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Category Archive: Job Search Tips

Sep 19

How to Reply to a Job Advertisement

You see a job advertisement and jump into it with a lot of excitement. Energy and speed of response is good when applying to Job Advertisement however it needs to match with laser sharp focus. Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder.

Finding a new jobYou want an employer to be able to assess your job application against the criteria in the job advertisement and tick all the boxes. Remember, the employer has put considerable effort into deciding exactly what they are looking for and your cover letter should echo the same sentiments.

Generally, when they screen the many applications, they will have the job advertisement or the list of criteria from the advert in front of them. For them, the easiest way to whittle down the pile is to eliminate candidates who don’t meet those criteria.

So you need to submit an effective cover letter that systematically answers all the job advertisement requirements.

What actually happens in most cases is that a jobseeker reads a job advertisement, thinks ‘I’d be good for this job’ and then attaches their resume without a cover letter, or if one is included it is the usual generic one they use. They only check the job advertisement again to confirm application instructions – e.g. the email address to send it to.

There is no prize for getting your application submitted in record time – so take the time to follow these tips to prepare an effective resume and cover letter.

Some tips to help you:

  • Print or save the job advertisement and re-read it several times.
  • Make notes; highlight the criteria and think about ways you meet them.
  • Always use words and phrases from the job advertisement in your cover letter and resume.
  • Incorporate every point from their criteria including skills and experience in your job application.
  • Include well thought-out and relevant examples to support your claims about your skills and contributions in your job application
  • When you are addressing personal qualities and traits always use examples to demonstrate. For example, don’t just say you are team focused; show the employer how you’ve demonstrated a team focus in your current or previous positions.
  • Customize your cover letter for each and every job application.

Your response needs to be designed to meet their needs, not your own. Don’t waste time talking about what you want in an employer or your next position – show the employer how you meet their needs. You are answering a job advertisement so do just that and leave out the fluff.

Taking the time to customize your cover letter to the job advertisement will pay off. It doesn’t have to take hours and hours – to save time, use an existing cover letter as a base and modify it appropriately. Employers can easily recognize generic cover letters; and most they receive are just that.

So the next time, you apply to a job advertisement, slow down, read the job advertisement thoroughly and take the time to actually respond to the employer’s needs – it will make a big difference to your job application.

This article is contributed by Michelle Lopez of One2One Resumes.
© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant
Jappreet Sethi

Jul 18

How To Crack Job Interview

You have secured a job interview, great news, but remember so have another several people. The objective ahead is to secure the role and stand out from the crowd as on paper most applicants have the relevant skills in question to fill the role.


Research, research, research! Interviewers are always impressed if a candidate knows a lot about the potential role and company. Competitive intelligence is valuable information; you can demonstrate to potential employers that you have insight about their product, service and company. It is very important to evaluate and research your potential employer.

Contact your job recruiter:

Knowing as much as possible about your potential employer is a must.If you are lucky enough to be dealing with a job recruiter ask as many questions as you can, job recruiters work with a vast amount of companies and will have gathered plenty of information.

Find out who is conducting the job interview:

This will determine where to channel your preparation, if there are technical people interviewing be sure to have very detailed examples prepared.  Likewise, focus on HR style questions in depth if it is a HR interview. However, be prepared for either HR or Technical questions in job interview.

Structure your  interview answers:

Answering  job interview questions in a structured manner will allow you to be concise and eliminate waffle which can happen to the best of candidates. When preparing revert back to the age old ‘STAR’ technique of HR interview - simple and trustworthy.

  • Situation/Task: explains the circumstances.
  • Action: describes what you did.
  • Result: describes the outcome of your action.

Answering  job interview questions this way is much more effective than providing vague, general or theoretical answers. Learn the job’s requirements then write STARs that provide specifics about times you met similar requirements. Prepare your questions a couple of days in advance as better examples may come to mind in the days leading up to the interview.


Listen attentively, in a job interview situation people tend to be ready to list off examples without even listening correctly to the question, relax take your time and listen. Interviewers are not impressed by questions being answered incorrectly.

Samples of your previous work:

If possible, depending on your type of work, provide additional material like a design portfolio of previous work, it allows you to ‘wow’ your potential employer. Be aware of the confidentiality clauses with your clients or previous employers while sharing your previous work.


Did you know that 93% of communication is non-verbal? You have to be prepared, relaxed and confident and this comes from knowing your strengths and embracing them.

Be prepared:

Do not fall into the trap of trying to wing a job interview, anyone can plan this but more often than not it’s the ideal candidate who feels he does not need to prepare as he has ten years’ experience in that particular role and thinks “what could they possibly ask me that I wouldn’t know?”

While preparing, pinpoint gaps in your skills or experience relevant to the role and think about how you can compensate for the lack of a certain skill.


This article is adapted from the original article written by Ross Cronin at Morgan Mckinley is a global professional services recruitment consultancy, Morgan McKinley connects specialist talent with leading employers across multiple industries and disciplines.

