Archive for the ‘Job Search’ Category

How a new grad can research an employer


Companies check out job seekers prior to hiring them, and you should be checking out companies prior to applying for employment–or, at the very least, before accepting a job offer.

At Your Fingertips

Years ago, researching a potential employer required a trip to the library. Today, library information and more are available online.

… But where do you start?

The first destination is the employer’s website. It doesn’t matter if an employer is large or small; most organizations have an online presence.
Visit search engine Google,, key in the company or organization name, and hit enter. This should return the website address you seek. Once at the employer’s website, it’s time to assume the role of Sherlock Holmes.

What You’re Seeking

What exactly are you looking for when at a potential employer’s website? Begin at the beginning.

Operations overview of the organization.

If you don’t already know, you need to find out what this potential employer does, along with its business approach.
Take a look at the “About Us” section of the website. Also look at its product or service offerings. In addition, check out its list of locations. Next, explore its list of clients, if one is provided, and/or a list of business partners.  If your potential employer is a public company you may want to look at its annual report as well.

Who’s at the helm.

Then look at the management team and board of directors. What kinds of backgrounds do these people have? Does your background (or aspirations) match theirs? Are there women in senior-level positions? Does the management teaminclude people of color?

Recent achievements.

What has the organization been up to lately? To find out, visit the “Company News” or “Press Releases” section of the site. Press releases that announce record profits suggest one kind of environment, while announcements aboutconsolidating operations and closing facilities suggest another.

Corporate culture.

Most organizations articulate their culture with a statement or even an entire section. Pay attention to how the culture fits, or doesn’t fit, with your own. Also take a look at photos. At Internet search giant Google, for example, people sit on colorful balls during meetings. This is a very different environment from a Big Four accounting firm where meetings are typically conducted around a conference table.

– Read the full article

Job interviewing is like dating


Going for an interview is like dating!
We all know how nerve racking it can be going on a first date but isn’t the feeling very similar to your first interview? Wouldn’t it be great to see the similarities between both?
The initial nervousness
You open the door with butterflies in your stomach, you don’t know what to expect. You arrived 10 minutes early, being late wouldn’t look great but you don’t want to appear too eager either.
The research
The interview:
  • Check out their website and read news articles about them.
  • Look into your wardrobe for corporate wear.
  • Check out your interviewer on Linkedin and Twitter to see what they’re talking about.
  • Ask a recruiter for interview advice.
  • See if the office is in a nice area or not.
The date:
  • You ask some friends what they’re like?
  • Look into your wardrobe what’s going to make a statement?
  • Check them out on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter….not like a stalker but just to be prepared.
  • You haven’t dated in a while so you need lots of dating advice from an expert.
  • Look into where you’re meeting them, if it’s expensive they mean business if it’s not….well we’ll see.
What happens in the middle?
You’re greeted at the door and led to your seat. Here it is, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Here’s where the date and interview collide again:
  • You’re going to do a lot of talking so make sure you have some water.
  • You may be nervous (it’s your first date/interview in years) but try to be yourself.
  • Don’t appear too eager because that’ll only scare them off, there’s a fine line between enthusiasm and desperation.
  • You want to see what they’re like too so ask some questions.
  • It’s good to find something you both have in common, this will help build a connection and allow the conversation to flow better.
If you don’t feel the spark
In the first 5-10 minutes you’ll have a fair idea as to whether you like them or not.  Always trust your instincts. The last thing you want is to do is start dating/working with them for the next few years because you think they’re the best you can get but you’ve a better opportunity only around the corner.
The follow up call
If they really like you they’ll call you soon afterwards but if you have to wait a long time either they’re too busy or they’re just not that into you. What do you think of this and what are your interview comparisons?



Author: Shauna McDaniel

Social Networking Your Way into Career Opportunities


If you’re tired of walking around a conference room with a handful of business cards and a “Hello, my name is” tag stuck to your shirt, click into the 21st century. With the advent of social networking sites, you can meet and greet contacts just as effectively as — or even more effectively than — you did face-to-face.

