Blog for Job Seekers

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January 19, 2018

Job Hunters, You Need a Pre-Game Routine

It’s pretty much a guarantee you’re going to frequently feel unmotivated and lacking the energy to look for a job. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy or not trying hard enough or not good enough. None of us are 100 percent motivated all the time about our job, about life, about our children, about doing laundry, about losing weight, about going grocery shopping, about parenting, about exercising, about eating healthy. That’s just being human.

So, what can get us motivated to look for a job, when we don’t feel like it? Remember, we’re not motivationally challenged, we just need a pre-game routine, says James Clear (author and photographer) in his online article, How to Get Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like It. A pre-game routine, says James Clear, is a series of small things we do to start a project, like looking for a job or lifting weights or writing a novel or cleaning the house.

In his article, James Clear describes his pre-game routine when he was a baseball player. “My pre-game routine started a cascade of internal events that pulled me into the right frame of mind and made it more likely that I would succeed.” His pre-game routine created a series of events that he always performed before playing or practicing baseball. His pre-game routine told his mind, “this is what happens before I play baseball.”

Here’s James Clear’s effortless, three-step process:

Step 1: Your pre-game routine should be so easy that you can’t say “no” to it.

For your job searching, pick something super simple, like getting a glass of water and sitting at your desk/computer. So right now, before you finish reading this article, write down two or three, “I can’t say no” things you can do as part of you pre-game routine.

Step 2: Your pre-game routine should get you moving toward your end goal of securing employment.

Sorry, but eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream before you hit the online job boards, is not going to get you moving toward your goal of finding a job. Your pre-game routine should keep you on track, not get you off track.

Step 3: Follow the same routine every single time.

By following the same routine, it sets up a coherent pattern and indicates to you that you’re now in “find a job” mode. You want to get into the habit of doing your pre-game routine, so that it becomes automatic. Consistency is vital. Tom Corley (author of Rich Habits, The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals) shares in his online article, Consistent Success, that consistency is the key to success and the way most of the self-made millionaires that he studied succeeded.

You don’t need motivation, you just need to start your routine, reminds James Clear. Following these three steps during your job search process will keep you forward moving, help you through the tough spots of a job search, and help you land a great job.


January 8, 2018

Your Job Hunt: Yes to Self-Promoting, No to Bragging

Most of us feel uncomfortable talking about ourselves to get a job. We feel shy and awkward about promoting ourselves to network, find a job, excel at a job interview, or get some job leads. We struggle with the emphasis directed on us. And we’re embarrassed when we’re in the spotlight while we’re networking. We hesitate to discuss and share what we excel at, our passions, and who we are professionally.  We feel we’re bothering or pestering other people concerning our job search or that what we say feels like bragging or exaggerating, just to get a job. Or that we have to boast, brag, and show off to get noticed and get a job interview.

And then there’s self-promotion. But don’t confuse self-promoting with bragging. Because there is a colossal difference. “Bragging,” according to Tom Corley (author, speaker, and CPA) in his online article, Bragging vs. Self-Promotion—Two Very Different Things, “is about exaggerating the truth. Self-promotion is about telling the truth. Two very different things. The objective of bragging is to try to impress others. We want people who really do not know us to think we are more important than we are, more successful than we are, smarter than we are, harder working than we are, richer than we are, make more money than we do, have more influential associations than we do, etc.”

Non-braggers, who usually are the most successful people, “are great at telling the truth about themselves by sharing their value proposition,” comments Tom Corley.

Compare these two examples given by Tom Corley. One is bragging. The other is self-promotion.

“I help people rise from poverty or the middle-class by teaching them about my Rich Habits through my books, blog, media exposure and speaking engagements.” That’s me self-promoting. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it.”

“I am a huge bestselling author. I know Richard Branson, Robin Sharma, Dave Ramsey and I’ve been on national TV many times.” That’s me bragging. I’ve sold a lot of books but, huge is an exaggeration. I’ve met Robin Sharma, and Richard Branson once at a speaking engagement in which I was one of the speakers. They probably don’t even remember who I am. I’ve been on the Dave Ramsey show once. He might still remember me, but who knows. I’ve been on national TV three times. Three times is not many times.”

See the difference?

Networking and finding a job requires much self-promotion and sharing. You do need to advance  yourself and make others aware of you and your skills, talents, abilities, accomplishments, and experiences. You don’t need to lie, stretch the truth, exaggerate, inflate, overly magnify, or brag about yourself. Bragging won’t get you far. Self-promoting will bring others into your support system and get you closer to a job offer.

P.S. On the flip side, acts of desperation won’t get you a job either. Avoid anything that comes across as a desperate attempt to find a job. Don’t fall into the trap of using them. Check out human resources guru Liz Ryan’s online article Ten Job Search Moves that Make You Look Desperate.


December 26, 2017

Tap into the Hidden Job Market

The hidden job market is, quite literally, all around you. It’s that vast chunk of unsolicited, unadvertised job opportunities. It’s looking beyond the online job boards and company web sites for potential jobs. And you’re going to find those job opportunities through networking. Adopt these three, easy-to-implement key points to tap into the hidden job market, from Alison Doyle in The Balance’s online article, What is the Hidden Job Market?

Say yes to invitations, and not just to formal networking functions. Go to the ballgame with your college roommate. Go to your cousin's baby shower. Make time to swing by your neighbor's barbecue. You never know when you'll meet the person who knows the person who has an in.” 

Practice your elevator speech. What do you want from your career? What do you have to offer an employer? What does your dream job look like? Don't worry – no one is suggesting you become the kind of bore who's always cramming their professional goals down everyone's throat. Just be on the lookout for opportunity, and don't be afraid to put yourself forward if one presents itself. Remember: if someone's hiring, they need a quality candidate as much as you need a job. You might be solving their problem, as well as your own.”

Update all your social networks to reflect your new mission. This can be dicey, of course, if you're still employed and hoping to move on, but if you're cautious and change details slowly, you can buff up your profiles without jeopardizing your position. The goal is to reflect your skills, experience, and goals without changing your headlines to JOB NEEDED ASAP.”

Networking needn’t be as anxiety-invoking as you think. In fact, it’s rather non-threatening. Here’s the definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” So start to view networking as a mutually satisfying exchange of information, not as a desperate attempt to sell yourself into a job. And as a great way to expand your horizons and find a job. Each person you network with is getting you one step closer to a job.


December 16, 2017

Quadruple Your Chances of Job Interviews

What if I told you that you can quadruple your changes of a job interview. Who wouldn’t want to quadruple their chances of a job interview? Here’s what job search and career management expert Martin Yate, CPC says about this in his book Knock em’ Dead, The Ultimate Job Search Guide 2016, says about this in the section, “How to Quadruple Your Chances of an Interview” (Chapter 7: Making Contact), “The more ways you approach your target companies and hiring managers, the faster you will get into conversations with the people who can and will hire you." 

You can quadruple your chances of an interview, according to Martion Yate in his book, if you also:

  • "Identify a potential hiring manager and email your resume directly to that manager by name with a personalized cover letter. This doubles your chances of an interview.
  • Send a resume and personalized cover letter to that same manager by traditional mail, and you will triple your chances of an interview. Don’t smirk at the idea of traditional mail. We all like a break from the computer screen, so delivering your sales message and resume this way can be very effective. When you do this, note in the cover letter that you sent the resume by email and that this additional approach is because you are really interested in the company and wanted to increase my chances of getting your attention. Doing this demonstrates that you are creative, and not a technological Neanderthal.
  • Make a follow-up telephone call to that manager, first thing in the morning, at lunch­time, or at 5 P.M. (when he is most likely to be available and picking up his own phone) and you will quadruple your chances of an interview."

The key is to continue to reach out as often as you can to people. Networking is crucial. If it feels stressful and uncomfortable to network, don’t worry, most people feel this way. For most of us, it’s not a natural ability. Just keep at it and you’ll notice, with practice, it gets easier and you’ll feel more comfortable networking.

Networking is essential, but keep this in mind. More important is who you network with. “Remember,” says Martin Yate in his book, “a successful job search is all about getting into conversations as often as possible with people in a position to hire you. The more frequently you approach and get into conversa­tions with managers whose job titles signify that they have the authority to hire you, the faster you will land that new position, because you have skipped right over the hurdle of being pulled from the commercial resume database, you have sidestepped the corporate recruiter’s evaluation process, and as a result you have the attention of the actual decision maker and the chance to have a conversation, to make a direct and personal pitch.”

