS QUESTIONS such as:  “When will I hear back from you?”, “Where are you in the hiring process?”, “How did I do?”, or “When do you want the person you hire to start work?”  It’s obvious that every job seeker wants the answers to these questions, but this isn’t the proper time for them.

Toward the end of the interview, you will likely be asked if you have any questions.  This is an opportunity to show, by the questions you ask (and the way you ask them) your understanding of the role, the company, your skills and your enthusiasm.  Don’t forget to close by expressing your appreciation for being considered, and offer to give any follow-up material that would be helpful.

The really good screeners know how to interpret tone of voice, attitude, levels of competence and self-confidence.  Speak clearly, articulate your words, make sure you respond fully and forthrightly to the question that is asked rather than spewing out some canned message that you want to get across.

It all comes down to this:  be the professional that you are to earn the respect you deserve, and the chance to proceed in the hiring process.

Happy Hunting!