That’s because social networking sites do a lot of the legwork for you. No longer must you surf a company’s Web site or do laps around a room to find a name you can use; that information is just a mouse click away on networking sites like LinkedIn or even Facebook. Search for people you used to work with, friends you went to school with, and even people who work at a company that interests you. The information is readily available; the only question is what you’ll do with it.

Building your brand
If you have your own business or you’re looking for steady freelance work, building your own Web site is an important first step to securing clients. Your site may include your resume and portfolio of work, a list of services you provide, and a roster of clients and their testimonials. Since your Web site may be the first professional impression you give, you need to make sure the content is targeted and the design is user-friendly.

Blogging professionally
Keeping a blog is a more personal way to generate interest in your products or services. Blogging helps people get to know your style, your likes and dislikes, and a bit about your personal life. But there is a big difference between personal and professional blogging. You might want your friends to know the ridiculous thing your significant other said to you last night over dinner, but do you really want that information broadcast to your current colleagues, or worse, potential clients? Professional blogs work as long as you stick to your subject of expertise and save your musings about the meaning of life for your personal, restricted-access blog.

Vetting your online presence
Your online presence is something you should be proud of, something that doesn’t need to be edited for each prospective client or employer. If you’re using Facebook for networking purposes, post professionally relevant, commentable links. If you have a Twitter account, make your tweets interesting enough to attract followers. If you’re on LinkedIn, don’t be shy about asking for recommendations from your list of contacts. It’s one thing to know 100 people; it’s another to have documented evidence of their praise for you and for your work. These are the kinds of interactive bits of information that will get you noticed and keep your career on the cutting edge.

A professional Web site, blog, LinkedIn profile, Twitter presence, and other social networking tools can be a lot to manage, but the rewards make the effort worthwhile. Because when you’re looking for career opportunities, it’s best to cast a wide net. You never know where your next contact will come from.


Source: College Surfing



Careers that are in Demand!


Top In Demand Careers of 2012.

Everyone knows that engineers and doctors make a pretty penny, and are usually careers in demand. But what about jobs that don’t require a PhD?

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on tuition or get degree after degree in order to obtain a high-paying, rewarding career. There are plenty of jobs out there that only require a certificateassociates degree or bachelors degree.

In Demand Office Careers

Whether you are running an office in a medical facility, private organization or at a government level, you are one of the most important behind-the-scenes workers. As an administrative assistant, it is up to you to keep your office running smoothly and efficiently.

How can you become an administrative assistant? Think carefully about the type of office you would like to work in and the role you could play. Without professional work experience, you’re probably going to want to earn a certificate or associates degree in business administration, receptionist, general office occupations and clerical services, medical/clinical assistant, administrative/executive assistant and medical secretary.

In Demand Healthcare Careers

Careers in healthcare are pretty much always in demand. This is especially true now that the baby boomer generation is coming into retirement and in need of nursing and medical care.

If you want a career in healthcare, but don’t want to attend medical school, you can enroll in associates or bachelors programs in medical/clinical assisting or nursing. Or, if you are interested in technology, consider a certificate in ultrasound technology, medical insurance/biller, electrocardiograph technology, or radiologic technology.

In Demand Technology Careers

Imagine what would happen if all the computers in an office crashed. Mayhem and mass confusion would break loose. The office would cease to function.

Technology support is essential for almost all businesses today. Whether the office has an in-house information technology (IT) department, or uses a freelance company, the need for someone to manage, regulate and troubleshoot the computer systems remains.

Although many of these majors can be pursued with a certificate or associates degree, administrative IT jobs typically require a bachelors degree in software engineering, mathematics, computer science,information technology or management information systems. If you’re looking for a quicker route to a job in technology, enroll in a career college or community college to earn a certificate in desktop support.

Most In Demand Creative Jobs

Today, the gap between creative and technical jobs is closing. Helping to bridge this gap are graphic designers and desktop publishers who work with many mediums including websites and other information technologies.

There are some companies that hire in-house graphic designers. However, this career is seeing a shift to mostly freelance positions. Freelance work provides flexibility that many people need to keep up with the fast-pace of society. You work independently, from home and usually on your own schedule. If this sounds like your dream job, apply to a community college or 4-year college or university for graphic design,intermedia/multimedia or another form of visual arts.

