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Job Seekers' Questions -- #1 to #10
- 1. What can I do while waiting after a job interview?
- 2. How do you explain having been fired?
- 3. Where does personal data go on my resume?
- 4. Where would you put your E-mail address?
- 5. Is there a format for a student with multimedia skills but no experience?
- 6. I get interviews, but no jobs, what am I doing wrong?
- 7. I just got out of the service and I need a resume. Can you help me?
- 8. How do I include my salary history if the company asks for it?
- 9. What if I have practically NO work experience at all?
1. "What can I do? I'm waiting to hear from the place that interviewed me, and I'm going crazy waiting to hear back from them." -- Margaret Underwood Dear Margaret, Don't just wait -- write a Follow Up Letter if you do not hear from the interviewer within, say, a week, or whatever length of time seems reasonable, given how long they said it would take to make a decision. Obviously, you'd want the Follow Up Letter to arrive DURING (not after!) the decision-making period. (I hope you have ALREADY written a Thank-You letter to your interviewer immediately after the interview, and got it in the mail the very same day.)
- 10. Why can't I find enough actual RESUME EXAMPLES?
Back to the top of this page 2. "I am a Resume Writer and sometimes I work with clients who have been fired from past jobs. They are always nervous about what the NEXT employer is going to think, when they go for an interview. How can I help them with this problem?" Check out the discussion of mending fences after getting fired, in Resume Pro Newsletter.
Back to the top of this page 3. "Dear Madam: I am confused about the resume format, for example I put my name in top of the page including my address with phone number. However where can I place the rest of personal data such as age, citizenship, ID number, marital status, etc? Thank you." Federico T. Dear Federico, The personal information that you mentioned does NOT go on a resume -- you would never mention your age or marital status on any resume. If you are not a US citizen, on the JOB APPLICATION FORM you will need to provide information about citizenship and ID numbers, but that information does not go on your resume. A resume is for getting an INTERVIEW, and the citizenship info is needed only on the Job Application form. A resume and an application form are different. The application form is a formal document that is purely factual. A resume is NOT so formal, and is meant to be more like a "sales pitch" where you can talk about your skills and how you could be valuable to the company. You have to be honest, and include some facts and dates, but you ALSO have more freedom to present yourself so you "look good" and you can emphasize the information that would impress a new employer. But, if you don't have ANY work history in the US, then you SHOULD mention your citizenship on your resume, and that you are legally eligible to work here.
Back to the top of this page 4. "I did not see any resume samples with E-mail addresses. Do you recommend leaving E-mail addresses off resumes? If not, how would you recommend displaying them?" -- Charles YES, YES, Charles, you would definitely include your E-mail address on your resume. My preference would be directly below (or alongside) your phone number -- like this:
- Charles McCool
- 6789 Hot Stuff Drive
- Metropolis CA 94704
- (510) 987-6543
- E-mail: [email protected]
Back to the top of this page 5. "I am a student who is graduating this spring. I'm primarily a computer animator but have web design and other multimedia skills. I have no professional experience in my area but I have a page full of technical skill and programs I am experienced with. I have looked for a template of how to formulate a resume but have yet to find one that fits my needs. In fact I'm even more confused now than I was when I started. Could you give me an outline of how I should approach my resume or direct me to some sources that have this information? Thanks for your time." -- Jason Dear Jason, Well, first of all, "the medium is the message" -- if you're applying for work doing web design, you could create a web page that SERVES AS a unique resume, a page that DEMONSTRATES your web page design skills. That should be more interesting to your "reader" than a text-based resume. Then you could send E-mail and/or a snailmail note to the potential employer providing the URL, and request that they look at your web-page (if it's a snailmail note, perhaps you could print out the top (or only) page and attach it to the note to provide a hint of what they'll be viewing online) If you're applying for a computer animator position, again consider how you could DEMONSTRATE your skill in lieu of the standard resume. Could you do a website that included animation? Could you send (or OFFER to send) a disk with an example of your animation work on it? BUT, if you decide to stick with a paper-based text-only type of resume, DON'T WORRY about finding a standardized template. The only RULE in resume writing is that the COMMUNICATION WORKS for both parties -- you get your points across, and the reader gets the information they need that makes them WANT to interview you. You can be pretty creative about HOW that information is presented, since you're in a creative field. Think about how YOU'D like to see the info presented, if YOU were the hiring person! Trust your gut intuition on this. Make it clear, make it interesting, and don't worry about format. Of course, DO be traditional at the TOP where your name needs to appear on the first line, your address and phone number beneath it, your E-mail/website info beneath that, and then your OBJECTIVE (what position you're looking for). That should all go at the top. After that: BE CREATIVE, be full of examples of what you can do (whether you've been paid for it or not), and choose the content of your resume with the INTERESTS and AGENDA of the recipient in mind (i.e., what's their product or service? How can YOUR skills promote THEIR agenda?) Please let me see what your new resume looks like, okay? --Yana Back to the top of this page 6. "Yana, do you have a book on interviewing? I'm having a really hard time with it -- I seem to be able to get some interviews, but then I never get the job. I guess I'm not making the right impression. I've been out of the work force for quite awhile, and I don't know what to do. Can you help me? --Natasha Dear Natasha, No, I haven't written a book on interviewing (yet). Here's a good one for you to check out: "Sweaty Palms" by Anthony Medley, Ten Speed Press. My hunch is that you're having trouble because you're all focused on yourself, your performance anxiety, and your need for a job, and you're not taking enough interest in the companies you're applying to. You need to know something about them, what THEY want and need, and how you could help them meet THEIR goals. If you're not interested in THEM, why would they be interested in YOU? I think your best bet right now is to apply at some TEMP AGENCIES and get some current short-term work experience. Temp jobs won't be so demanding and scary and you can "get your feet wet" and be more comfortable in the work world. THEN after you're got some recent work experience under your belt, you'll be more confident in applying for better, more permanent jobs. But PLEASE be sure to take these temp jobs seriously. They will be your bridge to your future work, so really do your best. Then you'll be able to get GREAT REFERENCES from these temp jobs that will help you land the job you really want.--Yana
Back to the top of this page 7. "I just got out of the service and I need a resume. Can you help me?"-- Rich Hi Rich, If you can get on the WEB, you should check out a great website which happens to have a lot of my advice on it as well as wonderful guidance from the site's creator, Mary-Ellen Mort. It's called JOBSTAR and is found at http://jobstar.org ALSO, I have written several VERY user-friendly resume books you should be able to find easily; the three most pertinent to your situation are:
- Another writer has published a book called Does Your Resume Wear Combat Boots?
