Your Take 
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Your Take: Your Best Career Tip?

Career Doctor BookI hope you got as much out of reading and commenting about the posts in Career Week as I did writing them. While the posts themselves were written to speak to those who are currently unemployed, I think the ideas and tips I shared are applicable to anyone looking for a job. If you have employed and are looking for a better job, you can use the tips from Career Week to get to the next level. If you are employed and looking to change your career path, you can use the ideas from some of these posts to help you make that change.

For this week’s Your Take, I wanted to ask you to share your best career tip. It can be anything related to career advice from looking for a job to preparing your resume, from interviewing preparation tips to salary negotiation. There are many many topics I didn’t cover in the series, so feel free to cover them here in your best career tips.

I’m eager to hear the great ideas you have! (feel free to leave two or three or five, don’t feel like you need to limit it to just one)

(Photo: krishnade)


 Career 
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How To Write an Interview Followup Thank You Letter

Thank You in the SandThe courting process doesn’t end with the conclusion of an interview, first round or on-site. After an interview, it’s a good idea to write a follow up or thank you letter so that you can thank the interviewer and maintain an open channel of communication. Not every interviewee will do this, so by writing a letter you stand out.

In most cases, the purpose of a thank you letter isn’t to help you land the job. The point is to make you stand out since many people won’t write thank you letters. In many organizations, a hiring decision is made very soon after the conclusion of an interview. At one of my former employers, the interviewers of a candidate met minutes after the last interview to discuss whether or not to make a hiring decision. It’s quick by design because you want people to make decisions before their memories have had a chance to fade. So when you write the thank you letter, chances are the decision has already been made.

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 Career 
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How to Answer the 10 Most Common Interview Questions

In the course of my career, I’ve been involved in over forty interviews. More than half have been in the capacity of the interviewee and the rest were as the interviewer, with an even mix of on-site and on-campus interviews. I’m by no means an expert but having navigated so many, several common themes emerged and hopefully I can pass along that information to you, prospective interviewee or interviewer, to make the whole process easier for you.

When it comes to interviews, there are two types – the soft qualitative interview and the hard quantitative interview. The soft qualitative interview is one where the interviewer is trying to get a feel for how you’d fit in the team and the organization. It’s designed to learn more about you, your goals, and learning whether those goals are in line with the goals of the organization. The hard quantitative interview is designed to figure out if you are able to do the job by testing you on your domain knowledge and expertise. This post will try to help you with the qualitative questions, the ones designed to find out more about your personality and see if you fit with the company, because the quantitative questions will change from field to field.

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 Career 
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How to Dress for an Interview

Remember to dress the part!First impressions count. No matter what people say or want to believe, people will judge you based on the way you look, what you’re wearing, and how you present yourself. That’s why it’s critically important to dress properly for an interview. Interviews are hard enough to get as it is, you don’t want your chances to be hurt simply because you’re wearing the wrong clothes!

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 Career 
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How to Properly Use Headhunters

Whenever you start posting your resume on job search websites, you will invariably be contacted by recruiters, affectionately called headhunters. Headhunters can be a valuable asset in the job hunting process because their goals are in line with yours.

The typical headhunter scenario works like this. An employer is looking to fill a specific job opening within a few weeks. They go to a headhunting company that looks in its database of candidates and tries to fill the role. If the job opening is filled, the headhunting company gets paid. Headhunters are constantly on the lookout for new talent to add to their database, so they often search job sites, as employers do, for strong candidates. The job seeker never pays for the headhunter’s services, the employers do. (in fact, if a headhunter wants to charge you a fee, run the other way)

This post will teach you how to properly use these wonderful (free) additions to your job hunting team.

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 Career 
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Best Employment & Job Search Websites

Job FairWhen it comes to finding a job, it’s a numbers game. As much as you turn the numbers to your advantage of tailoring your resume, writing a well-crafted cover letter, or only applying to the right jobs – the reality is that you need to pepper the job boards with resumes in the hopes that some of them stick. If you send out ten resumes and get one response, you’re doing pretty darn good. With the economy where it is and unemployment at 10%, it’s more likely that you’ll need to answers fifty job listings just to get one answer.

To counter this, you need to take advantage of the power of the Internet and the various job hunting and employment websites. They’ve been around for years and only the strong have survived, having been gobbled up by others, and I’ve looked through the bunch to try to select the best of the best. These are for the general job boards, not industry specific ones. If you are in a particular industry, try to find a job board (or use my first recommendation, SimplyHired) specific to that. For example, Dice.com is the #1 job board for tech and IT jobs.

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 Career 
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Ten Resume Mistakes You Must Avoid

Marked up ResumeYears ago, one of my job functions was to go to my alma mater’s career fair and collect resumes from prospective future employees. I had a great time because I was only a year or so out of school, I could hang out with my friends, and I enjoyed seeing all different the resumes. In that time, I saw some great resumes and I saw some not so great resumes.

As you read the list below, you might be surprised at some of the mistakes but you couldn’t imagine committing them. With the exception of the “make it readable” rule, I’ve seen them all. Most of the time, I think it’s because the candidate just didn’t notice it or wasn’t aware it was a bad idea. However, if you’re taking a look at your resume, I recommend you review these ten mistakes and make sure you aren’t committing them. :)

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 Career 
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How to Write A Kick-Ass Cover Letter

Stacks of Resumes & Cover LettersThere are two big pieces to the resume puzzle – the resume itself and the well-crafted cover letter. If your resume is the car, then your cover letter are the tires. Most people don’t think about the tires on their car but your tires are the only thing on your car that touches the road. Most people don’t think much about their cover letters, especially with so much job hunting online, but it’s important because it gives you the opportunity to relate your resume to the job. A listing of accomplishments is nice, especially if your accomplishments are many, but sometimes hiring managers need help figuring out why you might be the best fit for a job opening.

After you’ve figured out the template and written a few cover letters, the process will be very easy and you’ll be able to produce a good cover letter in just a few minutes. If the hiring manager never sees it, it’s only a few minutes lost. If the hiring manager does, it’s a great opportunity to present your skills and accomplishments in a way that matches the job opening.

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