August 2011 Archives

Wednesday August 31, 2011

Does Your Cover Letter ASK for the Job Interview?

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© Written By Jimmy Sweeney President of CareerJimmy and Author of the brand new, Amazing Cover Letter Creator

Cover letter.jpg Job seekers all over the country miss their golden opportunity to land an interview for the job they want--often for one simple reason. They neglect to ASK for one. They write a great cover letter, listing their accomplishments, their abilities, and the accolades they received for the work they've done. But they leave out an essential sentence:

May I come in for an interview?


I would love to interview for this position, can we schedule a time next week?

There is no question that you can and will be called for more job interviews if you take that one step--asking for the opportunity to meet in person. Without the question, your cover letter fails to fully work in your favor. So be sure that every cover letter you write includes a request for a job interview.

Twice is Nice!

Ask for an interview in the beginning of your cover letter and again towards the end. It's fine to use a friendly tone, but don't be afraid to be direct too. You're asking the hiring manager to give you a call and invite you in to talk about the job you both want to fill. This is as basic as it gets. Asking is one of simplest and more effective job-search tips you will read anywhere at any time. I hope you'll take it to heart, use it, and then watch the results pour in.

- Jimmy Sweeney

Jimmy Sweeney is the president of CareerJimmy and author of the brand new, Amazing Cover Letter Creator." Jimmy is also the author of several career related books and writes a monthly article titled, "Job Search Secrets."

Visit our friends at Amazing Cover Letters for your "instant" cover letter today. "In just 3½ minutes you will have an amazing cover letter guaranteed to cut through YOUR competition like a hot knife through butter!"

Thursday August 18, 2011

Are Recruiters Really Necessary?

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Peter was a great candidate: Fine background, good skills, terrific references. So I decided to spin the dial and see if I could place him.

After a little research, I found a company that seemed a perfect match for Peter's talents. So, I placed a call to the vice president.

The VP agreed that my candidate was indeed perfect, and could immediately help his company grow. However, there was a catch: Under no circumstances would they pay a recruiter's fee.

"So, you see no value whatsoever in working with a recruiter," I said.

"You got it," he said, cutting me off. "We get 50 resumes a week from posting on Craigslist. So, if your candidate really wants to work for our company, I'm sure he'll find us."

"Sorry I wasted your time," I told the VP. I could tell from his tone of voice that any attempt to convince him otherwise was a waste of my time as well.

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Tuesday August 16, 2011

You Had the Job Interview - But Now What?

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I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who is an HR Director at a large company. I like to keep in touch with her to get the other side of the story about how candidates are coming across in their job searches and some of the latest tactics that work for her, and those that don't.

Interview Preparation.jpg She was telling me about an out of work friend who, after submitting her resume, was calling the hiring manager daily to inquire about the status. "After about three days of seeing the same number come up on caller ID I'm sure that hiring manager won't be calling her back, regardless of how qualified she is. Who wants to hire a stalker?" my friend commented. And sadly, it's true. Just like that guy or gal who calls you incessantly after having a great date, or a salesperson you briefly talked to in a store. You might have been interested in them, or working with them at the time, but too much, is still, too much.

So what should you do? Send your resume, and if you have the contact info (and the ad does not specifically say "Do not call."), you can place a brief, friendly follow-up call the following week to touch base and let them know you're a real person who didn't just hit the Submit key on You can even say one or two unique aspects about your experience that specifically relate to the position leave your name and contact info, and then that's it. If you're a fit-they'll call you back. If you're not-then they won't.

However, if you have made it to the interview stage, you have earned a little more leeway. First, you should NEVER, EVER leave an interview without asking-"What are the next steps?" or "What is your timeline for filling this position?" You can even ask "I'd love to follow-up with you, what works better for you, a call or an email, say, next week? I don't want to turn into a stalker. " (insert casual laugh here) There you have it-you just got their timing, showed you were interested, and saved yourself a stress-ridden week of worrying about the position.

After you've made that initial post-interview follow-up call, don't revert to your former stalker ways and leave a voicemail every day, but it is OK to check in with them, either by phone or email every week and a half to two weeks. You can simply remind them of your interest in the position, or better yet, include a link to a relevant article about something happening in the industry is completely appropriate.

- Melanie Szlucha

Melanie Szlucha has been a hiring manager for over 15 years and a career coach for over 4 through her company Red Inc. She writes resumes, coaches clients for job interviews, and works with them to strategize networking opportunities and job search tactics.She offers a packet of FREE job search articles--worth over $100, through her website:

Friday August 5, 2011

July Payroll Better Than Expected

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. job growth accelerated more than expected in July as private employers stepped up hiring, a development that eased fears the economy was sliding into a fresh recession.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 117,000, the Labor Department said on Friday, above market expectations for an 85,000 gain. The unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent in June, mostly the result of people leaving the labor force.

The payrolls count for May and June was revised to show 56,000 more jobs added than previously reported. The report was the first encouraging piece of economic data in some time.

"While I do not think this sounds the all-clear signal, it does quell some of the conversation that the U.S. is falling back into a recession," said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

"There are still plenty of headwinds, like Europe. This report pulls us back from the ledge a little bit."

Fears that the U.S. economy might be sliding back into recession, coupled with Europe's inability to tame its spreading debt crisis, have roiled global financial markets. Economists see the odds of a U.S. recession as high as 40 percent.

U.S. stock index futures rallied more than 1 percent on the report, while prices for Treasury debt slid. The dollar trimmed losses against the yen.

Top policymakers at the Federal Reserve will sift through the report when they meet on Tuesday but are not expected to announce any new measures to support the sputtering recovery.

The U.S. central bank has cut interest rates to zero and spent $2.3 trillion on bonds. Policymakers have said they want to see how the economy fares before taking any further action.

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Wednesday August 3, 2011

Critical Points After the Interview

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In addition to a thorough interview debrief where you ask good questions to ascertain the interest level of both parties, pay attention to:

  1. After the interview, who called whom? I recommend telling candidates: "Let's touch base later in the afternoon after the interview. That's because I want to hear your perspective first before I talk to my client, so I can find out if you felt they had concerns and see how you want to proceed. Make sure you take my cell number with you to the interview so we can talk afterward." Always give people a reason why they should comply to your requests. Don't just say "call me back". Tell them why.

  2. How quickly did they respond? If the candidate/client didn't call you and you have to reach out to them, how quickly do they return your call? Is it just a few minutes or hours? Or do you have to leave another message two days later just to get feedback? If it's the latter, then you have some serious concerns to deal with. If it's a deviation from their normal 'call back' pattern, then this is a clear indication that something has changed in the process. Maybe they are considering a counteroffer or have received another call from a competitor about an opportunity. Or maybe they are dodging you because they like you and they don't want to hurt your feelings by telling you that they aren't interested in the job. Or maybe they were in a car accident and are in the hospital. You don't know for sure and you shouldn't make assumptions. But what you do know is that you have given clear direction to someone who just went on an interview and they are not complying with the ground rules that you hopefully laid out earlier in the process. You can't and shouldn't jump to conclusions. Keep an open mind to what's going on. But know that you have reasons to be cautious and concerned until you get more information that tells you how to steer the direction of your deal.

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