Monday, June 27, 2005

What to Do if You are Over 40 and Have Lost Your Job

Unexpectedly loosing your job can be a very traumatic and distressing experience at the best of times. If you are over 40 and can't find the job you deserve, you will need great inner strength and self belief to come out on top.

Could this be you?

You’re working at your family’s welding business during the day, and then go to your second job at night. You’re 50-some years old, working as a cashier at Target. You always said that if you’re 40 years old and have a career that requires you to wear a name tag, then to just shoot you!

Not that there’s anything wrong with working at Target or wearing a name tag or working the family business. Those are all honest jobs. It’s just that after 20 years with your previous company, and with your education and expertise, you hadn’t exactly planned on ramping up to your golden years asking customers if they’d like to save ten percent on their purchase by opening a store credit card.

You heard rumblings about the company folding. But as far as you knew, the numbers were good. At least they were good. unemployed, unemployment, downsizing, out of work, job seeker, redundant, fired, sacked

Then competition took over and the owners decided it was a good time to bow out gracefully. You were hoping you weren’t going to be one of the countless main wage earners to get let go. But sadly, you were. Unemployment ran out. You sent out literally hundreds of resumes and still nothing. Your spirits are down, you’re frustrated (that’s an understatement) and you even had to humble yourself to get some help from a local food pantry.

You’ve done all the online courses; you have tirelessly pounded the pavement and scoured the classified ads. You’ve even hit up all the online sources to jobs such as www.monster.com www.usajobs.com hotjobs.yahoo.com and about 800 other job boards that you regularly surf. If one more person tells you that a door closes and a window opens or that good things come to those who wait, you think you’re going to puke.

You have a family counting on you; so now what? For starters, keep plugging along. Keep on keeping on. You know a job isn’t going to fall from the sky, so you need to just accept that your job right now is finding a job. You are working and you’re working harder than most at this task.

More importantly you need to keep a positive outlook. Yes that’s easier said than done. But if you can’t control the circumstances you can control your attitude toward it. You can either look at downsizing as an opportunity to do something different or to learn something new; or you can view it by accepting that you’ve been dealt a bad hand of cards and now all you can do is play it out. Do not view yourself as a victim. No good will come from that attitude.

You wouldn’t have advanced nor had the longevity that you did in your former career had it not been for your wherewithal and internal drive. You need to find that strength again. If you’re still having a pity party, it’s time to get over it. If you’ve sent out that many resumes and exhausted what you believe to be all your leads and you’re still bitter and feeling sorry for yourself, it’s time to reevaluate. If you haven’t already accepted a job that you’re overqualified for and underpaid, then it’s time you did.

Pride can be our biggest downfall. Working a family business that you never wanted to, or working nights at the concession stand may not be what you envisioned for yourself. View it as temporary. View it as a paycheck. View it as an opportunity to network with people you would have never had the opportunity to cross paths. Maybe your next customer could be a business owner that you’ve been attempting to get an interview with.

As for the people who give you clichés – know that they mean well. People who have not been a mile in your shoes don’t understand it. They don’t know what to say. Remember downsizing sometimes sucks, but it may be forcing you into a new opportunity that you really love. Make the best of it.

Roger Clark is senior editor at Top Career Resumes who provide free information to job seekers on all aspects of finding a new job and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and lifestyle topics.

Please take a look at these new hot off the press job articles ...

Casino Jobs
Clergy Jobs
Drivers Jobs
Interior Design Jobs
Landscape Gardener Jobs
Military Jobs
Mining Jobs

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Resumes Aren't Important - They are Everything When it Comes to Getting an Interview

These topics are covered in this article: resume, writing resumes, resume tips, resume mistakes, winning resumes, resume help.

Employers and recruiters receive hundreds of resumes for every position they are trying to fill. To select their shortlist of candidates to interview, they look for the most common resume mistakes most applicants make and eliminate them first.

To increase your chances of getting an interview, make sure you avoid these common mistakes.

Ten Resume Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you’ve been downsized, are looking for a career change or are just starting out, your resume speaks volumes about you. If your resume doesn’t make it past the first cut, you’re doomed; no matter how qualified you are. Below are ten common mistakes to avoid when putting your resume together. Remember, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

1. Multiple pages – You need to be concise. Keep it to one page and one page only. If you can’t highlight your talents on one page, you’re giving the message that you are unorganized and tend to go on and on.

2. Fancy paper – If your skills don’t speak for themselves, then your fancy paper isn’t going to make a bit of difference.

