Career Tool Kit

Career Tool Kit

  • Job Strategies & Tips
  • Going For The Interview
  • Standard Interview Questions
  • Effective Resume
  • 10 Reason For Rejection
  • The Counter Offer

Job Strategies & Tips

1. How to get a Raise

Research your market value Before your review, you should consult websites like salary, job postings and industry associations to know the salary range in your field.

Make your own evaluation Before you ask for a raise, thoroughly review your accomplishments, credentials and skills. The best is to evaluate your own experience, skill sets, and contributions without comparing yourself to the other person. You should never ask for a raise because of your car rental or you want to buy a house. This just invites your boss to say no to your request.

Explain reasons Build a business case for why you deserve a raise. If you think it might present a clearer picture, revise your resume to reflect your recent accomplishments. Consult salary surveys and research compensation trends. Is the labor market so competitive in your specialty or industry that your skills and abilities are more highly valued? When you meet with your manager, discuss your findings and ask to reevaluate your compensation level.

If you don't get a raise Ask to your manager what you need to accomplish to get a raise next time. Don't complaint because he may never give you a raise

2. How to get a Promotion

Although a job can be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding parts of your life, there is always room for promotion. Some straightforward tips can help you get ahead in the corporate world.

Keep the right attitude Don't view your job as just a "job." Think of you job as a position.

Do more than what is expected of you Do more than your regular duties and responsibilities. Doing more will increase your value within the company. Get involved and show more initiative and ideas.

Give extra time Actions speak much louder than words, and putting in the extra time helps you get that edge over other employees. Coming to working 15 minutes before others gives the impression that you are always at work -- and that's a good thing. Staying late shows, that you will spend the extra time to meet a deadline.

Continuously increase your knowledge Companies are often willing to pay all or a portion of the costs for classes or training. There are few courses, books, conferences and seminars that are free or not expensive. You can also learn by doing some research on the Internet.

Define your goals Know the position to which you would like to be promoted. Know what it takes to be considered for it. Then you might be able to discuss training opportunities with your human resource department.

Assess your accomplishments What great things have happened at your company because of your efforts? Compile records of all work-related achievements, letters of recognition, and other documents that demonstrate good job performance.

Be always proactive Use the performance review process as a time to ask your boss about your future with the organization. Let your supervisor know that you are interested in progressing and learning more. Demonstrate your ability to handle additional responsibility.

3. How to Resign

Decide when it's time for you to move on Reasons could include that there's no room for your advancement, or that you don't like the direction your company is taking.

Give the specific time Whether you will be leaving in two weeks or two months, you want to make certain you are leaving all projects up-to-date, all notes in order and all work possible completed

Write a letter of resignation Write a letter of resignation address it to your immediate superior and give a copy to the human resource responsible. State clearly your reasons for leaving and be diplomatic

Give the letter to your superior personally Give the letter to your superior personally and ask for a personal exit interview. Ask your employer how much notice the company would like you to give. As a general rule, three or four weeks notice is better, but if you're leaving for another position, two weeks is considered polite.

Work until the end You want your employer to respect the work you do even after you're gone, make sure to not give yourself a bad image in your last week.

Provide contact information Leave an address and phone number where your former employer can contact you if anyone needs to ask you any follow-up questions.

4. Setting Career Goals

Any successful person sets career goals and tries to achieve them within a particular time frame. These goals must be realistic within each individual's capabilities and resources. Whether you are changing careers or looking for a new job, you have to know the answer to the question "What I really want to do in my career?".

Understanding your job functions Understanding your job functions is the best place to start in career goal setting. Looking your job functions, what you actually do in your job, your work tasks and responsibilities will help you to compare career possibilities. Remember, your job titles, functions and industries provide a structure for viewing careers in an organized way.

Many peoples are not aware of all the possibilities that exist for them with their particular background. And sometimes it is easy to get comfortable in a career path and not take the time to explore other possibilities. Researching information about yourself, including your interests, skills and values, is the key in considering and in setting a career goal.

