The Best Job Search Campaign is a Long-term One

People change jobs and even careers in today’s job market like they do cars or laptops. This is an exaggeration, but it is stated to make a point.

The idea that a worker finishes school and then secures a great job that has lifetime security and fulfillment is long gone. A society that is speeding up (almost out of control it seems sometimes), brutal corporate layoff policies, and jobs that can become obsolete in a few years reflect our new reality.

So what does all of this have to do with job search strategies? Most people kick into job search mode when they are out of work or want to find a new job and/or career. This seems to make sense since why would anyone want to go through the pain of a job search campaign unless they have to.  However, there is an alternative approach that better addresses the fluid nature of today’s job market.

The most productive job search strategy campaign is possibly one that never really ends. Beginning and ending the search for new employment opportunities based on immediate needs is inefficient and not compatible with a career that involves multiple job changes. Instead, designing a long-range strategy that strengthens over time can be more efficient and promote maximum flexibility.

Here are three ways workers can develop and sustain a long-range job search campaign.

Consider the Networking Process to be Ongoing and not Episodic
Too often, people will network in a frenzy when they are interested in finding new employment and then shut the process down when the immediate goal is reached. A better approach may be to develop a “big picture” networking strategy that is sustainable over the long-term, becoming a particularly valuable resource when looking for new employment.

Most people who network effectively realize early on that the process starts slow, but can quickly escalate into something quite impressive if using creativity and having perseverance.  The issue of building a successful networking strategy was addressed in a previous post.

Obtaining Dynamic Career Materials That Can be Successfully Adapted Overtime
In a similar fashion to networking, people will often view the development of résumés, cover letters, social media profiles, and other career documents as something to do when looking for new work. However, the optimal approach may be to find a great writer who can develop compelling documents that serve as a foundation for both current and future job search campaigns.

Such documents can be tailored to the nuances of specific job searches over time, avoiding the need to continuously reinvent the wheel. The focus here is to find a document writer who can accurately and eloquently reflect career evolution through updates and revamps, as opposed to total redos.

Do Not Wait Until Becoming Unemployed or Unhappy Before Exploring Job Alternatives
Thinking that you have found the perfect job and can sit back and enjoy your career does not reflect reality (as addressed above). Remaining current on new concepts, technologies, and opportunities within your chosen career or even other career paths can be invigorating and empowering. It can also help reduce the anxiety created by the decision to look for new employment because the job search has actually never ended.

Contemplating a career change can more effectively be done when comfortably employed and not when actively looking. There are a variety of career assessment tools people can pursue, such as the Strong Interest Inventory that can be very helpful in this regard.

While the need find new employment can create a sense of urgency and even panic, developing a long-term job search strategy that is sustained over time can make a big difference in finding a great job or even new career more quickly.

The In-Person Business Interview: Boost Confidence with These Simple Steps


Of all interview types, the in-person interview might be the most nerve-wracking. As a culture, so much of our correspondence is done through email, texting, and video, and face-to-face communication has become more difficult. Add the already stressful element of interviewing for a potential job, and one’s sense of confidence can hit a low point.

Contrary to popular belief, confidence is a learned skill for most people. The trait is not something that comes naturally to the bulk of the population. This is good news, especially when it comes to facing a job interview.

Here are a few tangible ways to help boost confidence during the interview process:

Prepare ahead of time

The Human Resources team or the hiring manager has called you, and an interview time is set. Now, the best thing you can do is prepare. We’ve covered how to prepare for a job interview previously, and this is also one of the best ways to boost confidence.

Look for the following information:

      • Size of the company
      • The mission statement and values of the company
      • Where they’re headquarters are located
      • How long the company has been in business

Knowing the answers to these key points will also help you determine if the company’s values match your own. Additionally, you’ll walk into the interview more at ease knowing you understand the company’s culture and basic information.

Consider a Dry Run

So many factors can make interview day more stressful—a car accident causing a traffic jam, spilling coffee on your shirt, rainfall. Thinking (without over thinking) and preparing for possible issues are great ways to boost your confidence.

Performing a dry run is useful in getting a feel for just how long it will take you to get to your destination. You can also prepare your outfit and other materials.