Jappreet Sethi

Feb 09

10 Tricky HR Interview Questions & Their Answers

Human Resource managers may ask tricky HR interview questions to save time and try to figure out what kind of employee you really are. Joyce Lain Kennedy, a nationally syndicated careers columnist says outlines the 10 Trickiest Interview Questions & Their Answers

Kennedy says that even if job hunters have rehearsed anticipated topics, an unexpected HR interview question may jar loose an authentic answer that exposes hidden problems. Don’t miss the true intention of a seemingly harmless interview question. Kennedy offers the , the real meaning behind them and how best to answer each.

No. 1: Why have you been out of work so long, and how many others were laid off?

This HR interview question may also be followed by the more direct, “Why were you laid off?” Kennedy says it is an attempt to figure out if there’s something wrong with you that your former company or that other potential employers have already discovered. The HR interviewer may be trying to determine if themes of recession and budget cuts were used to dump second-string employees, including you. Rather than answering the question directly and chancing an emotional response or misinterpretation, Kennedy advises punting. Respond: “I don’t know the reason. I was an excellent employee who gave more than a day’s work for a day’s pay.”

No. 2: If employed, how do you manage time for interviews?

“The real HR interview question is whether you are lying to and short-changing your current employer while looking for other work,” says Kennedy. The interviewer may wonder: If you’re cheating on your current boss, why wouldn’t you later cheat on me? She suggests placing the emphasis on why you’re interested in this position by saying you’re taking personal time and that you only interview for positions that are a terrific match. If further interviews are suggested, Kennedy advises mentioning that the search is confidential and asking to schedule follow-ups outside of normal working hours.

No. 3: How did you prepare for this interview?

The intention of this HR interview question is to decipher how much you really care about the job or if you’re simply going through the motions or winging it. Kennedy says the best way to answer is by saying, “I very much want this job, and of course researched it starting with the company website.” Beyond explaining how you’ve done your homework, show it. Reveal your knowledge of the industry, company or department by asking informed questions and commenting on recent developments.

No. 4: Do you know anyone who works for us?

This one really is a tricky HR interview question, says Kennedy, because most interviewees expect that knowing someone on the inside is always a good thing. “Nothing beats having a friend deliver your resume to a hiring manager, but that transaction presumes the friend is well thought of in the company,” she says. Because the HR interviewer will likely associate the friend’s characteristics and reputation with your merits, she recommends only mentioning someone by name if you’re certain of their positive standing in the organization.

No. 5: What bugs you about coworkers or bosses?

Don’t fall into this trap HR interview question. Kennedy says you always want to present yourself as optimistic and action-oriented, and hiring managers may use this question to tease out whether you’ll have trouble working with others or could drag down workplace morale and productivity. “Develop a poor memory for past irritations,” she advises. Reflect for a few seconds, and then say you can’t recall anything in particular. Go on to compliment former bosses for being knowledgeable and fair and commend past coworkers for their ability and attitude. It will reveal your positive outlook and self-control and how you’ll handle the social dynamics in this position.

No. 6: Where would you really like to work?

“The real agenda for this HR interview question is assurance that you aren’t applying to every job opening in sight,” says Kennedy. She advises never mentioning another company by name or another job title because you want to highlight all the reasons you’re perfect for this job and that you’ll give it all of your attention if achieved. A good response would be: “This is where I want to work, and this job is what I want to do.”

No. 7: Can you describe how you solved a work or school problem?

Kennedy says that, really, no one should be too taken aback by this HR interview question, as it’s one of the most basic interview questions and should always be anticipated. However, all too often interviewees either can’t come up with something on the spot or miss the opportunity to highlight their best skills and attributes. Kennedy says what the HR interviewer really wants is insight into how your mind works. Have an answer ready, like how you solved time management issues in order to take on a special assignment or complicated project that showcases an achievement.

No. 8: Can you describe a work or school instance in which you messed up?

This HR interview question is a minefield. “One question within the question is whether you learn from your mistakes or keep repeating the same errors,” says Kennedy. Similarly, the HR interviewer may be trying to glean whether you’re too self-important or not self-aware enough to take responsibility for your failings. Perhaps even more problematic, if you answer this HR Interview question by providing a list of all your negative traits or major misdeeds, then you’re practically spelling out your insecurities and guaranteeing you won’t get the job. So you don’t want to skirt the question or make yourself look bad. “Briefly mention a single small, well-intentioned goof and follow up with an important lesson learned from the experience,” she advises.

No. 9: How does this position compare with others you’re applying for?

“The intent of this HR interview question is to gather intel on the competitive job market or get a handle on what it will take to bring you on board,” says Kennedy. There are two directions to take: Coy or calculated. “You can choose a generic strategy and say you don’t interview and tell, and respect the privacy of any organization where you interview,” she notes. Or you could try to make yourself appear in demand by confirming you’ve received another competitive offer, which may up the bidding for your services. Always bring the focus back to this position, by asking: “Have I found my destination here?”

No. 10: If you won the lottery, would you still work?

Admittedly, this HR interview question is a little silly. Even so, it’s another opportunity to underscore your motivation and work ethic. Kennedy advises acknowledging that you’d be thrilled to win the lottery but would still look for meaningful work because meeting challenges and achieving make you happy. And say it with a straight face.