- You could also get "Marketing Yourself for a Second Career," updated January 1997, which is put out by The Retired Officers Association, 201 N. Washington St., Alexandria VA 22314-2529. The booklet is free if you are/were an officer*.
- TROA's number is (703) 838-8117 or 1-800-245-8762.
- *As of 3-4-97, Col. H. W. Buse III, USMC (Ret'd) has offered to send the book free to enlisted folks too, as long as he can meet the demand. E-mail him your request at this address: [email protected]
- The main thing you need to keep in mind in writing your resume is to NOT just record what you did in the military. You need to START with a civilian job-objective and some information on what kind of work that job specifically involves. THEN look at your military experience and SEE WHAT APPLIES to the civilian job, and describe that relevant experience in CIVILIAN language. It's a kind of translation process -- the civilian employer is not going to be able to do this FOR you so it's up to you.
- There ARE people in both the military unit you're leaving AND in the local employment offices, people whose specific job is to help you find out how your military experience translates into civilian language and job titles. It's crucial to get that straight, and NOT to expect that the civilian employers can understand the relevance of your military experience if YOU don't make it clear for them.
- I hope this is helpful.
- P.S. ANY READERS who know more about military-to-civilian translation, please contact Yana.
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- 8. "How do I include my salary history? The company said to send it along with my resume." --Kelly
- Kelly, just because they ASKED for it doesn't mean you have to supply it!
- In fact, it will just about NEVER be in your best interest to supply salary history information before you've been interviewed and offered the job.
- So you have to GRACEFULLY STALL. Don't ignore the request (they'll just repeat it or think you weren't paying attention). Instead, acknowledge their request and then: artfully dodge! You might say (in your cover letter accompanying the resume) "Regarding your request for salary history, I would prefer to discuss salary at the time of my interview." If the question comes up on an application blank that you simply HAVE to fill out before being interviewed, you STILL dodge, writing "Will discuss at the interview." If the employer is impressed with your resume, they will want to interview you and your failure to supply your salary history will rarely stop them from calling you in.
- Once you're AT the interview, the negotiating game begins in earnest, and you want to be very well prepared, because it can make a LOT of difference, financially.
- Good books to read on the ART OF SALARY NEGOTIATION include:
- Sweaty Palms by Anthony Medley (Ten Speed Press)
- Negotiating Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute by Jack Chapman (Ten Speed Press)
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9. There's a job I want, and I think I could do it, but I have practically NO experience to put on my resume. What can I do? -- Vivian
- Vivian, there are several ways to fix the situation, depending on whether you mean lack of ANY experience, lack of PAID experience, or lack of RELEVANT experience. Pick one or more of these solutions:
- a) FIX IT. Get some minimal experience in the field before you apply for the REAL job you want -- through short-term temporary employment, or by briefly working for free in a similar role, if at all possible. Just having a LITTLE experience can get your foot in the door.
b) VIEW "experience" differently. Make sure you are counting ALL your experience, whether it involved pay or not. Volunteer work, self-employment, or even a hobby, ALL COUNT AS EXPERIENCE. You can even include this unpaid work in your Work History to help prove you have skills and experience. All you have to do is think up a reasonable job title for the Unpaid work (for example, "Freelance Guitarist" or "Coordinator of Volunteers" or "Owner/Manager") and be sure to label your work history section WORK HISTORY rather than EMPLOYMENT HISTORY.
- c) Demonstrate your potential. If you're just entering the work force, after being in school, and have no paid work history, then use a functional format for your resume and include school activities where you gained skills -- for example:
- Working on a school paper or yearbook (researching, editing, writing, selling ads);
- Class projects in science, photography, marketing, etc.;
- Helping promote a concert or school event;
- Holding an office in a school club.
- You could also include a paragraph called "Relevant Coursework" and list every course you took that directly relates to the kind of work you want.
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- 10. "I appreciate the information and tips on resumes. However, I am having a hard time finding actual examples of resumes." --Judith
- Judith, you are absolutely right, I have not gotten around to posting enough actual resume EXAMPLES on my website. However, a colleague of mine has posted some of my resume examples on HER website -- called JOBSTAR, so the fastest way to see them is to go THERE. (But don't forget to come back!)
- Questions 11-20 -- 21-30 -- 31-40 -- 41-50 -- 51.. 52
- MORE locations on this website that answer questions asked by job-hunters and resume writers:
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