Top Careers in Sales

Do you have a knack for persuasion, a perky voice and a friendly demeanor? Then a career in sales might be a great choice for you.

In 2012, sales job seekers should expect an increase of employment opportunities. In fact, according to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 27% of hiring managers said they plan to hire for sales positions.

To break into a sales job without any previous work experience, earn a certificate or associates degree in selling skills and sales operations, general merchandising, sales and related marketing operations, retailing and retail operations, sales, distribution and marketing operations.

Interested in any of the above careers? Get started today. Contact Academy of Learning and be job ready in just 9 months.


Source: Campus Explorer

Top 10 Hardest Interview Questions


A job interview is no easy task. In fact many job seekers have trouble with the same set of questions. To ease the process of interviewing, we’ve listed the Top 10 Hardest Job Interview Questions. Focus on these job interview questions, study them, learn them, research them, and ace your next job interview!

1. Why did you get fired/ terminated? – This question is tricky yet needs to be answered with full honesty. The interviewer would want to hear your honesty and your side of the story. Support your answer with a very good explanation. In case you get fired due to legal issues, explain that you were currently working on it and that it does not have anything to do with your performance. Your explanation in your answer is very important; it should be direct and should not contain intersections.

2. Tell me about problems you encountered with Supervisors- Another tricky question that will test how you worked with your superiors. I suggest not to be too honest in answering this question. For example, common observations such as being bossy, opinionated, authoritarian, or being a keen observer are the common traits of a Supervisor that are incorrectly used. Instead, cite a personal experience that you had encounter with a supervisor so that the interviewer would understand why it became your problem.

3. What Qualities do you look for in a boss? – Do not answer with the most commontraits that a boss should possess like “being nice to employees” or a good leader. You should relate your answer with your work. For example “My ideal boss is someone who can make time to hear employees’ opinions or ideas, and a boss who cares to listen and give fair his/her opinion with my work.”

4. As a professional, do you have any disappointments? – Cite the experience that really disappoints you, as you relay the story behind it make sure that you state something that you have learned after.

5. What is your edge among other jobseekers who already have professional experience?- This question is one of the most tricky questions for fresh graduates. You need to answer this question with full confidence and strut. Most answer “because of my age and fresh ideas.” You should further explain your answer, and make sure that it hassomething to do with the company’s growth.

6. What do you know about this company? – Considered to be one of the hardestquestions since most jobseekers failed to research the company (its management, products, etc.).

7. How would you be an asset to this company? – Another tough question. Confidence is the key to surpass this one. Give a clear two-liner explanation on how you can become an asset to the company

8. Why do you think you will do well on this position that you are applying for? – Cite an experience where you often got praise on the things that you did and relate that to how qualified you are in the position that you are applying for.

9. What is your observation about this company? – This question may be a trap. The interviewer expects you to be a keen observer since you want to work in their company.Make sure that you observed the company’s environment, workers, and the office. Your impression matters to the interviewer.

10. Are you open for criticisms? How do you take them? – Your attitude will be tested in this question. The interviewer wants to know if you are open for suggestions and how strong you are in handling pressure.



Going Back to School. Is It Right For You?


Thinking of going back to school? You aren’t alone, and when you look at the statistics, it isn’t hard to see why. Labour experts estimate that today’s worker will have held 10 to 14 jobs by the time they are 38. Over the next five years, two thirds of all new jobs will require a post-secondary education. By 2010, the Top 10 most in-demand jobs will be jobs that didn’t even exist three years ago. All of this, as well as rapid pace of changing technology, suggests that today’s worker should be prepared to upgrade their knowledge base and skill set at some point in their career. But going back to school is a big decision, so before you dig out the old book bag, take a careful look at continuing education and what it means for you.

Why am I doing this?

Whether you’re going back to school because you want a new career or you want to increase your skills in your current field, it is best to begin by identifying specific reasons for doing so. You have to be certain that the benefits outweigh the costs. If they don’t, you may want to re-evaluate returning to school. If you aren’t clear, talk to someone at the school(s) you are interested in, and they may be able to shed some light on the situation for you.

If you are going back to school with the intention of changing careers, be sure to check out the employment opportunities in your desired field. Just because the job market is strong now doesn’t mean it will be when you are ready to enter the market. Establishing this will help you determine whether going back to school is the right choice.