Explore your career options Before you make any career decisions, answer to these questions: What careers do you find interesting? How much education and training will you need for this job? Will you need a license? What are the physical demands for this job? Do you want to be the manager?: To get better information, meet and interview with people who work in careers that interest you.

After assessing yourself and exploring your career options, you should set career goals. Career goals are ideas about what you want to accomplish. Defining your goals will help you take the necessary steps to your career. Start by thinking of a long-term career goal. Then think about the things you will need to do to reach your long term goal. After, thinking of a short-term career goal. Then think about the things you will need to do to reach your short term goal.

Goals must be set on where you want to be in three months, six months, one year or five years from now. Everybody should aim at a specific position and work towards hitting that target, and hopefully getting promoted. Keep your goals realistic and specific. Make sure you have the ability and skills necessary to reach your goal.

Stay flexible Once you reach career goals, it is essential to set new goals that motivate you to keep learning and striving for satisfaction. You might have a goal that becomes something that is no longer important to you, then you should be open to letting it go. Also, if you encounter barriers that seem like they might disrupt your progress, don't give up on your goals. Instead, modify them to meet your current goals.

5. Employee Work Ethic

Work ethic is a set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character. Having a good work ethic can take you a long way in your career.

There are examples of work ethic traits that employers consider important:


Arrives on time and gives advance notice of absence.


Displays loyalty, honesty, trustworthiness, dependability, reliability, initiative, self discipline, and self- responsibility.


Demonstrates a positive attitude.


Good work habits result in a good work product.


Respects others is a team worker and is cooperative.

Organizational Skills

Manifests skill in personal management, time management, flexibility and the ability to deal with change.


Have appropriate verbal and nonverbal skills.


Have leadership skills; maintains appropriate relationships with supervisors and peers.


Treats everyone with respect.


Displays appropriate dress, grooming, hygiene and etiquette.

When employers promote an individual, they list work ethics as a key issue in their selection process. If you are not moving up in the company, ask yourself the following questions about your attitude towards work.

Have a positive attitude about your job and the company you work for It is really hard for an employer to believe you exude strong work ethics, if you do not project how much you love your job and the company. If you always complaining at work, you will never convince your boss that you have good work ethics, or that you should be promoted. Good work ethics means pride in your job.

Keep a good attitude after work Be pleasant, helpful, and considerate as you can be no matter what happened the night before. Leave your personal problems at home, and present your best at work. Also, never say anything to anyone you work with that could possibly get you problem or get fired. Motivation and energy at work

Always offer to help, whether in your own department or another. Never stand around and watch other people work. Even if you can't help, people will appreciate your asking. To be able to manage project, you need to make your boss believe you can handle it easily.

Be willing to work overtime when the company needs you The employer today needs employees who will be there for them when it counts. Many high-paying positions do require overtime. If your company needs you and you are not willing to put the time in, you should not wonder why you are always passed over at promotions.

6. How to work efficiently

  • Working smarter, not harder. You can control your time!
  • Keep your desk and your files organized to avoid wasting time shuffling through piles of paper.
  • Go through your inbox at the beginning of each work day. Either throw away, file or follow up on each item.
  • Respond to email by priority, look at the subject line and rank order in terms of importance. Make a daily "TO DO" list. Write it down. Consider long term goals and establish priorities.
  • Do what is most important first and realize that some things can wait until later. Handle each piece of paper only once.
  • Delegate what you can to co-workers and assistants.
  • Communicate effectively and plan carefully to make sure a job is done properly the first time around.
  • Keep interruptions brief (phone call, socializing, etc.) Before leaving for the day, tidy up your desk and make a short list of projects you will need to do the next day.
  • Exercise and a healthy diet boost your energy level and increase your productivity.

7. Reduce Stress in your job

What is Job Stress?

Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury.

Stress is a normal occurrence that often arises when you perceive a situation as threatening or when you are dealing with an unusually large number of everyday responsibilities. People who effectively manage stress consider life a challenge rather than frustration, and they feel they have control over their lives. Learn to manage stress levels to prevent anxiety, depression and other conditions.