If at any point in a HR interview you’re uncertain or caught off guard, don’t panic, Kennedy warns. Deflect a HR question by saying you’d like to mull it over and come back to it, or by being honest that you don’t know the answer and, as a careful worker, would prefer not to guess. “If you’ve otherwise done a good job of answering HR Interview questions and confidently explained why you’re a great match for the position,” she says, “the HR interviewer probably won’t consider your lack of specifics on a single topic to be a deal breaker.”

This article appears on Forbes website and is written by Jenna Goudreau . You can follow her @Jenna_Goudreau

Keep the faith!

Jappreet Sethi

Jan 26

Is It Time For A New Job

If you’re considering quitting your job, you may be indecisive about whether it’s the right decision or not. On the one hand, you’re pretty miserable. On the other hand, if you wait it out, you might make that promotion next year. While quitting or staying at your job is a personal decision, let’s look at a few key situations and what you should consider.

Situation 1: You don’t make enough money. If the sole reason you want to quit is the money you’re not making, consider the alternatives. Quitting over a lack of money is rarely the best decision. If there are other factors to consider, include those in the decision. But if it’s all about the Benjamins, find another way to get what you want:

Ask for a raise. Research comparable positions at other companies on sites like to see what you should be making. Assess whether you truly meet the background and experience requirements to make that much (be honest with yourself: if you could make $20K more but need a master’s degree, you’re not qualified for that big of an increase). If you do qualify, present it to your boss, along with a list of accomplishments you’ve achieved. You always want to back up your request for a raise with what you’ve done to deserve it.

Look for another position in the same company. If your position doesn’t offer upward mobility, consider staying at your company in a different role. If there are no promotions opening up in your department, look at others, and check the intranet job board to see what’s available. Tap your internal contacts to see where there may be an opening on the horizon. Get a part-time job. If getting more money isn’t an option at your current company, but you’re still strapped for cash, consider getting a second job to provide more income. This way, you don’t have to quit your job and you still earn additional income.

Situation 2: Your boss is verbally abusive. If your supervisor calls you ugly names and screams at you, it may be time to find another job. You shouldn’t tolerate this kind of behavior, but understandably: you need your job. Still, the constant berating is likely wearing you down, and can even threaten your health, so in this situation, your best bet is likely to start looking for another position elsewhere as soon as possible. Try to be calm when your boss attacks you, and don’t feed the fire. Do your work and stay out of sight until you can resign.

Situation 3: You are dating a co-worker. Depending on what your workplace relationship policy is, you may be jeopardizing your job by getting involved with a co-worker. You might be fired if you’re found out to be violating your company’s policy … or not. Sometimes companies have strict (seeming) policies in place, but they might be willing to turn a blind eye, especially if you’re both hard-working and don’t let your office romance interfere with your jobs.Check with your employee handbook to see what it says about relationships. Then go to your human resources manager together and explain the situation. Get the HR recommendation on what to do. You may find you’re able to keep your job and enjoy your new-found love.

Situation 4: You haven’t been paid in weeks. If your company is late in paying you by several weeks and keeps promising you the “check is on the way,” you should see red flags. This won’t likely end well and you shouldn’t have to suffer personally for the financial instability of your company. Insist on getting paid for the time you work and start looking for a new job.

This post is written by Lindsay Olson. Lindsey is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.

Keep the faith!


Jappreet Sethi

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Jan 12

How to Find a Job During Economic Crisis

How to get a jobIt is not simple to find a good job with high salary especially during the economic crisis. Strong competition in job market forces job seekers to do everything that’s in their power in order to find a good job. Only a few people know the best methods that give positive results when going for an interview. I want to discuss the most important methods of finding a job.

The main methods:

1. Friends and family.

This method is especially useful if you have a long list of friends and all of your friends and family members are listed in Facebook. You can post a message that you’re looking for some particular job and everybody sees it. If someone knows about free workplace, then you’re saved. Being sociable and easy going is always an advantage. If you’re communicative and know how to adapt, I don’t think that finding a job will be a problem.

2. Newspaper ads.

If you really want to find a job, buy morning newspapers and open the page, where usually ads are published. Review all the offers posted by employers. Then all you have to do is to make a call and send your CV. And, of course, wait for some kind of response which is the most annoying thing. Even more annoying can be the phrase that all job seekers tremble at “we will call you”.

3. Put an ad in a newspaper

You can put an advertisement at some local newspaper and let employers come to you. If you’re a good expert and your resume is well written chances are that your ad will catch someone’s attention.

4.Online job agencies.

If your qualification for desired job is high, your experience is more than 2 or 3 years, you can address online job agencies. Maybe you already have a job, but you’re not satisfied with salary, location or working conditions. In this case you can also send your CV to online job agencies and wait for their offers. You’re not unemployed, but just looking for better solution. You should know that during economical crisis, when so many people lost their jobs, the competition is much higher. You will have to put a lot of energy and endeavor to get a desirable place, but luck usually smiles to the most persistent.