3. Fancy font – Same as above. Don’t try to set yourself apart with a different font on your resume. Set yourself apart by being uniquely qualified.

4. Irrelevant info – No one really cares that you were a singing waiter if you’re applying for an accountant job.

5. Outdated information – Does it matter than you had a newspaper route and were on the high school cheerleading squad 24 years ago? No, not in the least. Leave it off.

6. Typos and misspellings – You would think this is an obvious one, but you’d be amazed at the number of resumes received with big blaring mistakes.

7. Falsified information –Greatly elaborated credentials are the same as lies. Do not list diplomas, certifications, affiliations or awards that you did not earn. Just don’t do it. It’ll come back to bite you in the butt.

8. Attachments – At the resume stage do not send any attachments, whatsoever. If you are granted an interview, at that time you could bring in whatever it is you’re so hot to get into the selecting official’s hands. The person accepting the resumes will likely just throw it in the round file.

9. Elaborating too much – Place of employment, job title and brief, very brief description of job responsibilities are all you need. Don’t complete a whole paragraph for each job you’ve held.

10. No cover letter – Writing a good cover letter is a bit of an art. However, any cover letter is better than none. Just keep the same principles in mind with your letter: Brevity, relevant and free from typos.

If you can avoid these simple ten resume mistakes, you’re more than half way there to getting an interview. Once you have your foot in the door you can really shine for the boss. If you don’t make it past the first cut, due to any of the above fatal mistakes, your beautiful resume will be used to wipe up coffee spills or will be added to the recycle pile! Don’t let that happen to you.

Roger Clark is senior editor at Top Career Resumes who provide free information to job seekers on all aspects of finding a new job and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and lifestyle topics.

Friday, June 17, 2005

New Cover Letter Section Added - Broadcast

Top Career Resumes has added four new pages of cover letter samples to their website.

Cover letters addressed to recruiters need to be handled a little differently than conventional cover letters.

Specifically, certain information that is traditionally not included in cover letters sent directly to employers should be included in a recruiter cover letter. This information generally includes salary information, why and when you left your last employer as well as your salary history for past employment and your expectations regarding future compensation.

In addition, you will need to mention the types of jobs you are interested in and if you are interested in relocating, then the locations that would interest you.

The following four sample resume cover letters represent the most popular types in use:



You are welcome to use any of the resume cover letters on this site for your

personal use. The resume cover letters may not be used or reproduced for

commercial purposes without written permission.


Kind Regards

Roger Clark
(Senior Editor)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Interview Tip of The Day # 1

Tip # 1 Dress appropriately.

If you don’t take the time and effort to wear appropriate clothing to the interview, you will lose the job before you even get a chance to explain why you are the best candidate.

What you wear to the interview will greatly depend upon the industry or field for which you are applying. Any office related position will require that you wear clothing that is no more casual than a button up shirt, slacks and tie for men and either a nice slacks/skirt and blouse combo for ladies or a dress/suit.

Only under rare circumstances would you need to wear anything more casual and this generally includes fields such as transportation, construction, mechanics, etc.

Additionally, clothing should be conservative and preferably reflect neutral tones. Avoid excessive jewelry. Don’t go overboard on the use of cologne or perfume.

Many people suffer from allergies and the last thing you want to do is cause your prospective employer an allergy attack.

Kind Regards


Roger Clark
(Senior Editor)

P.S Please take a look at our recent additiions to Top Career Resumes

Job Interviews
Interview Types
Interview Preparation
Starting the Interview
Answers to Typical Questions
Answers to Tough Questions
Interview Tips
Interview Questions to Ask
Salary Negotiations
Closing the Interview
After the Interview
Free Resume Template
Free Functional Resume Sample
Free Combination Resume Sample
Free Chronological Resume Sample
Sample Resumes
Chronological Resume Sample

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Final Section on Closing Interviews

Final Word on Closing the Interview

In the event that the employer does not offer you a firm commitment and seems to be a bit hesitant about when a firm decision will be made, don’t take it as a personal affront.

There could be any number of reasons why the employer is reluctant to hire you on the spot-the least of which could be the need to consult with superiors.

It’s important that even if you are disappointed about not receiving a job offer on the spot that you remain positive, up beat and confident. Finally, take the time to thank the employer for meeting with you. Above all, remember to always be professional no matter what happens.

To read more about interviews, read the full article here!

Regards

Roger Clark
(Senior Editor)

P.S Please take time to have a look at these new free resumes and templates ...