Identifying the sources of your stress

Knowing what causes stress for you can help you to manage better. Common causes of stress include: work, family, health concerns, unrealistic expectations, negative attitudes or sudden traumatic events.

Improve your time management and organization skills

Of the many things you can to in this area the best ones include getting a to do list that works, learning to say "no", asking for help when you need it, and stop setting unrealistic goals for yourself.

Set Realistic Goals

When scheduling your time, assume that something unexpected will come up and build in a cushion of time to deal with it. Avoid making promises about when tasks will be completed. If you must commit to a date, be conservative.

Learn to prioritize

Do what is most important first and realize that some things can wait until later. Manage your energies wisely ' prioritize your workload and put in less effort for low-priority jobs, and avoid expending energy on unimportant tasks.

Delegate less important tasks

Delegate responsibility and get outside help if you feel overwhelmed. Hire a gardener for your lawn or a baby sitter for your child when you feel pressed for time.

Take small breaks during work Even a five-minute break will help. Get away from your desk. Go for a walk - outside is better, but up two flights of stairs and back down is good too.

Exercise regularly to maintain your health and release stress Getting more exercise in general will help you reduce your overall stress levels and that will make it easier to reduce your stress level at work. Eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Spend more time with positive people Negative people will pull you down to their level. Choose to work with people who have a positive attitude. Think positively. Look at each stressful situation as an opportunity to improve your life.

8. Are you in the right career?

Are you wondering which career direction is right for you? Whether you're employed or unemployed, college student preparing for graduation or an established professional, deciding upon a career can be difficult. The basic question you always have to ask yourself about your current or most recent job is, "Is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?" You may want to change careers for many reasons but you don't.

The following are some of the most common reasons:

  • Fear of change.
  • Don't know what the options are.
  • Easy to stay within the comfort zone.
  • Don't have time to search for a new job.
  • Don't know how to make a change.
  • Don't feel confident.
  • Fear of failure.
  • Fear of success
  • Fear the job search is more frustrating than the current unsatisfactory job.
  • Don't know where to search.

How often you gave many reasons for not moving out of this frustrating situation? If you want to make a career change, the following steps will help you to make a career change:

  • Evaluate your current situation.
  • Identifying the dislikes of your current situation.
  • Decide what kind of career would like to do.
  • Be motivated about the career change.
  • Believe in yourself and your skills.
  • Give yourself a timeframe for making the career change.
  • Set goals and write a career action plan.
  • Take the necessary training to update your skills and broaden your knowledge.
  • Put time and energy into you transition.
  • Take daily action.
  • Be positive.

9. Be an entrepreneur

What does it take to be successful starting a business? A number of personal qualities can help you to build a successful business.

You can delegate

You can't do every detail yourself. You need to train and trust employees to do their jobs.

You are a good trainer

In order to delegate successfully, you will need people with appropriate skills and they may have to learn some of those skills from you.

You are motivated

As business owner, you don't have a boss to tell you when to get to work or encourage you. You need to be self-motivated and be able to motivate your employees.

You can track money

You will spend a fair amount of time keeping track of money, expenses, taxes and others.

You're not scared to make mistakes

You will make them, the trick is to learn from them and move on.

You like to work

You need to like to work. Don't start a business unless you enjoy work. You will need to invest time and energy to get a successful business.

You are optimisme

You will encounter obstacles that might scared some individuals. You will have more success if you are the type of person who relishes such challenges.

Going for the interview

Interview Types Interviewing is the most stressful part of the job search for many people. But it doesn't have to be. Interviews are an opportunity to show you are an enthusiastic worker who would do a job well. You can make the most of that opportunity by being prepared, presenting a professional demeanor, and describing your qualifications well.

There are many types of interviews:

Screening interviews; designed to whittle the applicant pool Second and third interviews; intended to help employers make final selections; Telephone interviews are especially common for jobs that are out of City or Country, attract many applications, or require a good telephone demeanor.