Today’s job search is all about networking. Set up daily networking goals for yourself. By using some of Martin Yate’s tips, you can get more job interviews faster. And get a job offer faster too. Who wouldn’t like that?


December 6, 2017

6 Ways to Stay Motivated during Your Job Search

Looking for a job can feel like climbing Mount Everest. Hard. A struggle. Defeating. Impossible. Too challenging to accomplish. Unattainable. Hopeless. The key is to stay motivated during the process. Let’s face it, we’re probably not going to find a job in one week, so we need a mechanism to stay propelled forward for the long-run. Here are six ways to keep you at the top of your job search.

Have a plan and a schedule. Actively doing something daily to find a job will help you stay excited and keep you moving forward. A solid plan leads to action, which leads to staying motivated, which leads you closer to a job. Have a daily schedule of job searching, maybe 8-10 items, to accomplish each day. Any that you didn’t finish that day, gets added to the next day’s list.

Pal Around.  Find a friend, family member, or another job seeker, so you can stay motivated, inspired, and accountable.  You’re looking for someone you can connect with on a regular and frequent basis to help you stay focused and encouraged.

Time for Non-Job Search Activities. This means, have some fun. Schedule in time for social activities, exercise, and entertainment. Focusing too much and too long on job searching is a sure-fire way toward burnout. As you have fun and socialize, you can network too.

Thoughts. Pivotal is keeping your thoughts positive, uplifting, and forward-moving. Yes, this is easier said than done, but it’s indispensable for job seekers. Keep focused on your strengths, strong points, and all the great attributes you can bring to a new job and company. Manage your thoughts so they’ll enhance your job search.

More help. You might need to find a support group for job seekers, job/career coach, professional resume writer, mentor, or another professional who can help you with parts of the job search where you’re struggling. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Learn or do something new or different. New is motivating. It can spark and ignite your job search efforts. So volunteer at your favorite non-profit, learn a new language, start a new hobby, travel, learn about history, take a college course, start a new exercise plan, learn a new skill, or start a club. Whatever it is, the newness of it will keep you fresh and encouraged for your search. It will whet your appetite to move forward.

Don’t let a long lag in motivation and drive keep you from finding your dream job. It’s vital to stay motivated and manage your stress during your job search. Take the time to develop a toolbox of motivating methods, which will serve you well during the job seeking process.


November 27, 2017

Nitpicking over the Job Seeker’s Email

Yes, we’re going to nitpick about your email address. You should have it on your resume and it will be requested on the online job application too. Plus you’re going to use it in multiple other applications as part of the job applying process.

What’s the big deal! An email account is an email account, right? An email address is an email address, right? Not so, from the perspective of a hiring manager.

Remember that your email address represents you. Keep these points in mind:

Beware of AOL. If you have an email account with AOL, Hotmail, or any of the other been-around-for-a-long-time email providers, don’t use it when applying for a job. Why? Well, it makes you appear like you’ve been around for a long time, which may not be the impression you want to give.

No Silly Stuff. An email of ilovebeer@, addictedtocoffee@, soccermom@, coolguy@, ghosthunter@, hippiechick@, steelersfan@, or partygirl@ are fine for personal use, but not as an email while you’re looking for a job. It’s not professional and just a big no-no.

Get Professional. Very simply, it’s best to have an email dedicated exclusively for you job search. Most experts say Gmail is best (and it’s free) as an email provider. As is using your first and last name in the email address, marysmith@ or mary.smith@.

No Sharing. Don’t use an email you share with someone else, like your spouse or significant other. And don’t use your work email if you’re currently employed and looking for another job.

Careful of These. Don’t use numbers, symbols, or underscore in your email address. Generally, they just make for a more confusing email address.

One for All. The email you use while networking for a job, should be the same email you use on your LinkedIn profile, on your resume and online job application, on your professional web site or blog site, and with any other aspect of applying for jobs.

Your email address sends an impression to potential employers and can make you look unprofessional, too old fashioned, immature, silly, weird, or a host of other non-flattering stuff. So take the humble email seriously. Use your email to brand yourself as a professional.


November 20, 2017

Do this One Post-Interview Task to Snag the Job

It’s imperative you write a thank you note following a job interview. Yes, I said imperative. Meaning: not optional. Meaning: you really must do it.  It’s not as hard as you imagine.

Send two thank you notes, suggests Richard N. Bolles, author of the book What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers (2018 Edition). Email one and mail a hand-written note. Incidentally, they should not be duplicate letters. Take the time to write something different in each letter. Handwritten notes have fallen to the wayside and by sending one, you’ll really stand out. As a bonus, you can include your professional business card with the note you mail to the interviewers.

Richard Bolles feels it’s the most overlooked step in the entire process of looking for a job. Citing Richard Bolles, here are his six reasons to not neglect this task:

1. You’ll present as someone with good people skills.

2. It acts as an instant recall for the employer, since they’ve been dealing with numerous candidates.

3. Reiterate your interest in the job and in further communications about the job.

4. A chance to correct any wrong impressions you might have inadvertently made during the job interview or to add something you didn’t mention during the job interview.

5. If you’re not interested in the job, you can let them know and inquire if they know of any other employment opportunities.

6. Your correspondence can be shared with others at the company, who perhaps were not at the interview, but who are part of the hiring process.

Plus, it’s just professional, polite, and nice to thank someone for their time.

So, now to get to the bottom of a thank you letter. Keep it concise and clear—not too long, not to short. Key points are to thank the person for his time, point out what makes you a great fit for this job (another chance to sell yourself), mention that you’re interested in the job (show enthusiasm), and make a comment about something you like about the company, department, or the interviewer (here we’re using a little flattery). And do it the same day as the interview, as a quick response indicates interest.

Here’s a great sample from Andrew LaCivita’s LinkedIn online article, How to Write a Thank You Note that Gets You the Job:

“Hi John,

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I appreciated the chance to learn more about you and the company.

Based on the key points we discussed today, I feel I would be a fantastic match for the job because [insert details here, but be sure this requires no more than two or three lines.]

Lastly, I want to reconfirm my interest in the position. After speaking with you, I was more excited about the opportunity because you verified the company supports my interests related to [insert specifics here].”

More examples include a follow-up thank you email (both a short and long version), plus, a “checking in” email and a “staying in touch” email on Indeed’s online article, Follow-up Email Examples for After the Interview.

Will you thank you note actually get read by someone? You truly never know. Nevertheless, get in the habit of sending thank you letters after a job interview. For something as simple as a thank you letter, it just could be the final deciding factor of who the interviewers like more and who gets offered the job--especially among a group of equally qualified candidates.


November 9, 2017

Does Your Job Capture the Best of You?

Maybe you’re unemployed and resistant about finding a job in the same old industry you’ve been working in for years.

Or maybe you’re under-employed, but you’re not excited with your current part-time job and you know--deep inside--this isn’t the job or career path for you. It’s too hum-drum.

Or maybe you’re working full-time, but missing that spark in the job. You’re pretty sure it’s time for a career switch, but you can’t quite put your finger on what you’d like to do.

Or maybe you recently graduated from high school or college and haven’t exactly honed in on how you want to spend the rest of your working days.

So, what are you good at? Many come up with the despairing answer, “I don’t know!” No worries. Tom Corley--speaker, author, and CPA--has a great tip on how to determine what you’re good at. Here’s his online article, “What Are You Good At?” I’m including the whole article, word for word, since it’s an inspiring and great article:

“Dawn played soccer, lacrosse and was a gymnast as a child. At age 13 she dropped soccer and lacrosse and, with the enthusiastic support of her parents, devoted herself to being a gymnast. She was a very good gymnast. It got her a partial scholarship to college. Her parents were happy about that. Dawn is 21 years old now. She just finished her junior year in college. Her major is Accounting. She’s interning part-time, over the summer, at a prestigious CPA firm. After only a few weeks interning, she’s beginning to think she may not like being a CPA. It’s not for her. She has no passion for it. She longs for something else. Dawn doesn’t know what to do. She’s unhappy.

