• Ask the Experts: How to Stand Out to Your New Employer

    April 22, 2009 by



    Question:

    I am interning as a cashier for a well known grocery
    chain. I want to stand out and look good to my
    superiors. I have good people skills and was thinking
    about conducting a survey to find out what our
    customers like and what we can improve upon. Do you
    have any suggestions?

    First Answer:

    You have a great idea, but you absolutely must think it through and then propose it to your supervisors in a way that doesn’t threaten them.

    Absolutely do not implement any ideas that fall outside the realm of your written job description without written permission from the appropriate party within the chain – which in the case of the survey idea is a senior marketing staff member at the corporate level. There are many considerations in designing customer surveys, such as customer privacy, validity and relevance of data, and potential impacts of conducting the survey in the first place.

    But keep on brainstorming and sharing your ideas with your bosses. Meanwhile, focus on serving your customers with speed, accuracy, and friendliness, and working effectively with your colleagues.

    Tracy Laswell Williams, certified job and career transition coach, accredited resume writer and founder of CAREER-Magic.com


    Second Answer:

    Being enthusiastic, motivated and creative are great
    ways of showing your value to a new employer. It’s
    prudent, however, to clear these initiatives with a
    superior so that they are aware of what is happening
    and can guide you on the best way to handle surveys in
    order to maintain the good customer impressions.

    You may want to inquire as to whether there are any
    customer opinion feedback forms the company uses. If
    there are none, ask if you might draft one for your
    boss’s consideration. Remember, your main function is
    to offer great customer service as a cashier. If
    you’re doing that, you’re impressing not only your
    superiors but also the customers and everyone is
    already quite happy.

    May all your Entrances be through the doors of success!

    Yvonne LaRose, career and professional development coach, Career and Executive Recruiting Advice

  • Ask the Experts: Don’t Drop Out to Accept a Job Offer

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    Question:

    I am a graduate student in a good computer information services program. I earned a 100 percent scholarship for my $9,000 per semester fees. I just received a job offer from a four year old dot com company. They have a good business model and seem to be doing well. The job is ideal but they’re offering slightly below market salaries and expect me to work 50 to 60 hours per week, including Saturdays. I’m two semesters away from graduation and if I stay should be able to land a better job, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do so. If I take the job, I could complete my studies but at a slower rate. Should I stay in school or take the more sure thing?

    First Answer:

    If I were in your position, I’d pass on this particular offer, since it seems to have serious potential to derail your final two semesters. You might propose a half-time position (and firmly limit it to 25 hours per week), or simply choose to stay in touch with them as you finish up your studies.

    Tracy Laswell Williams, certified job and career transition coach, accredited resume writer and founder of CAREER-Magic.com


    Second Answer:

    My hunch is that your excellent qualifications will enable you to get a better job upon graduation. If you were closer to graduation, and the job paid below market value, I’d say maybe go for it. Or if you were still two semesters away and job paid better, I might give the same advice, But with BOTH factors working against you, plus the demand for long hours of work, I think you can do better. And we can always hope that the economy will be that much better by the time you graduate.

    Katharine Hansen, former speechwriter and college instructor who provides content for the Web site, Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and prepares job-search correspondence as chief writer for Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters


    Third Answer:

    I hesitate to give you a direct yes or no answer to this question because I don’t know your true financial situation. However, my assumption is that with a 100% scholarship and just two semesters from graduation, you’d be better off staying in school and completing your degree. ‘m also assuming that a high grade point average is important for you to keep your scholarship, too. If your prospective employer expects you to work long hours and weekends, you will be diverted from your studies. A dot com, especially a “young one,” is also a risky bet. They may prosper, but if so, they will be hiring even more people in the future. Your completed degree will be yet another asset. My sense is that if you can get along without this job, you should follow your “plan A” and stay in school.

    Alison Blackman Dunham, life & career expert, columnist, personal public relations consultant, half of THE ADVICE SISTERS®, and the author of the ASK ALISON career advice column


    Fourth Answer:

    Congratulations on your job offer–your credentials and work ethic are certainly paying off. However, like much of of the business world, this decision isn’t an either/or for you–there’s no black or white answer here. What you should do before making a decision is ask yourself a few key questions:

    1. What effect will this new position have on your long term career goals? Is it a good stepping stone? Will it give you the experience you need en route to your long-term goals? As your first position out of graduate school, you don’t want to take it just to take it–you want to make sure it’s the right thing.
    2. What is your financial situation? You mentioned you received a full scholarship, but how is your financial situation otherwise? Do you have other debt? Are you looking to save money to buy a house? Will having this job now enable you to better meet your financial goals? Will going at a slower pace in school affect your scholarship situation? (Some scholarships may require you to go full time).
    3. Is there a work commitment to the company required? Unless you are signing an agreement to stay at the company a certain amount of time, it could be a good opportunity to get experience while looking for another role in the next year or so.
    4. How will working affect your schoolwork? Some graduate students like working and going to school simultaneously because they can immediately apply what they’ve learned. Others have difficulty balancing both and ultimately find their personal, work or school life suffers.
    5. Is there an opportunity to negotiate? Can you try to compromise with the company on hours or salary?