Preparation can be as important as the interview itself Preparation can be as important as the interview itself . Researching, practicing, and dressing appropriately are the first steps to making the most of a job interview. Remember, a good job interview starts well before the job seeker and interviewer meet. One of the best, but most frequently overlooked, ways to demonstrate enthusiasm for a job is to research both the company and the position for which you are being interviewed. Employers say they are impressed by well-informed jobseekers.

Before arriving for an interview Before arriving for an interview , you should know what the company does, how large it is, any recent changes it has undergone, and what role you could play in its organization. Try to learn about the company's goals and values. With these facts, you can show how your qualifications match the company's needs. The company itself is often the easiest place to start your search. Many businesses fill their websites with information tailored to job seekers. These sites often include a history of the company and a description of its products and customers. And many companies' human resources departments will send recruiting information if you request it. Public libraries and career centers also have valuable information about employers, including companies' annual reports to shareholders, reports kept by local chambers of commerce, trade journals, and business indexes.

Practice describing yourself Practice describing yourself . Another important step in preparing for a job interview is to practice describing your professional characteristics. Think of examples from past jobs, schoolwork, and activities to illustrate important skills. Recalling accomplishments before and, when you don't have to respond under interview pressure, will strengthen your answers during the actual event. Every interview will be different, and there may always be surprising questions. Nevertheless, interviewers suggest rehearsing with a career counselor or friend to gain confidence. As a starting point, try to respond a loud to the following:

  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What did you like most about your last job?
  • Why should I select you over other applicants?
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Describe a work or school-related problem and how you solved it.?
  • What are your short-term goals?
  • Why do you want to work in this occupation and for this company?

Each question gives you an opportunity to illustrate your favorable characteristics. When responding, focus on subjects related to the job. For example, if asked to describe yourself, talk about your professional characteristics and background, not your personal life

Some questions such as those about hobbies or interests may seem irrelevant. Interviewers ask these types of questions to learn about your personality and test your interpersonal skills. In addition, answering questions about your hobbies or interests allows you to highlight some of your other strengths. The goal is not to memorize responses to these questions but to become comfortable speaking about yourself, your training and experience, and your career goals. Responding to interview questions should not sound as if you are reciting a script.

Whatever the question, be ready to accentuate the positive. The interviewer might ask for a weakness or failure; choose one that does not affect your ability to do the job, or describe a shortcoming you are working to overcome. For example, if interviewing for an entry-level job, cite your lack of paid experience. If there are weaknesses evident on your resume; or transcript, such as being fired from a job or receiving poor grades, rehearse an explanation before the interview in case you are asked about them. Focus on what you learned from the experience, being careful never to criticize a previous employer or coworker.

Dress professionally Securing a job is much easier if you look the part. A useful guideline is to dress as you would for an important day on the job, like a meeting with a supervisor or a presentation to a client.

Clothes should be clean , well fitting, and wrinkle free. Most employers expect jobseekers to wear a traditional two-piece suit, preferably in a conservative color such as navy blue, gray, or black. The object is to look reliable, not trendy. Many employers say that women's skins should be knee-length or below. Polished, closed-toe shoes complete the professional image.

Keep hair neat by tying it back, putting it up, or cutting it short. Avoid cologne and perfume, large pieces of jewelry, and heavy or unnatural makeup. These distract the interviewer from your qualifications.


On the day of the interview, give yourself plenty of time to get ready for and travel to the interview. Plan to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. Consider carrying a briefcase to the interview. In addition to giving you a professional look, a briefcase serves a function: it gives portability to things you'll want at the interview. These include a pen and paper to record important information, such as the proper spelling of the interviewer's name and the time and date of followup interviews; copies of your resume or application and references; and examples of your work, such as writing samples.