      • Choose two outfits that make you feel good. This way, you have a backup should something happen with the original outfit.
      • Use GPS to map the route from your residence to the company. You can then use this information to travel to the company’s location at the specified time of your interview to determine what traffic will be like.
      • Make sure you have an umbrella in your car and an extra set of resumes at your disposal.

Minimizing potential mishaps will help you walk into the interview calm and collected, which can boost your confidence and ease unnecessary tension.

Practice common interview questions beforehand

You can almost count on being asked to “tell us a little about yourself” in a job interview.

Ease your anxiety and boost your confidence in the interview by running through some of these questions well before your scheduled interview.

You might not be asked the questions verbatim, but preparing answers ahead of time will make it easier in the interview process. Some questions to consider are:

      1. What is your biggest weakness?
      2. Tell me about a time you overcame an obstacle. How did you do it?
      3. Out of all our other candidates, why should we hire you?
      4. Tell me how you get along with people you might not agree with.
      5. What makes our company the right fit for you?

Having answers prepared to these questions will set your mind in the interview mode, which can make it easier to answer other questions as well. Want more? Here’s a list of several other possible interview questions. You might also consider industry specific interview questions.

Prepare for standard face-to-face etiquette

Some of these may seem like no-brainers, but our digitally saturated society has a tendency to stifle in-person etiquette. Practicing in-person communication skills can help boost your confidence during the interview. These skills are essential:

      • Make eye contact throughout the conversation
      • If you enter the room before the person conducting the interview, stand to greet them when they enter
      • Turn your phone on silent—not vibrate, but silent. Check, and double-check this one!
      • Sit upright, but comfortable
      • Try not to fidget or fiddle with things in front of you
      • When exiting the interview, thank the potential employer for their time

Write down all the reasons you are right for the job

You might know why you are right for the position in your head—you have the skills, experience and education. You have a great, team-oriented personality. You know what your strengths are, but seeing them on paper makes them more powerful.

Take some time and write down why your skills and expertise, your personality and drive match the job opportunity.

Preparation and knowing your worth can help boost confidence in the interview process, and being a confident candidate can help set you apart from the other applicants.

Three Ways to Overcome Age Bias in Hiring, Critical to Finding That Great Job

There has been a lot written in recent years about the challenges older workers face in finding gainful employment. In general, people over the age of 55 take longer than their younger job competitors to secure the work they desire with many choosing to leave the workforce out of frustration.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that people aged 65+ still in the labor force reached 22.1 percent for men and 13.8 percent for women at the end of 2010 compared to 17.7 percent and 9.4 percent respectively in 2000. This trend has undoubtedly continued as more baby boomers have approached  their 60s and even beyond.

Although age bias in hiring has become a violation of federal law in most cases, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that it is alive and well. It might be tempting for older workers to just throw up their hands and move out of the workforce. However, a better alternative is to design a job search strategy that includes steps to overcome age bias issues.

Here are three approaches older workers can use to minimize the impact of age bias.

Create Dynamic Résumés, Cover Letters, and LinkedIn Profiles that Reflect Energy, Enthusiasm, and Flexibility
Older workers are often stereotyped as being narrow minded, inflexible, and unwilling to learn. There is plenty of evidence that these are myths and do not accurately reflect older workers at all. However, an excellent way to deflate these stereotypes is to create dynamic career materials that demonstrate a positive tone, as well as recognition that teamwork is important.

In most cases, prospective employers do not know applicants, so rely on written documents and social media searches and profiles to make decisions about who to interview. Employers want to hire people who will fit into the organization’s culture and be willing to be a valued team player. An older worker needs to make sure that her résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile tap into the attributes prospective employers are looking for in new staff, beyond just experience, past accomplishments, and credentials.

Become as Technology-literate as Possible
Another stereotype faced by older workers is related to lack of comfort in using technology to perform work tasks, along with reluctance to accept the required training. While it does seem clear that older workers may not be as well prepared to learn and use technology, this may be due more to fear of failure than lack of ability.

Older workers can enhance their chances of finding great jobs by becoming and remaining current on the use of technology tools. This issue was recently addressed in regard to a more general job search population in an earlier post . It is not necessary to be able to use all state-of-the-art technology, but it is important to be knowledgeable of what is currently being used and show enthusiasm in learning to use what is needed. We live in a technology-driven age and older workers must adapt or face the potential of being left behind.