The Cost: Time & Money

Obviously, determining whether you can afford the financial cost of continuing your education is critical. You should explore all options including personal savings, financial aid, and private loans. Also, ask your current employer if they have a tuition funding program. Don’t forget to factor in peripheral costs, like transportation and day care, and remember that there are education tax credits and deductions that help you out at tax time.

Time is also a major consideration. Most people don’t have the luxury of quitting their jobs to back to school full time, so estimate the time you can reasonably set aside for attending classes and completing coursework. Balancing your adult responsibilities with school will have a major impact on the type of program you choose.

Choosing a Program

Once you’ve decided that going back to school is right for you, the next hurdle is choosing a program. So what should you look for? Many people find it challenging to juggle increasingly busy work schedules and other responsibilities like family life, so look for courses and programs that allow flexibility such as online, in evenings and on weekends. If you are going to invest in returning to school, you’ll want to ensure that you are receiving high-quality knowledge and experience that’s relevant to their industry, so look for instructors that have real-life industry experience. You should also consider the duration of the program. Many institutions offer certificates or degrees that can be completed in one or two years as opposed to the typical four year undergrad.

Go to School on It

Whether you want to ensure your skills are up-to-date or just change careers, going back to school may mean a better job with more flexibility or a chance to get on a faster career track. Look at your resources and determine what you are prepared to sacrifice in terms of time and money. There are a whole range of options available to you, including on-line and part-time courses, so you can keep working as you learn. Remember, it may take a while for your investment to bear fruit, but the benefits of going back to school can change your career, and your life, for the better. So do your research, find out what is right for you and dig that old book bag out!

Source: Workopolis

How to make sure you get a great job after graduation.


Employers are super picky in this economy, but here are four ways to increase your chances of getting an appealing offer.

NEW YORK (Fortune) — With unemployment heading toward double digits, budgets so tight they squeak, and the economic outlook about as clear as mud, three words describe hiring managers these days: picky, picky, picky. That doesn’t mean you can’t get hired. It does mean, though, that now, more than ever, it’s important to work hard at preparing for interviews. Yes, just what you wanted after all those years of hitting the books: more homework!

Here are 4 ways to increase your chances of getting a great job:

1. Show employers you’ve got the basics covered. Recruiters at Enterprise Rent-a-Car, which is hiring about 8,000 management trainees this year, consider the usual mix of stellar academic performance, extracurricular activities, and community involvement. But the candidates who really stand out are those “who are seeking to build a career, who want to advance rapidly and are willing to work hard to do it,” says Marie Artim, assistant vice president for recruiting at the company. To prove your skills, be sure to get specific in interviews, advises Dan Black, director of campus recruiting for the Americas at Ernst & Young, which is hiring 5,000 interns and new grads this spring. “The candidates who stand out in the interview process are the ones who can talk about actual examples of teamwork and leadership, rather than giving hypothetical scenarios,” he says.

2. Study each prospective employer’s web site carefully, and read between the lines. Of course, the amount of information available to candidates online varies widely, but some sites contain vital clues as to whether you can get a foot in the door at the company – and, just as important, whether you’ll fit in and succeed there if you do.

3. Think hard about why you want to work at this particular company, rather than somewhere else. At Blinds to Go, a privately held manufacturer of window treatments that plans to open 70 new shops in the next five years, “we invest a lot in developing our people, so we really want new hires who understand our culture and plan to stay for a while,” says Nkere Udofia, vice chairman of operations. “You can tell in an interview whether a candidate has put serious thought into the decision to work here – or is just desperate for a job, any job.“

Writer – Anne Fisher
Source – David:


10 Cover Letter Don’ts


Your cover letter is the first thing employers see when they open your materials. Avoid these 10 mistakes, and make your first impression a good and lasting one.

Mistake #1: Overusing “I”

Your cover letter is not your autobiography. The focus should be on how you meet an employer’s needs, not on your life story. Avoid the perception of being self-centered by minimizing your use of the word “I,” especially at the beginning of your sentences.