Most people are nervous when interviewing . But remember: You have been asked to interview for the job because the employer believes you could be right for it. The interview is your chance to confirm that belief and establish rapport. To reduce nervousness, interviewers recommend getting a good night's sleep and maintaining your usual morning routine. They also recommend calling to mind some of your happiest memories or proudest moments before arriving for the interview. And they remind jobseekers that each opening you interview for is not the only one that exists. More than one company recruits for jobs. If one interview doesn't go well, another will.

First impressions

The interview begins the moment you arrive. Everyone you meet, from the receptionist to the hiring manager, will form an impression of you. To ensure the impression is positive, remember that your words and mannerisms will affect the image you project. When greeting people, smile warmly and shake hands. Make eye contact and maintain good posture. Don't create a negative impression by using slang, chewing gum, smoking cigarettes, or giving curt, one word answers. Standard politeness is important in an interview because the interviewer knows very little about you. To be safe, never use the interviewer's first name unless you are invited to do so, and don't sit down until the interviewer does.

Responding to questions

After introductions, the interviewer will probably explain the job in more detail, discuss the company, or initiate friendly conversation. The interviewer will then ask questions to try re gauge how well you would fill the position.

When responding to the interviewer

When responding to the interviewer , avoid giving vague answers such as, "I want to work with people". Instead, describe the specific ways you want to work with them. You might also give examples of how you have successfully done so in the past. Focus on your strengths, but always tell the truth. Responding to interview questions allows you to describe your best work-related characteristics. Many employers use resumes as guides, asking for additional details during the interview. In addition to finding out more information, they may be trying to see how well you can communicate your work to others. Some interviewers ask questions about real-life job situations. For example, they might ask candidates for a retail job how they would handle customer complaints.

When responding to the interviewer

When responding to the interviewer , avoid giving vague answers such as, "I want to work with people". Instead, describe the specific ways you want to work with them. You might also give examples of how you have successfully done so in the past. Focus on your strengths, but always tell the truth. Responding to interview questions allows you to describe your best work-related characteristics. Many employers use resumes as guides, asking for additional details during the interview. In addition to finding out more information, they may be trying to see how well you can communicate your work to others. Some interviewers ask questions about real-life job situations. For example, they might ask candidates for a retail job how they would handle customer complaints.

Let the interviewer direct the session.

Listen attentively, and be sure to answer the question asked. Watch the interviewer's mannerisms for clues about whether to elaborate or keep your responses short.

Some jobseekers are so focused on specific answers, they forget to relax and connect with the interviewer. An interview should be conversational. However, that does not mean you are expected to speak without pause. You should stop to consider an answer before responding to difficult or unexpected questions. And if a question is confusing, ask for clarification.

The end of the interview

The end of the interview , you will have the opportunity to ask your own questions. This is your chance to find out more about the company. After all, you may have to decide if you want to work there. Some questions you might want to ask include:

  • Who would supervise me?
  • Can you describe a typical assignment?
  • Are there opportunities for advancement?
  • How do you train employees?
  • What do you like most about working for this company?

An interview is not the time to inquire about salary or benefits You don't want to seem more interested in financial rewards than in contributing to the company. If asked about salary requirements, try to convey flexibility. The best time to discuss earnings is after you have been offered the job.

Before leaving the interview , make sure you understand the next step in the hiring process. Find out whether there will be another round of interviews, whether you should provide additional information, and when a hiring decision will be made. Finally, be sure to thank the interviewer

For some interviews , what you wear makes no difference at all. Many employers conduct preliminary interviews over the telephone. This arrangement gives employers an opportunity to find the best prospects before investing time, effort, and, in some cases, expense in arranging a face-to-face interview.

Telephone interviews are especially common for jobs that are out of State, attract many applications, or require a good telephone demeanor. A phone interview is similar to a traditional interview, but it poses special challenges. If your phone has a call-waiting feature, consider disabling it the day of the interview. You do not want to put the interviewer on hold, and persistent call waiting beeps are distracting. Take advantage of being on your home turf by having your resume, pen, paper, appointment calendar, notes, and reminders within easy reach.