Seek Out Organizations That Have a Reputation for Being Open to Employing Older Workers
There are many companies and non-profit organizations that have a reputation for being more receptive to hiring older workers. They recognize that these people have extensive experience and maturity that can add considerable value to a work environment. Older workers can often find such organizations through online resources. This does not mean that an older worker has to only seek out these organizations, but it is nice to know that many prospective employers appreciate experience and maturity.

The important thing to remember is that older workers do not have to be dissuaded from remaining in the workforce because of stereotypes that do not necessarily reflect truth. There are steps that can be taken to anticipate and proactively addresses these myths as part of a winning job search campaign.

Top Computer Skills and Digital Savvy Every Applicant Should Brush Up On


Technology is ever changing and ever important in today’s job market. Most positions require use of some kind of technology, from email to Microsoft programs and even social media. Applications generally include questions regarding an applicant’s proficiency in certain computer skills.

Brushing up on certain computer skills could increase your chances of standing out to an employer. Here are some of the most valuable technology related skills every applicant should show proficiency in:

Microsoft Office skills are a must

Knowing how to use Microsoft Word is one thing, but how about the rest of the Microsoft suite? Many employers are looking for applicants with a working knowledge of Excel and PowerPoint as well. A great resource for brushing up on your Microsoft Office skills is

This online computer skills learning center provides basic proficiency courses in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint free of charge. Users also have the option to pay for more advanced training.

Working with email is standard in just about every job

From Outlook to Gmail, each email platform has its own special features, and knowing how to operate an email platform successfully is necessary for seamless communication.

Make sure you are comfortable:

  • Attaching documents
  • Sending live web links
  • Creating contact groups
  • Sending mass emails
  • Looking up and adding email addresses in the contacts
  • Create calendar reminders
  • Create event invites

Most email platforms are much more than just sending notes back and forth. Calendars and reminders, alarms and notes are all readily available in your email platform, and many businesses use more than one of these features.

Brush up on your knowledge of social media

You might not have a Facebook account or a Twitter profile, but making sure you are comfortable with how each platform operates could set you apart from the competition.

Businesses regularly use these platforms for community engagement, posting events, and advertising.

Additionally, having a LinkedIn profile is essential in today’s digital world. LinkedIn is a great place to find jobs, connect with people in your industry, and network with local professionals.  You can learn more about each social network and the purpose of social media with this guide.

Stay current with phone applications

Phone applications, known as “apps,” have become a part of daily life. Recently during an interview, an employer asked an applicant to tell him about the top three apps she uses and why. The job was for a sales position, which reiterates the need for applicants to stay up to date in the tech world.

Apps encompass much more than what is factory installed on your phone. There are apps to create grocery lists, edit photos, scan photos and documents, meditate, keep track of budgets, and create notes and memos, plus so much more.

Some apps to check out are:

These are just a few examples of the tons of apps available. What kind of apps you are familiar with gives an employer insight into how you use technology on a daily basis, which can say quite a bit about your comfort level with technology.

Computer skills and technology know-how don’t have to be complicated. Luckily, there are resources available to learn more about tech you might not be familiar with or brush up on computer skills you might not have used in a while.

Follow these 5 Tips to Nail the Phone Job Interview

So you have attracted a prospective employer’s attention and gotten an invitation to interview for a job. That’s great, but you discover that the interview will be conducted by phone. Is it time to panic or prepare?

Phone interviews are conducted widely by employers for two main reasons—to reduce a large number of candidates to a manageable number for face-to-face or teleconferencing interviews or as a cheap, simple way to speak with applicants long distance.

One challenge of phone job interviews is the lack of visual cues that both interviewers and applicants often rely on to get a sense of how the interview is going. However, people focus more on spoken words as the primary way to communicate. If you are prepared, this can be a definite plus in finding employment.

Here are five things to keep in mind when preparing for a phone job interview.

