Monthly Archives: June 2010

How Does an Informational Interview Work?

There is no dearth of literature available for getting career related information. There are books, trade publications and online resources to get information about the career you aspire to pursue. However, the potential of informational interviews in this regard is second to none. Informational interviewing offers jobseekers, career changers and students to receive first hand information about careers they have interest in. Through these interviews, candidates can get a real insider view about careers and use that essential information for career success.

Setting up the informational interview
First and foremost, candidates need to set up the interviewing. Setting up means you have to find potential and influential people who can provide you a first hand knowledge about specific careers, industries or jobs. To identify such people, you can use the entire network of contacts including your family, friends, colleagues, classmates etc. Once you have prepared the list of such people, you can send them an introductory email stating your interests, career goals and background. Informational interviews can be conducted over phone, lunch or in person. A face to face informational interview is the most advisable way of getting first-hand career information and having a feel about the job or career you are interested in.

Preparing for the informational interview
Advanced preparation is key to becoming successful at informational interviewing. Before you speak to the interview, you need to make sure that you have researched on the whereabouts of their company and the industry they cater to. You can also log on to their company’s website to do some advanced preparation for asking questions. If you want to get information on a specific career, you need to prepare asking questions like where they started, how they made the most of their jobs, what the job description and how they plan to remain competitive in that particular occupation.

Conducting the informational interview
Consider your informational interviewing no less important than a business meeting. You need to attire yourself in formal clothes and act professional as well. Ask the interviewee whether they would mind taking notes during the interview. Maintain your eye contact and listen to the professional attentively. Try to build a natural rapport during the talk to maintain relationship with the interviewee. Also ask them about some references that can provide first hand career information.

Establishing the relationship
Building a relationship with your interviewee is one of the most important parts of the entire process. Therefore, don’t forget to follow them up. After the end of the informational interview, send them a thank you note or an email expressing your gratitude for the opportunity they gave you. With the passage of time, keep them informed of you career developments. This is a wonderful way of building a long term relationship with industry professionals. You never know when they might be able to help you again in the near future.

By using the above mentioned tips, you can definitely extract the maximum of your professional meetings. Use this effective tool to expand your contacts in an industry and achieve career success.

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Jobseekers’ 5 Biggest Complaints about Employers

As the period of unemployment for many jobseekers grows longer and longer, there’s a growth in jobseekers’ frustration as well. Jobseekers too have many complaints about the kind of treatment they receive from employers during the hiring process. Given below are 5 biggest complaints that jobseekers have about employers.

Complaint  #1. No response from employer even after an interview
Most of the jobseekers spend a good amount of time on preparing themselves for job interviews. They spend time researching on the company’s whereabouts and the industry it caters to. They put in a lot of hard work practicing interview skills. Even jobseekers take a day off from their employers to attend interviews. But they regret not being responded to after the interview is over.

The post-interview silence from employers annoys jobseekers a lot. Employers should, therefore, understand that the candidate is anxiously waiting for a response. Jobseekers keep waiting for a response long after decisions have been made by employers. A quick email informing the candidate that they are no longer under consideration is never too hard for employers.

Complaint  #2. Employer’s refusal to discuss their salary range upfront
The second biggest complaint that jobseekers have about employers is that the latter refuse to discuss their budgeted salary range upfront. Instead, they insist candidates for discussing their salary expectation first. By doing this, employers make an attempt to lowball the candidate. If the employer is not ready to share their budgeted salary range, they are not supposed to demand the salary requirements from candidates.

Complaint  #3. Forcing candidates using time consuming online application systems
Many employers are using automated online application systems for the hiring process. These online systems require candidates to type in all the resume information, consuming a lot of time. Though this may be good on the employer’s side, jobseekers complain about this. Which is more, employers can also miss out on many best qualified candidates who are driven away due to the online application systems.

Complaint  #4. No consideration for jobseekers’ time, but disqualifying them for the same behavior
It may really be a deal breaker if a jobseeker reaches half an hour late for an interview. But what about employers making candidates wait for long past an interview’s scheduled time? Many employers schedule telephonic interviews that do not happen at all, while the candidates keeps on waiting.