    Remember, just because you take the job doesn’t mean you can’t keep looking elsewhere or that you’ve shut yourself out of the market. Just make sure if you do take it, you’ve assessed its impact on your life as a whole. Good luck!

    Susan Strayer, Assistant Director, Career Services, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education at the Johns Hopkins University and founder and President of University and Career Decisions


    Fifth Answer:

    While this is a very personal decision – depending on your circumstances – it is always a better bet to complete your education. And, in your scholarship is paying for it. I know it is tempting to go for the immediate gratification but in the long run you may regret the decision. Having that degree will open more doors than your experience with a company that may or may not make it.

    Remember, you are only in school for a relatively short period of time. You will be working the rest of your life!

    Carole Martin, The Interview Coach


    Sixth Answer:

    One of the things you mention about this new company
    is that it is about four years old. Take into
    consideration that our New Millennium Depression
    started around the end of 1999 and we are only now
    slowly emerging from it. A company that has survived
    this period and is not only still making a profit but
    in a hiring mode could be a good option. You would be
    wise to check the financial standing of the company as
    you do further research about it. In that way, you’ll
    be better informed and better able to make a good
    decision.

    You seem to object to the fact that the company’s work
    week consists of 50-60 hours, including weekends.
    These hours are typical of I.T. departments and firms.
    Perhaps I.T. is not the field you’re looking for.

    No matter whether you choose to stay in school or go
    to work immediately, the research and the decision are
    up to you and must be yours. No outsider knows your
    personal situation and variables better than you. In
    this case, let me suggest you try using a graphic
    (that is, hand written) decision tree so that you cognitively
    map out your options, their positives and negatives,
    compared with one another. Once you see these in
    perspective, your choice may be more clear for you.

    May all your Entrances be through the doors of success!

    Yvonne LaRose, career and professional development coach, Career and Executive Recruiting Advice

  • Ask the Experts: How to Negotiate a Signing Bonus

    by



    Question:

    First Answer:

    Signing bonuses vary from company to company and there is not standard
    policy. It is up the the company. I would not call it a “dirty trick” but
    be aware that you will probably be asked to sign a contract that states
    that you will work for this company for a certain amount of time. If you
    breach that contract, all or part of the sigining bonus would have to be
    paid back. As to when you would get the signing bonus, that can also very
    from company to company. Some will give it all do you in the
    beginning. Some will give you part in the beginning and the rest at a
    later time. When you commit to a signing bonus, be sure that this is a job
    that you want to stay in for whatever the bonus period covers. It is
    really only smart business for a company that pays a signing bonus to
    protect themselves from someone getting the bonus and then leaving after a
    short period of time.

    Linda Wyatt, Career Center Director, Kansas City Kansas Community College


    Second Answer:

    I could be old-fashioned, but negotiating financial aspects of employment, such as a sign-on bonus, are best when discussed in-person or over the phone. Email is a wonderful tool, but it doesn’t offer the same affect as speaking and negotiating with someone on a personal, professional level.

    You and the hiring manager are the only persons who can determine if you’re worthy of a sign-on bonus. The amount of a sign-on bonus can range from 20% up to 200% of the base salary (more for executive-level positions), depending on the industry. To determine the right amount for you, think about the expenses you’ll incur for changing employers, such as relocation and cost-of-living difference. Let the hiring manager provide you with an amount, take 1-2 days to think about it, and determine if renegotiations are in order or if the initial offering is fair.

    Sign-on bonuses are connected to the amount of time you plan to commit, and the amount revolves around the prospected base salary and the company itself. Sizable bonuses are typically reserved for high-profile positions, along with positions that are difficult to fill, such as nurses. Bonuses woe individuals who are employed with other companies to consider changing positions. After all, the old adage “everything is for sale, but at the right price” falls true when trying to obtain candidates for particular positions.

    As with any agreement, especially when $$’s are involved, it’s best to get the details of your hiring package in writing. A big concern is the scope of the position presented by the company versus the actual duties once employed. One of the biggest complaints I hear from my clients is that they have a difficult time fulfilling their commitments once employed because the business misrepresented the position during the “dating period.” Ensure that you have a full comprehension of the company, along with the proposed needs of the department, so there are no surprises during your 2-year tenure.