  • Don’t slack off because you will not be seen during the phone interview. The initial reaction to a job interview over the phone is to cut way back on preparation. This is a major mistake. Instead, treat the process as if it is a face-to-face job interview, even dressing the part. You want to maintain a professional mindset and sitting in your shorts or even less is not conducive to this.
  • Focus on the planning and logistics that goes into an extended phone conversation. Minimize distractions, such as co-workers, pets, the neighbor’s lawnmower, etc. and make sure that the phone connection is strong and not susceptible to interruptions or even an outage. It is amazing how often one or more of these issues can compromise a phone job interview, vastly reducing your chances of landing the job.
  • Smile while you speak. The natural tendency when speaking by phone is to reduce inflection and animation. By smiling while you speak, your tone of voice becomes warmer and more inviting. Sometimes standing while you speak increases the likelihood that you will use a more formal, businesslike speaking approach. Also remember to speak clearly, slowly, and respectfully.
  • Focus on listening and responding to the questions asked and not on other peripheral issues. A phone job interview is not a phone chat, but is being conducted for a very specific reason. Also, it is fine to ask for clarification from the interviewer(s) to make sure you are not providing too much or too little detail or are interpreting the questions correctly. Without visual cues, it is more difficult to determine these issues.
  • Ask for clarification on next steps in the hiring process. Make sure you know the names and titles of the interviewer(s) for use in sending thank you notes and try to get some indication of the selection process and time frame.

Keep in mind that phone job interviews do not have to be any more difficult or stressful than face-to-face interviews. Adequate preparation, minimizing phone line issues and interruptions, smiling while speaking, using good listening and speaking etiquette, and making sure you understand the selection process and who interviewed you will go a long way to helping you nail the phone job interview and find employment.

Cover All of Your Bases before Diving into an Executive-level Job Search

Planning and executing a winning job search campaign for executive-level positions can be a high stakes endeavor. The competition is usually fierce and mistakes or miscalculations can severely compromise your efforts. Although things can certainly happen outside of your control, proper planning and preparation can minimize the negative impact of issues you can control.

Here are three ways to set yourself up for success in finding a great job.

  • Do not jump into the executive job search game without having the knowledge, experience, and confidence to set yourself apart from others. It is not only essential to demonstrate that you have the subject matter expertise to be considered credible by subordinates and colleagues, but you need to show that you have the leadership, relationship building, delegation, and strategic thinking abilities to provide direction and optimize others’ motivation and commitment. If you cannot convince yourself that you are ready to assume an executive role, it is not likely you will be able to convince anyone else, so confidence is key.
  • Take the time to become proficient with emerging technologies that have become commonplace in today’s workplaces. Web-based teleconferencing software; Cloud applications; social media, such as LinkedIn and Facebook; cutting-edge analytical tools; and virtual personal assistants (VPAs) are just a few of these relatively new technologies. If you are not exposed to these technologies in your work or personal life, take training to at least become familiar with them. Unfortunately, there is no excuse in today’s work environment if you are not up to speed with technologies that maximize productive and efficient.
  • Be aggressive (but not obnoxious) in reaching out to people who can help you find job opportunities. Great jobs rarely fall into people’s laps. Instead, it is critical for people seeking executive-level positions to proactively network with decision makers and others who have influence to make sure they are aware of your career interests and how you can help a company. A significant aspect of a job search campaign is the ability to self-market yourself. Therefore, review your career materials, such as a résumé and cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and bio to make sure you are branding yourself effectively.

Finding executive-level employment can be a full-time job in itself. You could potentially waste valuable time and effort by not doing everything possible to position yourself for success. It can often help to speak with mentors or knowledgeable people you trust who can give you a reality check on aspects of your experience and talents that will get your positive results, as well as things you need to work on and improve.

3 Ways to Reduce the Emotional Impact of an Extensive Job Search Campaign

There is considerable material out on the web that provides people with guidance and recommendations on effective job search strategies; resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile creation; and interviewing skills. However, the toll a job search campaign can take on someone, especially a long and drawn out campaign, is not nearly as well covered.

Stress, anxiety, and frustration are often words used by people to describe the process for finding a great job. Designing and managing a productive job search campaign is hard work and denying the impact it can have on self-esteem, confidence, and motivation should not be ignored.

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when attempting to combat the emotional consequences of a grueling job search campaign.