5. Direct approach to potential employers

Maybe you know about some place that appeared in some company, that you have been dreaming for a long time. Make a list of firms and companies that you would like to work for. Then make an analysis of such companies. Nowadays almost every serious company has its own website. Visit a website and find everything about their products, their lines, export and

import. Read and write down all pros and cons. Maybe you have an idea of how to improve their production. Write this idea in your CV summary and send your CV and photo to that company. Do so with all the companies, that you think you could be useful working at.

You can find out more about top ten highest paying jobs in USA. If you’re unemployed and the look of your bank account is not promising, read more about money saving tips and how to save money.

Article Source:


Jappreet Sethi

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Dec 20

How To Get A New Job in 2013

With the onset of the holidays and a brand new year just around the corner, along come the traditional resolutions. I will lose XXkgs, I will complete a marathon, I will give up smoking, I will stop working so many hours, I will find more work/life balance and a pretty common one – I will find a new job.Finding a new job

We’ve all done it and in most cases, all failed. What starts with a gusto soon fades as life gets in the way, excuses are made and before we know it we’re right back where we started.

If you want a new job in the new year, want to make the break and enter a new industry or occupation, do yourself a favour and break the goal into manageable and attainable steps.

The first thing you need to do is be clear about your goals. What are you looking for? Break it down – not just the industry, specifically what positions are you interested in?

Now what do employers need in those positions – skills, licences, certificates, training – do your research and make a complete list of what they look for in those roles.

Do you have what they need? If you lack some skills your next step is to gain them. Look at what you can do online, what courses can you take or perhaps volunteer to gain experience.

How will you present yourself to employers? Is your resume ready? Does it sell your greatest strengths and convey the value you offer?

How will you approach employers and find opportunities. Will you dedicate time to speaking to people in your network, reach out to people in the industry who may be able to help you etc? Determine a strategy.

Finding a new job is hard work. It takes enormous effort and patience.

Instead of resolving to find a new job within a prescribed amount of time and then giving up when it all becomes too difficult, how about resolving to do something every week to advance your jobsearch. Take the time to research and prepare before you execute a jobsearch and no matter what life throws at you along the way, stick to your guns – do one thing, every week to advance your search.

I am sure if you tackle it this way instead of the bold “I will get a new job by February”approach, you will find yourself making positive, well thought out steps that will do wonders for your job search.

Good luck and happy 2013!

This article is contributed by Michelle Lopez of One2One Resumes.



© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant


Jappreet Sethi

Sep 16

Five Questions Great Candidates Ask in a Job Interview

Many of the questions potential new hires ask are throwaways ; But not these five questions which great candidates ask in a job interview.

Be honest. Raise your hand if you feel the part of the job interview where you ask the candidate, “Do you have any questions for me?” is almost always a waste of time.

Thought so.

The problem is most candidates don’t actually care about your answers; they just hope to make themselves look good by asking “smart” questions. To them, what they ask is more important than how you answer.

Great candidates ask questions they want answered because they’re evaluating you, your company–and whether they really want to work for you.

Here are five questions great candidates ask:

What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?

Great candidates want to hit the ground running. They don’t want to spend weeks or months “getting to know the organization.”

They want to make a difference–right away.

What are the common attributes of your top performers?

Great candidates also want to be great long-term employees. Every organization is different, and so are the key qualities of top performers in those organizations.

Maybe your top performers work longer hours. Maybe creativity is more important than methodology. Maybe constantly landing new customers in new markets is more important than building long-term customer relationships. Maybe it’s a willingness to spend the same amount of time educating an entry-level customer as helping an enthusiast who wants high-end equipment.

Great candidates want to know, because 1) they want to know if they fit, and 2) if they do fit, they want to be a top performer.

What are a few things that really drive results for the company?

Employees are investments, and every employee should generate a positive return on his or her salary. (Otherwise why are they on the payroll?)

In every job some activities make a bigger difference than others. You need your HR folks to fill job openings… but what you really want is for HR to find the rightcandidates because that results in higher retention rates, lower training costs, and better overall productivity.

You need your service techs to perform effective repairs… but what you really want is for those techs to identify ways to solve problems and provide other benefits–in short, to generate additional sales.

Great candidates want to know what truly makes a difference. They know helping the company succeed means they succeed as well.

What do employees do in their spare time?

Happy employees

  • Like what they do and
  • Like the people they work with.

Granted this is a tough question to answer. Unless the company is really small, all any interviewer can do is speak in generalities.

What’s important is that the candidate wants to make sure they have a reasonable chance of fitting in–because great job candidates usually have options.

How do you plan to deal with…?

Every business faces a major challenge: technological changes, competitors entering the market, shifting economic trends… there’s rarely a Warren Buffett moat protecting a small business.

So while a candidate may see your company as a stepping-stone, they still hope for growth and advancement… and if they do eventually leave, they want it to be on their terms and not because you were forced out of business.

Say I’m interviewing for a position at your bike shop. Another shop is opening less than a mile away: How do you plan to deal with the new competitor? Or you run a poultry farm (a huge industry in my area): What will you do to deal with rising feed costs?

A great candidate doesn’t just want to know what you think; they want to know what you plan to do–and how they will fit into those plans.