Complaint  #5. Not updating jobseekers about timeline changes
Employers inform candidates that the latter would hear by a certain date. And it is really agonizing to note that there is no word at all and that date comes and goes. It really annoys jobseekers when people do not act as they say, because jobseekers wish to work in a culture where people do what they say. This behavior from employers is not good at all. Can such a company, which does not treat candidates with respect, ever become ‘the employer of choice’.


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How Can Fear Be Your Career’s Best Friend?

If you are not playing it safe while doing anything that is worth doing in your career, you are definitely going to experience some sort of fear. And the good news is that experiencing this kind of fear is not altogether bad. Jobseekers, career changers and fresh career starters should be happy to know that fear can actually be their career’s best friend.

Fear can be classified into ‘productive fear’ and ‘limiting fear’. Productive fear helps you figure out how you can avoid a potential pain and achieve you goal. On the other hand, limiting fear refers to a feeling of fear which asks you to turn around and move in the other direction. Limiting fear may also stop you dead in your track.

Most of the time it is not feeling that differentiates productive fear from limiting fear. Instead, it is actually what you do or how you handle a situation when you feel it. The feeling of this fear can surround or overwhelm you at multiple points in your career. For instance, a career change situation can bring fears of getting failed or falling on your face. Now if you decide that it is best not to take the risk of making a career change and continue with your dissatisfying job, it becomes a limiting fear.

On the other hand, you can also turn this limiting fear into productive fear. Instead of not taking the risk of making a career change at all, you can also figure out how to minimize the potential of that actually happening.

To turn fear into productive fear, you can ask yourself the following questions –

How can I prevent the outcome?
What do I need to be aware of to reduce the risk of the outcome?
How do I need to prepare myself to reduce the risk of the outcome?

Fear can really be a rich source of insight, if used positively. What can fear actually do for your career benefit? Well, it can be an eye-opener to potential trouble that might arise during a particular course of action. At the same time, it can be used to energize your action to reduce the risk of the outcome. In this way, fear can really be your career’s best friend.

There is a very fine line between productive and limiting fear. On the one hand, productive fear can be used to prepare yourself to prevent some unnecessary pain. On the other, limiting fear can just stop you from taking any action at all. Therefore, the next time you experience a feeling of fear, be ready to use it as an effective tool to pave your path and move towards your career goals.

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Tips for Working for a Younger Boss

According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive and CareerBuilder, around 69 per cent of workers (out of 5,231 workers surveyed) who are 55 years of age or above work for younger bosses. This can bring challenges to workers who are older. So, how can you prepare yourself to impress a younger boss you work for? Given below are some important tips.

Acknowledge their expertise
While working for a younger boss or manager you might be offered some fresh ideas. According to experts, younger managers have their own education and experience and they do not like to be guided or parented by someone else. It is, therefore, advisable for older workers to be open to fresh ideas and new approaches that the younger boss may want to introduce.

Use electronic or digital communication
Younger managers may not always want to interact face to face with older workers. They prefer to interact through emails, text messages, instant messenger etc. So, ensure that you are logged on to the instant messenger every morning and keep your cellular phones on for receiving text messages.

Keep the boss informed of your progress
Your younger boss has got nothing to do with your decades of experience. All that he is concerned about is that whether you complete your task on time, deliver results and overachieve. Keep a record of your current progress report and accomplishments and make sure you keep your boss informed of it on a regular basis.

Act your age
In order to impress your young boss, do not try to act younger than your age. Doing things like dressing younger or disguising yourself as a younger individual are silly things. Do not talk to your younger manager about what you did when you were in his age. Things like these will only dampen and damage your reputation in the workplace.

Upgrade your skills
This applies to all jobseekers of the present day. In order to remain competitive in the tough job market, you need to update your skills. Look for retraining opportunities and keep your skills upgraded in the workplace.

Don’t compete
You may carry decades of working experience, as compared to the work experience of your younger manager or boss. Do not act as a know-it-all. And do not try to compete with your younger boss or try to belittle him or her in front of others on the basis of your wide knowledge.

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Tips to Land a Holiday Job

More and more jobseekers have started scouting for seasonal work. It is surprising to note that employers are expecting to employ fewer holiday workers. Though holiday is a good time to land jobs, you may as well face some competition landing holiday jobs. Given below are some important tips that can enhance your chances of landing holiday jobs.