  • One of the best ways to address a sense of frustration and anxiety is to develop a workable plan with plenty of opportunities for small successes. The lack of a job search plan makes it much easier for negative emotions to creep in and damage enthusiasm and morale. On the other hand, creating a well-structured job search plan with identifiable and achievable milestones can help to sustain motivation and focus. For example, creating and uploading a LinkedIn profile or developing / obtaining high quality documents such a resume and cover letter are achievements worth celebrating. These and other important steps do make a difference in shortening the job search timeframe and generating success.
  • Seek out other people who are experiencing the same job search stresses and frustrations. There is a saying that “misery loves company” and I believe that is true with efforts to find fulfilling employment. There is always the potential for people feeding off of each other’s negative emotions to worsen the impact for everyone. However, it is much more likely that people will support each other and suggest ways to solve job search challenges. Most communities have groups that encourage people with similar characteristics such as career level and industry focus to meet and discuss relevant issues and concerns. You can also find ample opportunities online to communicate with people through forums, chat rooms, etc. Realizing that other people are facing the same issues you are can be comforting.
  • Find ways to redirect your attention at times from the job search campaign. It is important to avoid the tendency to become so absorbed with finding a great job that you downplay or neglect other aspects of your life. This is a recipe for burnout. Instead, make sure to do things that maintain variety and reduce the tendency to focus solely on the job search. Activities like exercising, reading, dining out (if you can afford it), and socializing with friends can make a big difference in maintaining a positive outlook.

The process of designing and executing a winning job search campaign can be demanding and will sometimes seem unforgiving. Do what you need to do to achieve success. However, do not forget to take care of yourself by expecting and addressing the stress, anxiety, and frustration that will undoubtedly occur. Three great ways to do this are through careful planning and identification of achievable milestones, finding people to network with who have similar issues and concerns, and maintaining a balance between job search and other aspects of your life.

Will a Bells and Whistles Resume Format Get You Interviews and a Great Job?

There is considerable debate within the career, job search, and resume creation sectors regarding the benefits of having a resume that maximizes visual appeal or keeping the resume format simple and more traditional and business-like. From my standpoint, the answer is “it depends.”

Before I start, there is nothing that will replace compelling and priority directed resume content that sends employers a strong message about your experience, accomplishments, credentials, and value-added benefits that set you apart from others. However, the conversation can become quite heated when focusing on the value of a highly complex, visually dominant resume format in attracting the attention you need for a successful job search campaign.

One important benefit of having a resume document with a photo, separate testimonials, graphs, and other visuals is that it can make someone really proud of the document and eager to show if off. A job search can be grueling and demoralizing, so having a resume that brings out the WOW in others can be uplifting.

Unfortunately, these documents are limited primarily to hard copy distribution and hand-delivery because they will not survive applicant tracking software or the crazy things job board software does to customize electronic resumes on their sites. You never want to upload a resume with photos, graphics, tables, columns, and text boxes to an employer’s website or job board.

Another problem with visually enhanced resumes is that you do not know what operating system or memory or storage capabilities the employer on the other end is using. If the document cannot be opened, it is a waste of time to even send it.

One solution that allows people to have the “loaded” resume format, while also feeling comfortable that it can be read and scanned is to create multiple formats for specific distribution. Have the most visually appealing resume available for use in applying for positions through the mail or hand-delivered and for interviews, while creating a simpler, more straight-forward formatted version for online applications.  It is not that hard to redesign the Mercedes version of the resume for more utilitarian use and ensure that it will survive the application tracking software or other customization processes.

Personally, I do not believe that all resumes must be traditional, business-like documents as many career and job search coaches and resume writers contend. I do not see a problem with resumes fitting the personalities of people and being more expressive with photos, graphs, columns, testimonials, etc.  This can actually strengthen the moral and motivation of many people using these resumes which is critical to finding a great job. However, it is critical to keep in mind that these types of resumes will not survive most online application processes, so create a more utilitarian version as well for uploading.

Don’t Short-circuit Your Skype Job Interview with Poor Planning

Whether you are comfortable with current web-based trends in job interviewing or not, you must be prepared to use Skype or similar conferencing software to find a great job. Since the applicant usually has to follow the lead of the prospective employer in how an interview is to be conducted, indicating the inability to use conferencing tools can be compromising to your chances.

Here are three things to keep in mind when preparing for a Skype job interview.