Mistake #2: Using a Weak Opening

When writing a cover letter, job seekers frequently struggle with how to begin. This often results in a feeble introduction lacking punch and failing to grab the reader’s interest. Consider this example:

  • Weak: Please consider me for your sales representative opening.
  • Better: Your need for a top-performing sales representative is an excellent match to my three-year history as a #1-ranked, multimillion-dollar producer.

Mistake #3: Omitting Your Top Selling Points

A cover letter is a sales letter that sells you as a candidate. Just like the resume, it should be compelling and give the main reasons you should be called for an interview. Winning cover letter tips include emphasizing your top accomplishments or creating subheadings culled from the job posting. For example:

Your Ad Specifies: Communication skills

I Offer: Five years of public speaking experience and an extensive background in executive-level report.

Your Ad Specifies: The need for a strong computer background.

I Offer: Proficiency in all MS Office applications with additional expertise in Web site development and design.

Mistake #4: Making It Too Long

If your cover letter exceeds one page, you may be putting readers to sleep. A great cover letter is concise but compelling, and respects the reader’s time.

Mistake #5: Repeating Your Resume Word for Word

Your cover letter shouldn’t regurgitate what’s on your resume. Reword your cover letter statements to avoid dulling your resume’s impact. Consider using the letter to tell a brief story, such as “My Toughest Sale” or “My Biggest Technical Challenge.”

Mistake #6: Being Vague

If you’re replying to an advertised opening, reference the specific job title in your cover letter. The person reading your letter may be reviewing hundreds of letters for dozens of different jobs. Make sure all the content in your letter supports how you will meet the employer’s specific needs.

Mistake #7: Forgetting to Customize

If you’re applying to a number of similar positions, chances are you’re tweaking one letter and using it for multiple openings. That’s fine, as long as you customize each letter. Don’t forget to update the company, job and contact information — if Mr. Jones is addressed as Mrs. Smith, he won’t be impressed.

Mistake #8: Ending on a Passive Note

When possible, put your future in your own hands with a promise to follow up. Instead of asking readers to call you, try a statement like this: I will follow up with you in a few days to answer any preliminary questions you may have. In the meantime, you may reach me at (555) 555-5555.

Mistake #9: Being Rude

Your cover letter should thank the reader for his time and consideration.

Mistake #10: Forgetting to Sign the Letter

It is proper business etiquette (and shows attention to detail) to sign your letter. However, if you are sending your cover letter and resume via email or the Web, a signature isn’t necessary.


Source: Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

Finding Work/Life Balance


Striking a balance between job and family demands is a common dilemma for working parents. Dads and moms alike are juggling deadlines and play-dates, presentations and soccer practice, business travel and family trips.

In fact, nearly one-third of professionals surveyed by OfficeTeam said work/life balance is their top career concern, outranking job security and competitive pay.  Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all way to achieve the best of both worlds. Everyone defines “balance” in his or her own way, and the definition changes as priorities shift. Here are some ideas for establishing your own unique sense of equilibrium in your personal and professional life:

Find the Right Workplace
More companies than ever before are recognizing that family-friendly policies help them attract and retain talented employees. In the past decade, the number of employers offering paid parental leave, flexible scheduling, job sharing or telecommuting options has increased dramatically. Because these benefits vary widely from firm to firm, you should conduct as much research as possible before making a job change.

If you like your current job but need more flexibility, perhaps you can negotiate a mutually beneficial arrangement with your employer. Be sure what you propose is realistic given your job demands. Would you have sufficient time to meet with clients if you transitioned to a compressed workweek? Is telecommuting really a practical option for the type of work you do?

Meet with your boss to discuss your situation. Explain that you have some pressing personal needs that also require attention, but you want to find a reasonable balance. Be careful not to seem demanding. Before proposing your own plan right away, wait to see what your employer suggests. The company may have already dealt with situations similar to yours and have strategies in place that can be adapted to fit your particular case.

If you seek more flexibility then your current employer can offer, you may want to look for a new position elsewhere. Of course, you’ll need to consider the job market and the availability of other positions before beginning a search. Look for companies known for their family-friendly policies. You also might consider searching for a part-time position or a job-sharing arrangement.