Pete played baseball and basketball as a child. He was a stand out pitcher and guard on his varsity high school team. Unfortunately, Pete was unable to get any college scholarships. Because his parents were poor, Pete was unable to go to college. Pete is 28 now. He went into construction right out of high school. He realizes now, he doesn’t like his job. He longs for something else. Pete is a new dad. He doesn’t know what to do. Pete’s unhappy.

Katie was an outstanding tennis player as a child. She, and her parents, focused much of their time and resources on Katie’s tennis, which she continued playing throughout college. Katie went on to get a graduate degree in education. Katie, now 35 and a mom with two kids, has worked as a high school teacher for ten years. She does not like her job. She’s thinking about a career change but doesn’t have any idea what that new career should be. Katie is very unhappy.

Sound familiar? Dawn, Pete and Katie are representative of the vast majority who do not like their jobs. According to a 2012 survey conducted by “Big 4” accounting firm Deloitte, 80% of those surveyed did not like their jobs. In another survey conducted by Gallup in 2013, 63% of the 230,000 employees in the survey said they were unhappy with their jobs.

What happened? What went wrong?

As children, most are never exposed to enough diverse activities which can help lead to the discovery of some innate, god-given talent, or something they like doing.

Experimentation is the only way to discover your innate talents or your passions in life. Your  innate talents or passions are revealed any time you try something new and one of two things happens:

It comes easy to you – this is life’s way of telling you that you have some innate, natural talent for doing something.

You love it – when you really enjoy doing something, when it grabs hold of your emotions, this is life’s way of telling you that you have found a passion.

So, what do you do now that you’re an adult?

The key to finding a hidden talent, or some passion, is to focus on one new activity every three months. If it comes easy or you enjoy it, then you may be on to something big. If it doesn’t, then you move on. You can do your experimentation before or after your work hours. I discovered my unknown writing talent in the early morning hours of 2008/2009. I’ve been writing every since.

When you find your main purpose in life, everything about your life will change. Your thinking will change. You will find clarity of vision. You will become hopeful. Life will become exciting. And you will find happiness and fulfillment.”

Your Next Step:  Start to find your passion and what you’re really good at. As Tom says in his article, focus on one new activity every three months. Pick something that seems to interest you and something you’ve not done before. Challenge yourself to this and you’ll easily uncover your true passion, and you’ll have fun along the way and learn new skills (some of which you can add to your resume).

Here are some ideas:  Think you might enjoy working with children? Then become a substitute teacher or a leader of a 4-H club. Think it would be cool to have public speaking skills? Then join Toastmasters. Feeling you’d like to learn how to cook? Then take some cooking classes. Always wanted to learn another language, but never got around to it? Join Rosetta Stone for online language classes.

Once you’ve found what you love to do, become a master of that. So practice and learn as much as you can, as often as you can. Connect with other experts in that area and build relationships with them and learn from them. Read about the topic and attend seminars and workshops. Do everything and anything that you can to become an expert.

And along the way, you can find a job that uses this new passion of yours. So you’ll be earning a living doing something you love to do. It doesn’t get much better than that!


November 1, 2017

Your Job Interview: Wear This, Not That

The job interview can be the “make or break” moment of the job seeking process. You don’t want to blow your chances of getting a job offer by wearing inappropriate clothes. Although there’s no one and only outfit to wear to a job interview, the clothes you wear to a job interview send out a message--loud and clear--to those interviewing you. You obviously want your clothes that send out a positive message about you.

So do yourself a favor and do a trial run of getting dressed for a job interview. Now take a look at yourself in a full-length mirror and look at your clothes from a hiring manager’s perspective. What kind of non-verbal message are your clothes giving out? Sloppy and messy? Professional and polished? Out dated? Pulled together? Dishelved and unkept? Pleasant and professionally welcoming?  

Men, Wear This….. Listed From Formal Business Attire to Casual Business Attire

Matching suit with tie. Slacks and button-down collar shirt with blazer with or without a tie. Khaki pants and button-down collar shirt or polo shirt.  

Men, Don’t Wear this….Ever

Sneakers. Sandals. Too much cologne or after shave. White socks. Dirty, scuffed or unpolished shoes. Dirty, stained, faded, ripped, or wrinkled clothes. Outdated clothes. Too tight, too baggy, or ill-fitting clothing. T-shirt. Jeans, shorts, or sweat pants. Baseball/sports cap. Sunglasses. Beachwear or exercise/gym clothes.

Women, Wear This…..Listed From Formal Business Attire to Casual Business Attire

Matching suit (skirt or slacks). Dress with blazer. Skirt with blouse and blazer. Dress slacks with blouse and  blazer. Skirt with blouse or sweater. Dress slacks with blouse or sweater.

Women, Don’t Wear This….Ever

Blouse with too low of a neckline. Too much makeup. Too much jewelry. Too much perfume. Too many accessories. Dirty, stained, faded, ripped, or wrinkled clothes. Outdated clothes. Footwear that is too casual, like sneakers and flip flops. Footwear with too high of a heel. Too short of a hemline on the skirt or dress. Too tight, too baggy, or ill-fitting clothing. T-shirt, tank top, spaghetti straps, or halter top. Shorts, jeans, leggings, sweat pants, or yoga pants. Sunglasses.  Beachwear or exercise/gym clothes.

Remember: dress for success to be your best. And yes, it’s okay to be somewhat overdressed at the job interview compared to other workers or those who are interviewing you. Actually, you should dress a step above the position for which you are interviewing.  Don’t underestimate how important clothes are on a job interview.

Now that you have your job interview clothing style in order, be prepared for any kind of questions you may get asked on your upcoming job interview, with a comprehensive list of questions to help prepare for your next interview (Rutgers University, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, New Start Career Network). On the flip side, here are the Muse’s 51 questions you should be asking the interviewers.


October 25, 2017

Use a Paper Clip to Find a Job

A paper clip? Really???!!!! No way. Actually, yes, if you apply Trent Dyrsmid’s technique. To become one of the best stock broker’s at a young age, Trent used paper clips to motivate him. And you can use his technique as part of your job search game plan.

Here’s how he did it, from the online article by James Clear (author, entrepreneur, and photographer), How to Stick With Good Habits Every Day by Using the Paper Clip Strategy:

“And yet, despite his disadvantages, Dyrsmid made immediate progress as a stock broker thanks to a simple and relentless habit that he used each day.

On his desk, he placed two jars. One was filled with 120 paper clips. The other was empty. This is when the habit started.

'Every morning I would start with 120 paper clips in one jar and I would keep dialing the phone until I had moved them all to the second jar.' —Trent Dyrsmid

And that was it. 120 calls per day. One paper clip at a time.

Within 18 months, Dyrsmid’s book of business grew to $5 million in assets. By age 24, he was making $75,000. Within a few years, outside firms began recruiting him because of his success and he landed a $200,000 job with another company.”

I can think of two ways to apply this technique to finding a great job. You can take this idea and apply it toward applying for jobs and networking.

Applying for Jobs: Let’s say, apply for five jobs a day. Move one paper clip from Jar A to Jar B to indicate that you’ve applied for one job. Five times you’ll move a paper clip. Five times you’ll apply for a job. That’s 35 jobs that you’ve applied for in one week. Using the basic paper clip.

Networking with Other People: To apply this toward networking, set the intention of networking with eight people each day. Move one paper clip from Jar A to Jar B to indicate a networking event with one person. Eight times you’ll move a paper clip. Eight times you’ll network with someone. That’s 56 people you’ve networked within one week. Once again, using the basic paper clip.

Implement this one stellar habit. And see how you met with speedy job search success.


October 18, 2017

The 10 Commandments for Job Interviews

Here it is. From the guru for job seekers. Best-selling author Richard N. Bolles shares his top ten in his newest edition of his book, What Color is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers, 2018 Edition. He first published this book in 1970 and has been revising and updating it annually.

