Resumonk Blog - Resume Writing Tips & Career Advice
Resume Writing Tips & Career Advice by Resumonk. Resumonk is an online resume builder that saves you money and time by helping you create professional and beautiful resumes. Resumonk handles the job of formatting and converting your resume into pdf format, thereby letting you focus on writing quality content.
But the interview is also a chance for you to get to the know more about the company and the role for which you’ve applied.
Asking questions about the company, the hiring manager and the position also shows you’re serious about getting a feel for what working for the organization is like. It proves you’ve taken time to picture yourself in the position, and that you’re serious about finding out whether it’s the right fit for you.
It leaves a strong impression with the interviewers and often can make the vital difference when it comes to selection between two equally skilled applicants.
Let’s take a look at a few of the best questions you should ask at the end of the interview.
1. What are the day-to-day tasks for this job?
While you’ve probably already familiarized yourself with the job description, it probably didn’t get specific about what the day-to-day responsibilities will be for the position. There are likely to be smaller tasks involved in your workday that won’t be listed in the job description.
Asking about day-to-day expectations for the job can give you a better idea of if you’ll truly enjoy the work.
While the job description in the listing may seem like a great match for your skill set, you may actually end up spending a lot of your time talking on the phone or answering emails, rather than doing work that challenges you. If this isn’t something you’re interested in, you’ll want to know before you accept the position.
2. What are your expectations for the job over the next month, six months and year?
Everyone will have different expectations for the career they’re about to start. Maybe you’re looking for a company where you can advance quickly through the ranks, or you’re in search of long-term job security. While these may be your expectations, you want to be sure they align with the expectations of the company.
During the interview process, talk with the hiring manager about what their expectations are for the first month on the job. Then, see if those expectations will change over the first six months.
Finally, find out what they’re hoping to have accomplished after one year. Knowing what you’re getting yourself into can ensure you’ll be happy with the position if you accept the job.
3. What can you tell me about the company culture?
Company culture is extremely important for happiness in the workplace. If the culture of the company doesn’t fit your needs, or you don’t feel comfortable in the environment, you aren’t going to be happy with the job.
Ask the hiring manager to briefly describe what the culture is like. This includes everything from how the office is laid out, to how employees interact with one another, to dress code.
Because you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the office if you’re hired, you want to make sure the culture fits your needs.
4. Where do you see the company in five years?
Whether you’re interviewing with a small startup or a well-known brand, you want to understand the direction the company is moving in the next few years.
While the hiring manager may not have all the answers to the decisions upper management is making for the company, they should have some insight to the company’s long-term business goals.
When deciding whether or not a job is right for you, you want to think long-term.
Whether or not you think you’ll still be with the company in five years, you probably are looking for a position you can grow with. That’s why it’s valuable to understand leadership’s vision for the future success of the business.
5. What challenges and opportunities do you see facing the company or department?
No matter the job you’re interviewing for, there will be certain challenges and opportunities facing you, your team and the company as a whole.
Understanding whether these challenges are something you can manage before getting involved can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or unhappy with the career choice you’ve made.
But simply showing you’re ready to help the company become its best can leave the impression that hiring you would be a good investment.
6. What’s your favorite thing about working for the company?
Finding out the hiring manager’s personal favorite quality of the company is an interesting way to get a sense for the company’s brand.
Because many hiring managers anticipate a question like this, they’re going to share something they believe is a strong characteristic of the brand. Their answer can allow you to see what the company values and prioritizes.
7. What career path does someone in this role typically follow?
Although you’re looking to the near future when accepting a new job, you also want to consider how that decision will influence your long-term career plans.
If you know where you’d like to be in a few years, you want to be sure the decisions you’re making now will bring you closer to getting there.
You also want to understand what typical promotion path someone in this job follows. Asking this question can also give you a better idea of how the company promotes from within. If they have a typical path employees follow to move up the ladder, you can discuss it at this time.
However, if they don’t have a good answer, it may mean they don’t usually promote employees. This could be a red flag, depending on what you’re looking for long-term.
8. What qualities does someone need to have to be successful in this role?
Sometimes, a company will list important qualities and characteristics in their job description. However, this isn’t always the case, even though having the right qualities is incredibly important to knowing whether or not you will fit in a job.
This question allows you to see if you meet the expectations the hiring manager has for the position. It also gives you an idea of what qualities and characteristics the company values in their team members.
This can give you a better idea of the topics, stories or achievements you need to focus on to prove you’re a great fit for the position.
9. What are the next steps for the interview process?
Before you leave the interview, you want to know what to expect.
Each company will have their own process for following up with candidates after the interview process. While some will let you know either way, others will only contact individuals that they hope to see again. Knowing whether or not you should expect a message can relieve some stress and confusion on your end.
Asking this question also shows you’re excited to move forward in the hiring process. By asking about the timeline, including when you should hear back and when they hope to have someone start the job, it shows you’re ready to become part of the team.
Tips for Developing Proper End-of-Interview Questions
The questions you’ll ultimately end up asking your interviewer will depend on what you covered during the interview process.
However, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing these questions.
First, you’ll want to prepare at least two questions to ask once the interview is done. However, you don’t want to have too many and risk causing the interview to run too long.
At maximum, you’ll want to have five questions to have answered once the interview is over. If you have more than these, try to find a way to get them answered during the interview instead of at the end.
You’ll also want to avoid answering yes-or-no questions. Open-ended questions allow for conversation, and will give you more information from the hiring manager.
Finally, try to avoid asking questions about salary this early in the process. While it is important, you don’t want to get too ahead of yourself. Discussing salary and benefits is usually one of the last things you and a hiring manager will talk about, so hold off until you’re further into the hiring process.
Before you go into any interview, take some time to research the company. Know as much as you can about the business, the job and what your expectations may be.
You don’t want to ask a question that makes you look unprepared.