Remember to speak clearly and listen attentively, just as you would if you were meeting with the interviewer in person. Even though no one can see you, your voice betrays attitudes and confidence; sometimes, sitting up straight can help project enthusiasm over the phone. At the end of the interview, express your willingness to speak with the employer in person. This is important, because most employers prefer to meet with a potential employee face to face before hiring.

Following up

After the interview is over , secure a good impression by sending a thank you letter to the interviewer. It is best to send the letter within 2 days of the interview, but any time is better than none. Thank you letters should be brief --less than one page-and may be hand interest in the job

Thank you letter should include:

The first paragraph is your chance to thank the interviewer for meeting with you and to show enthusiasm for the job. Some suggest refreshing the interviewer's memory by mentioning the date of the interview and the position for which you applied.

The third paragraph is where you thank the interviewer again, give your phone number, and state that you look forward to hearing from him or her.

Write or type the letter on solid white, off-white, or gray stationary. Use a standard business format. Put a colon after the interviewer's name and a space after each paragraph. And don't forget to sign your first and last name.

An e-mailed thank you letter

An e-mailed thank you letter is acceptable if e-mail correspondence was exchanged between the interviewer and the candidate. Other-wise, an e-mail message should not substitute for standard mail in most situations.

Address the letter to the person

Address the letter to the person who interviewed you, and make sure to spell his or her name correctly. If a group interviewed you, write either to each person you spoke with or to the person who led and coordinated the interview, mentioning the other people you met.

Finally, be sure to proofread the letter

Finally, be sure to proofread the letter, and ask someone else to proofread it for you, too. Interviewers tell tales of misspelled, misused words written in thank you letters that tarnish the image of an otherwise impressive candidate. As you write your thank you note, remind yourself that you might be writing to your next supervisor.


Before making a hiring decision , most employers want to speak with people who know a candidate well. You should contact three to five people who will agree to provide favorable recommendations about you to future employers.

Choosing references can be difficult, especially for people with little work experience. But there are more options than you might think. The people you ask to be references should be familiar with your abilities. Supervisors from either paid or unpaid jobs, teachers, coaches, advisors, and coworkers are all good choices for references. Select the most willing, articulate people you can. And always ask permission of the people you ask to be references before including their names on your reference list.

After choosing and contacting references , type a list providing their names, addresses, telephone numbers, and relationship to you. Bring copies of this list with you to interviews. When people agree to be references, help them to help you. Provide a copy of your resume or application to remind them of your important accomplishments. Tell them what kinds of jobs you are applying for so they know what types of questions to expect.

Interviews Do's and Don'ts

The Counter Offer

Once you have accepted a new position and you are ready to turn in your notice, you must be prepared for the counter offer. Some companies will try to offer you more money to stay. Be aware, they seldom work in the long run.

  • You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on, your loyalty will always be in question. You will never be part of the Team.
  • When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who is loyal and who is not. The employee that never thought of moving on will be the one that gets the next promotion
  • When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutbacks with you. They will remember the day you resigned, not all of the hard work you have put in.
  • Accepting a counter offer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride: you were bought.
  • Where is the money for the counter offer coming from? All companies have wage and salary guidelines which must be followed. Is it your next raise early?
  • Your company may immediately start looking for a new person at a cheaper price. They may give you the extra money now, but be aware in the future.
  • The same circumstances that now cause you to consider a change will repeat themselves in the future, even if you accept a counter offer. There was a reason you started looking, what changed?
  • Statistics show that if you accept a counter offer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in six months or being let go in one year is extremely high.
  • Once the word gets out, the relationship that you now enjoy with your co-workers may never be the same. You may lose the personal satisfaction of peer group acceptance. Word may get out that you were bought.
  • What type of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?

Ten Reasons for Rejection

Below are the most common reasons that employers reject a candidate. Working closely with your search consultant ensures that these factors will not come into play during the interview process.

