Friday, May 14, 2010

Mock Job Interview -Why and How

Okay, when was the last time that you had a job interview? If you're a little rusty, you may want to consider doing a few practice runs. These practice runs are commonly referred to as mock
interviews. Although mock interviews may seem a little bit silly, there are a number of benefits to doing them, such as giving you a glimpse into your strengths and weaknesses, giving you time to improve before the real interview.

Another benefit of a mock interview is the much-needed practice you will receive. It's no secret that job interviews can be nerve-wracking. Even if this isn’t your first job interview, it can
still cause you nervousness. Many job seekers find that holding mock job interviews with their friends or family members helps ease the nervousness often associated with job interviews. In fact, it may give you a boost in confidence.

When conducting your mock interview, be sure to pay special attention to answering any questions typical for job interviews, as well as giving a proper greeting and goodbye. Common questions may include:

1) What are your strengths and weaknesses?

2) What are your long term goals?

3) Where do you want to be in ten years?

4) How do you handle stress on the job?

5) Tell us a little about yourself.

Often times the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. Nothing says an interested worker like someone who comes prepared with some questions about the job and company. Just be sure to steer away from such questions as "when do I get my first vacation" and "how long is lunch."

When choosing someone to help you conduct your mock interview, try to find someone who is known for giving unbiased opinions. You want someone who isn't afraid to give you constructive criticism.

Yes, it is possible to practice in front of a mirror; however you may benefit more by practicing with another person who can give you feedback or provide you with helpful suggestions.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Don't Forget to Network

You may think that networking is beyond your reach. What you don’t realize is that it is something you probably do every day! When you call in a favor, when you ask a co-worker for assistance, when you are introduced to new colleagues, you are networking.

Networking involves contacting existing and new people within or outside of your line of work. Many employers don't post their most lucrative job openings, instead they rely on existing staff members to spread the news by word of mouth. This system of referrals usually produces a smaller pool of the most qualified candidates - thus the employer doesn't waste money on advertising or time interviewing poor candidates.

Get Out There and Network!

You can increase your network by going to places where people in your field gather, joining a local association, or even taking a class. You will be surprised to find out how easy it is to meet individuals you would not otherwise come into contact with. You may also choose to join an online social networking website dedicated to networking professionals.

Networking is important even if you are happy with your current job and are not looking to change. A diverse network comes in handy in the event of a crisis, whenever you have business related difficulties or are looking for a better job opportunity.

People who are at the top of the corporate ladder have extensive networks that they rely on for many different reasons. They realize that even though they may be at the top of their careers, their network will help keep them there.

Start surfing online to find sites that may be of interest to you and are in your line of work. If you have difficulty finding reliable sources, then contact the professional association for your field and they should be able to give you some great referrals. No matter how you go about it, networking is something that no professional can afford NOT to do!

You can find more online networking sites at:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How to Choose a Professional Resume Writer

Below are a few things to consider when hiring a professional resume writer:

  • You want someone who is easy to contact.

  • You want someone who can provide you with samples of both resumes and cover letters.

  • You want someone who provides you with their costs ahead of time.

  • You want someone who offers additional services, such as job search consultation and interview preparation.

  • You might want to also consider someone who is certified through PARW (the Professional Association of Resume Writers). PARW maintains a list of certified resume writers, and their certification has come to be considered the industry standard.

Want more info on resumes? Go to our webpage on how to make a resume work for you.

When to Hire a Professional Resume Writer

While you can certainly write your own resume, there may come a time when it's best to hire a professional. When do you know if that time has come? Well, you need to ask yourself a question: are

you getting interviews for the types of jobs you want when you submit your resume? If you aren’t, then you may need to call in a professional.

However, a resume writer’s services can be quite expensive, so you may want to consider a few other things before hiring help.

1. Look over your current resume to see if there are any basic improvements you can make. Even just double-checking your spelling and grammar may be enough to catch the reason that you aren’t getting many interviews.