Knowing what you need out of the job will help you develop end-of-interview questions that leave a lasting impression, and ensure you get to know whether or not the position meets your expectations. Use these nine questions as a jumping-off point for a successful conversation.
One of the biggest struggles with getting a new job is getting noticed in the first place. If you’re only applying to jobs you find online, it could take you even longer to get an interview. Because there are dozens or even hundreds of applicants for each online posting, you have a lot of competition.
However, if you have a large network, finding a new job can be much easier. When you know someone on the inside, they can let you know of jobs before they open, or ensure your resume gets in front of the right person. With the right connections, you can find the job of your dreams much sooner.
Let’s take a look at a few different tips you should use to improve your professional relationships to get a new job.
1. Consider Your Entire Network
When you think about your professional network, you’re probably thinking primarily of past bosses, managers or coworkers. While this is a great place to start, they aren’t the only people you need to think of. Everyone you know — whether personally or professionally — can be someone you may want to connect with.
Are you thinking about family members or friends of friends as people who may be able to help you with your job search? If not, don’t overlook them.
In addition to your extended network, you never know who they may be willing to introduce you to. With these additional connections, you can get to know some incredibly important people in companies you’d love to work for.
Think about people from past jobs, friends or family members, as well as peers from high school or college.
Additionally, even connections you have on social media or mutual friends can be a great way to get started finding a new job. Don’t rule out a connection just because it doesn’t stem from a perfectly professional relationship.
2. Know What You’re Looking for
Once you have an idea of the kinds of people you may be able to connect with, you need to know what you’re looking for. When you ultimately reach out to members of your network, you don’t want to ask for just any job. You need to know exactly what you’re qualified for, why you’re a good fit and how that person can help you achieve your goals.
Take a moment to consider what the best outcome for your connections would be. Whether you’re looking for an internship or just an introduction to a hiring manager, knowing your expectations beforehand can save you from some uncomfortable conversations. Being clear about what you’re looking for ahead of time can also show you’re thinking seriously about your career change.
You may have different needs depending on who you’re reaching out to. If you’re going to connect with the CEO of a company, you may have an easier time asking for an interview.
However, if your connection is lower down the totem pole, you probably will need to ask for something a bit smaller, such as an introduction. Make sure your requests are reasonable based on the individual in your network.
3. Reach out to Your References
If you’re going to use your network to get a new job, you should start where it makes the most sense. Before you reach out to someone you only moderately know, connect with the people who already know you well.
Your professional references are a great place to start.
Because your references have already agreed to talk you up if you’re ever in need, they already know your skills well. They believe you’re capable and want to help you succeed. This means they’ll be more motivated to help you find the job of your dreams if they are able. Even if they cannot directly help you find a new job, they may be able to introduce you to others who can.
Reach out to your references to let them know you’re looking for a new job. Let them know exactly the kind of job you’re looking for, what industry you’d like to be in and the location of the position you need.
You’ll also want to double-check that they’re still willing to serve as your references, so let them know they may be contacted by a hiring manager.
4. Focus on the Relationship Behind the Connection
When you’re looking to get a new job through your network, you usually can’t just call someone up and ask them to hire you. If you ask for too much right off the bat, the individual you’re contacting may not be willing to help you out.
For the most part, people like to help others. However, it can be a major turn-off if it feels like you’re expecting something to be handed to you. If you approach your network with a genuine question and respectfully ask for help or advice, they are more likely to help you out.
You’ll want to consider the relationship you have with the individual before you reach out. While it’s OK to connect with individuals you don’t know well, you may need to focus some more time establishing a connection before you ask them for professional assistance.
If you’re going to reach out to someone you only met once or twice, a simple question or request for advice is the way to go.
On the other hand, someone you’ve known personally for many years may be willing to pass along an email address or phone number of a hiring manager at their company.
5. Make Your Request Specific
At this point, you should already know what you’re looking for out of your connection. As we mentioned before, you don’t want to just ask for a job or for help getting a new job. After all, your network is probably pretty busy. They don’t have time to create the necessary connections for you.
Instead of simply letting your network know you’re on the hunt for a new job, you want to ask them for specific advice.
Whether that’s help applying to a position or an introduction to someone important in their office, you want to show you’ve done your homework and you’re prepared to put in the work.
When you initially reach out to a member of your network, make it clear what you’re looking for. While you don’t need to jump right into the conversation letting them know you’re looking for help, also don’t expect them to understand that on their own.
Be clear and direct, but still authentic and considerate, whenever you connect with a network member.
6. Keep the Connection Going
Don’t make a habit of reaching out and never following up.
If the individual doesn’t immediately reach back out, it may simply be because you caught them at a bad time or they didn’t see your message. While you may immediately want to write them off and assume they’re not willing to help, you don’t want to end the conversation there.
Give them some time and then reach back out. Remember, the process of networking can take some time.
If you expect your network to reach immediately help you find a job, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Instead, foster the relationship and do what you can to be accommodating. After all, you are asking them to take out time from their schedule to help you find a new job.
Whether or not that individual can help you, you’ll want to maintain the relationship. Don’t immediately disappear if they say they don’t know what they can do for you. Instead, thank them for their time and let them know that you’re available if they ever need any help from you. Also, ask them kindly if they would be willing to think of you in the future if they hear of anything.
Using your network can be one of the best ways to get a new job. However, you can’t expect your network to do all the work for you. While they may be able to help you get your foot in the door, they probably aren’t going to turn around and just give you a job.
Consider these tips if you’re going to reach out to your network for a new position. Always remember you’re asking for their help, so be kind and accommodating — and don’t act like they owe it to you.
Starting in middle school, helping you figure out what you’re going to do for the rest of your life becomes one of the goals of your teachers. Sure, you’re only 13 years old. But, your job is something that’s hammered into your head from early on.
