An article by BudgetQueen
I interviewed a friend who even with an impressive resume didn’t get her first job offer for six months. There is hope though! She says that she has seen a lot more offered for her field in the last couple of weeks. However, she also has found that the interview questions are getting tougher.
I interviewed her to see if we can get any insight on what challenges she faces. Even through all of this she is optimistic and excited to start a new job.
Briefly describe your job experience.
I was a medical administrative assistant for 14 years for a children’s hospital. The majority of my experience is in the secretarial field (office functions).
Question: Are you changing your resume for each job depending on what they want, or do you have one resume that includes all your skills?
Answer: Yes and no. I have two cover letters, one medical and one for just secretarial positions. My resume is inclusive of all of my work experience and I do not alter that.
Make sure that important key words from the job posting are in your resume. Some employers are just looking for those key words. Some even have software that will reject a resume without those key words.
Question: How many interviews did you have in the time you were out of work?
Answer: I have had as many interviews in the past two weeks that I had in the prior six months (approximately eight in 5.5 months, and eight in the past two weeks).
It is OK to be a little obnoxious and follow-up with a phone call to make sure that your resume is seen and you name is remembered.
Question: What do you believe are things that are holding you back?
Answer: Not having finished my degree
Remember that although a degree is an asset, some jobs are purely going on experience. Some just want to know that you are enthusiastic and willing to learn.
Question: Have you ever received feedback on why you didn’t get a particular job? Did you request it or did they offer it?
Answer: No and I have requested this. Furthermore, a huge frustration was that many employers tell me they will let me know either way; however the majority of the time they didn’t call or email back….it was frustrating.
Although it can seem like one of the hardest things to do, following up on an interview can help you for the next one. It could be as simple as something misspelled on your resume.
Question: What are common questions you get?
1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
For weakness, be sure to talk about how you are working to avoid the weakness.
2. Give me an example of when you were a team player.
3. Why do you think you would be good for the position?
4. Give us an example of when a supervisor was not present and you had to make a decision
Be sure to set up the scenario, give the action you took, and the positive result.
Last bit o’ advice
My husband does several hundred interviews a year and he said that the following are MUSTS before going into an interview.
1. Go into a company’s website and research them online
Go into the company website and learn what you can about the company before the interview. Mention accomplishments and mention what you like about the company. Example: "I see that you were mentioned in a business magazine that you are one of the top 500 businesses in the world!"
2. Ask questions
When the interviewer asks if you have any questions for him or her, please do! As the interviewer is describing the job, note down some questions, or come up with some intelligent questions about the company. Even if is is as simple as "How many people work for this company?" Or, "will I be working in a team or as an individual?" Try to avoid advancement questions, vacation time, etc.
This friend said that the best advice that she can give is that "there is nothing more one can do than to try to look to the future and hope for the best despite all of these setbacks."
If something is not working, try a different approach. Check your resume to make sure it is clear. Practice interviewing with a friend. You are bound to get there and all of this experience will make you more confident as you go on.