Free Resume Template
Free Functional Resume Sample
Free Combination Resume Sample

Sunday, June 12, 2005

How to Close Interviews on a Positive Footing

Closing Interviews

Once all questions have been asked and answered, it is quite appropriate to ask the interviewer when they anticipate making a hiring decision as well as what the next step in the interviewing or hiring process will be. Make a point to ask the employer for a business card so that you can have readily available contact information for following up with the employer in the days to come. This will also make it much easier for you to mail the all important interview thank-you letter as soon as you return home.

Also don’t forget to shake hands with the employer and summarize how your skills and experience, as well as ambition and desire, make you the perfect candidate for the position. If you’re really confident and don’t mind taking risks, you might ask “So, is there anything stopping you from offering me the job right now?” This ploy should only be used if you feel the interview has gone well, however. Otherwise you might be setting yourself, as well as the interviewer, up for an embarrassing response.

A much milder version of this tactic would be, “Is there anything else I can answer for you to make a hiring decision?” If you really aren’t sure how well the interview went and don’t want to waste your time waiting for a call that may never come, you could simply ask, “Have I done well enough to advance to the next level of the hiring process?”

This puts all the cards on the table and an employer who appreciates honesty and frankness will reciprocate by letting you know where you stand. If for some reason, you were not the candidate the employer was looking for this may give you a golden opportunity to clear up something that might make you the ideal candidate. Otherwise, at the very least, you won’t be spending the next two weeks waiting by the phone and you can begin concentrating on other employment prospects.

Kind Regards

Roger Clark
(Senior Editor)

P.S Today we launch our brand new section on teaching job interview techniques ...

Job Interviews
Interview Types
Interview Preparation
Starting the Interview
Answers to Typical Questions
Answers to Tough Questions
Interview Tips
Interview Questions to Ask
Salary Negotiations
Closing the Interview
After the Interview

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Why One Word Answers Are Bad News at Interviews

It takes a lot of time and effort to get invited to a job interview. Don't blow your chances by being misunderstood by the interviewer. Not many people are aware that giving one word answers to questions, substantially increases your chances of conveying the wrong impression.

Active Listening Skill Tips for Interviews

During a job interview, a potential employer asks, “Can you take on more than one project at a time?” If you respond, “Yes,” you may want to rethink that answer. According to Dynamic Listening: Interview Skills, a computer based training module from Mindleaders in Columbus, Ohio, you should avoid one-word or one-sentence answers.

Be specific. And speak money-language. Here’s a preferred answer to the question above, “In general, depending upon the type and length of projects, I believe in efficiently handling more than one project at a time. This could save a company as much as 30%.”
Let’s check out the definition of “active listening skills” and learn more to help with your next interview…

Active Listening Skills

Just as everyday “speaking” is not the same as public speaking; “listening” is not the same as active listening. Active listening means two things: analysis and response to the message being communicated.

An active listener maintains eye contact and good posture with a slight lean towards the speaker. During the interview, the listener nods, smiles and takes notes. Be ware, however, that a daydreamer or pseudolistener, can adopt these behaviors. So a listener’s physical response does not necessarily mean good listening skills are at work.

Nonverbal communication, more than just the nod or smile, is important. Gestures, appearance, timing, voice responses, facial expressions, spatial distance – all affect how the speaker (or interview) interprets the listener. So a person preparing for a job or work project interview should consider the cultural climate and norms of society of the interviewer. In short, perceived active listening based on nonverbal signals can vary from culture to culture.

Especially in this age of such great cultural diversity, be courteous of others regardless of cultural, sexual or societal backgrounds. If you are a woman and get to a door before a man, open it. If your interviewer doesn’t speak English very well and looks puzzled at your words, go back and explain yourself again in different words and re-establish a good communication exchange.

Note: a major part of active listening is paraphrasing. It’s not the same as summarizing. A summary is a shortened version of the original message, focusing on the main point. To paraphrase means to re-state the message in your own words.

Active listeners take notes by paraphrasing or restating what the speaker said in their own words, and summarizing main points. A good listener is not the same thing as a silent listener. Good listeners ask questions, even something like, “Is this an accurate paraphrase of you have said?” to let the speaker know that you understand the message being communicated.

Regards

Roger Clark
(Senior Editor)

P.S Have a look at these new additions to Top Career Resumes

Librarian Jobs
Legal Jobs
Social Service Jobs
Firefighting Jobs
Fashion Designers
Nutritionists
Chemists
Chefs
Architects

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Technology in The Workplace - Boon or Curse?