Lack of research

It's obvious when candidates haven't learned about the job, company or industry prior to the interview. The Internet makes it easy to research the company. In our information age it always shows if you haven't done your homework and you'll be overshadowed by those who have invested the time.

Ambivalent about opportunity

Companies want employees who are passionate and enthusiastic about joining their team. Candidates coming across as arrogant or ambivalent will be "blown away" by others who bring higher levels of enthusiasm. Employers can afford to be self-centered, candidates cannot.


First impressions are quickly made in the first three to five minutes. Dress based on the company's culture. Many candidates do not consider their appearance as much as they should.

Not having questions to ask

Prepare a list of questions in advance. Asking questions shows your interest in the company and the position.

Not readily knowing the answers

Anticipate and rehearse answers to tough questions about your background, such as a recent termination or an employment gap. Practicing with your spouse or friend before the interview will help you to frame intelligent answers.

Too much humility

Explaining how you reach difficult or impressive goals helps employers understand what you can do for them. Being conditioned not to brag, candidates are sometimes reluctant to describe their accomplishments.

Not relating skills to employers' needs

Reiterate your skills and demonstrate to the employer that you can "do the same for them." A list of sterling accomplishments means little if you can't relate them to a company's requirements.

Handling salary issues ineptly

Share your current compensation if asked. Avoid quoting, "What you'll need" during an interview. It's always best to answer, "I'm sure an offer would be based upon my background and experience" to keep discussion of money a lower priority initially. Get to the offer state of the process, then talk about money and benefits. Your recruiter can provide expert advice on making your offer stage a win-win for both you and your company!

Lack of career direction

Companies hire for specific titles and skills today. Looking for, "A job in operations" will tell the company you don't really know where you're going. Saying, "I want to be a Store Manager with an opportunity for growth to a District Manger" will communicate a specific career path.

Job shopping

Don't waste everyone's valuable time going to an interview unless you're serious about considering another opportunity. You could eliminate afuture opportunity when you really want or need it.

Interviews Do's and Dont's


Arrive 15 minutes early. Tardiness is never excusable.

Be professional. Smile, make eye contact, and maintain good posture.

Answer the interviewer's questions as specifically as possible. Relate your skills and background to the position requirements throughout the interview.

Ask questions. An interview should be a mutual exchange of information, not a one-sided conversation.

Give your qualifications. Focus on accomplishments that are most pertinent to the job Anticipate tough questions. Prepare to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths.

Dress appropriately. Make your first impression a professional one.

Listen. Concentrate not only on the interviewer's words, but also on the tone of voice and body language. Once you understand how the interviewer thinks, pattern your answers accordingly and you will be able to establish a better rapport.


Don't answer vague questions like "Tell me about yourself." Ask the interviewer to clarify fuzzy questions by asking, "What specifically would you like to know?"

Don't interrupt the interviewer. If you don't listen, the interviewer won't either.

Don't be disrespectful. Don't smoke, chew gum or place anything on the interviewer's desk

Ask questions. An interview should be a mutual exchange of information, not a one-sided conversation.

Don't be overly familiar, even if the interviewer is.

Don't wear any perfume or cologne. The anxiety of an interview intensifies fragrances, especially in closed offices.

Don't ramble. Overlong answers may make you sound apologetic or indecisive.

Never lie or embellish your history. Answer questions truthfully.

Don't express bitterness. Avoid derogatory remarks about present or former employers