This article is written by Jeff Haden and appears on

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

Sep 02

Job Hunting After Retirement

There are many reasons people look for work after they have retired. Perhaps you are feeling the pinch (there is no doubt the cost of living is rising); maybe your retirement investments have not performed as well as you’d hoped; or maybe you’re plain bored and want to do something more with your time.

Whatever the reason for seeking work, it can be done with the right attitude and approach.

First and foremost you have to have the right mindset. Don’t begin a job search with negative thoughts like ‘I’ll give it a go, but it’s hard for people of my age’ or ‘I’ll apply but I know they will want someone younger’. Job hunting with a negative perspective shows – it comes across in your dealings and immediately puts you in the wrong mode.

As a mature job seeker you have a great deal to offer employers:

  • Worldly wisdom
  • Reliability
  • Genuinely wanting an opportunity
  • Good ‘old fashioned’ work ethic.

Focus on these things when you begin. If they are at the forefront of your mind, it will come across to employers and help you immensely to sell your worth. Employers want benefits, they want people who will add value, so show them how you offer those benefits and value.

What do you want to do? You will more than likely not want to return to your primary career, so what skills and experience do you possess and how will they apply to an employer?

Relying on advertised roles is a long process and you will encounter problems. Instead be proactive.

  • Look around at places where you see older workers
  • Develop a target list of potential employers
  • Use your networks. Most mature job seekers underestimate the power of networking.

I worked with a man last year who’d retired after a long and successful engineering career. His skills were diverse and had been applied in many different disciplines throughout his career. He enjoyed retirement but was a little bored and ideally wanted to work a couple of days a week to keep him busy and mixing with people. We drew up a list of all of his skills and experience and started brain storming industries and positions where these would be beneficial to employers.

He approached a large retail hardware chain directly with a resume tailored to their needs. His target was a customer service role in the ‘trade’ section – a role where he would help and advise trade clients on various products. His background was ideal and we wrote his resume to highlight this. Long story short, he now works for the retailer on Saturdays and Sundays. He was a great fit because he has his weekdays to spend time with his wife and friends, many of whom have retired, and then on the weekend can share his broad knowledge with customers. He has never been happier.

But the hardware chain didn’t take the bait straight away. Twice he saw fulltime customer service roles advertised and each time, followed up. He reminded them of his availability, and even though he only wanted part-time work, was flexible and willing to do any days or shifts. Eventually persistence paid off and he was given an opportunity.

The company had never had a mature employee before; however he approached them with such a positive attitude, presented them with a resume that met every one of their needs for a customer service staff member, and exuded an energetic, positive manner that they seriously considered him for a role.

It won’t always work, but the point is, this retiree did his homework and presented himself well. You can do it too.

“I promise to keep on living as though I expected to live forever. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul.”- Douglas MacArthur

This article is contributed by Michelle Lopez of One2One Resumes.



© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant

Jappreet Sethi
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Aug 11

How to Handle Panel Interviews

As if a one-on-one interview wasn’t stressful enough …. there is the dreaded Panel Interview! If the thought of facing a panel of interviews sends you into a tailspin, you are not alone.

Panel interviews are most commonly used for government positions within Australia. The panel is made up of representatives from different business units including human resources, line management and senior employees. Numbers vary but typically range between 3 and 6 panel members. On a positive note, panel interviews usually negate the need for a second round of interviews.

Feeling intimidated in these interviews is common because questions can be fired at you from all angles. With a one-on-one interview you have time to catch your breath in-between questions while the interviewer makes notes. However, in a panel interview, another member will pick up where one left off. Try to relax and answer as best you can.

The key to a good panel interview is to connect and build rapport with each member. Remember too, that each member will have his or her own agenda. For instance, the needs of a representative from the HR department will be different to that of the sales or operations areas. Try to tailor your response to meet the agenda of the member who asked the question.

The main area of concern for panel interviews is eye contact. This is a challenge, but when responding to a question, direct your answer to the person who asked the question. However, be sure to make eye contact with other members of the panel as well. Engaging everyone on the panel will help you to make a good impression.


  • At the time of making your interview appointment, don’t be afraid to ask who will be on the panel. Note their names and position within the organisation.
  • Your preparation for a panel interview is similar to that of a regular interview. Review your resume in advance, study the job description and develop examples of your ability to meet the criteria.
  • When you arrive greet and shake hands with every panel member. Try to remember their names. It is good to use their names during the interview. A good trick is to use your notepad and make notes of the panel member’s names in the order they are sitting so that at a glance you can remember their name.
  • Maintain eye contact with each member of the panel. A good rule of thumb is to address your response primarily to the person who asked the question, but let your eyes drift briefly to other members during the response.
  • If you need a moment to gather your thoughts during the interview say so. There is no shame in taking a moment to come up with the best example.
  • As with other interviews, a follow up letter is a must. Make sure you send one to each member of the panel and tailor it towards their area of the business.

This article is contributed by Michelle Lopez of One2One Resumes.



© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant

Jappreet Sethi

Aug 11

How To Handle One-on-One Interviews?