Like all new innovations, technology in the work environment can either work for you or against you. What is good for the employer or is not always the same for the employee.

Is Technology Working FOR You or AGAINST You

When cellphones became available it seemed that they would fill a need for instant communication - any time, any place - that would help people be more efficient and thus save time.

Then email became a mainstream method of business communication. Marvelous - now telephones wouldn't ring off the hook, messages would not have to be stored and retrieved as verbal communications, which took time. Instead, information would be clear and concise and could be retrieved and answered any time, any where - again the promise of more freedom.

With email, internet and cellphones, was it really necessary for workers to be restrained to the office? Maybe shorter work days would ensue. Perhaps parents could collect their children from school and be contacted at home via either of these methods.

The work world was changing.

This truth came about as more workers were able to take their jobs with them. The travel from home to work and back again was no longer a barrier for actually DOING the work.

Telecommunication was making itself an integral part of conducting business. With cellphones and email, distance, time and travel were no longer barriers to conducting business effectively.

For some, this meant that coming to the office every day was an option - not a requirement.

Mothers and fathers found new freedom to take care of their children while still collecting the paycheck they needed to support them. Work could be done at home, at the park, at the grocery store, at night...

Unfortunately, this ability to work anywhere has become a nuisance instead of a luxury for some individuals. The fact that they are ABLE to do business any time, any where, means that they actually ARE doing business all the time.

Rather than free them, they found that they cannot get far enough away from work to really put it away for the day. Illness and emergencies do not stop the phone from ringing or the email from piling up - and because you can access it, there is no excuse for not dealing with it.

So for some, the convenience has become a ball and chain - creating longer work hours and constant stress. For these individuals it is necessary to commit themselves and their work mates to guidelines such as turning the phone off. Not accessing email regularly. Sticking to these rules and telling other work mates your new practices should help.

Remember that you were supposed to be ASSISTED by these devices. It is in the best interest of your health and the well-being of your family if these tools keep their proper place.

Kind Regards

Roger Clark
(Senior Editor)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

After Your Interview - What Must You Do Next?

Other than actually landing the interview itself and living through it, waiting after the interview and wondering whether you will get a phone call or a rejection letter can be one of the most difficult aspects of searching for a job. What you do after the interview should actually start while you are still ‘working’ the interview.

Prior to leaving make sure that you have noted the name of the person or persons who interviewed you. This will come in handy later for a number of purposes. Also, do make sure that you shake hands once again with your interviewer and thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Also, it’s not out of line to ask when they expect to be making a decision. This gives you a timeline to go by.

Always be sure to send a thank-you letter. This practice not only demonstrates good social etiquette but it also helps to keep you and your skills fresh in the mind of the interviewer. On some occasions an interviewer already has an idea by the time the interviews are completed who they will be calling to offer the job; however on many more occasions they still remain unsure who will be awarded that coveted slot. Sometimes they want a little time to ‘sleep’ on the decision or they may need to consult supervisors or others within their organization regarding the hiring decision. If a decision has not already been reached in the mind of the employer when all of the interviews have been completed, taking the time to send a thank-you letter can go a long way toward making sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle.

While it’s a good idea to send a polite thank you note to the person who interviewed you it is not a good idea to pester that person to no end. The only result you are likely to achieve through this strategy is alienating yourself from them and assuring that you won’t get the job. Although ‘don’t take no for an answer’ is a strategy that many aggressive job coaches recommend; it is still always best to observe polite social standards.

That is not to say that you should sit by the phone and allow several weeks to elapse, waiting, while you hear nothing and do nothing. Ideally, your thank you letter should have gone out the same day as the interview, no later than the following day. This means that the interviewer should receive it within one to two days following the initial interview.

Keep track of when the employer indicated a decision would be made and if that time has come and gone, it is perfectly permissible to go ahead and phone them. However; when you do make the call, be polite. State your name, the date you interviewed and the position for which you interviewed. You may say that you are following up to inquire as to whether a decision has been made.

At this point, the conversation can go a number of ways. The employer may indicate that a decision has been made and all candidates who were not selected will be receiving a letter in the mail. If this is the response you receive, it is your cue that you were not hired. Had you been, you would have received a phone call from the employer by now.

Thank them for their times, ask them to keep you in mind for any future vacancies and get off the line. Don’t burn any bridges. It could be that there was simply a better qualified candidate for that particular position, but they might consider you for a different, future position.