Standard Interview Questions

It is not enough to have solid answers only for the interviewer questions. You need to be prepared for theses questions. For a good interview practice, look at some of the following questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you want to do with your life?
  • Do you have any actual work experience?
  • How would you describe your ideal job?
  • Why did you choose this career?
  • When did you decide on this career?
  • What goals do you have in your career?
  • How do you plan to achieve these goals?
  • How do you evaluate success?
  • Describe a situation in which you were successful.
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?
  • What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction in your life?
  • If you had to live your life over again, what would you change?
  • Would your rather work with information or with people?
  • Are you a team player?
  • What motivates you?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • Are you a goal-oriented person?
  • Tell me about some of your recent goals and what you did to achieve them.
  • What are your short-term goals?
  • What is your long-range objective?
  • What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
  • Where do you want to be ten years from now?
  • Do you handle conflict well?
  • Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or professor? How did you resolve it?
  • What major problem have you had to deal with recently?
  • Do you handle pressure well?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • If I were to ask one of your professors to describe you, what would he or she say?
  • Why did you choose to attend your college?
  • What changes would you make at your college?
  • How has your education prepared you for your career?
  • What were your favorite classes? Why?
  • Do you enjoy doing independent research?
  • Who were your favorite professors? Why?
  • Why is your GPA not higher?
  • Do you have any plans for further education?
  • How much training do you think you'll need to become a productiveemployee?
  • What qualities do you feel a successful manager should have?
  • Why do you want to work in the _____ industry?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why are you interested in our company?
  • Do you have any location preferences?
  • How familiar are you with the community that we're located in?
  • Will you relocate? In the future?
  • Are you willing to travel? How much?
  • Is money important to you?
  • How much money do you need to make to be happy?
  • What kind of salary are you looking for?

Effective Resumes

Before we discuss the mechanics of creating a resume we want to briefly describe the most important attributes of a strong retail resume.

Our clients are looking for resumes that describe significant achievements. Don't waste too much space explaining your job responsibilities. Instead, jump to your achievements quickly.

Use bullet points to outline accomplishments, outcomes, what you did. Include sales increases, shrink results, successful promotions, people you recruited/promoted. Numbers and percentages are great as long as they make sense.

Be clear and concise: avoid phrases and acronyms that are unique to your company. Don't try to impress people with wordy sentences; use your accomplishments to impress.

Check all dates and make sure they are in order. Include months and year.

Demonstrate that your career is going in a positive direction (e.g. show that you went from Store Manager to General Manager to District Manager, to Regional Manager). Account for all time between jobs.

Sell yourself. Be bold. Be confident. Use active verbs (increased, reduced, created, executed, designed). Don't be afraid to call yourself talented, resourceful, intelligent, and skillful-but be ready to back up these adjectives with accomplishments.

Ask a person that you trust (preferably someone who understands retail) to review your resume and give an honest assessment of it.

And a few practical suggestions...

Save your resume in Microsoft Word (.doc) format. Virtually every recruiter can open a Word document. If you make it difficult for a recruiter to open your resume (e.g. by zipping it), he/she will be more likely to delete it and move on to another resume.

Virtually all recruiters and hiring authorities store resumes electronically and it's much easier to forward a clean copy of your resume via email. Never fax a resume to a company unless requested to do so.

Your resume will not "get" you a job. At best, it will catch an employer's attention and make that person eager to learn more about you. There are many different ways to create an attractive resume, but no matter how you arrange your resume...

Key Resume Tips

Your resume should include the following information:

Contact information Include phone, mail and e-mail contact information. Your voicemail message should be professional. A message that is too casual can create a negative impression.

Summary statement Your summary should be brief. First, include your title and years of experience. Second, list pertinent skills. Third, discuss your character traits or work style.


"Financial Accountant with over 10 years' experience with two Fortune 500 companies. Technical skills include P&L, budgeting, forecasting and variance reporting. Bilingual in Spanish and English. Self-starter who approaches every project in a detailed, analytical manner."

Quantifiable Accomplishments - Ones Employers Want To See

  • Increased sales
  • Saved money
  • Effective budgeting
  • Purchasing accomplishments
  • New products/new lines
  • Successful advertising campaign
  • Increased productivity
  • Cut overhead

Professional experience

List each position held in reverse chronological order, dating back through your complete retail career. If you held multiple positions within the same company, list them all to show advancement and growth. The body of each position description should describe your responsibilities and accomplishments. Never leave gaps in your history or begin with your resume at mid-career. Companies want the full picture of your background and experience.

Other components

Include education, professional training, affiliations/appointments, licenses, technical skills and languages.


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