So, you go through high school, and maybe you take some specific courses about psychology or anatomy.
Then college rolls around. Or, maybe you prefer to skip college.
Whatever your choice, your career may not have turned out what you thought it would be. People change, and it’s OK to realize that what you wanted to do in college or during your early years may not be what you want to do for the rest of your life.
If you’re caught in this conundrum, ease up.
It’s possible to switch careers and find something that you’re truly passionate about! To help you out, there’s a host of personality and career-oriented tests you can take.
Even if you haven’t worked a job yet, you can still take these tests. You may be surprised by what you find!
1. The Self-Directed Search
Options are excellent in life. And having options in your career to do what you want is a dream come true.
The Self-Directed Search offers plenty of options. Instead of the traditional questions and answers, this test asks you questions and then sorts you into certain categories.
For example, you’re sorted into three categories based on the way you respond to questions. You may be sorted into the artistic, realistic and social category. Each category has a selection of jobs that matches how you answered the questions.
This isn’t your typical career and personality test. It’s worth trying out if you want to take a test that will give you options you may not get while taking the others.
2. Who Am I?
This is another unique approach to personality tests. While it does focus more on your personality and less on your career, the ‘Who Am I?’ test will show you things about yourself you may not have known. It’s a fun structure that resembles DNA.
The test works in a simple fashion. You are given a series of pictures and you pick the one that most relates to you. While this may sound elementary, it’s a unique strategy that is sure to both teach you and put a smile on your face.
3. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
This is the big boy. It’s used in a ton of companies across the board. Yes, this is the test where companies give you questions that determine your personality type and tell them how great of a worker you’ll be.
It can seem daunting, but this test is fairly accurate. And it doesn’t focus on superficial scenarios. The test delves deep into not only how you act, but also what motivates you to work that way. It’s a deeply layered test that you’ll probably take at some point in your life.
Imagine walking into a job interview. You sit down, and an HR associate walks into the room. They say you’re taking a test called the Pymetrics test.
You’re a little confused, but you’re put at ease when they tell you it’s a personality test that helps determine your work habits. Then, as you start taking the test, you are confronted with mind games that test your problem-solving skills.
Leadership, inductive reasoning and structural visualization are all facets in which you’ll be measured. After you’ve taken the test, you’ll see which skills you excel in.
Once you get the results, a host of jobs will pop up that include all the major skills in which you’ve excelled. It’s a great test that may even surprise you with the skills you never knew you had.
6. The Big Five Personality Test
Do you work well with others? If you’ve ever thought about this skill and want to know how well you execute it, then this personality test is for you.
The Big Five Personality Test focuses on how you work and how well you communicate with others. While it’s a tightly focused test, its results shouldn’t be scoffed at. It gives you insight into whether you should be in a job that has you communicating with others all the time or a loner that gets the job done by yourself.
Either way, this is a fantastic personality/career test.
7. Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator
The RHETI can easily be confused with Myers-Briggs, but it’s a different test that looks at which archetype you are.
Once you answer the questions, you may fall into a variety of categories. You may be classified as a reformer, an enthusiast or even an achiever.
One of the cool things this test tells you is how you work with co-workers. Better yet, it shows you how to improve in certain areas where you may have scored low.
Overall, this test offers a lot. It’s one of the only tests that tries to help you improve areas that you score low in.
8. MAPP Career Assessment Test
Besides the Myers-Briggs Indicator, the MAPP Career Assessment is the next biggest job and personality test you can take.
As with most of the tests on this list, it gives you a handful of job categories you would be excellent in. It’s a superb test to take, and the results will help you hone in on what types of jobs you should apply for.
For most people, the right career is hard to find. However, these tests can help you find out what types of jobs you should be looking for. If you’re willing to spend a little bit of money and a little bit of time, these tests will help you find not only the right career, but also the job that will make you happy.
Employers sometimes ask for letters of recommendation from people who know the applicants. Recommendation letters can be requested as part of the initial application package or as the last step in vetting a job candidate.
Organizations that ask for letters of recommendation usually ask for two or three such letters, in order to get a better feel for the candidate and make sure they’re a good fit for the company.
Gather Information to Write the Letter
If you’re approached by someone to write a letter of recommendation, the first step is to gather information about the position she is looking for.
Ask for a copy of the job posting. If she wants a more general letter of recommendation, ask for the type of job they are looking for.
You need to have the specific job posting or knowledge of the type of job the person is looking for because the most successful recommendation letters will make a clear link between the capabilities, skills and qualities the job-seeker has demonstrated previously and those required in the open position.
Good recommendation letters are not vague and general. They specifically pinpoint what the person has done well with an eye toward what they can continue to do well.
You should also request a copy of the job-seeker’s resume. If you weren’t the immediate past supervisor, you need to know how her career has developed. She may be highlighting areas that are quite different from what she performed for you.
You may have supervised the job-seeker as an associate in social media, for example. Her duties were monitoring analytics, reviewing competitor sites and developing content. If she has since been promoted in analytics, she may be focusing on that area. You would want, ideally, to have a specific example or examples of how she performed in analytics, in addition to comments about her qualities and skills.
If you have access to relevant performance appraisals, they can be helpful in developing the letter, as they will have reference to the top achievements, skills and qualities of the job-seeker.
What to Cover
Recommendation letters should cover the following information:
How you know the person: Open by briefly mentioning in what capacity you know the person. State your specific title, the job-seeker’s specific title at the time and the inclusive years she worked for you.
The job-seeker’s skills and capabilities: State the skills demonstrated and the capabilities you saw. Were they adept at crunching data? Did they demonstrate multitasking ability?
Specific examples: Once you’ve covered the skills and capabilities, give at least one specific example of an achievement they accomplished. This needs to related explicitly or implicitly to the job they are seeking.
The job-seeker’s qualities: Mention specific qualities the job-seeker demonstrated. This can range from engagement to being a good team player.