On the other hand, the employer may state that they are still reviewing resume, conducting interviews, etc, etc. This type of response could mean a couple of different things. It could mean that they really have made a decision and the person just doesn’t feel comfortable telling you on the phone that you weren’t selected or it could simply be taken at face value.

Perhaps something came up and their initial timeline has been forced to be extended somewhat. In either case, always remain polite and thank them for their time. After you end the call, make a note of the date on your planner and set a tickler to remind yourself to call back in a week if you still haven’t heard anything. Call back once a week, every week until a decision is made. Once a week is persistent; a trait which is to be admired. Once a day is pesky; a trait that should be avoided at all costs.

While it can be difficult to wait around after the interview, the most important two things that you should do is not blow the opportunity by annoying the employer with numerous pesky phone calls and by all means do not show up announced at their office door asking if they have arrived at a decision. Finally, make sure that you don’t pin all your hopes on one job. Yes, it may have been your first choice and your ideal dream job; however; this is probably also true for someone else as well. Use the time while you are waiting to hear back from the employer to line up your ‘B’ plan. Continue job searching, scheduling interviews and most importantly, reminding yourself that you can do this.

Kind Regards

Roger Clark
(Senior Editor)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Liars Get Caught! What NOT to Put on Your Resume

"Everybody does it" as they say. Face it, the job market can be a very tough place to compete. If everyone inflates their experience then how can an honest person get a job?

Well, as tempting as it may be, you do NOT want to risk lying on your resume.

Whether it's personal information, job experience, or schooling - employers are finding new ways to sniff out liars and you don't want to be one of them.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

While some information may not be easily verified, information such as a criminal record, can be very costly to you in the event it is checked out. With sites like rapsheets.com you can never guarantee that an employer won't be able to find the information, even if your employer is hiring you for domestic work and is not a business.

JOB EXPERIENCE

Clearly this is not the place to boast about fake employment as you are going to list the businesses you worked for which may be contacted for verification. As this is the most likely area your interviewer will do a check on, avoid misrepresenting yourself at all costs.

EDUCATION

Think that nobody will notice if you slip in an education you don't really have? Perhaps you do have the skills, but you can't afford to claim education you can't provide proof of. EmployAct.com is a new service that will allow employers to have background checks - similar to criminal or credit checks - to verify your claim.

WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE

With all that said and done, how can you create a resume that will highlight your skills and abilities without needing to lie?

Give yourself credit. Your skills in the workforce can be weighty indicators of your ability to work in a given job. You may not know what an employer is looking for. With many jobs that don't require a particular expertise, you many find that they are looking for people who are able to learn on the job. Proof that you have gained skills as a worker (or even a volunteer if you're just starting out) can be very valuable.

Be certain that you focus on skills. Expand your descriptions. Do not say 'I worked in an office', rather say 'I was responsible for answering the phones in a professional manner and directing calls to the proper departments. In a busy work environment I was able to multi-task by providing supportive administrative assistance to the head receptionist including maintaining a filing system, processing inter office memos, delivering documents in a timely manner, directing clients to their meeting appointments and providing relief reception. I was quickly able to learn the filing and switchboard systems as well as create good working relationships with fellow staff.'

As you can see from the above example, it is perfectly acceptable to elaborate on your skills, but do so in an honest and ethical manner. If you need help you can find software programs which will give you suggestions on wording depending on the position you are describing or you can hire someone who writes resumes to help you. Have confidence in keeping the job you are sure to get by doing it right the first time.

Best Regards

Roger Clark
(Senior Editor)
Top Career Resumes

Friday, June 03, 2005

Interview Tips - # 9 and # 10

Today we present the final two interview tips in out mini series:

Tip # 9 - Cell Phones

Turn off your cell phone and pager prior to your interview.

There is nothing more insulting to an employer or disrupting during an interview to have a cell phone or page continue to ring/beep. Let your voice mail catch any incoming calls.

Tip #10 - Enthusiasm

Be enthusiastic!

Let the employer know how interested you are in the position and what a great job you can do.

Kind Regards

Roger Clark
(Senior Editor)

Interview Tips - # 9 and # 10

Today we present the final two interview tips in out mini series:

Tip # 9 - Cell Phones

Turn off your cell phone and pager prior to your interview.

There is nothing more insulting to an employer or disrupting during an interview to have a cell phone or page continue to ring/beep. Let your voice mail catch any incoming calls.

Tip #10 - Enthusiasm

Be enthusiastic!

Let the employer know how interested you are in the position and what a great job you can do.

Kind Regards

Roger Clark
(Senior Editor)