Helpful tips

Internet research
Résumés
Cover letters
Job fairs
Interviewing tips
Commonly asked questions by interviewers

Internet research
 
Before submitting a résumé online, research the opportunity to make sure you really are the right candidate.  Be selective in your search; don't send your résumé to every online employment site.  Structure your résumé to meet the criteria for the position you're seeking.

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Résumés
 
In today's competitive job market, your résumé may be your only chance to get an employer's attention.  While a good résumé is no guarantee that you'll get an interview, a bad one will surely knock you out of the running. There are no rules, but here are some guidelines:
 
Keep it short and simple.  One page is best for most jobs.  Once you get the interview, you can elaborate.
 
Make it easy to read.  Don't make the reader dig for the important points.  Direct their eye by highlights, bullets, and lots of white space.  There are many good templates out there.  Look for samples and advice in job search web sites.
 
Avoid company jargon.
 
Get feedback on your résumé from others with this two-minute test:  Hand it to a several people who are not familiar with your work history.  Give them a few minutes to read it.  Ask them to tell you what you did in your last job.  If they can't tell you, ask why, and then revise as necessary.
 
Use the same words as in the job description.  If the words apply to you, use them in your skill descriptions.  Many employers use scanners for online résumés, and if you use the right descriptors, you have a better chance of being selected.

Posting a résumé allows you to use the Internet to put your résumé on the desktops of thousands of hiring managers and recruiters with only a few mouse clicks. It's fast and easy to do—just follow the directions.
 
Find a list of job search engines on our helpful web sites page.
 
It's also easy for an employer to send your résumé to a colleague looking for just your set of skills.  It's Internet marketing at its best and you are the product.
 
If you don't have Internet capability at home, remember that you can use the computer labs at any of the E&ES Workforce Centers to set up an e-mail account and post your résumé on the Internet. Find a Location closest to you.

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Cover letters
 
Make no mistake about it—your cover letter creates the first impression a hiring manager gets of you.  A bit of research on a company will help you customize your letter to reflect that you know what this organization is all about.  Reread your letter aloud several times and ask someone else to read it through. 

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Job fairs
 
Before

  • Research the employers attending.
  • Determine which employers you want to visit and learn more about the company, its product, services, etc.
  • Prepare questions you want employers to answer.
  • Bring a folder to carry résumés and a notepad for notes.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Prepare a brief summary of your qualifications.
  • During the job fair

During

  • Go alone.
  • Do not assume a company does not have open positions in your field. Instead, ask what positions they have available.
  • Introduce yourself to recruiters and look confident by initiating a handshake with a smile.
  • Express your interest by demonstrating knowledge of the organization.
  • Relate your skills, interests and experiences to specific needs of the employer.
  • Relax: speak slowly and confidently.
  • Take notes.
  • Get appropriate contact info and ask for a business card.
  • Conduct yourself professionally at all times; remember that you could be making impressions when you are standing in line.

After

  • Send a thank you card and reconfirm interest in the position and company.

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Interviewing tips
 
Learn as much as you can about the company and position you are interested in.  Check the Internet for the company's web site.
 
There is a big difference between thinking about or writing out potential responses and having to say them aloud.  Practice potential responses out loud, in front of a mirror or friends and family members.  Discover various strategies, transitions, and lead-ins for answering certain kinds of questions, talking to one person or a group, and changing topics or focus.
 
Practice asking questions.  Employers will expect you to ask about matters that concern you.  Familiarize yourself with the vocabulary of the industry (but never use words whose definitions you don't know).
 
Anticipate commonly asked questions and develop a set of related responses that you can mold to a variety of individual situations.  The interview is an opportunity to share information.  You will have to talk about yourself, your interests, and your values.  Practice ways of phrasing replies about yourself that highlight your talents in a way that feels comfortable to you.
 
Demonstrate to your interviewer your engagement in the conversation.  Ask perceptive questions, be alert, make eye contact, provide relevant information, and relay your knowledge of and interest in the field and the organization.
 
Observe all rules of courtesy and respect. Be punctual.  Dress appropriately.  Call people by their titles unless specifically directed to do otherwise.  Express your thanks for the organization's consideration of your candidacy.

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Commonly asked questions by interviewers

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What makes you different from the other candidates for this position?
  • Describe the accomplishment of which you are the most proud.
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What strengths and attributes could you bring to this position?
  • What are your career and educational goals?
  • What would you like to be doing five/ten years from now?
  • Why are you pursuing this field?
  • What interests/impresses you about this company?
  • What do you believe are the key issues and problems in our industry today?
  • In what kind of work environment do you do your best work?
  • With what kind of people do you like to work?
  • What kinds of tasks and responsibilities motivate you the most?
  • What is your ideal job?
  • Tell me about what you learned from your previous jobs.

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