  1. Go after new, small organizations with fewer than fifty employees, at first, since they create nearly two-thirds of all new jobs. Only if you turn up nothing should you broaden the search to slightly larger organizations, those with fifty employees, then if that doesn't prove to be a successful strategy, organizations with one hundred employees.”
  2. Hunt for places to interview using the aid of, say, eighty friends and acquaintances—because a job-hunt requires eighty pairs of eyes and ears. But first do homework on yourself so you can tell them exactly what you are looking for.”
  3. “As for who to interview, once you've identified a place that interests you, you really need to find out who has the power to hire you there, for the position you want, and use "bridge-people" (those who know you and also know them) to get an introduction to that person. Employ and similar, to find these people.”
  4. Do thorough homework on an organization before going there, using Informational Interviews plus the Internet to find out as much about them as you possibly can. If you have a public library in town, ask there too.”
  5. “Then prepare for the interview with your own agenda, your own questions and curiosities about whether or not this job fits you. This will always impress employers.”
  6. “If you initiated the appointment, ask for just nineteen minutes of their time; and keep to your word strictly. Watch your watch.”
  7. “When answering a question of theirs, talk only between twenty seconds and two minutes, at any one time. Try to be succinct. Don't keep rattling on, out of nervousness.”
  8. “Basically approach them not as a "job-beggar" but humbly as a resource person, able to produce better work for that organization than any of the people who worked in that position, previously.”
  9. “At the end of the interviewing process, ask for the job; "Given all that we have discussed, can you offer me this job?" Salary negotia­tion should only happen when they have definitely said they want you; prior to that, it's pointless.”
  10. “Always write a thank-you note the same evening as the interview, and mail it at the latest by early next morning. This in addition to emailing it. The tendency these days is for job-hunters to only email a thank-you note. You will stand out from the others if you do both.”

I highly recommend every job seeker own and read (cover to cover) his book, What Color is Your Parachute?. If you're serious about your job search, this is a book for you. Sometimes referred to as the job hunters bible, it’s the crème-de-la-crème of job seeking advice from a long-standing expert. Splurge and go with his most recent edition. You won’t be disappointed with his poignant, up-to-the-minute overview, suggestions, tips, and ides for job seekers to meet with success. 


October 12, 2017

Ending Your Unemployment: Success Made Simple

Attacking your job search every day can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Really? But wait a minute. How do you organize all the little tasks that are part of the job search? How do you manage your time each day for maximum results? How do you remember what you need to do every day and not get sidetracked? How do you resist the endless other not-related-to-looking-for-a-job tasks that so cleverly tug at your sleeve? How do you keep up with followup? Is it possible to achieve continued high productivity during the job search?

Well, here it is. The answer to this dilemma. The Ivy Lee Method.  This is so simple that it seems like it’s doomed and won’t work. But give it a try. Sometimes simplicity brings huge results. Touted by  James Clear as a way to accomplish more at work, I’ve tailored it to finding a job. Here it is in a nutshell:

  1. At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow in your job search. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their importance.
  3. When you start your job search tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work on that until the first task is finished. Then move on to the second task. Work on the second task until it’s finished.
  4. Continue in the same manner. At the end of the day, any uncompleted tasks can to added to the next day’s list of six items.
  5. Repeat this process every day.

Too easy? Perhaps. Think this is too plain and straightforward to be effective? Think again because this is the technique some millionaires have used to become prosperous and wealthy, like Charles M. Schwab, president of Bethlehem Steel Corporation and Ivy Lee, successful businessman, productivity consultant, and pioneer in the field of public relations. If it worked for these notable business icons, it can work for you. The key is to apply it consistently, day after day.


October 3, 2017

Looking for a Job is a lot like Dating

What do dating and job seeking have in common? A lot!

It’s a Numbers Game

The more dates you go on, you’ll find your perfect partner sooner. Likewise, the more jobs you apply for, the better your chances of getting a job offer. The more networking you do, the more likely you’ll get a great job. Each time you apply for a job or go on a job interview, you're one step closer to your job. Don’t get discouraged over the numbers.

More No, Than Yes

When you date, you go out with a lot of people that you just don’t connect with and there’s no desire to continue to get to know each other. And yes, you’ll go on job interviews, only to realize this is not the company for you or the job is not what you want. Also, you’ll pass over a plethora of job ads where the job simply isn’t for you. No thanks can be a good thing.

Don’t Take It Personally

Just because the first date dies after the first 20 minutes, if looking for a second date, you can’t think it’s because you’re too short, too tall, not smart enough, too introverted, not rich enough, too shy. Once again, just because a company doesn’t see you as a good candidate or doesn’t offer you the job, doesn’t mean you’re not talented or that you’ll never find a job. Accentuate your positive aspects. Shake off the I’m-not-good-enough mindset.

Online Takes Front and Center

Both job hunting and dating have morphed into an online-intensive endeavor. We just have to accept that. Sure, you can find a job through word of mouth or you can meet a potential partner on a blind date, but online is the way to go these days. Use the Internet to your advantage and land that job interview or first date sooner. Online isn’t such a bad thing.

It Can Take Time

Let’s face it, there’s no magic wand, so expect it to take some time, whether you’re looking for your soulmate or that perfect job. We all want to find a job sooner rather than later--same with a life partner--and we need to have realistic time frames. One thing to do is to learn something new or improve your skills while you're searching. Time changes everything.

Looking for a Good Fit

Both in a marriage partner and in a job, you’re looking for compatibility. Compatibility is crucial. Will you want to stay married to this person long-term? Do you resonate with the company? What common interests do you share with the other person? Is there room to grow at the job and the company? Do you align with the company's values and mission? Sometimes it’s got to fit like a glove.

Just like you should never, ever give up on finding your true partner, you should never, ever give up on finding a great job. Your perfect job is just waiting for you, so go out and attract it.


September 23, 2017

What’s all This Talk about Personal Branding to Find a Job?

Personal branding will give you that leg up. Make you stand out in the crowd. Give you that razor-sharp edge. Help you dazzle. And get you hired. We like this. But what is personal branding as it pertains to job hunting? How can it help you better navigate the job market?

“By having a clear message of who you are, what experience you have and what direction you're going in, you're conveying your identity to the hiring manager instead of being a faceless part of the crowd,” says CareerBuilder in the online article, “Personal Branding and Your Job Search.”

A personal brand, according to Jacquelyn Smith’s  online Forbes article, “How to Showcase Your Personal Brand in a Job Interview,” is your distinct talents and what you represent. It's what people say about you when you're not around, and how you're positioned in the marketplace. “Personal branding is the process of unearthing your unique talents and communicating them, through various mediums, to the right audience,” says Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success. “Everyone has a personal brand, from celebrities to authors to entrepreneurs to employees to students. We all live in a brand driven world so if you don't have a strong position, you will go unnoticed.”

As the article continues, Mike Fenlon, PwC’s U.S. and global talent leader, adds: “Each interaction you have with others enables you to make a mark on those around you.  When you’re consistent in delivering those experiences, you build a strong personal brand that's authentic, differentiated, and memorable. In short, it's your reputation.”

What message are you sending a potential hiring manager? That’s your personal brand. Your personal brand comes through in your resume and cover letter, during a job interview, in your online portfolio, in the clothes/accessories you wear to a job interview, in your professional web site or professional blog site, in your elevator pitch, and in your social media, like LinkedIn. The cool part is that no two individual’s personal brand is the same, since we’re all vastly unique and different. So there’s no cookie cutter answer to personal branding.

Personal branding is not boasting or bragging. Personal branding is not lying, being inaccurate, exaggerating, or blatantly not telling the truth. Rather, “branding,” says Harvey Deutschendorf (emotional intelligence expert, author, and speaker) in the Fast Company online article, “The New Rules of Personal Branding for Job Seekers,” “is a difficult art that involves tuning many tiny, seemingly irreconcilable details into a harmonious whole.” 

So let’s get down to business and create your personal brand. Answer these three questions, as they pertain to employment. It’s helpful to write down your answers. This is an exercise in getting to know yourself better at a professional level. Do some deep thinking, some brainstorming, and some self-assessment. You can, of course, confer with others, but ultimately this is something you have to ascertain on your own.

Who are you?

What experience, skills, expertise, and training do you have?

What job/career path or direction are you going?

Once you’ve developed a strong, honed-in personal brand for yourself and you feel comfortable with your personal brand, incorporate your personal brand into the various aspects of job hunting.


September 11, 2017

Let’s Talk Salary

So far, the job interview’s going well. You brought copies of your resume. You showed up on time. You’re wearing clothes that are professional and instill confidence. You smile a lot. You’re somewhat relaxed. You’re addressing their questions in a professional manner, showcasing how you can complement the company. You ask pertinent, well-thought-of-questions about the job position and the organization. They seem to like you. This is good.

Then, the whammy. “What’s your current salary?” you’re asked—innocently enough. You freeze. You’re caught off guard. You’re not sure what to say. You get nervous and confused. You try, unsuccessfully, to remain composed. But you still have to answer the question. Help! What do you say? How do you respond?