These are by far the most popular style of interview. You meet one-on-one with a representative of the company, more often than not, the manager you will be reporting to, or, in some cases, a representative from the HR department. If you reach this stage of being offered an interview you more than likely have the right qualifications and skills for the job. So now is the time to determine if you are a good ‘fit’ for the organisation.

These interviews are usually structured. The interviewer may have a list of questions that he/she will ask all candidates in order to compare apples with apples. Bear in mind though, that some interviews are unstructured. In other words, an interviewer may ask questions prompted from your responses, so come armed with examples.

Interview questions will be of a technical and general nature. The interviewer will be looking for specific examples of how you have, and will, handle certain situations in the workplace. To that end you may be asked questions like – “What would you do if faced with….. ?” or “How would you handle a situation where …..?”. Other questions may include “Tell me about yourself”, “Why would you be a good fit for the role?” etc.

The interviewer will be working from your resume and will undoubtedly ask questions about its content, so be ready to answer more in depth questions about your background, skills and experience.

There will be other candidates who are being interviewed so your aim in this interview is to show them that you are the person they need. Talking about your achievements and unique selling points is the most effective way of differentiating yourself from other candidates.


  • Be prepared! Review the job advertisement/description and make notes of areas where you have a lot to offer.
  • Review your resume and highlight points that you want to elaborate upon.
  • Look at the achievements in your resume and come up with different examples to demonstrate the breadth and depth of your experience.
  • Think about the STAR method when answering questions. What was the ssituation, your task, the approach taken and the result. See Understanding STAR for more information.
  • Try to establish rapport. Be professional, friendly and engaged. Watch your body language. Listen attentively and maintain eye contact throughout the interview.
  • Research the company. Use the Internet, industry associations, your network, publications etc to understand the company and their products/services. Be ready to ask questions about the company. This shows the interviewer that you’ve taken the time to research them and demonstrates interest.
  • Always thank the interviewer for their time and remember to follow up with a thank you letter.

This article is contributed by Michelle Lopez of One2One Resumes.



© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant

Jappreet Sethi

Aug 11

How To Handle Telephone Interviews ?

The key to a good interview lies in your ability to research, prepare and rehearse. There are many different styles of interview and understanding how these work can help you prepare in advance so you don’t freeze with nerves.

Telephone interviews are becoming increasingly common. However, the mere thought of them make some people literally quiver at the knees! Here are a few suggestions to help make your preparation and hopefully, experience of telephone interviews, a little more pleasant.

Employers and recruiters use phone interviews as a means of narrowing down the number of candidates who will be given a face to face interview. They are just as important as traditional interviews and you should be prepared.

Remember, this is your first point of contact, aside from your resume, with the employer. Your telephone manner, tone of voice and overall professionalism will be monitored and you want to make the interaction a positive one. This is your chance to shine – to add a touch of ‘you’ to your application, to build rapport, get more information on the role and present highlights of your background; all of which could land you a face to face interview.

Smile! Yes, no one can see you, but I guarantee they will hear your smile. This will also increase your confidence and settle the nerves.

Make sure you are in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. You don’t want background noise, screaming kids or traffic in the background. Try to use a landline if you can to overcome the potential for poor reception or drop outs.

Keep a glass of water with you.

Don’t forget the pleasantries. Just because you’re not in front of the person doesn’t mean manners don’t count. Be polite. Listen attentively to what is being said or asked and try not to interrupt to make a point. Wait until the person has finished and then put forth your answers.

In many ways a telephone interview can be easier because you can have a ‘cheat-sheet’ in front of you. Write down what you want to say so you have a list of key points which you won’t forget in the event of nerves.

Questions are impressive. If you’ve done your research and have some well thought out, intelligent questions to ask, you come across as someone with initiative who is well prepared and interested. Don’t read them verbatim because you risk sounding stiff, but have them in front of you to use as a prompt.

Make sure you have your diary nearby in case you are asked for an interview at the end of the call – you don’t want to appear unorganised.

No matter how the call ends, always thank the person warmly for their time and consideration. We hope this makes preparing for a telephone interview a little easier. Good luck!

This article is contributed by Michelle Lopez of One2One Resumes.



© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant

Jappreet Sethi

Aug 04

How To Handle The Salary Question in Job Interviews

This is one of the most difficult parts of the jobsearch process for many. Go in too high and you may price yourself out of the job, go in too low and you’ll be selling yourself short and be forever kicking yourself.

My advice is to discuss salary in a range rather than a single figure.

Before you can discuss salary, you need to have researched the market to ensure your wants are justified. There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • Speak to people in your industry or network
  • Research job adverts. Many indicate a salary range for the position.
  • Speak to recruiters. They know their industries well and current market rates.
  • Review salary surveys. Many recruitment firms release annual salary surveys, but remember there are differences in ranges dependent upon your location.

There are a number of things you need to consider in salary negotiations, not just the $ figure. Bonuses, vehicles, parking, leave entitlements, additional superannuation, salary sacrificing, employee benefit schemes such as reduced health insurance, discounted gym memberships, supplemented child care and even family friendly environments, all contribute to the salary package. You should factor these into the package when you are considering an offer.