2. Make sure that your resume is geared towards the type of job you're seeking. This is really important if you're changing careers, as your current resume may focus on the career you're leaving, not the one you're aspiring to.

3. Check that your resume focuses on your accomplishments. Your accomplishments show a potential employer why they should hire you.

If you are still having trouble, though, it may be time to seek professional help. Many resume writers can truly improve your resume and help you find the job that you want. However, keep in mind that paying a professional resume writer doesn’t guarantee that your resume will land the perfect job. Instead, a good resume is just an edge in your competition with other applicants.

While seeking out a professional resume writer, don't be tempted to try to save money with the cheapest person out there. While professional services may seem high, using a low-priced service can actually be a problem. Extremely inexpensive resume writing services may be little more than scams.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Job Doesn't Pay Enough? Ask For a Signing Bonus!

If an employer wants you badly enough, you may be able to talk him or her into paying you a signing bonus. Signing bonuses are typically easier to negotiate than a higher salary, because an employer views a signing bonus as a one-time payment, rather than your reoccurring salary. Offering a signing bonus, rather than a higher salary, can be much less expensive for the company.

Signing bonuses have come to be seen as a sort of admission on the part of your employer that you are worth more than the job actually pays. This is information to keep in mind during your negotiations, as well as when you are asking for a raise down the line. If your employer thought that you were worth a little extra money to hire you, he or she might decide that it’s worth a little more to keep you on board.

Thinking you're worth a signing bonus is one thing. Requesting one may be downright awkward. Rather than asking if this position might carry a signing bonus, you might ask ‘what is the signing bonus?’ Just acting with confidence may be enough to carry you into negotiations, particulary if the salary is lower than what someone of your experience would be expected to make.

When negotiating a signing bonus, keep in mind that the IRS considers them regular income. And, if the IRS considers signing bonus income, so should you. That means you should set aside some money to help pay the additional taxes.

It’s up to you to negotiate the terms of your bonus. Most companies will include contingencies in your contract regarding your signing bonus. For instance, you might receive your bonus up front, but you would be required to return it if you leave the company within your first year. If you do decide to move on to a new job without completing the terms of your contract, you may be required to return either part of or the entire signing bonus.

Overall, signing bonuses can add that bump to your salary and benefits package to make employment with a specific company worth your while. You should realize, though, that a signing bonus is only a one-time payment. It may be better worth your while to find a company willing to raise your salary to convince you to take an offer, because, in the long run, you will typically make more.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How to Screw Up Your Resume

Want to know how to make a resume that will totally turn off your prospective employer?

1. Be sure not to spell check.

2. Have a bunch of unexplained gaps in your work history. Prospective employers like to see that you were doing something during a work absence, like volunteer work, stay-at-home parenting, schooling. So, if you don't want the job, just make it seem like you were at home watching Law & Order reruns all day long.

3. Put in a bunch of personal hobbies and interests. Employers hate that. Especially when the hobbies have nothing to do with your career.

4. Include personal attributes or photographs. Unless you're applying as a model or entertainer, employers don't need to see your photo. And, most don't want to.

5. Print your resume with fancy fonts, or print it on lime green paper. Employers like easy to read fonts on white or neutral paper, which makes it easier to read. So, if you don't want the job, use some fancy script that looks like it's a poster for the Renaissance Fair.

6. Put in a bunch of very outdated information. Face it, if you're over 30, you don't really need to put in the name of your high school. And, if you have some obsolete skills, such as your Wang word processing skills, leave it off, unless, of course, you want to annoy a prospective employer with meaningless information they have to read through.

How Long Can I File a Tax Extension?

Okay, I guess no one really needs a reminder that your tax returns are due in today.

If you've already mailed in your tax return, congratulations! If not, you'd better hurry. They are due today.

What about an extension?

You can get an automatic six-month tax extension by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. But, you do have to file it on April 15, today. But, remember, filing an extension of time to file is NOT an extension of time to pay. You do have to pay the amount of the tax estimated to be due for the tax year. Interest will be charged on your unpaid taxes.

You can get the form by going to: