We've got the best interview advice, resume tips and more to help you land your dream job.
I seem to get through the first two interviews just fine, but I never land the job, even when I am told I am the perfect fit for the position. How do I get past this plateau?
First, ask the interviewer for feedback. Perhaps there is something you are saying, or not saying, that is allowing your competition to get ahead of you. Second, after each interview, try to clinch your spot at the top of the list by emailing a comprehensive and strategic thank-you note. Think of this as one final opportunity to sell yourself. Thank them for the interview and mention any key points that seem to have been mentioned frequently. Also, clear up anything that you should have said differently—perhaps something that you thought they did not quite understand. Finally, mention anything you may have forgotten to say.
I have been offered a contract position at a company I really want to work for, but it doesn't offer benefits. I am single, so I don't have coverage through a partner. Should I still take the job?
That all depends on how much benefits are worth to you. In Canada, we all have basic medical coverage, regardless of employment status. Benefits top that up, helping to pay for things such as dental care, prescriptions and paramedical services. Questions you need to ask: How much of these additional costs will you likely have during the contract period? Is there a chance that the contract might turn permanent, which would then include benefits? You may also purchase private benefits, but they can be costly, so read the policies carefully.
I've lost all interest in my current line of work. How do I make the switch to a different career?
Take a hard look at what motivates you when it comes to work. What do you enjoy doing, and what are you doing that you are good at but not enjoying so much? Also, does your employer allow you to honour your values, such as friends and family, health and security? Write an outline of work accomplishments and break down what skills you used, such as leadership or business process design. Bundle those skills together to help create your career's new direction.
What's the biggest mistake you see job seekers consistently make?
Taking a passive approach to their job search, and getting discouraged when there are no positive results. Many people rely on online job boards both to find opportunities and to get a picture of the employment market—two very false indicators. Instead, use your network. Get in front of people, find out what is going on at their company and department, and tell them about yourself. Another key mistake job searchers make is in their use of recruiters or headhunters. Find the recruiters in your field and send them your résumé to get on their rosters and broaden your network, but do not rely on them to find you a job. They do not work for you, as you are not their client.
I am an older employee with an excellent work background. What can I say in my cover letter or on my résumé so I am not overlooked?
Older employees bring one thing younger employees do not—years of accomplishments. In your résumé and cover letter, highlight those accomplishments. Relate directly to what each employer is looking for, use their language, and bring your experience to the forefront so it is top of mind when they are selecting candidates to interview.
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This story was originally part of "Career Tool Kit" in the October 2015 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!