Many advise to dodge the question. Ask what they have in mind as far as salary. Or ask the interviewer the company’s salary range for the position. Mention that total compensation, salary and benefits, are important to you—not just salary.

Others recommend you give a salary range. Or give the low and high for that type of job. Or give the middle of the high and low. Or know the lowest amount you’ll accept, add a bit to that lowest amount you’ll accept, and tell the interviewer that amount.

Or, here’s fresh stance you might want to consider. Suzy Welch, management author and CNBS contributor, in the August 9, 2017, online article, "What to Say When a Job Interviewer Asks, ‘What’s your Current Salary?’" by Marguerite Ward, offers a two-prong approach:

Know your market value. Do some research and know your current value and the value of that type of job. This will tell you if you’re currently getting paid below, at, or above the average for that type of job.

Disclose your current salary and make your case. Tell them your current salary (and also mention other benefits, bonuses, or compensation). And then advocate for yourself. You can explain your current situation or why you’re willing to accept less or why your deserve more.

Then, sit back and relax and see how they respond—or react, both with their words and their body language. This will give you a keen indication about the company and will help you decide if you want to work for this company or not.


September 1, 2017

Veterans in the Workforce: Guide to Getting There

If you’re a military veteran and looking for employment as a civilian, don’t gloss over the myriad of assistance and support available to help with securing employment.  Please, use it. This will help ease the transition from military to a meaningful job in the civilian workforce.

What you’ve got to offer

You may not realize it, but you’re in a unique situation that you have skills and experience gained only through your military service. Much of which, by the way, is transferrable to civilian jobs. It’s helpful to take some time to write down all your skills, knowledge, wisdom, experience, achievements, and accomplishments gained through your military service. These make you a valuable employee in the civilian workforce. How can you take these skills you learned in the military and use them in a civilian job? How can they translate into a civilian job? In what types of civilian jobs could you use these?

Confronting your struggles

On the other hand, veterans can have additional challenges to finding a great job. Again, make a list of the barriers, challenges, doubts, weaknesses, and concerns you feel you have around employment. This way, you’ll know what type of support will be most helpful for you, based on your own individual apprehensions. What can you do to overcome some of them? What areas would require some extra guidance or assistance?

Looking for employment these days can be quite intricate. Support is key. We all need backing and especially during a job search. To maximize your job search efforts, check out these veteran services. Also, glean some ideas from 10 “Did You Know” Tips for Veterans Entering the Job Market.


August 24, 2017

Understanding Social Media during the Job Search

In this digital age, social media has become a common way to interact with friends, family and even employers. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be important tools in your job search. In essence, social media can play three important roles as it relates to your job search - the first is to connect you with employers, the second is to display your job skills and abilities, and the third is to broaden your job search network.

Checking out employer social media pages will help keep you up to date on current hiring needs and recruiting events - it’s common for employers to post job openings on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Following employer social media pages also gives you a way to get a feel for the company’s culture, determine their core purpose and objectives, and stay current on relevant news and information. Many employer social media accounts can be found by searching for social media icons on their homepages.

Using social media to display your job skills and abilities is also important in that companies will often do a thorough social media inspection on prospective employees to determine if they are a good fit for their company. You should look at each of your social media profiles with the expectation that an employer will scrutinize every post, comment, and photo. For some tips on maintaining a professional online presence, visit Clean Up Your Digital Footprint.

It’s called "social" media for a reason. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can be invaluable resources for broadening your job search network. Use these platforms to engage with friends and with new contacts at businesses of interest to you and to improve your chances of obtaining the job of your choice. To learn more about networking strategies, visit Identifying and Building Your Job Search Network and Networking Conversations.

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the social media platforms most used by employers to both communicate with the public and screen potential employees, and they are the platforms most conducive to networking. Read on to learn how to best use these social media platforms to obtain your desired employment.

Using LinkedIn to help your job search

LinkedIn is the best known social media platform focusing on business and professional networking. The built-in job search engine allows jobseekers to find openings. LinkedIn also allows jobseekers to see if their connections are affiliated with businesses of interest. When using LinkedIn to help you land a job, consider the following tips.

  • Your experience section should highlight your main job functions at your previous/current jobs in general terms; this section should not provide bulleted details about job functions, as might be done in a resume.
  • Use specific keywords that employers in your field will be searching for when you generate your list of skills. Read job postings to find terms associated with the skills most sought after in your industry.
  • Ask your connections to endorse you for your top skills, and have previous coworkers and employers write recommendations for you.
  • Join alumni groups and other groups in your field. Contribute to discussions as a way to network and exhibit your subject knowledge.
  • Decide who to connect with, with the emphasis being on quality connections.Follow influential people in your targeted industry.

If you do not currently have a LinkedIn account, you can set one up by visiting their website and completing the "get started" form on the homepage. You will then be directed to complete steps to set up your professional profile. Follow these steps while taking note of the tips in this section.

Using Facebook and Twitter to help your job search

The other top social media platforms to tap for job search and networking purposes are Facebook and Twitter. Both platforms allow you to follow, and impress, companies, as well as broaden your job search network.

On Facebook, you can connect with friends and let them know you're looking for work. Even if you keep tight privacy settings, make sure your work and education information is public. You’ll also want to provide a brief description about your professional background in the "about" section of your profile. Consider following recruiters and companies in your targeted industry for current information that may impact your job search.

Twitter's platform allows you to receive frequent updates on employers, recruiters, and industry insiders. As on Facebook, you’ll want to keep your profile up to date and provide a brief description about your professional background in the "about" section of your profile. After choosing relevant accounts to follow, you can participate and make yourself stand out by tweeting to people, re-tweeting posts that are interesting, and commenting on content. Posting links to pertinent articles and other online content while providing your own professional opinion is another way to stand out as an enthusiastic jobseeker.

(From New Jersey Career Connections,


August 14, 2017

Move over STEM, Soft Skills are Back

We’ve all heard a lot about the importance of STEM/STEAM  these days.  But in the workforce, apparently they’re being overtaken by soft skills. Soft skills aren’t just considered “fluff” any more. And for good reason. “STEM education and technical knowledge aren’t the only skills in demand these days,” says Dan Finnigan (President and CEO of Jobvite) in the Inc. online article, The Soft-Skills Revolution and How it's Affecting Workplaces Everywhere, “the soft skills revolution is growing.”

Such a vague term….soft skills. What exactly are soft skills? “Soft skills,” according to Jacob Share (job search expert and founder of JobMob) in Live Career’s online article, Top 10 Soft Skills in Demand, “are personal attribute-driven general skills, such as the ability to give and receive feedback, work collaboratively, and manage time. They are usually self-developed (as opposed to hard skills, which you typically acquire in school or on the job), and they’ll help you in a wide range of jobs, not just the target job you're applying for.”

A complete list of workplace soft skills would be exhaustive, but here are some examples:

  • Communications skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Team work and collaboration
  • Work ethic and integrity
  • Openness and receptivity to feedback
  • Positive attitude
  • Self-motivation and enthusiasm
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Learning and self-development skills
  • Time and task management

Along with technical skills, experience, credentials, and higher education, you’ll want to include your soft skills on your resume (also include in your cover letter, in your LinkedIn profile, on a job interview, and during your networking). But, don’t just list them. Don’t just tell, you’ll need to show.  A list of soft skills (like team player, punctual, deadline oriented) is actually useless. You’ll need to show or demonstrate or give examples that you’re a team player, that you’re punctual, that you’re deadline oriented.

Here’s an example from a May 2, 2017 online article by Jessica Holbrook Hernandez (President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast), Beyond the Buzzwords: How Do You Show Soft Skills on Your Resume?:

How do you solve the problem of proving you possess the soft skills you claim? I advise my clients to incorporate the related keyword within the context of an accomplishment that demonstrates that soft skill. An example:


Recovered $1,000,000 lost revenue through attention to detail and meticulous review of 750 client accounts.


Notice how it includes attention to detail and meticulous? These are soft skills, but possessing them as a strength enabled this person to find a critical error resulting is recovering more than $1 million in previously lost revenue. Without her attention to detail she would have overlooked the hidden error.


You can do the same with any soft skill that you possess—simply insert the soft skill within the context of the accomplishment.

