employment, interviews, job hunting, job interviews, job search, resumes, Uncategorized

Quarantined But Not Out of Action

Sure, you’re stuck at home and just when you were in the midst of searching for the next, better job. Great timing, everything is on hold, right?  Wrong.

First, stay safe. Follow the national guidelines as well as those of your state and city.

Second, stay in your house; and practice “social distancing” with strangers if you go out.

Third, stop feeling sorry for yourself. You’re healthy so step up that job search!

Most businesses are closed but their managers and HR staff are likely working from home. They still have vacancies to fill now or when return to the office.

Use this time to:

1) Take a beat and give real thought as to where you are in your career, and where you want to go. Draw a line on a sheet of paper. Use about half the line, starting at the left: mark your jobs during high school and college; then graduation, then each job since graduation. Now on the second half of the line, go to the far right and dream big—marking your title (and possibly company) from which you’d love to retire. Now the hard part—make several marks of titles and/or companies for whom you aspire to work. Don’t add more pressure, but if strategic, assign goal dates for each.

To get from where you are to where you want to be, should you stay and advance within your current company? Seek an internship? Leave for a new city? Finish that college degree or work on your next one?

2) Assuming that your decision is to get a new job, research the companies that you want to contact. Go to their websites and search for names and titles of people in the department in which you want to work.

3) Then, find them or their company in the “search” field in LinkedIn. Once you find someone that works or used to work there, contact them by “connecting” or a message through “InMail.” DO NOT ask them for a job!

If they reply, then the door is open to write back, “Hi, I’m Mary and I saw on LinkedIn that you work for the Acme Company. How are you doing during this lockdown? I’m a fan of Acme and would also like to work there. Can you please tell me if you’ve learned a lot and enjoyed your time there?” That’s it…no more until they respond.

4) If you’ve already been in touch with a company and are waiting to hear about an interview or a hiring decision, email those key people—remind them who you are, when you were there, and for which position. Ask how they are doing during this lockdown. Just remind them of your continued enthusiasm, and hope to hear from them when things settle down.

5) Check-in with your network. Ask how they’re doing…then remind and update them on your job search. Thank them for their ongoing support to notify you of prospects, offer advice, or for being a reference. A phone call is best, but if you email, then remind them of what you’re looking for and attach your latest resume.

6) Use the chance to rehearse your elevator speech. Get it down to 30 seconds and memorize for a confident, professional pitch. Practice it in front of a mirror, family and friends until feels and look natural. Recite it when going for a walk, bike ride, or working out. So much you can accomplish during this temporary period of isolation.

7) Order business cards so you’ll have them to pass out when able to socialize again. Even if you’re unemployed, it’s always more professional to exchange cards when they give you theirs. You don’t need a job to have a card. Give yourself a title, like “Marketing Specialist,” “Recent USC Graduate,” “Customer Service Professional.” Include your contact information, and make all in a larger, bolder, legible font. Lots of templates at Vistaprint.

Now, if you’re finished reading this…do everything I suggested.

And, go wash your hands!


Ferris Kaplan is founder of Best Of You Resumes.

woman using silver laptop

Photo by Marek Levak on Pexels.com


employment, interviews, job hunting, job interviews, job search, resumes

20 Best Tips to NOT Blow Up Your Job Interview

You’ve gotten in the door, congrats! Now, you must sell yourself. Close the deal by demonstrating why you are the best choice to fill their needs.

Entrepreneur Magazine listed 10 interviewing mistakes to avoid. A good start, but here are my comments and a bonus 10 to help you:

  1. Not downloading the company’s app

Know everything about the company.

  1. Being negative

Be positive about your current job and why you’re looking to move.

  1. Actually, just telling them about yourself

“Tell me about yourself” means crafting a story about how your background is relevant to this job.

  1. Forgetting Google exists

Search for recent mentions of the company in the news.

  1. Forgetting LinkedIn exists

Check out common experiences among others who work for the company.

  1. Not speaking to your audience

Relate every answer to benefitting the company.

  1. Not preparing for the obvious

Search “Job Interview Questions” and practice answering until confident.

  1. Going too fast

Control your anxiety. Pausing to think before answering isn’t as long as it seems.

  1. Not being yourself

Be truthful and act normal. Seeming phony or saying what you think they want to hear is a red flag.

  1. Not understanding the next steps

If not told before you leave, ask!

  1. Not managing your arrival time

Rehearse the route in advance—at the same time you’ll be going for real. Allow extra time for traffic delays, accidents, full parking lots, busy check-in desk, slow elevators, etc.

  1. Not dressing properly

Dress one level better than the current employees. If they are business casual, then wear jacket & tie/pants suit or blouse & skirt; if they have jacket & tie, then wear a suit/dress or suit. After you get hired, you can wear the jeans, shorts, and flip flops like everyone else.

13. Not maintaining eye contact

The interviewer should be concentrating on your answers, not questioning your interest or ease to be distracted. Put on your game face and shut out all else.

  1. Not having a confident, professional handshake

The handshake is a lost art, given our current hugs, chest bumps, high-fives, and fist bumps. Practice with a friend or family member until comfortable.

  1. Not finding a common interest over which to bond

Find something that you have in common with the interviewer. Before, check their bio/profile on corporate website, LinkedIn, and Facebook. When in their office, look for books on shelf, sports trophies, toys on desk, plaques on walls, photos of pets, any mutual interest to break the ice.

  1. Not taking notes

When you sit down, take out a pad & pen so you look interested to write down any comments or notes—even if you doodle or never take any, you’ll be ready.

  1. Not having questions prepared

Show respect for, and an interest in the company, by having a few questions ready about their business or recent mentions in the news. All should be about the company, not you!

  1. Not asking for the job

Don’t take anything for granted. Even high-profile seasoned politicians know to introduce themselves, shake hands, and ask for your vote.

  1. Not writing a thank you note to every person you met

Email is good, but handwritten is better. Send separate notes to receptionist, administrative folks, human resource staff, and interviewers—everyone, since they will compare feedback about you.

  1. Not following up on status weekly

If they give you ranges or specific dates for follow-up, be patient. If not, then it’s fair to email or call their office to check on process and reiterate your continued interest.

There are ways to have a successful interview. There are even more ways to implode, so don’t disqualify yourself.

Ferris Kaplan is founder of Best Of You Resumes.

Learn how to be more marketable at BestOfYouResumes.com.

interview panel