When asked what your salary expectations are, be justified in your request. Don’t just state a figure and cross your fingers. Give a range rather than a set figure. For example, never say ‘I want $X’, always say something like ‘I am looking for a package in the vicinity of $X to $X. Don’t lock yourself in to one figure.

If you are seeking a salary increase, you should back up the request with a brief justification. For instance, “I am seeking a salary in the range of $X to $X based on the increased responsibilities of this role” and then further back it up with a line or two about your skills, experience and achievements.

When you get an offer, stop, take some time and consider the package. If there are benefits included in the package you will need to do your sums and factor it into the package. I know a lady recently who actually took a $5k drop in salary which on the surface seemed strange, but she actually had an increase in salary because of the day-care arrangements in place in the workplace. It saved her a fortune in out of pocket child care expenses.

Never discuss salary until the employer brings it up. Your aim is to sell yourself, your experience, the value you offer, your past success, before you discuss money. This is not always possible. If you are asked the question, you need to answer it. But let it be the employer who asks, not you.

This article is contributed by Michelle Lopez of One2One Resumes.



© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant

Jappreet Sethi

Jul 03

20 Ways to Kill Your Job Application!

We spend a great deal of time talking to recruiters, employers and human resource staff every week. I recently sent an email asking some of them what they would list as their top 3 peeves when it came to receiving resumes and short-listing candidates. You should have seen my inbox fill up with responses! Many were repeated, so I thought I would share a list of the top 20.

Straight from the mouths of the people reading your resumes:

  1. Rambling! I wish people would get to the point. I haven’t got time to read a novel.
  2. Resumes that are a straight list of duties. Tell us what you did differently, what you did well.
  3. I want people to tell me how they meet my need. If not, I move on to the next resume. Simple.
  4. People who don’t meet the criteria for the role. If you don’t have the essential skills required, then don’t apply. Essential and desirable criteria are listed for a reason.
  5. Career Objectives. OMG, these are so annoying. I don’t want to know what you want. I want to know what you can do for me!
  6. Incorrect contact details. If an email bounces or the wrong phone number has been given, I won’t search for them, I’ll just move on to the next application.
  7. Poor grammar and spelling mistakes. It amazes me how many people apply for a role where written business communication is a major component of the role and send me a resume riddled with errors. These people usually claim they pay attention to detail as well!
  8. An application addressed to someone else. Its obvious they use the same application for every job and haven’t changed the salutation. These usually hit the shredder.
  9. Clutter. Personally, I can’t stand looking at resumes that are jammed so tight and written using the smallest font to get as much information on the page as possible. They are too hard to read and very unappealing.
  10. A cover letter that repeats, verbatim, what is in the resume. Why bother? You’ve wasted my time and yours.
  11. Long resumes. Resumes longer than 3 pages lose me.
  12. When you call a candidate about a job application and they say something along the lines of “Sorry, what job is this about again?” Keep track of your applications.
  13. Resumes without dates for each position. My first thought is “What are you trying to hide?”
  14. I’m sick of reading that everyone is a team player, has attention to detail and can see the big picture. Really? Prove it.
  15. When I ask about salary expectations and get the “What is this role offering?” question in return. You should have an expectation and be prepared to discuss it.
  16. Candidates who can’t make the time for an interview. I spent close to 20mins on the phone the other day with a woman who couldn’t seem to lock in a time to meet. It interfered with soccer practice, music practice, a monthly ‘girls’ movie night, and of course, her current role. If you’re serious about job hunting – make the time to be available for the interview.
  17. Template driven resumes. One day recently I saw 4 resumes, the exact same format, and in some sections, the exact same wording! Write it yourself or get a reputable writer to do it for you.
  18. Resumes that are not in chronological order. It is too hard to follow resumes that jump all over the place.
  19. Trying to figure out locations of positions. People who have worked internationally or nationally need to include this information – I am not an atlas!
  20. Gaps in employment that haven’t been explained. I know you will have a reason for it, but try telling me, I’m not a psychic.

So there you have it …. 20 ways in which to kill your application and lose an opportunity. I hope by sharing these, you will be able to avoid some of these pitfalls in your job search.

This article is contributed by Michelle Lopez of One2One Resumes.



© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant


Jappreet Sethi

Jun 25

How To Crack HR Interview – Using STAR Model

Using the STAR method is one of the most effective ways of getting your message across to potential employers whether in your resume or at interview. Applied correctly the STAR method can significantly improve your job search. It works!

The STAR acronym stands for:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

Following the STAR technique enables you to give employers a clear, concise and informative response which outlines a situation and the part you played. It tells them how you approached the task and the results of your actions. This gives credibility to your claims.

So how does it work?

Situation: Give an example of a work situation you were involved in with a positive outcome. Briefly outline the situation and your role.

Task: Describe the tasks involved. What were your tasks, duties or responsibilities? What needed to be done? What obstacles had to be overcome?

Action: Describe the action you took to address the situation. What did you do? What steps did you take to complete the task? What was the allocation of resources and/or people involved?