Get your previous job back
According to a recent survey conducted by, there is a big number of employers who are thinking to hire employees who worked for them in the last season. The fact behind this is that if employers hire new candidates they would need to train them in the basics. So, if you did a holiday job last year, it is advisable to apply for a job at the same employer this year. That does not mean you will not consider other options.

Be flexible
During holiday sales bonanza, most of the stores remain open 24 hours. Other stores open very early. You might have noticed this recent phenomenon on holiday occasions like the Black Friday sales bonanza. So, retailers try to make the most of weird hours. The point is, if you are applying at large retailers, you need to have flexible work schedules to enhance your chances of landing jobs.

Set job alerts
While using job sites like Juju and LinkUp, you have the option of setting up fresh job email alerts. These alerts are sent to you on the basis of some specific keywords and customized locations. Jobseekers are advised to be a little more creative while setting these email alerts by selecting the right keywords and phrases. And you should always remember: the early bird catches the worms.

Think transportation
A large number of customers are expected to shop online, thereby increasing the holiday sales. And when customers place orders, the products must be shipped to the requested destination. Owing to this reasons, companies start hiring package handlers and drives in large numbers in multiple locations of the nation. Jobseekers should be ready to benefit from these job opportunities.

Don’t have high expectations
That means you should be ready to take what you are offered. You can not say ‘no’ to holiday or seasonal jobs that offer you low wages. Your holiday work experience can really add much weight to your resume. Employers prefer hiring candidates who have been active and are always finding ways to acquire new skill sets. You never know what better career opportunities the holiday job can bring to you. Continue to expand your professional contacts to receive the maximum benefits.

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How Will You Turn Volunteering into a Job?

Charity is not the only motive of people who choose to volunteer. There are many who engage in volunteering activities to build networks. There is no doubt that volunteering has benefited many in a number of ways. By getting involved in volunteering activities, jobseekers can not only broaden their professional network but can also learn multiple skills to be used later in their careers. Therefore, candidates should not take volunteering as simply a way to get busy. You need to understand how volunteering can bring you benefits for your professional career.

Over the last few years, people’s interest in volunteering has increased. People who have been suffering from job loss fear that they are losing out of essential skills development. So, more and more people have turned to volunteering. Jennifer Wescott, a volunteer coordinator, advises volunteers to gain from this experience. According to Wescott, you never know who you are going to meet while volunteering and how it may lead to bringing you career benefits.

Most of the professionals, aged under 35, are motivated to volunteer because of the networking benefits. There are many jobseekers who have gained by volunteering. Candidates are advised to get involved in volunteering activities that are relevant to their field of study. The work you do as a volunteer can really add a lot of weight to your resume as well. Today, more and more employers are looking to hire candidates who already have some real world working experience. And volunteering is a great way to do that.

Anyone can choose to volunteer. Whether you are a jobseeker, a student, a career changer or a working parent, all can benefit from getting to volunteer. There are jobseekers who manage time to volunteer between job interviews. Candidates should learn how to maximize the benefits of volunteering for turning it into a job. There are multiple examples where professionals worked their ways up into full time positions by volunteering. There are also many examples where people, who chose to volunteer, did not come to establish professional network. They just did their tasks, impressed people and worked their ways up into full-time job positions. While volunteering, you never know what happens next.

Volunteering can really prove to be a boon for those who are unemployed. What is important is that you give the time volunteering requires from you. Even if you are searching for jobs, you should try to find time to get busy volunteering. Candidates should target small non-profits while looking for opportunities to volunteers. Usually, small non-profits are lacking both in staff and resources. Jobseekers, students and other candidates can easily target these non-profit organizations and get busy with volunteering activities they offer.

If you really want to work towards advancing your career, you need to choose volunteering activities that enhance your skills. For example, you may think to fill out water pitchers at hospitals. But if you are planning to advance your skills, you should try to find a volunteering activity that relates to your field of study. For example, if you are pursuing a career in the healthcare industry, you can plan to volunteer at hospitals, nursing care facilities, clinics. In this way, you will not only advance your skills but will also have an opportunity to network with healthcare professionals.

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