    Teena Rose, a certified and published résumé writer and career specialist with Résumé to Referral


    Third Answer:

    First, congratulations on your offer. Negotiating an offer can be tough, but rewarding in the end. Keep in mind that anything is negotiable–including a hiring bonus so kudos to you for asking. That said, there is no guarantee that you will be successful in the negotiation or a specific amount you should or will receive. Organizations typically budget for a position so your negotiation leverage will be limited to some extent. For example, if you were offered $40,000, the organization may have budgeted between $38,000 and $45,000 for the position. Any salary increase they give you will likely come from the department’s budget. Signing bonuses however often come from the HR budget, so whether or not you receive one may depend on how much of a budget they have left for such bonuses.

    It’s also a better idea to negotiate for a higher salary than a signing bonus. A signing bonus is a one-time payment (subject to full taxes just like your salary) while if you negotiate a salary increase, you’ll receive that for years to come. Since you’ve already asked for a bonus however, there are a few things to keep in mind.

    1. You will likely receive the signing bonus upon acceptance of the offer, a few days after or on your first full day of employment (organizations differ here). Full taxes will be taken out, so estimate the bonus to be about 38-44% less when you actually receive the check.
    2. Keep in mind that making any promises as a condition of employment is risky. For example, committing to work for the organization for two could be construed as a verbal contract. What happens if you’re there for a year and become very unhappy? The organization could force you to stay.
    3. Regardless of the outcome, always ask to see the complete offer and conditions of employment in writing. If there are conditions such as length of time in role, or signing a non-compete agreement, it is always a good idea to have an employment attorney review the offer before you formally accept it.

    Susan Strayer, Assistant Director, Career Services, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education at the Johns Hopkins University and founder and President of University and Career Decisions


    Fourth Answer:

    Whenever you negotiate a salary you risk that the offer could be withdrawn. That said, you never know what you can get until you ask for it. I like the expression, “The answer is always, ‘NO’ unless you ask the question.”

    The tricky part about hiring or signing bonuses is that they are usually taxed at 41.5% ! So, if you were planning to buy a big couch for your living room – think big “bean bag chair” instead.

    You also took a risk when you committed to two years. Who knows what could happen during this time – you may stay a longer or shorter period of time. Life is too unpredictable to know what you will be doing two years from now.

    Best wishes on it working out for the best – all the way around.

    Carole Martin, The Interview Coach


    Fifth Answer:

    Let’s take this step by step:

    1. Entitlement to a signing bonus: The research
      I did on signing bonuses indicates these are usually
      offered for positions where the need is high and the
      available talent is scarce. These types of bonuses are typically for those who will be with the company for at least one year and appear to be committed to staying on longer. It appears you are indeed entitled to one. Otherwise, there would be no discussion about it.
    2. Typical Amount of Bonus: In my research, I
      could only find limited information about signing
      bonus amounts. The data was from 1999 and the sampling
      was relatively small (less than 1300 respondents). The
      average bonus range was $1,000 – $2,999. (From
      American Institute of Graphic Arts, Resources (HTML version)
    3. Time of Payment: I did some checking around
      in various places on this issue. Different companies
      have different manners of paying signing bonuses. Some
      pay the amount as the first salary check. The majority
      of companies appear to pay the amount out over time,
      but they still vary as to how much and when. The
      standard seems to be about one-third to one-half after successful completion of 30 days or some sort of probationary period. The second and succeeding installments are paid upon the successful completion of another milestone. This is usually another six months or up to one year without break in service.

      You should also be aware that if you leave before
      completing your time commitment, you may be expected
      to repay a prorated amount of what you received in
      anticipation of staying with the company. This may be
      part of an employment agreement you sign.

    4. Typical Dirty Tricks: I don’t know of any
      dirty tricks on the company side. Many of the
      companies I researched were concerned about getting
      burned by the candidate who left early with all of the
      bonus they were paid for committing to a long-term relationship.

    If they’re asking you about how long you’ll commit to
    working for them and entertaining the accompanying considerations, I’d say you’ve been offered the job. By asking for a signing bonus, you made a counter offer which they may or may not accept, depending upon how convinced you’ve made the company feel about your commitment to being a long-term, productive team member.

    May all of your Entrances be through the doors of success!

    Yvonne LaRose, career and professional development coach, Career and Executive Recruiting Advice

  • Ask the Experts: Position Yourself for a Promotion When Your Boss Moves On

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    Question:

    I am a middle manager in an organization that uses a matrix rather than a traditional organization chart. The manager to which I report has been offered a new position within our company but in a different department and geographic location. Our Board has not yet decided who will replace him. There are three leading contenders and they’re continually struggling against each other for increased portfolios. I see this as an opportunity to climb the corporate ladder, but I’m unsure how to do so as I do not wish to project an image of someone who is restless or who takes advantage of a difficult situation. Any suggestions?

    First Answer:

    Your ambitions and respect for the indication are a clear indication that you’re not restless or being difficult but rather that you’re committed to the organization and ambitious. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate that. Often in the business world, it’s all about the spin–that is, the way an argument or proposal is spun or presented. Successful businesspeople will tell you it’s the same way with business careers. In this case, you want to spin your proposal as a positive one.

    Without knowing all of the details of your reporting structure and the interim management team during the transition time, it’s hard to provide specific options, but you can spin a positive argument about how you can lead and provide stability during this time. Try going to your old boss and thank him/her for the support and guidance you have received thus far. Ask him or her for advice: are you ready to take on additional roles? Would he or she support your request? If you receive a green light, you can then
    proceed to interim management and ask for an opportunity to rise to the occasion. Offer your willingness to take on additional leadership responsibilities and tasks. You’re not looking for a promotion per se but rather a chance to bridge the gap and prove your commitment to the organization.

    Keep the conversation positive and focused on how you can help and why this interim role would be a good one for the organization. Whether or not your offer is accepted, the organization will likely look fondly upon your positivist and willingness to pitch in. This kind of attitude and ambition will certainly be rewarded down the road. Remember, it’s all about the spin. Will such a leadership role help you? Absolutely. But more importantly, you want to showcase how it will help the organization. After all, that’s what they pay you to do!

    Susan Strayer, Assistant Director, Career Services, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education at the Johns Hopkins University and founder and President of University and Career Decisions


    Second Answer:

    By virtue of the fact that your company uses a matrix organizational chart, you are in a very advantageous position. As I understand the concept, you and your colleagues are taking on a number of responsibilities and tasks that require unified efforts toward making your expertise and focus mesh with all of the others. You are also required to have input into the other parts and have intelligence about them so that success is assured.

    From my understanding of this concept, you will not be seen as projecting an offensive image if you present yourself as a contributor who has achieved quantifiable results in the areas where you have primary responsibilities. Your skills and qualifications are enhanced by the contributions you have made where you reported to or coordinated with the outgoing manager.

    A little more research on matrix organization charts brought me to a research paper by Yimin Zhu, Ph.D., CCE, “Organization Structures” (PDF version) (See also Organization Structures (HTML version).) Although it is written for an engineering discipline, the explanations of how a system requires the input of its parts and how it attains viability are worth serious study. As you work through Dr. Zhu’s explanations, you may be better able to see how you have made significant contributions as part of your routine that deserve recognition and reward by way of your assuming the position of the outgoing manager.

    May all your Entrances be through the doors of success!

    Yvonne LaRose, career and professional development coach, Career and Executive Recruiting Advice


    Third Answer:

    Many ambitious people have faced a similar situation. It sounds
    like you are not being considered for the job. If not, it may
    not be appropriate to start campaigning for the position at
    this late time. After all, the hiring authority has decided on
    other candidates.

    The best approach may be to ask for a meeting with a
    member of the Board to express your interest in the
    job and to find out what improvements you can make
    to insure that you are considered for future promotions.

    If you do this before the position is filled, who knows,
    they may add you to the list of candidates. If you are
    truly interested in the position, it can only help to
    express your desires to the people who make the
    decisions.

    Carole Martin, The Interview Coach

  • Ask the Experts: Don’t Expect Your Employer to Train You

    by



    Question:

    I’m considering a career as a pharmacist but I don’t want to spend years of my time and tens of thousands of dollars on tuition to get a pharmacy degree only to discover that I don’t like the work. One option that I’ve been considering is to first become a pharmacy technician. Is that a good idea? Will my employer then pay for my pharmacy degree?

    First Answer:

    Requirements vary for pharmacy technician positions. Employers may require prior experience, an associate’s degree, and certification – or none of the above. Adding to the mix, some companies don’t offer certification reimbursement as part of an employment package, therefore, waiting for an employer may delay your plans.

    Take the initiative to start the training program. You could holdout for an employer, but putting your foot forward will be the best course of action, in my opinion. The National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA) offers the information you’ll need to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician [CPhT], along with offering a continuing education program through STAT Educational Services.

    While taking classes, work for an employer that doesn’t require the certification. Gain work experience – even if limited – while taking classes, and learn in the evenings to subsequently benefit your job.

    Teena Rose, a certified and published résumé writer and career specialist with Résumé to Referral


    Second Answer:

    My quick response to this is that the marketplace has become increasingly competitive. While I don’t know the cost of online classes, if they are in your budget, I’d suggest that you take the initiative and start learning whatever it is that you need to know. If an employer wants to train you on the job, you can always stop taking the online classes or let them pay for the rest. Employers are always more interested someone who is already skilled, or at least in the learning process. They aren’t necessarily going to want to lay out the money and time for your education, so going now will make you more marketable.

    Alison Blackman Dunham, life & career expert, columnist, personal public relations consultant, half of THE ADVICE SISTERS®, and the author of the ASK ALISON career advice column


    Third Answer:

    The answer to your question depends on whether or not you have already truly chosen to pursue formal education in pharmacy. If you have not yet determined that you’re willing to invest the time and money into a graduate degree in pharmacy, working as a pharmacy technician will provide you with insights into this particular career choice. And if you have identified an opportunity to be hired as a pharmacy tech with on-the-job training, certainly take it! Since many pharmacies, especially hospital pharmacies, will only hire experienced and/or nationally certified technicians, you may need to invest in training to become a pharmacy technician.

    However, if you have already decided that you are going to apply to a graduate program in pharmacy, then I would offer you different advice. Focus your efforts on your undergraduate work and into the pharmacy school application process – which may include passing the pharmacy school admissions test (PCAT). Why? While there’s a chance that experience as a technician might look good on your application, few students accepted into pharmacy programs have this type of experience. As with other competitive graduate programs, the ingredients for success are great grades, glowing letters of recommendation, solid PCAT scores, and positive entrance interviews at your chosen pharmacy school.

    Once you’ve been accepted to a pharmacy program, you will be required to register with the state to become a licensed intern pharmacist and work in a pharmacy throughout your educational program. This will ensure that you develop practical, hands-on skills and experiences to get your pharmacy career off to a great start.

    Wishing you best of luck with your career! Whatever choice you make, study hard and strive for excellence!

    Tracy Laswell Williams, certified job and career transition coach, accredited resume writer and founder of CAREER-Magic.com


    Fourth Answer:

    Go to the source! Scheduling time to talk to pharmacy managers and technicians will help you to ensure you’re not only preparing for a successful pharmacy career but that you know what to expect and what the career track will look like.

    Make a list of the major pharmacies in your area–including large chains (CVS, Walgreens, Eckard), embedded pharmacies in grocery stores (Safeway, Giant, etc) and local, small pharmacies. Create a list of questions (including your question about training) that you would like the answers to about a pharmacy career. Determine what hours are less busy in the pharmacy and call and ask to speak to the pharmacy manager. Indicate that you’re doing research on pharmacy careers and ask if he or she has a few minutes to talk. If not, ask if you can make an appointment to spend fifteen minutes asking a few questions.

    Once you complete several conversations, you can compare answers from each of the different types of pharmacies and determine your options. You’ll also have great contacts in each of the local pharmacies so when it comes time to apply for jobs, you’ll have more options and better connections!

    Susan Strayer, Assistant Director, Career Services, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education at the Johns Hopkins University and founder and President of University and Career Decisions


    Fifth Answer:

    The farsightedness of this question is impressive. It shows focus and steps toward mapping out a program to reach a specific goal. It also reveals the first steps to researching the requirements of attaining that goal.

    I recommend that you visit the job descriptions for Pharmacists, Pharmacy technicians, and Pharmacy aides that are produced in the Occupational Outlook Handbook by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.(For the benefit of my readers, there is a link to it in my Career Center.) Those descriptions will help you understand the nature of the work, training and other qualifications, find related careers, and other important information about the options you’re considering.

    In regard to which path to follow after reading the BLS job descriptions, I decided the best way to make a decision was to ask a pharmacist at a large retail chain in California. What was impressive was after being very forthright about what I was seeking, the pharmacist was very generous with information as well as her personal recommendation.

    Her recommendation was to start out as a clerk and get some work experience and exposure to the type of work involved. With that, a person can work part time while attending school and taking the state licensing exam. This work experience also casts a favorable light on those applying to pharmacy school (work done after obtaining one’s bachelor’s degree) because it shows initiative and exposure to the field.

    The materials from BLS tend to concur with the pharmacist’s recommendations. In answer to your question, I would say that in this instance do not take the online classes but get on-the-job experience. May all your Entrances be through the doors of success!

    Yvonne LaRose, career and professional development coach, Career and Executive Recruiting Advice

  • Ask the Experts: Received a Rejection Letter? Don’t Give Up.

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    Question:

    I recently applied to a job for which I thought I’d be perfect for, (skills, education, background, history, everything). I got
    an interview with an individual who really wasn’t in a position to hire/fire. I followed up only to receive in the next day’s mail the ‘thanks but no thanks’ letter. I would like to respond with a ‘reconsider me for the position’ type letter but am not sure what else I might include to urge the hiring individual to rethink her hasty rejection. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, advice?

    First Answer:

    It’s frustrating to get through the interview process thinking you have the position only to find out differently. Even if the interview didn’t have hiring and firing power, she likely had some input.

    Résumés get interviews; interviews get jobs. Since you made it to the interview, your résumé did its job by getting your foot in the door. The focus now shifts to the conversation that went on during the interview. Were you prepared for the questions, or how could you have answered them differently? Did your answers push the pressure points for the interviewer?

    When leaving any interview, make several notations about the questions asked, the topics your conversation drifted to, and analyze your responses. Some interviews are structured, where others are not; so the responses you provide within casual conversation can also have an effect on the outcome.

    Think about the interview process as a one-sided relationship. Every answer you provide, every number or percentage you quote, and every skill you mention, should evolve around a core theme: the hiring company. Human resource managers don’t care about whether you can use PowerPoint, unless it’s relevant to them. They’d prefer not to hear about every task performed for the last 20 years … again, unless it’s relevant.

    The interview potentially meant you had the job, but something went wrong during the interview process – they wouldn’t have wasted time unless they thought you could do the job, right? Build a relationship with your interviewer and focus on offering answers that are solutions focused. You can try sending a follow-up letter, however, it may not help. You’re probably better off cutting your losses and shifting efforts towards your on-going job search.

    Pick up a publication on interviewing, such as 100+ Winning Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions by Casey Hawley (Barron’s), so you can uncover ways to polish your interviewing skills.

    Teena Rose, a certified and published résumé writer and career specialist with Résumé to Referral


    Second Answer:


    Why not call the hiring manager to find out what’s going on rather than try to guess in a letter?

    Tracy Laswell Williams, certified job and career transition coach, accredited resume writer and founder of CAREER-Magic.com


    Third Answer:

    You certainly have nothing to lose with such an approach. Of course, if the employer has already hired someone else, you may be out of luck for the moment, but there’s always the possibility the person hired won’t work out and you could be waiting in the wings. I’d suggest one of two approaches:

    1. Write a follow-up to the rejection letter saying something
      like: “I was disappointed to learn that you decided not
      to consider me further for [name of position], but I am still very interested in contributing my talents to [name of company]. Here’s how I could contribute:” Then re-state your “skills, education, background, history, everything” that made you so perfect for the job, but do so in a way that’s different from your initial cover letter. Emphasize your “fit” with the company and position.
    2. Tap into information that came up in the interview.
      Perhaps the interviewer mentioned a problem the company
      is hoping the person in this position will tackle.
      Give some idea how you would address the problem and
      offer to elaborate further in another interview.
      Pique the employer’s interest with how you can add
      value based on things you learned about the company’s
      needs during the interview.

    Katharine Hansen, former speechwriter and college instructor who provides content for the Web site, Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and prepares job-search correspondence as chief writer for Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters


    Fourth Answer:

    The old ‘thanks but no thanks’ letter. What a bummer! Well, before you re-contact the person who interviewed you, there are some things you need to consider. Take some sheets of paper and actually write out the answers to the following issues:

    • What you learned about the opportunity – do critical analysis here
    • What you said during the pre-screening interview about your ambitions in relation to the company and the opportunity
    • How you may have sounded to the interviewer – legitimate, interested, motivated, qualified, milquetoast, wishy-washy, too eager to please
    • Whether this really is a good match for what you’re seeking
    • Who are the people with whom you’d be working if you got the job
    • Is the ceiling too low so that you’d quickly outgrow the situation

    If your analysis shows you really are qualified and have a growing future in this position, there are a few things you can do. Some are traditional, some are a bit more risky.

    The person with whom you interviewed is not the one to hire for the position. So why return to them asking for reconsideration? Better to research the position a little more. Get a better understanding of what is sought, who the supervisor is.

    [Risky path] Contact the supervisor directly, saying that you had an opportunity to meet with “First Interviewer” and you are still very interested in the position or one like it. You’d like to talk with Mr./Ms. Supervisor about positions of this sort to gain a better understanding of the requirements as you continue your search.

    [Less risky path] Contact “First Interviewer” and thank them for their time. Do this by phone. Tell them you are very impressed with the company [if this is true] and would like to be able to vie for other opportunities that are a better fit.

    But I’m making myself ill just writing those words. Once you’ve completed your own self assessment, you should have a pretty good sense of whether that was the right situation for you or not. Remember, not every job that initially looks like the perfect fit is actually what the fairy godmother was trying to deliver. May all of your Entrances be through the doors of success!