If you’ve been ignoring your soft skills on your resume, you’ve been short-changing yourself. Promote your soft skills and you’ll enhance your hirability. And you just might get that job offer for a dream job.


August 7, 2017

The Job Seeker’s Personal Budget and Financial Assessment

Unless you find a new job quickly, becoming unemployed will almost always require a change in spending. Budget Building Tools and Resources  can help you measure and track your spending and thus gain a handle on your weekly or monthly cash flow and determine a realistic budget.
Let’s look at ways to trim your spending to meet that budget.

The first step is to assess your current spending and distinguish between wants and needs. Identify the essentials you pay for each month, including housing, utilities, food, work clothes, transportation, insurance, and other obligatory bills. Then use the suggestions outlined below to trim back on these necessary expenses.

All other expenditures are fair game for elimination. These may include dining out, entertainment, hobbies, gym memberships, and household and personal care purchases that you can postpone until your finances stabilize.

Budgeting tips

None of the following cost-cutting measures will, by themselves, solve your cash flow problems, but together these strategies can potentially save you hundreds of dollars each month.

  • If you have more than one vehicle, try to leave one in the garage. When you can, carpool with neighbors, or use public transportation. If a second or third car is merely for convenience, rather than necessity, selling it can bring in cash and reduce your monthly car loan payments. Using rideshare services once or twice a week can be far more economical than owning, insuring, maintaining, and fueling a second or third vehicle. Consolidating errands and shopping trips also can reduce transportation costs.
  • Trim your gas and electric bills by instituting energy-saving measures throughout your house or apartment. Plug drafty windows and doors with weather stripping. Avoid using the clothes dryer or dishwasher during peak hours when electricity may cost more. Install a programmable thermostat, unplug all unused electrical devices, and lower the temperature on your hot water heater.

Saving when shopping

  • Prepare and eat more of your meals at home, and pack lunches rather than buying them. This may be one of the fastest ways to trim your expenses, since eating out and ordering takeout food several times a week can add significantly to your food bill.
  • Look for bargains on gently used clothing at thrift shops and second-hand stores.
  • Check out “dollar” stores for household essentials. Compare the unit prices (price per ounce or per gallon) with prices in regular stores, to ensure you’re not actually paying more for a smaller amount.
  • Reduce expensive impulse buying. Make a list of essential purchases before you go shopping, and buy only what is on your list.
  • Buy items in bulk, purchase generic brands, and shop sales in the grocery store.

Other ideas

  • Get your family involved in reducing expenses and generating family income. Explain that everyone will need to scale back on discretionary spending for a while.
  • Contact your creditors, explain that you've lost your job, and ask for lower monthly minimum payments. Creditors are far more likely to work with you if you’re proactive, rather than waiting until you've missed one or two payments.
  • Apply for any government benefits that you or your family may be eligible for.
  • Unemployment benefits are taxable, so you should understand how this impacts your annual tax return filings.
  • Sell items you no longer use or need. Borrow, trade, or barter with neighbors for items and services.

(From New Jersey Career Connections)


July 31, 2017

It’s Still True: Dress to Impress on the Job Interview

The clothes you wear on a job interview are just another way to show the potential employer that you’re the ideal person for the job. An interviewer is going to quickly, probably with the first minute or two of meeting you, make a mental note as to whether you’re a great candidate—or not. Your clothes play a part in this. In a nutshell, you’re looking to create a professional image in what you wear.

These are my top three “must-have” pointers when it comes to interview outfits:

  1. Your clothes should be neat, clean, coordinated, and not wrinkled. Take the time to iron your clothes, if needed. Look for stains or rips or frayed areas on the clothes. Make sure the ensemble all matches nicely, including any accessories (like jewelry or belt), socks, and shoes.
  2. Your clothes should fit you appropriately. Your clothes should not be too oversized, big or baggy and not too tight or revealing.
  3. Your clothes should be appropriate for the company and the job for which you’re applying. It’s always better to dress a bit nicer than what’s expected for the position. Many companies are work casual, but don’t worry that you appear over-dressed compared to the interviewer or others at the company.

There’s more than just my top three criteria. Lots more details to consider, in fact. Check out New Jersey Career Connections’s dress your best on a job interview.

Also, a few more favorites of mine: colors you should and should not wear to a job interview, worse things to wear to a job interview, and how to decide what to wear and when.

Your clothes should highlight your professionalism, poise, confidence, and upbeat attitude. And they should contribute to your organized appearance.  So take the time now to craft polished outfits for upcoming job interviews, so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.


July 24, 2017

Do This to Become a More Savvy Job Seeker

There’s a plethora of information, tips, trends, and ideas to glean from online articles to add to your career search tool box. These articles also offer new and fresh perspectives from experts.  And the articles will motivate you and you’ll morph into a more savvy job searcher.  

Try this Action Plan: Make the commitment to read one online article each day. Then take some time to determine, and write down, how you can incorporate some of the information into the process of your job search. Then make an effort every day to weave these new suggestions and ideas into your job search strategies.

Good ideas usually go to waste if not immediately incorporated into daily practice. So commence immediately. To get you started, I cobbled together some articles on a variety of topics.

The Exact Words to Use When Negotiating Salary

Six Essentials for Finding a New Job

Behaviors of Job Interview Etiquette that Make You Stand Out

Job Hopper? 6 Quick Fixes to Cover Resume Gaps

35 Surefire Ways to Stand Out During Your Job Search

“My Best Advice for Job Seekers is…”: A Roundup of Advice

9 Essential Tips for Older Job Seekers Looking for Their Next Awesome Opportunity

Laying the Foundation of a Successful Job Search

6 Things You Can Use to Fill Resume Gaps

5 Ways to Stay Motivated in a Frustrating Job Hunt

29 Things You Should Never Put on Your Resume


July 19, 2017

Don’t Ignore that Thank You Letter after the Job Interview

Think thank you letters are a thing of the past? Think again. A well-written thank you letter can be a prominent ally. And your best friend. It’s not just to say thanks for meeting with me. It’s that and more.  It’s an additional opportunity to shine just a little more after the first interview and a time to influence the interviewers to hire you for the job.  What you’re getting at, in addition to thanking them for their time, is one last thing that will set you apart favorably from the other candidates. Here’s a list of some options to include in your thank you letters.

  • Specify something about you (or an accomplishment or skill) that wasn’t touched upon during the interview.
  • Highlight one of your strengths.
  • Let them know why you’re interested in the position.  
  • Tell why you’re a good fit for the company.
  • Link your skills and accomplishments with those required for the job.
  • Throw in a new skill you’re learning that pertains to the job.
  • Explain how you can save (or make) the company money or time. 
  • Share a professional experience to buttress your skills or accomplishments needed for the job.
  • Provide links to your online portfolio, your LinkedIn account, or your other professional social networking profiles.
  • Mention something you like about the interview, the company, the job, or the interviewer.
  • Indicate how you resonate with the company or the job.
  • Reference how you can solve the company’s  complication or challenge that might have been mentioned during the job interview.

Most of all, the letter should professionally represent you from a professional standpoint. And it should reveal to the reader another facet of you that didn’t come up during the interview. Don’t just re-state what’s on your resume or what you said during the interview.

A thank you letter just might be the deciding factor between hiring you—or not. So take the time to craft a thank you letter that grabs (and maintains) the attention of the reader.


July 14, 2017

7 Tips to Counteract the Stress of Unemployment

Looking for a job isn’t an easy feat. Yes, the stress is real. And it’s probably not going to magically disperse on its own. How well are you managing the strain of unemployment or underemployment? From anxiety to headaches to mild depression to over-eating to feeling overwhelmed, the physical, emotional, and mental manifestations of   stress can be troublesome to deal with and manage. And sometimes debilitating.

Act now and implement these 7 strategies, from New Jersey Career Connections, to neutralize your apprehension and uneasiness, so you can be at peak performance. Start to engage these stress busters in your daily schedule.

1. Accept and Embrace your New Role: Job Seeker

In this role, you actually have two broad tasks:

  • Manage your job search. The information and resources on and at your local One-Stop Career Center can help you do this.
  • Maintain a positive mindset. Because self-confidence and optimism are vital ingredients for a successful job search, staying positive is as important as the actual job-search activities.

2. Focus on your Strengths

Sustain your confidence and self-esteem by intentionally emphasizing the positive.