Reference to whether you’d hire the person again: If you would hire the person again, mention it. It’s valuable information for prospective employers.
Your contact information: The interviewing organization may want to get in touch with you to discuss the letter more fully. Provide complete current contact information.
A recommendation letter should be roughly three to four paragraphs long. The standard is roughly one page.
Any shorter, and it could be perceived as a sign that you didn’t know the job-seeker that well or didn’t have sufficient positive information.
It is a formal business document. It should be printed on the letterhead of your current company and dated, and you should sign it.
Use a standard business font, such as Arial or Times New Roman. The margins should be 1 inch at the sides and the bottom.
If you were asked to send it electronically, PDF the copy on your letterhead and submit it per the instructions specified, either by the job-seeker or by information on the job posting.
What to Do if You Can’t Give a Positive Recommendation
At times, you may be asked for a recommendation letter and you feel that you can’t write a positive recommendation. The reasons may range from you didn’t work closely with the person or issues with their performance.
It’s best to tell the person tactfully that you aren’t the best person to write a recommendation letter for them. Suggest that they contact someone who can speak more fully about their work performance.
Sample Recommendation Letter
Let’s see the recommendation letter advice in action. Here is a sample, utilizing all the information above:
July 6, 2017
Vice President, Social Media
456 New Media Circle
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Dear Mr. Donaldson,
I am writing to recommend Ashley Jones for the position of Social Media Manager at Your Company.
Ashley and I worked together at The Former Company. I was the Social Media Manager at The Former Company from 2012 to 2016. Ashley, as Social Media Associate, reported directly to me within a team of four people.
I enjoyed working with Ashley and feel she would be a valuable asset to your team. She is creative, thorough and dependable. She is a proactive problem-solver fully aware of the changing social media landscape. Even then, Ashley was able to think strategically about how our social media campaigns could remain ahead of competitors.
As the Social Media Associate, Ashley developed a Pinterest campaign for The Former Company. We had no presence on Pinterest at the time. Ashley developed and presented an impressive campaign idea to senior management and executed upon it. Our sales leads generated from Pinterest hit 12 percent in the first year of Ashley’s campaign. Her ideas were a major part of its success.
Along with her creative and execution talent, Ashley is an excellent collaborator and team player. Her colleagues enjoy working with her.
I would hire her again without hesitation.
I warmly recommend Ashley for your team at Your Company. She would be an asset to any social media department.
Please contact me at 223-678-9101 if you would like more information or to discuss Ashley’s experience further.
Recommendation letters mention capabilities, skills and qualities the job-seeker demonstrated in the past, both generally and with specific examples. Use the sample above as a general template for the type of responses recommendation letters give.
Hopefully, the person you are writing the letter for will land the job of their dreams. You can be proud knowing you played a part in their successful job hunt.
How do you know which type of document to produce, though?
To some, a resume and a CV may seem like interchangeable words. It turns out there are differences between the two documents, as well as differences in the types of places you’d send a resume versus a CV.
To make that decision clearer — and to make the creation of your resume or CV easier for you — here are the biggest differences between the two documents.
A resume is the typical document required of job applicants in the United States and Canada. We’ll talk about other countries a bit further down in this article.
The resume is a summary of your work and educational experience. You’ll have to be strategic in creating your resume so it highlights all your best work, since the document is a summary — you can’t describe every single accomplishment you’ve had throughout your career. Don’t be afraid to cut and tailor your resume to every job you apply for, either.
Unless otherwise specified, you should assume that most hiring managers expect a resume. The world of academia is a different story — they might just expect a lengthier, in-depth CV instead — but more on that later.
What Does It Look Like?
Often, recruiters and HR managers receive several applications for one available job opening. They want to browse through resumes quickly to narrow down the pool to interview candidates. That’s why your resume shouldn’t be more than about two pages and comprise easy-to-scan bullet points that spotlight your greatest achievements.
In the few minutes someone spends glancing at your resume, you have to make sure they realize you stand apart from the crowd.
Your resume should always include work experience, especially experience most relevant to the position to which you’re applying. Ideally, your resume should be tailored to the field in which you want to work and the job you want to obtain. So, even if you were editor of your university’s newspaper, it may not be relevant when applying to teach science at the local high school.
You should always strive to add a summary at the top of your resume. It should be short, sweet and to the point. If anything, you can flesh out your expectations and highlight your greatest achievements in your cover letter — many employers require applicants to send both.
The Curriculum Vitae
Curriculum vitae means course of life in Latin, which is your first clue that a CV is quite a bit longer than a resume. This document is the most popular in the academic world, where aspiring researchers, master’s students and Ph.D. candidates can flesh out all their accomplishments.
More importantly — especially in the case of academics — the CV is a place for you to share all your educational accomplishments and publications. The latter is especially important for those aiming to rise in the ranks of higher education.
Publication gives your research and standing more clout. In short, an educational institution will love to take you on if you’ve proven your ability to get published, so you can get their name out there, too.
CVs made in pursuit of higher education should also include your teaching experience, previous degrees, any presentations you’ve given on your study area and, of course, the awards you’ve already received.
You’ll have plenty of space to flesh out all this information, and because the document is so long, you can likely create one CV that will apply to every application you submit — unlike the short-and-sweet resume.
Of course, the CV isn’t just used for students aspiring for higher-level degrees. CVs are the common job application document in many countries. They’re also used for those entering the field of medicine.
What Does It Look Like?
Anyone who has pursued a degree beyond a bachelor’s knows how much it takes and how much there is to talk about. That’s why CVs are typically longer than the quick, bullet-pointed resume. Even an entry-level CV can span two pages, and some more in-depth ones are pages long.
You’ll want to make sure your CV includes all of your top academic accomplishments, such as:
Professional association memberships and licenses
Fellowships and scholarships
Again, all of this will have to be ordered on your CV page to flow logically from one category to the next.
Don’t Forget the International Expectations
Not all job or educational applications come with a request specifically for a resume or a CV. If you’re applying abroad, it’s good to know where the former is expected, where the latter is expected and where the terms are more or less interchangeable.
If you want a job in the United States or Canada, chances are they’ll ask for a resume. The only time you would be expected to produce a lengthier CV would be if you’re applying for a research position or otherwise academic pursuit.
In the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and most of Europe, the CV reigns supreme. This is true of any position, academic or professional — those selecting candidates will want a fully detailed CV.
Then, of course, there are the wildcards. Places like Australia, South Africa and India use the terms resume and CV interchangeably, but there is one differentiation: The CV is often used for positions in the public sector, while the resume suffices for most private-sector jobs.
Is There Any Overlap?
These are the typical scenarios that would call for a resume or a CV. Of course, it’s not always black-and-white, and you might find yourself submitting a CV with your next job application or a resume for that post-grad scholarship you really want.
The most important thing to remember while writing your resume or CV is that you’re including the information your employer or educational institution wants to hear. You should always make sure your writing is clear, and the structure is logical. The look of the document should always be clean, too.
If you want to be extra cautious, prepare both a resume or CV prior to your job or fellowship search. It might take a bit more time to prepare both documents, but you’ll be happy to have them on hand when you apply and find one institution wants a resume, while the next wants the CV.
As always, don’t be shy about sharing your achievements, whether they’re professional or academic. You’ve worked hard to build that impressive CV or resume, so show it off — the right people will be sure to notice.
Being stuck in a job that doesn’t allow you to reach your full potential can cause a lot of unwanted stress and uncertainty for many people. We’re here to remind you that you aren’t stuck, and it’s totally possible to switch into a different industry, field or position.
Maybe you’ve lost interest in your current profession, or maybe you’ve discovered a new interest in another field. No matter the reason, deciding to switch careers is life-changing. To be successful at whatever it is you choose to do, you need to make the change the right way.
If you’re considering a career change but don’t know where to start, follow these 12 steps:
1. Discover What You Truly Enjoy
The last thing you want is to go through the process of switching careers just to get into an industry you don’t like.
List your likes, dislikes, values and interests. Identify exactly what it is about your current job that’s making you want to leave — and make sure to avoid career paths that could have the same obstacles.
For some people, this could be the toughest step. Figuring out what you truly enjoy and are passionate about after ignoring it for years isn’t a simple task.
Ask yourself, “What do I get excited about doing?” or “What’s something I spend my free time thinking about or doing?” Choose a career related to your answers to those questions.
2. List Careers That Satisfy Your Passions
Once you’ve keyed in on some of your passions and interests, search for careers that would encompass those things.
For example, if you spend a lot of your time thinking about or hanging out with your dog, consider a career that has to do with animals.
The important part about this step is keeping your skills in mind, as well. Just because you like dogs doesn’t mean you have the expertise or skills required to be a veterinarian.
However, if your skills include marketing, writing and designing, you could consider working as a marketing specialist for an animal protection agency or dog kennel.
Once you’ve come up with your list of dream careers, start researching. The bigger the industry change you’re making, the more research you should do. If you want to make a worthwhile, informed decision, this might be the most important step.
Think about the years of research and education you had before going into your current position — can you imagine how difficult it would’ve been to adjust without all that information?
Set yourself up for success by learning as much as you can before you start applying to jobs.
4. Make the Decision
You’ve brainstormed your interests, listed careers that relate to them and researched them all — now it’s time to decide.
Making a decision is important because it will frame the way the rest of your career change process goes. You need to pinpoint a specific industry or career you’re trying to break into in order to achieve that goal.
5. Develop an Action Plan
Once you’ve decided on the path you’re going to take next, develop a specific plan with measurable goals, action items and a timeline.
There are probably new skills you need to learn, professionals you should meet and work to wrap up at your current job. You might even have a few personal goals you’d like to work on while making this shift.
Leaping from career to career isn’t a casual move — you don’t want to take it lightly. The more detailed your plan is, the better chance you’ll have at finding your dream job quickly.
6. Adjust Your Personal Brand
When you hand someone your business card or invite them to check out your online portfolio, they should be able to tell which industry you belong to now — not your past field.
This step includes adjusting your resume, cover letter and portfolio as much as possible so potential employers know you’re all in. When you edit your own professional brand to be more related to the new industry, they’ll see your dedication in that aspect.
You can consider creating a functional or skills-based resume using Resumonk. Highlight what transferable skills you have learnt in your previous profession and how they apply to the new industry.
7. Start Networking in Your Desired Field
In any career field, it’s not only about what you know, it’s also about who you know.
This is a great opportunity to ask seasoned professionals for their tips or advice on how to get into the industry and be successful — people love talking about themselves, their stories and their success, so they’ll remember you for asking.
8. Update Your Training
As you learn more about your new field, you might discover you need to significantly broaden your horizons.
Start slowly, taking only a course or two at a time. Not only will this be difficult to juggle with your current position, but it’ll also help you confirm you’re truly interested in the field.
If it’s not required to get a job in the field, you might not feel the need to get a new degree or certification for your career switch — that’s OK. Taking a few courses could be enough to give you the jump start you need and catch you up to people who’ve been in the field for years.
They don’t have to be an incredibly successful, rich or powerful person to be an adequate guide for you during this time. However, it certainly wouldn’t hurt if they’re experienced in your new industry.
10. Begin the Job Hunt
Recall all those skills you learned about job hunting during your senior year of college. Dig out your cover letter templates, interviewing tips and negotiation strategies.
Remember the importance of researching companies thoroughly before applying, interviewing and especially before accepting a position.
It’s also important to remember that the job hunt is truly a hunt — it’s not going to happen overnight. Try not to think about it too much and trust that the right position for you will come along.
11. Continue Learning About Your New Field
To keep yourself distracted while you wait to hear back from the seemingly endless amount of applications you’ve filled out, keep learning about your new career.
As we mentioned earlier, knowledge is power when it comes to breaking into a new industry. The more you know going into your new job, the less you’ll have to adjust to on that first day.
12. Lose the Ego — You’re Back at Square One
Back to the bottom of the totem pole you go! Don’t be above taking entry-level positions just because you’ve been a working professional for 10 years — or more.
You’re just starting out in this industry, so you’re most likely going to have to start at the bottom, especially if it’s a big switch from your previous position.
Be flexible, eager and willing to begin again.
Your New Career Awaits
Making a career change is not an easy feat. It takes a lot of strength, courage, willpower and determination to pull off. Use this guide to help you along the way, no matter how big of an industry change you’re making.
When the stress creeps up on you, just take a breath and remind yourself that good things come to those who hustle.
Behavioral interview questions can reveal a lot about you. In addition to seeing if your skills and abilities align with the job duties, these can also indicate how your personality will fit the position and company. Your interviewer wants to see how you might react to certain situations that could come up with this job.
It’s always good to prepare for these types of questions beforehand. Obviously, you can’t predict the exact questions they’re going to ask, but it’s good to have something in mind for what you think may come up.
Look at the key skills listed in the job posting. These attributes are a good indicator of qualities that will come up during the interview.
Here’s a complete list of behavioral interview questions to help you get ready for your next job interview.
Eighty-three percent of employers in a recent survey said teamwork is extremely high on their wish list for entry-level employees. Chances are, you’re going to get at least one question that deals with how you’ve previously collaborated with coworkers:
Give an example of a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
Talk about a time when you faced a conflict while working with a team. How did you handle it?
Tell me about an experience working with a team that you found rewarding.
Give me an example of a time you had to deal with a difficult coworker.
Talk about a time when you were on a team with someone who wasn’t doing their share of the work. How did you handle it?
What do you think is the most difficult part of being a member — and not a leader — of a team? Why? How do you deal with it?
Have you had to be the mediator to settle an issue between two members? What happened? How did you resolve the dispute?
This is probably one of the easiest ones to be prepared for since you have to communicate in everyday life as well as work. However, get ready to back up your claim of being a great communicator with clear examples:
Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why it went over so well.
Give an example of when you’ve effectively used written communication to get your ideas across to someone.
How would you explain complex ideas in simpler terms to a frustrated client?
Have you had a boss in the past that you had difficulties communicating with? How did you handle this?
Describe how you’ve developed relationships with coworkers, supervisors and others at a new workplace.
Give an example of a time when you successfully communicated with someone you didn’t like or who didn’t like you.
Talk about a time where you had to give a presentation on the spot or with minimal preparation. What were the challenges? How did you handle them to pull it off?
Prioritizing tasks is important for any company. Your supervisor will also want to know that you can juggle more than one assignment at the same time and can still get things done by the deadlines. Employees’ time-management skills can truly make or break a company, so this is something they’re definitely going to want to know about:
Tell me about a time you had to juggle multiple responsibilities. How did you handle it?
Sometimes it’s impossible to get everything done. What did you do during a time where your responsibilities got overwhelming?
Give me an example of how you’ve handled interruptions or distractions in the workplace when you’re on a tight deadline.
How did you keep everything running smoothly and on time with a project you managed recently?
Think of a recent goal you’ve met. How did you make sure you met it? What was your process?
When has something you’ve organized not gone according to plan? What happened? Why? What did you do to fix it/make it go more smoothly?
Almost every industry involves some level of customer service, so you’re probably going to be asked questions about how you handle client interactions. Employers want to keep their clients happy to ensure repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations. They want to know you’ll go above and beyond to ensure the customer has a wonderful experience with your business:
Describe a time where you had to deal with a difficult customer/client. What did you do to handle the situation?
Give an example of a time where you gave a client great customer service.
Tell me about a time you failed to meet a customer’s expectations. What happened?
How would you go about showing a client you’re focused and interested in their case or project? Why do you think this is an effective approach?
When you’re overwhelmed with customers, how would you prioritize their needs?
Describe a time when you’ve picked up a customer from someone else. How did you establish a relationship with them when they were used to working with a different coworker or competitor? How did you get them to trust you?
Have you ever taken the customer’s side over the company’s? What happened?
Employers want to know you’re dedicated to the job and are willing to go above and beyond at the workplace. They want someone who is self-motivated and isn’t going to back down the first time they hit a wall. They want someone who’s going to keep trying until they find a way to get over — or through — it:
Describe a project or idea that was put into place because of your efforts. What was your role, and how did everything end up?
Talk about a time — whether it was in the workplace or outside of it — that your initiative caused a change to happen.
Give an example of a setback you’ve endured at work. How did you handle it?
Describe a time at work when you failed. How did you overcome it?
Give an example of a time when you saw a problem and used it as an opportunity instead. What did you do, and what happened as a result? Was there anything you would’ve done differently?
Tell us about a time where the company or team you were with was undergoing a lot of change. What impact did it have on you? How did you adapt?
Describe a time where you initiated a project or change at your workplace. What did you do, and how did it turn out? Were you happy with how it ended up?
If you’re interviewing for a supervisor position — and even if you aren’t — you’ll probably come across some questions to assess your leadership skills. Maybe the position has a potential for advancement, and the employer wants to see if you could move up in the company. Regardless, this is a leadership test, even if you haven’t had experience in a direct leadership role:
Describe a time when you exhibited leadership skills.
Tell us about a time you took the lead on a project or in a situation.
Have you ever assisted someone with their efforts to help them become successful?
Tell us about a time you led by example.
Talk about a leadership role you’ve had outside of work. Why did you choose to devote your time to it? How did you feel about it, and how did you handle obstacles?
What was the hardest group or team that you’ve had to lead? Why? How did you handle difficult members or situations?
How do you balance responsibilities if you’re leading a team and are also expected to do the same job as your team members?
Don’t go into your next interview unprepared. While you may have researched the company and everything about the position, don’t let the behavioral questions fall by the wayside. One of these could be the one that trips you up in an interview if you don’t take the time to think about your answer.
p.s. Resumonk helps you create a beautiful résumé & cover letter in minutes. Stand out from the crowd and multiply your chances of landing your dream job. Check it out now.
There are ways to boost your LinkedIn profile so you can network with more people.
We live in an age where being social on the internet is incredibly common — for some careers, it’s even expected.
More than likely, you have numerous social accounts, from Facebook to Instagram and everything in between. You probably also have a LinkedIn account.
While all of these social sites have their purpose and ways to connect with others, it’s important to remember that they don’t all function the same.
LinkedIn is supposed to be your professional site, where you connect with business associates and look for jobs. Like Facebook, you can post on LinkedIn but remember to keep it professional.
Unlike Facebook, you probably don’t spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. You probably visit it sporadically, when you’re looking for a job or adding a new professional contact you’ve met at a meeting or conference. You may not always be looking for a new job, but that doesn’t mean your dream job isn’t out there looking for you.
By keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date, potential employers can find you, and it allows you to grow your personal brand.
Below are nine tips to help you get your LinkedIn profile in shape and ready for action:
1. Keep Your Profile Up to Date and ‘Active’
As life gets busy, it’s easy to let your profile slip through the cracks — especially if you aren’t actively looking for a new job. However, if you are using the site as a way to connect with other professionals, ensure those people know what you do and how good you are it.
– Make sure that the industry you work in is correct, as well as your location. By keeping these current, it will help people find you.
– Creating a professional headline is what entices people to click on your profile and learn more about you. While it’s perfectly acceptable to have a headline that highlights your current job position, you can also be creative. Do you have an accomplishment or award you’d like to highlight? This could be the place. Or list traits that would show up in a search. Whatever you decide, make sure it is something that makes people want to learn more about you.
– Keep your profile active by sharing high quality articles related to your industry as frequently as possible on your LinkedIn profile. Most of the websites have ‘Share’ buttons these days, and you can click on the LinkedIn share button to post that article directly on your profile.
Or you can choose to share the article from your LinkedIn account itself. You’ll see the share text box on the ‘Home’ tab after you sign-in to your LinkedIn account. Paste the URL of the article you’d like to share in this text box:
Remember ‘Activity’ is the first section that is shown on your LinkedIn profile. The kind of articles shared by you showcase your interests, knowledge and tell the viewer if you are up to speed with the latest happenings in your industry.
2. Use a Professional Photo
Yes, LinkedIn is a social site, but it’s a professional social site, so don’t put up photos of yourself with your pets or family or doing shots at the bar — these are better left to Facebook. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the right picture can lead to your profile getting more views.
3. Personalize Your Page With a Background Photo
If your profile looks like everyone else’s profile, it’s going to get lost in the shuffle. By adding a background photo, you add a touch of personalization and make it stand out from the rest. Again, this needs to be something professional, but it can also show off your personality or highlight part of your profession.
4. Make Your Summary Shine
In a way, LinkedIn is an electronic version of your resume, but it can be leveraged as so much more. You have the ability to highlight more of your accomplishments here than you do on paper. Write in the first person on this page, and let your personality show through while you talk about what makes you good at your job.
When creating your summary, keep a few things in mind:
Don’t add a lot of jargon and buzzwords. It shows a lack of creativity.
Watch out for grammar issues. Nothing looks more unprofessional than mistakes on your page.
Use keywords correctly. This will help others find you when conducting a search.
5. Don’t be Afraid to Get a Little Personal
Don’t get too personal, but let people know there is a person behind the business. Share some things you like to do in your free time or what you’re passionate about. If you work with charities or volunteer, add those to your profile — LinkedIn has sections for you to do this.
To add your volunteer experience to your profile, go to the Add New Profile section, which is on the right-hand side of your page.
Click on the down arrow to open a new menu that lists the various sections you can add and choose click on the plus sign next to Volunteer experience:
That will open a new menu that will allow you to add your experience to your page.
6. Add Media to Your Profile
LinkedIn offers you the ability to add media to your descriptions. It’s already been mentioned that a picture is worth a thousand words, so how many is a video worth? Or what about a document that highlights your achievements?
Adding media to your profile could make your profile stand out from others and increase the number of people viewing it. It allows you to showcase your creativity. I have added various posts that highlight my writing.
Here’s how to add media to your profile:
Decide which section you would like to add the media to — Summary, Experience or Education — then click on the pencil icon to get into the edit mode.
When the dialogue box pops up, the Media option will be at the bottom of the page. Click the box to add a link or upload a document.
To add a link, paste it into the dialogue box and then click Add.
7. Highlight Your Writing Ability
LinkedIn now offers the ability to write and publish on their platform.
Make sure the content is appropriate for what you are trying to highlight, but this gives you the opportunity to talk about your industry and what you do. You can also link a WordPress blog to your profile.
This is how the ‘Articles & Activity’ section shows up on your profile.
8. Join Groups
One of the best ways to find others who think like you do and who talk about the same subjects is to join groups. This allows you to make connections in your field and find out what others are up to. It will also help you create leads for your business.
Here’s how to find and join groups on LinkedIn:
At the top of your profile page is an icon called Work.
Click on the arrow to open the dropdown icon, then select Groups.
After clicking on the Groups icon, it will take you to a new page. Once there, click on the Discover button to see groups suggested for you based on your profile.
Once you find a group you’d like to join, request access by clicking on the “Ask to join” button.
9. Be Excited and Welcoming
The purpose of LinkedIn is for you to highlight your professional skills and network with like-minded people. As with any social group, it’s important to be nice to others and excited about being there. Your enthusiasm and excitement will draw in others and widen your professional network and business contacts.
With so many social sites on the web, it can be difficult to get noticed and find others who share your interests and passions. Keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date, interesting and discoverable by others will increase your chances of being found. It could also land you that dream job you’ve been looking for.
You’ve spent a lot of effort job hunting. You’ve sent out your resumes, and prepared for the interviews after that. And yet, all you get in return are crickets. Makes you want to pull your hair out, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, if job hunting is a full-time job, waiting is part of the duties and responsibilities. If you want to follow up on your job application without appearing rude, annoying or desperate, here’s what you need to keep in mind.
How to Stay on Top of Your Job Search
First, a few general pointers for conducting an efficient and thorough follow-up on your job search.
Check the job ad for anything along the lines of “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” or “Please do not follow up.” If employers tell you not to do something, don’t do it. Nothing irks them more than applicants who think they’re above following simple instructions.
Give them a reasonable amount of time to respond. This’ll be explained in more detail later, but suffice to say that following up an hour after an interview isn’t a good idea.
Assume the recruiter doesn’t remember you. They process hundreds of applications a day, and even if you’re a standout candidate, it’s still likely they’ll forget to give you feedback for one reason or another.
A few other tips:
Show enthusiasm. Write something like “I’m really excited to join ABC Company, which is why I’m following up on the status of my application.” You don’t have to flatter them. Just show you’re taking the position seriously.
Add value. Give them a reason to smack their heads and say “Oh snap! I should’ve replied to this applicant sooner” after reading your follow-up email. For example, if you’re bold enough, you can outline ideas that can help solve their existing problems once you’re on board. But if you want to play it safe, just let them know you’re available to help move the hiring process forward.
Write a good subject line. Recruiters are busy people, so they want to know what your email’s all about as soon as it shows up in their inbox.
Be straight to the point yet polite. Tell them what you want within the first two paragraphs, but take care not to sound too harsh. If in doubt, read your email aloud and ask yourself how you’d feel as a recipient of that email.
Remember to say “thank you.” Again, recruiters are busy people, and they’re appreciative of anyone who realizes the amount of effort they have to put into their jobs.
Scenario 1: After You Apply
It’s been weeks since you sent out your resume, and you haven’t received a single phone call. You want to follow up, but you’re worried your follow-up message will get lost in the void too. So how do you handle that?
First, research the company’s average response time to applications. If it takes a month or so to reply, that’s how long you should wait. If you’re not sure, wait at least two weeks before you send your follow-up email.
If they don’t respond to your first follow-up email, wait two more weeks before sending another one. And if you still don’t get a reply, it’s safe to assume they’re not interested and you should concentrate your energies on another job.
If you applied online via a system such as Taleo, send your email to the person in HR who’s most likely to process your application. Otherwise, look for the generic recruitment address like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Use a subject line such as “Re: Application for (insert position here).”
Here’s a sample follow-up email you could send:
I applied for the position of Blogger at Chotto Corporation on 22nd May, 2017. I’m really excited to join the company, so I’m reaching out to you to follow up on my application.
I’d love to learn more details about the position if you’re still searching for a candidate. I’ve been blogging for a decade, which has taught me how to adapt my style according to the requirements of each project. Here is the link to my portfolio: http://www.example.com
If you like, I can write a test post so you can get a feel for my writing and decide whether it’s a fit for your company.
Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Scenario 2: After Your Initial Interview
You’ve seen all the signs an employer loves you. Every time you do so little as open your mouth, the interviewer can’t help but crinkle their eyes. You’re confident you’ve nailed the job and the company will be reaching for the phone to schedule a second/final interview with you.
And yet, you hear nothing. What gives? Take a deep breath and:
Stay calm. It’s possible that “Replying to (Your Name)” got buried under your interviewer’s to-do list.
Wait a day or two after the date they said they’d call you back. If they didn’t specify a date during the interview, or you forgot to ask, give it a week or so.
Write a subject line such as “Thanks for the interview last week” and send the following:
Hello Mr. Calderon,
Thank you for interviewing me for the Blogger position. You had said I’d be notified about my status by 2nd June, so I wanted to drop a note and see if you needed anything further from me. I’d be happy to provide anything to help you move the hiring process forward.
Thank you again,
Scenario 3: After Your Next/Final Interview
You’ve already come this far. And you’ve impressed your interviewers with your charm, wit and competence. You’ve even sent post-interview thank you notes. Still, the waiting time’s giving you the heebie-jeebies.
Luckily, these tips can help you ease your anxieties:
Again, stay calm. Any desperation you feel might bleed into your follow-up email if you’re not careful. Take a deep breath before you do anything.
Wait at least two days after the interviewer’s “Call You Back” date. If you’re not sure about the date, give it a week.
Write a subject line such as, “Pleasure to Learn More About (Company Name)”
Hello Ms. Acosta,
Hope you are well. I enjoyed learning more about the company, as well as the Blogger role. I’m really excited about the possibility of joining Chotto and helping you achieve the goals we talked about during the (nth) interview.
I’m happy to provide any more information you may need, as you make your decision. Thanks so much for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Let’s face it: Waiting is the most excruciating part of job hunting. There’s a strong temptation to wallow in all the reasons why they’re not calling you back yet.
But if you want your waiting time to be productive, your application to get results and your potential employer to know you’re dead-serious about landing a position in their company, following up is your best option.
In the meantime, happy job hunting, and give us a nudge in the comments if you have any thoughts about this post.
p.s. Resumonk helps you create a beautiful résumé & cover letter in minutes. Stand out from the crowd and multiply your chances of landing your dream job. Check it out now.