    Yvonne LaRose, career and professional development coach, Career and Executive Recruiting Advice


    Fifth Answer:

    As I read your question, the phrase that stuck in my mind was “a job for
    which I thought I’d be perfect for”. Mine time as job seekers we truly
    believe that this is the job for us. When applying for a job, we really
    don’t see the whole picture. Most interviewers have a predisposed mindset
    of what they are looking for — both skill and personality wise. Sometimes
    our view points are just not the same.

    The other part of your information that was a little confusing was that the
    person you interviewed with, according to your statement, was not in the
    position to hire/fire. Obviously, they were in the postion not to
    hire. Many times the hiring process will involve several interviews with
    several different people. Each step of that interview process will be
    determined by the person who interviewed you last. For whatever reason,
    the person you spoke with did not feel you were the person for the position
    — especially since they were so quick to send you a rejection letter.

    Review your interview process. Did you appear too eager? In hindsight,
    did the interviewer give you any cues you did not pick up on.

    I wouldn’t tell you not to send a “reconsider me” letter but I would tell
    you that it probably won’t do any good. If you decide to send such a
    letter, I would emphasize in the letter the skills you feel you possess
    that match the qualifications that they employer is looking for. I would
    also express my disappointment at not being considered for the positoin and
    ask them to keep my resume in the consideration for jobs in that area in
    the future.

    Linda Wyatt, Career Center Director, Kansas City Kansas Community College


    Sixth Answer:

    There could be two major reasons this happened. First, if the organization responded no so quickly and you were such a good fit, it could be because they already had a hire in mind but had to post the position for legal reasons. If the organization already knew who they planned to hire, it would not have mattered how strong of a candidate you were.

    I would take a also close look at your background and do a gap analysis. There could have been one specific credential they were looking for that you didn’t have that ruled you out immediately. It could have been number of years of work experience, particular industry experience, a specific technology skill etc. Look at the original job description. Was there anything that was required for the role that you didn’t state explicitly in your resume? Sometimes employers won’t even read a cover letter.

    Whenever you’re applying for a position, go through the job description with one highlighter and color the things you meet exactly. Then, take a second color and highlight the aspects you can sell, but not as strongly. If there is alot more of the second color than the first, it may be a sign that the position isn’t a match.

    You should also get critical feedback on versions of your resume and cover letter from experts and colleagues in your field. Make sure your message is clear about who you are, what you bring to the table and what you’re looking for.

    Susan Strayer, Assistant Director, Career Services, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education at the Johns Hopkins University and founder and President of University and Career Decisions

  • Ask the Experts: Never Too Early to Prepare for College Admissions

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    Question:

    I am a junior in a small town high school. I already know what I wish to major and minor in when I go to college. I have not taken the ACT or SAT test yet. Should I start applying to colleges now or wait until I am a senior?

    First Answer:

    I believe you can take the ACT and SAT as junior. If you are planning to apply to colleges that require these test scores, start studying and take the test as soon as you can. You will probably not be allowed to apply for colleges until you have completed the test and academic requirements, so good luck!

    Alison Blackman Dunham, life & career expert, columnist, personal public relations consultant, half of THE ADVICE SISTERS®, and the author of the ASK ALISON career advice column


    Second Answer:

    Ah Grasshopper, it is now time to learn the most valuable word for your
    career – networking. Sure, take the test – assuming you have studied and
    taken practice exams; by taking them now you can beat the rush to the
    hallowed gates of higher education. But at the same time, begin contacting
    professors at the schools you’re interested in attending. Let them know
    you’re looking to establish a relationship before you’re accepted and would
    be interested in working for them once you’ve been accepted.

    Ask these professors for advice – what people and writings influenced them
    when they were in college.

    Be proactive – don’t just wait for the envelope to appear in your mailbox.

    Steve Levy, Principal of outside-the-box Consulting


    Third Answer:

    This is an excellent time to start researching the schools you have an interest in attending. Part of your information gathering will be not only reviewing the brochures and catalogs but also talking with instructors and administrators. This is the pre-application phase. The sooner you start, the more ahead of the process you are in putting together the right application package — with emphasis on the things that are important to your desired schools.

    Your SAT and ACT scores will be forwarded to the schools you designate when they are available.

    May all your Entrances be through the doors of success!

    Yvonne LaRose, career and professional development coach, Career and Executive Recruiting Advice


    Fourth Answer:

    Preplanning for large milestones in life will make a huge difference relative to your career readiness; and the fact that you’re thinking about such things as a junior is wonderful! Your junior year will be finished before you know it, so researching and narrowing down your college choices would be a wise move at this point. Requesting and submitting applications isn’t a timely process, therefore, you may wish to wait until the start of your senior year before proceeding. If you’re concerned about acceptance or availability, contact your primary college choice (if you have one) to identify the best time to apply.