Plan Defensively
Some of the responsibility for achieving work/life balance rests squarely on your own shoulders. Be sure to plan for those unexpected, unpredictable scenarios as well as for scheduled events. Developing a contingency plan for emergencies will enable you to continue with business as usual in the midst of a crisis. Make sure you have duplicate business files and phone numbers at home in case family responsibilities make it impossible for you to come into the office for a day or more.

View Balance as a Moving Target
Although work/life balance may be your goal, it’s actually more helpful to view it as a process. It’s something you’re always doing — with each decision you make, activity you plan or new responsibility you undertake.
Suppose you’ve been assigned a project with a tight deadline that will require you to put in more hours on the job. What constituted “balance” for you last week won’t be practical now. Similarly, whenever you add a new activity to your life — volunteering once a week at your child’s school, for example — the balance you strive for will necessarily change.

It’s possible to achieve your professional goals without sacrificing your personal life. Likewise, you can realize personal dreams without giving up a fulfilling career. It all depends on your ability to define work/life balance in your own way, negotiate with a current or future employer to address shifting priorities, and accept responsibility for making adjustments as circumstances change.

Source: Workopolis

5 Job Interview Secrets That Candidates Don’t Hear About


I’ve had to hire team members for multiple roles over the years, and here are a few things I’ve learned from being on this side of the table that I didn’t know when I was a candidate applying for jobs.

When an employer invites you to interview for a job, they already think you’re qualified. Your resume and cover letter, job application or online profile have already told them that you have the skills, education and experience that they are looking for. If there is a phone interview, that is to pre-screen for these core skills before meeting you in person.

The job is yours to lose

Because they need someone with your abilities, and the hiring process is taking up valuable time from their regular duties, hiring managers usually come into the face-to-face interview wanting to give you the job. Your challenge is to not change their minds.

Employers want to like you as a person

Since they already think you have the skills, and they want to hire you, what are most employers looking for in an interview? Frankly, they want to know if they like you and if you’re going to fit in with the team. Once they hire you, you become someone they will have to see and speak to every day at work. They often end up spending more time with you than they do with their family or friends. So likeability really matters.

This is why coming up with clichéd answers to standard questions won’t work. If you say that your biggest flaw is that you’re a ‘perfectionist workaholic,’ the interviewer won’t learn anything about the real you, and may be annoyed by your lack of sincerity.

Be personable, and talk in a friendly, conversational manner rather than simply quoting rehearsed answers. Try to build rapport with the interviewer.

Your looks really matter

How you look may determine whether or not you get the job. If you are dressed too casually, you may appear unprofessional or not serious about the role. If the company culture, or the hiring manager specifically has issues with multiple piercings, visible tattoos or odd facial hair, these may cost you the gig. If you appear nervous, sweaty and easily flustered, they might assume that you are not up for the job.

Dress up, wear clothes that are just a touch more formal than required on the day-to-day of the job. Arrive a little early so that you don’t have to run to make it on time, and be at your calm and confident best.

You can be too eager for the role

While employers prefer candidates who are enthusiastic about working for them specifically, it is possible to be tooenthusiastic.

Being overly needy makes you look bad and lowers your value as a potential hire. For example, if you’re currently employed and you tell your interviewer that you could start work right away, this could hurt your chances. It indicates that you’re willing to make an unprofessional exit from your present job by leaving them hanging with no notice. Is that the kind of person they would want on their team?

Although it’s good to send a thank-you note after an interview, too much follow-up can kill your chances. Calling or emailing multiple times to check up on the status of your application will make you look desperate and will likely get on the employer’s nerves.

The timing isn’t fair

The rules of timing are not the same for employers and candidates. The employer can take as long as they need to call you for an interview after your application, to follow up with you after an interview and to make you an offer. This process almost always takes longer than they think it will for a myriad of behind-the-scenes reasons at the company. So when the employer says they’ll make a decision by the end of the week, it may take up to a month.

On the other hand, if you’re asked to send in references or samples of your work the next day. Do it the next day. Candidates have to be on time and true to their word. Also, you can wait too long to respond to a job offer. If you’re waiting to hear from another company or using the offer to renegotiate with your current job, it can be rescinded. Employers are hiring because they have a talent gap. They need the help and don’t have time for candidates who string them along. Job offers come with expiration dates.

Source: Workopolis