Understanding, Preparing for and Mastering the Behavioral Interview

Behavioral interviewing is hot these days and every job seeker should be fluent in handling this type of interview. A behavioral interview is based on the interviewer attempting to discover how the job candidate has acted in past jobs in various employment scenarios that likely, reflect the situations in the job at hand. Whereas a traditional interview would likely include the question: Please tell us your strengths and weaknesses, the behavioral interview seeks to understand from specific experiences that reveal your strengths and weaknesses and how you deal with them.


How to Follow-Up After a Job Interview. The Thank You Letter and More.

One of my wife’s friends who has been a stay at home mom for several years is preparing to re-enter the workforce. Earlier this week she had a job interview and wasn’t certain how to properly follow-up. So, she did what many 21st century job seekers do — she posted some questions to her friends on Facebook asking how for advice on how to properly follow-up after a job interview. She mentioned that her husband’s advice was that follow-up letters or follow-up emails (AKA thank you letters) after a job interview were passé – that no one really does them anymore – and asked her friends for their thoughts and advice. 


First Impressions: How To Seal The (Job) Deal In Seven Seconds

Can you close a sale in just seven seconds? You can do it even faster if you make a great first impression.  Seven seconds is the average length of time you have to make a first impression. If your first impression is not good you won' t get another chance with that potential client. But if you make a great first impression you can bet that the client is more likely to take you and your company seriously.


Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words

Has it ever occurred to you how much you are saying to people even when you are not speaking?  Unless you are a master of disguise, you are constantly sending messages about your true thoughts and feelings whether you are using words or not.



The Two Questions You Should Always Ask in an Interview

We tend to focus our attention on recruiters and employers when looking for a job, and that makes a lot of sense.  Recruiters, after all, are the gatekeepers.  They determine whether or not we even get in the door to have an interview.  And, employers, of course, deserve a lot of scrutiny as it’s their culture and leadership which determine an organization’s prospects for success (and our future employment).

It’s a logical approach, but it is also insufficient to ensure success.  If our goal isn’t simply to get hired – if what we’re trying to do is get employed and stay that way – then we have to devote as much time and effort to evaluating the one person who will most determine that outcome.  And, that person is our new boss.  They set the conditions under which we will work and they are responsible for ensuring we have the necessary resources and support to perform at our peak. 


Job Interview Questions: What are Your Weakness?

There's an old cliche that the best way to answer the dreaded interview question, "What's your biggest weakness" to position a strength as a weakness. But that technique is so over-used, it often frustrates interviewers and can come off as contrived and insincere. Instead, consider talking about a weakness you've struggled with and overcame. Give positive examples of how you've turned that weakness around to become a positive.


Job Interviews: Negotiating Salary

Salary negotiation. From USC Anneberg. 


Warning: If You’re Using One of These Terms on Your Resume, Change It!

A study of more than 1,300 senior managers reveals the most overused and meaningless terms used on resumes and recommendations on meaningful alternatives

According to your resume you’re a highly qualified, hard worker who is a self-starter and a creative problem solver. Sounds great? No, not really. In fact, according to a new OfficeTeam survey, these are among the most overused and meaningless terms on resumes.


How to Write a Killer Cover Letter

As a job seeker, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of a cover letter. If written strategically, a cover letter increases your chances for consideration, and provides an opportunity to highlight your individuality.

A cover letter is much more than just a letter stating, “I read the job announcement in Sunday’s classified, please accept this letter as an application of interest”. It is a statement that tells the reader what they can expect from you if hired.

The challenging part of writing a cover letter is determining what information to include. After all, all the juicy information was included in the resume. What could you possibly add to the cover letter that will add substance to your qualifications?

Keep in mind that the resume and cover letter have different purposes. A resume demonstrates that you can do the job, it highlights your past accomplishments, while a cover letter points out the extent to which you match the job requirements for a specific a company and how you will fit in.

A well-written cover letter gives you an advantage over your competition because it provides another opportunity to showcase your experience and qualifications.

Cover letter basics can be mastered by following the pointers below.

Sell! Sell! Sell!
A cover letter is more than just a business letter; it is a sales letter. Begin with a strong introduction, layout the benefits you offer, and establish credibility by showcasing your accomplishments.

Write as you speak.
The cover letter should have a professional conversational tone, but sound as though a real person wrote it. Many people fall in the trap of using big word to communicate their message. Instead, write in a straightforward manner that entices the reader to review the resume. The words you choose should demonstrate enthusiasm for the position, company and industry.

Write from the reader’s perspective.
Action words should not be reserved for the resume. Begin each sentence with a power word. Don’t use a passive voice. Avoid starting sentences with the word “I.” Like the resume, the cover letter’s focus is on the hiring company, and beginning too many sentences with “I” puts the spotlight too much on you. 

Don’t rehash your resume.
Be creative when presenting your qualifications and accomplishments. You don’t want to bore the reader by simply repeating the information you included in your resume. Find different ways to communicate the same message. The best way to do this is by selecting
three to five major selling points and highlighting them in the body of the cover letter. Doing so will entice the reader to do more than just glance at your resume.

Ask for an interview.
Be proactive. In the last paragraph tell the reader that you will be contacting him or her to setup a meeting time. After all, the purpose of applying for a job is to be invited in for an interview, so don’t be shy, go for it.

You should use every tool at your disposal to secure an interview. Targeted cover letters add to your portfolio of qualifications and deserve as much consideration as a resume.

Recognized as a career expert, Linda Matias brings a wealth of experience to the career services field. She has been sought out for her knowledge of the employment market, outplacement, job search strategies, interview preparation, and resume writing, quoted a number of times in The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and She is President of CareerStrides and the National Resume Writers’ Association. Visit her website at or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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