Make sure your computer technology is able to handle the process without problems. Reliable internet connectivity is essential. Internet access that is slow and unreliable is not acceptable. If you don’t have broadband internet, consider getting it before your interview; make sure any internet inconsistencies are diagnosed and resolved before the interview. In addition, ensure that your computer meets the specifications required to handle Skype technology. If you cut off the person(s) conducting the interview (especially more than once) because of faulty internet access or inadequate computer capabilities, you can count on it impacting your chances of getting the position.

Treat the Interview as you would if you were on-location at the employer’s location. People tend to downplay the importance of maintaining an appropriate business approach and appearance during Skye interviews. Wear appropriate business attire even if you are not doing a video conference call. For most people, it is actually hard to give a polished professional presentation while in shorts, pajamas, sandals, etc. Relatedly, make sure the room is presentable—no crooked pictures, clothes strewn on furniture, etc. This is certainly the case during video conferencing for obvious reasons. However, take the process seriously even when just audio conferencing and dress and set up the room properly for the occasion.

Review your Skype profile and check mic and camera placement before the call.
Participants on a Skype call will be able to see at least some of your profile. Before the interview, take time to create or edit your profile to be business-like and focused on your job-related skills and talents. Also, double and even triple check the volume level and camera angle to make sure you can hear clearly and that the camera is showing you optimally. Having the camera zoomed too close will make your face seem cartoonish and too far will make your appearance hard to pick up. Also, maintain good eye contact into the camera, as well as correct posture (not slouching or leaning in one direction or another). Remember that people can easily pick up on noises you make during the teleconferencing call, so typing on your computer, sipping a drink, or even tapping a pencil can be compromising if your mic is poorly placed.

Skype and similar teleconferencing tools can boost productivity and save considerable time by not having to travel to different locations. However, do not take the technology for granted and take steps to be well prepared for the Skype interview. Finding a great job may be in the balance.

Don’t Short-circuit Your Job Search Campaign with Poor Strategy Choice

A successful job search campaign requires careful planning and a focus on doing things that have the greatest positive impact. There are a range of job search strategies that you can use to find a great job. It is not practical to do them all, so developing an overall approach that includes strategies that are most practical for you and that are compatible with your personality and interests is critical.

There is no blueprint etched in stone for a successful job search campaign. However, here are some things to keep in mind to avoid compromising your job search campaign.

A Shot-gun Approach to Job Search is not Optimal. It is not the quantity of things that you do to attract potential employers; it is the quality of the few things you chose to prioritize. It is certainly possible to build networks, apply to job boards or newspaper classified ads, join relevant associations and organizations, create or obtain top-notch materials, contact recruiters, and do a host of other things. All of these efforts are reasonable. However, just doing things for the sake of doing them is not in your best interests. An effective job search campaign requires a focus on the “big picture” or how the steps you chose to take fit together into an overall strategy.

Conversely, Choosing Just One Job Search Strategy and Ignoring All Other Options Will Not be Very Productive.  A successful job search campaign requires a combination of strategies that are well thought out and compatible with each other. A common mistake that job seekers commit is to place all of their efforts into embracing one job search strategy.  For example, applying for work on various job boards without having first generated a top-notch resume, cover letter, and other materials, or possibly creating a LinkedIn or other social media profile may prove fruitless.

Track the Various Tasks You Have Completed in Your Job Search Campaign Along with the Results. Proper planning and meticulous outcome tracking are critical to not becoming repetitive with the things you are doing and enabling you to remember and act on opportunities that arise from efforts you made in the past. For example, if you met someone while networking and you do not document the name of the person, when you met, and what you talked about, you may not be able to respond quickly if that person contacts you with an opportunity. There are a variety of specialized spreadsheet-like tools you can use to document and track job search progress (or even failures). You can also use a Microsoft Excel or similar program to do it.

In a nutshell, it is important to avoid using a broad range of job search tools and techniques without ensuring that you have a plan in place and that your overall strategy is reasonable based on your personality, time constraints, and priorities. It is also important not to commit all of your resources to one job search technique that prevents you from taking advantage of all potential opportunities. Finally, it is essential to document what you have planned or have done, along with outcomes and any follow-up requirements.