Result: Describe what resulted from your actions. What was the outcome? What were the improvements or benefits? How did the situation end?

An example of a STAR response in an interview works like this:

Question: Can you tell me about a time when you increased sales?

Answer: In my role at ABC Pty Ltd I was hired to drive sales by actively reaching new customers. There was also a major problem with declining sales from existing customers. Many were no longer purchasing from us and of those that were, the frequency and volume had significantly decreased. (Situation/Task)

The first thing I did on commencement was telephone all existing customers including those who hadn’t purchased with us in awhile. I introduced myself as a new member of staff and asked them for feedback on our products and service. I catalogued their feedback into an Excel spreadsheet and identified the key areas of concern. I presented my findings to management who were alarmed to find so many customers dissatisfied with the delivery contractors they were using. (Action)

As a result of this, management negotiated a new delivery contractor who promised to deliver on time. I notified every customer, both in person and in writing, and actively sought their business with an assurance of improved delivery service.

In 6 months I had increased sales in the division by 45% (from 26k to 38k) and am proud to say, managed to get all but 3 customers to buy from us regularly again. (Result)

Can you see how this technique is so effective at actually telling the employer not just what you did, but how you did it and the resulting benefits? Applied to your resume, this technique gives instant credibility to your claims.

Think about using the STAR method for your next interview and why not take a look at your resume again. Could it be improved now you understand the technique?

This article is contributed by Michelle Lopez of One2One Resumes.



© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant

Jappreet Sethi

Jun 13

Will blasting your resume Help or Hurt your job search?

When you first start looking for a job you’re excited … you jump online and blast your resume off to anything that looks remotely interesting. You are thinking about you … “Hmm, that sounds good, I might like to work in that role …”, hit Send and away it goes!

Perhaps you’ve lost your job and suddenly, with no warning, you’re staring down the barrel of financial struggles and stress. You desperately scour job sites and papers and apply for anything. This seems like a great idea – surely the more applications you send, the greater chance you have of getting another job and putting this stress behind you!

Others adopt a first-in, best-dressed theory – job markets are competitive and you believe that getting in quickly will give you an edge over the competition.

I know of candidates who sit at work, miserable in their job, and in reaction to something that has happened in the workplace, spend a few minutes online frantically applying for anything remotely possible.After a resume-blasting session you feel better … “Well that was a good effort” you think, “I’ve put myself in front of plenty of employers. Surely I will get a job from one of these.”

Did you know that, within minutes of a new job being posted on job search sites, employers and recruiters start receiving applications in their inbox? The problem is however, that most of those applications will be from people who don’t meet the criteria.

Job-searching is a numbers game and the more applications you get out there, the more likely you are to find a position. But your applications must be targeted.

Nobody is impressed by the number of applications you submit, nobody will pat your back at the end of a resume-blasting session and say “Well done Johnny, 30 applications sent”.

Employers want substance. Facts. Figures. Results. They’ve got a problem and they want you to solve it. Employers want to know what you’ve done, how you’ve done it well and the value you can offer them. Generic applications don’t address those needs.

Using a one-size-fits-all resume and generic cover letter will not make an impact with employers. You are wasting not only your time, but the employers’ time as well and ultimately lengthening your job search.

Stop and think about recruitment databases for a moment. Records are kept of positions you apply for: have you ever considered that in 3 months from now if you are still looking for work, people will see not only that you’ve been searching for a while but also that you’re a ‘serial applicant’?

Candidates who take the time to tailor their application to the role have far more chance of being considered as a serious applicant.

“But I need a job,” you cry, “I haven’t got time to be selective and tailor my application.” Understandably you need to secure work and have to be proactively applying for roles, but proceeding in a job search with a generic resume and cover letter is ineffective.Take the time now to work on an interview-winning resume and cover letter. You can use these as your base, so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you apply.

When you see a job of interest read the criteria carefully – do you meet it? If you do then it’s time to customise your application.

  • Start with your resume – make sure your profile and areas of expertise (core competencies/skills) are tailored to the role – does it contain keywords from the advert?
  • How have the company written the qualifications – are yours listed this way in your resume?
  • Look at the order of information in the advert (usually the order of importance for the employer) – does your application cover these points early in the resume?

Sometimes your resume will only require minor editing – perhaps changing the order of achievements to highlight key areas of importance for this role.

  • Treat your cover letter as an opportunity to talk about your ‘fit’ for the position.
  • Tell the employer how you will meet their needs.
  • Discuss other information that might not be contained in your resume but is relevant to the role.
  • Talk about the company: a candidate who has clearly done their research is impressive.
  • Address your letter to a person rather than Dear Sir or Dear Hiring Manager. You can call the receptionist or search online for this information.

Every time you tailor an application save a copy: if you come across a similar role you’ll only need to make minor adjustments.Taking the time to customise your application is well worth the effort. Employers can see that you’ve invested time in the application and you stand out from other applicants. You have the opportunity to highlight points from your past that speak directly to this position.

Don’t be reactive – stop and think about your application and take the time to get it right before pressing Send!

This article is contributed by Michelle Lopez of One2One Resumes.



© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant

Jappreet Sethi