  • It’s vital to Identify Your Strengths to pinpoint your capabilities that employers will find valuable. Doing this will remind you of your past successes.
  • Track and celebrate the progress you make in achieving short-term goals, developing new skills, and successfully completing the steps or using the resources you’ll find throughout
  • Take pride in your ability to persist in the face of the psychological challenges you’re facing. Unemployment or underemployment is one of the more difficult situations we can face. Persevering in spite of such difficulties is an achievement in itself.
  • Quickly spot self-defeating thoughts when they occur -- and challenge them. If you catch yourself thinking, "I’ll never get a job," respond by telling yourself, "I’m going through a rough stretch, but this will end. I can take specific actions that will bring me closer to finding a job I’ll enjoy. I’m making progress. I have a lot of skills and experience to share. Somewhere out there, there’s a business that will be very fortunate to gain the capabilities that I can offer. I just need to connect with it and educate the hiring decision makers in that organization."
  • Recognize that being unemployed or underemployed can provide opportunities to discover, acquire or strengthen skills, to rethink your career priorities and to reflect on how you want to spend the next phase of your life. At the very least, you’ll have a chance to practice your problem-solving and planning skills.

3. Develop a Productive Routine

There’s a lot of truth to the saying, "searching for a job is a full-time job." Create a Plan of Action to establish a productive routine for launching and sustaining an effective job search.

  • Devote between six and eight hours a day, five days a week, to job search activities.
  • As much as possible, maintain the daily habits you had when you were employed. Get out of bed at the same time you did when you were working, shower and get dressed, leave the TV and other distractions off. Now you can focus on searching for employment opportunities and connecting with employers who are hiring.
  • Each night before you go to bed, make a list of actions you’ll take the following day and the mini-goals you intend to accomplish.

4. Focus on What You Can Control

Break problems and larger goals into manageable chunks and take effective action on those things.  To accomplish this, Create a Plan of Action.

  • If you have a job interview, a key meeting, or another important and stressful event coming up, list everything you can do to prepare for it and then work your way through the list. Once you’ve completed all the tasks, relax. If you find yourself worrying about the upcoming event, remind yourself that you’ve done everything you can and that you’re prepared.
  • If you’re dealing with an unfamiliar challenge, identify all the possible options, learn as much as you can about each option, consider the pros and cons for each, and choose the one that makes the most sense. Imagine what could happen if the worst-case scenario happens -- and consider what other actions you could take to deal with possible problems.

5. Build and Leverage a New Social Network

  • Don’t let embarrassment or a bruised ego keep you from tapping into the best source of information about employment opportunities: the people you are routinely in contact with, so be sure to Nurture and Leverage Your Personal Support Network.
  • Tell everyone you know that you're looking for work, and also tell them about the skills and experience you can offer an employer.
  • Keep track of the contacts that people suggest to you.
  • Spend as much time as possible with positive people and avoid those with persistently negative attitudes.
  • Join a job club or support group. The Warren County Library offers monthly networking and support groups for job seekers. Ask about Jersey Job Clubs and other helpful groups at your local One-Stop Career Center.

6. Assess your Current Spending and Income

To reduce the anxiety caused by financial worries, review your situation and take steps to deal with immediate concerns. Balance spending with your income and resources with a Personal Budget and Financial Assessment and using Budget Building Tools and Resources for more practical steps you can take to balance spending with your income and resources.

  • List all your regular bills: rent or mortgage, utilities, car or other payments, costs of insurance, usual food costs.
  • List spending that is not fixed: meals or social nights out, movies and other entertainment, transportation, clothing, gifts.
  • Consider ways that you could reduce spending in each category. For example, make your food dollars stretch further, buy clothes at a thrift shop, use less expensive transportation, tap into subsidies for insurance, give gifts of your time or skills, or find other ways to reduce spending.
  • Consider ways that you can supplement your earning power. Can you do any part-time, temporary, or occasional work that doesn’t interfere with your job search? Can you barter skills and services with neighbors?

7. Counteract the Stress of Unemployment

  • Maintaining your emotional and physical health is the best morale booster.
  • Exercise each day for 30 minutes, if possible. Exercise relieves stress and improves mood.
  • Spend time each week doing things you enjoy. If activities involve others, even better. Those people can become part of your job search network.
  • Volunteer your time and expertise to a cause that you consider worthwhile, or take temporary jobs. You’ll keep your current skills sharp, possibly acquire additional marketable skills, plug gaps in your work history, benefit from social contact, and, again, potentially grow your job search network.
  • Express your feelings in productive ways to a friend or confidant. Some people find it helps to write down their feelings on paper.
  • If you feel that stress or depression are holding you back, contact nonprofit mental health centers and county mental health agencies to ask if they provide free or low-cost counseling. If so, take advantage of their expertise.

Although we can’t live a life 100 percent free of exigencies, there’s much we can do to release the trepidation of today’s job seeker. Improvements to dealing with the excess worry of unemployment is just as essential as completing an online job application. So don’t neglect this not often talked about concern of job seekers. 


July 10, 2017

Boost Your Resume

Most job seekers know that a resume gets looked at for a paltry of maybe 10 to 15 seconds—more like a glance. Not much time to grab anyone’s attention. Get your resume to shine and it most likely will get a longer look over, advancing your chances of being considered for an interview.

We’re all looking for that avenue to make our resume stand out amongst the others. After all, we want to move into the next phase of the job application process—the job interview. Well, this just might be it. According to New Jersey Career Connections, here’s how to create persuasive and powerful bullet points for your resume. Remember this formula:

Action Verbs + Details + Results = Impressive Bullet Point

Begin each bullet point with an action verb (examples include: implemented, mediated, reviewed, prepared, clarified, resolved, critiqued, operated, standardized, formulated, directed, overhauled, summarized, collaborated).  Avoid starting a bullet point with the words "Responsible for" and jump right to the verb that tells the resume reader what you did.

Next, add relevant details that show a clearer picture of what you did.

Then briefly describe what you achieved.  The easiest way to identify a result is to ask yourself:  "What was the reason for performing the task?  What would have happened if the task had not been performed?"  In some cases you might be able to describe a numerical impact (dollars, or improving performance by a specific percentage, saving or earning), but more likely you'll need to describe the result in more general terms.

Review these examples of “average,” “good,” and “excellent” bullet points.

Average Bullet Point

(Action Verb)


Good Bullet Point

(Action Verb)


Excellent Bullet Point

(Action Verb)

Answered customer phone calls


Answered an average of 25 customer calls per day. Answered questions, resolved problems, and recommended additional products or services they might find useful.


Answered an average of 25 customer calls per day. Answered questions, resolved problems, and recommended additional products or services they might find useful. Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as follow-on purchases. 

Drove a forklift truck


Drove a forklift truck, resupplied 12 work stations with all parts and materials needed to operate an assembly line.


Drove a forklift truck, resupplied 12 work stations with all parts and materials needed to operate an assembly line. Maintained an accident-free driving record for more than 3 years, and ensured the assembly line never shut down due to a shortage of parts.

Maintained delivery trucks


Performed comprehensive maintenance on 6 delivery trucks that averaged 14 hours of use per day and 30,000 miles per year.


Performed comprehensive maintenance on 6 delivery trucks that averaged 14 hours of use per day and 30,000 miles per year. Achieved a 98% availability rate and prevented thousands of dollars of unscheduled repair.

Developed and implemented new employee training program


Developed and implemented a training program for over 200 new employees on safety procedures and the correct use of tools and equipment.


Developed and implemented a training program for over 200 new employees on safety procedures and the correct use of tools and equipment, resulting in a sharp decrease in lost-time accidents, workers compensation claims, and employee turnover.

Processed invoices


Processed over 30 invoices per day quickly and accurately.


Processed over 30 invoices per day quickly and accurately, reducing average billing-to-payment cycle from 6 weeks to 3 weeks.

See how you can seriously vamp up your bullet points with this method? Adding details and results to your bullet points really enhance the bulleted item much more than just an action verb with a list of completed tasks.

Looking for more? Join us at an upcoming Polish Your Resume Workshop at the Warren County Library. Upcoming workshops are scheduled for July 13 and August 7, 2017. Register at or call 908/475-6322.


July 5, 2017

Don’t Brush Aside this Part of the Online Job Application

References still are part of the job application process, regardless of whether a potential employer contacts your references or not. Although providing a potential employer with job references seems like a trivial part of the hiring process, your references can help you “win” the job.

The first place you’re likely to encounter them is on the online job application, but the topic of references might come up later—perhaps during the job interview or post-interview follow-up.

Think again, before you list just anyone as a reference. Here are some tips from New Jersey Career Connections:

  • Before making a final hiring decision, employers usually ask for the names of several references -- people you have worked with who will vouch for your work ethic and character. It's a good idea to identify people with whom you have had a successful working relationship, and who are willing to share what they know about you.
  • Most employers will want to talk to three references. If possible, have four to six professional references ready to choose from, so you can rotate your references and avoid overusing any one person.
  • Talk to your potential references ahead of time and ask them for permission to give an employer their names and contact information. You can also remind them about your key strengths, successes, and experiences. Send them a copy of your resume so they'll be aware of the information you've sent the potential employer.
  • If you are targeting a specific position, give your references a copy of the job description.

I’m going to venture to guess that most job seekers aren’t using their references to gain the most optimal results. Ask yourself these five vital questions, crafted by John West Hadley of John Hadley Associates, LLC, Somerville NJ, to determine if you’re making the most of your references.

Lastly, don’t forget to thank your references, as they’ve gone out of their way to support you in your job search. 


June 29, 2017

More to Offer: The Mature Job Seeker

The mature worker looking for a job can sometimes feel left out with rapidly changing computers and technology and feelings of being unable to compete with the younger workforce. The key is to have the view of being a valuable, viable, and qualified asset to any company or organization. And let your confidence shine.  You have years of valuable wisdom, skills, experience, knowledge, abilities, expertise, and life/work skills that the younger generation simply does not have. So be proud of that. And use that to your advantage.

So don’t dismay. Instead, delve into some of the following resources:

  • PathStone’s Senior Community Service Employment Program is great way for mature, unemployed workers to get paid while learning new skills at a local non-profit organization or agency. There are income and age requirements. Call Carmella Swayze in the Hackettstown office to discuss, 908/797-8494.
  • Rutgers University, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development’s New Start Career Network offers a variety of assistance for long-term unemployed/underemployed New Jerseyans, particularly those age 45 and older, to obtain jobs.
  • Get an overview of mature worker services  complied by New Jersey Career Connections.
  • Brush up on some essential tips for older job seekers in this article by The Muse.
  • The CheatSheet summarizes the top job search mistakes boomers make.

Ageism exists, but don’t let that deter you from finding your dream job. Armed with how to be a more savvy, seasoned job seeker, you can get that job offer sooner rather than later.


June 26, 2017

What Elevator Pitch? Where to Start for Job Seekers

Yes, you need an Elevator Pitch. There’s no two ways around it. Your Elevator Pitch is a 30-second overview of you from a professional standpoint.  It gives someone a quick introduction as to who you are, what kind of job you’re looking to find, your skills, experience, and accomplishments, how you can be of value to a company.

Here’s a great place to start: the old adage “Know thyself,” the key to a fantastic Elevator Pitch. You really need to know yourself professionally. As a guide to get you going, write down answers to these points:

  • Your strong points
  • Your weaknesses
  • Skills, accomplishments, and experience
  • Type of career/job you want
  • Industry and type of company where you want to be employed
  • What you bring to your new job and employer
  • Professional training, learning, and self-improvement
  • What you’re looking for in a new employer
  • Your ideal job/career/company
  • Professional goals, objectives, work philosophy
  • Your career vision and goals

What’s in the perfect Elevator Pitch? Check out New Jersey Career Connections Your Elevator Pitch and Forbes The Perfect Elevator Pitch to Land a Job.


June 23, 2017

3 Things I Wish I’d Done Differently When I Was Job Searching

Yes, looking back in hindsight, I would have done things differently while I was looking for a job. But, as Andrew Lincoln said, “I would find myself getting deeply distressed if I lived in hindsight all the time.” Instead, I pass along to you my thoughts on this, in the hopes it will help you find a job sooner, rather than later.

TIME. I definitely should have scheduled my time much, much, much better. Though a normally organized, scheduled, non-procrastinating person, for some odd reason, when it came to looking for a job, I temporarily morphed into the queen of procrastination.  “Gee, I’ll just sweep the kitchen floor before I start.” Or “Let me go for a quick walk, then after the walk, I’ll start.” Or “Well, right after lunch, is a good time to start.” Sound familiar?

Action Step: Every day, follow a pre-planned schedule. Develop a week-long plan of action where you schedule into your daily calendar all types of job searching tasks. No more procrastinating. The good thing is, you can schedule in some time for fun, hobbies/interests, and socialization--and time for exercise too. Plus, you can easily make minor changes to it as necessary.

NETWORKING. Sure, I was networking. I was telling everyone I knew that I was looking for a job. That’s networking, right? Not quite. I wish I’d fine-tuned my networking skills. I think that would have opened up more possibilities for me as a job seeker.

Action Step: Develop your elevator pitch. Good networking starts with a fantastic elevator pitch, your 30-second introduction/overview as a professional. Take the time to develop your elevator pitch—and practice it in the mirror so you feel comfortable with it. Now, weave your elevator pitch into your networking approach.

SUPPORT. I wish I could have found a group of other job seekers. Their support, ideas, and encouragement would have been invaluable. It’s motivating to come together with a common issue and work through it together. I went at my job search by myself. And, believe me, that can be a lonely process. We all need support and someone to encourage and motivate us--and during the job search is no exception.

Action Step: Find a job seekers support group or a mentor who will encourage and support you. The Warren Library offers a monthly networking and support group. Check out the Warren County Library calendar for the schedule.

So, take heed and, please, don't make the same mistakes I made. 


June 19, 2017

How to Ace the Dreaded Job Interview Question

“So, tell me about yourself.” Seems innocent enough. Right? Not really. It’s a loaded statement that’s frequently asked during a job interview and one you want to answer to set you off as the best candidate for the job. You want to reply with a fabulous summary  of yourself professionally.  (And, no, the interviewer does not want to hear about your hobbies and interests, or recent vacation to the Bahamas, or the adorable shelter puppy you just adopted.)

Ideally, you want to come up with an answer tailored to each interview/job and prepare your answer prior to the interview, as it’s pretty much understood you’ll be asked this. I don’t think I’ve gone on an interview where they didn’t ask this. Not just what you say, but your presentation of this is vital too. Somewhere between not too nervous and not overly pushy. Confident and poised.

Ready to tackle this vexing question? Here’s a good article, How to Nail the “Tell Me about Yourself” Interview Question, to get you started. Other great job interviewing tips to brush up on include, Inside the Employer's Mind, Nailing the Interview and Be Your Best.


June 16, 2017

6 Keys to Success Every Job Seeker Needs to Know

Today’s job seeker needs to take a savvy approach to landing a great job. These keys to success in your job search, provided by the New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development’s New Jersey Career Connections, can open up employment potential for you. You can easily kick your job search into high gear, by implementing these six ideas.

Although this list is the very basics, even if you’re ignoring one of these areas, it could be preventing you from securing employment. Take a serious look at all these items and ask yourself if you’re neglecting any of these areas. If you are, immediately take steps to get up to speed in that area. 

Also, look at this list to determine if you can do more in one or two areas, again perhaps resulting in job offers for you. Sometimes giving just an additional ten percent of effort in an area, can make a huge difference.

Accept change. The labor market is constantly changing. Learn about current trends, how to use them to your advantage, and pursue your career goals with confidence.

Take care of yourself. Don’t let unemployment stress get in the way of your success. Continue to socialize and do activities that energize you. Get your finances in order and reach out to social service organizations if you need help.

Connect with people. Interacting with people is the best way to uncover the “hidden job market.” Stay active in your community and your social network-- the next person you meet might hold the key to the next step in your career.

Make a plan. Your time is valuable. Decide what your career goals are, and put together a plan to achieve them. Learn about the labor market and focus on industries and positions that align with your plan.

Be your own spokesperson. No one is more interested in your success than you. Always be prepared to discuss your skills and experiences in a positive way.

Embrace technology. The internet and social media have changed how employers find and hire talent. Learn the do’s and don’ts of these powerful tools to help you land your next position.

The Warren County Library can help you get going with these six tips. We offer an array of free workshops and programs for job seekers. Go to the calendar at or call 908/475-6322.