    Examine your intended major at great length – if you haven’t already. Over the years, I’ve worked with countless individuals who changed majors mid-stream or finished college with a degree in one area, yet their job search was aimed at another. Shifting gears is costly, time consuming, and avoidable if adequate amounts of exploration are conducted before signing up for that first class.

    Best Jobs for the 21st Century for College Graduates (JIST), written by J. Michael Farr and LaVerne L. Ludden, will open your eyes to career fields that are forecasted to grow over the next few years. The book also takes an in-depth look, including salary, skill, course and occupational expectations.

    Just as you’ll research and analyze college choices, other factors should come into play, such as location and cost. Cost, in my opinion, can be a huge deterrent for certain schools so spend adequate amounts of time researching grants, scholarships, and the financial commitment needed by yourself and/or your parents. Deadlines for scholarships and grants vary throughout the year, so identify availability and create a calendar for a 6 to 18-month spread. Scholarships, in particular, are essentially “free money,” so taking the time to submit a quality package and get your applications in on time will make a difference on your success rate.

    Teena Rose, a certified and published résumé writer and career specialist with Résumé to Referral

  • Ask the Experts: The School From Which You Graduate Is Important

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    Question:

    When getting a BS degree does the school make that much of a difference?
    I know there’s an obvious difference from getting a community college degree
    compared to a school like Harvard, but between most four year major
    universities, does the school hold much breadth in getting a job?

    First Answer:

    The answer to this question is yes and no. A good education and good networking connections can be made in any accredited institution. However, in the Ivy League schools, the tradition still runs to graduated helping and hiring graduates of the same school. Additionally, some places may rank you more seriously when you are applying for higher degreees of education, especially if you graduated from a specific school. I don’t think it’s as important where you went to school as what you got out of it. Few employers care that much where you went to undergraduate school. My advice is to pick the school that offers the program, teachers, location and services that suit your needs best, and don’t worry about the “name” value as your #1 concern.

    Alison Blackman Dunham, life & career expert, columnist, personal public relations consultant, half of THE ADVICE SISTERS®, and the author of the ASK ALISON career advice column


    Second Answer:

    If the recruiter or the hiring manager believes that the school is a gating
    factor then Mission Control, we have a problem. Sure you can emphasize that
    you actually have relevant experience, your grades weren’t inflated, and
    your parents didn’t donate $15 million for an endowed chair in Fine Arts
    when you were this close to being bounced out of school but if only Hah-vahd
    grads work at the company that has your name on it, there’s really little
    you can do.

    Does it make sense that only grads from particular schools will succeed at a
    company? Of course it doesn’t, just as it makes no more than only men can be
    CEOs. Deal with the objections as best you can, focus on your
    accomplishments, blah, blah, blah.

    However, I’ll bet anything that the school you graduate from has some
    tremendously successful alumni who also ran into a Crimson brick wall but
    learned how to get around it. Talk to these folks. People enjoy being asked
    how they became successful, how they overcame “the odds.” Focus on the
    people who want to help you versus on the people who want to exclude you. Go
    to alumni events before you graduate. If you have a football game, go to the
    tailgate section and talk to the folks who obviously aren’t in school – ask
    them what they do, who they work for, if they’d have you in for an
    interview.

    You may have to work a bit harder than the privileged ones but for certain
    desire and persistence go a long way in a job search.

    Steve Levy, Principal of outside-the-box Consulting


    Third Answer:

    Actually, where you went to school does make a difference to employers. And you’d be surprised at what employers look for in terms of who are their best bets.

    I had an opportunity to attend a Recruiters and Human Resource Managers Metrics Symposium in Los Angeles in June. During the lunch/networking period, the conversation moved to where the recruiters find their “keepers.” There was general concensus that there are a few hires from the Ivy League schools, top of the class of the better schools, or the top brass’s school of choice. However, the recruiters and HR pros chalk up those hires to the ones they can expect to leave the company within a year or less. These people are seen as the prima donas and are only there for the prestige and money.

    The new grads who prove to be the very best hires and stay the longest are the ones who attended the schools that provided the basics of the subjects. These graduates come out of school with a good foundation in their subject. They are hard workers and reliable. When they get hired, they have determined (on their own) that they’re in it for the long haul. Their desire and drive is for results.

    These are definitely things to keep in mind as you make your Entrances through the doors of success!

    Yvonne LaRose, career and professional development coach, Career and Executive Recruiting Advice


    Fourth Answer:

    There is a great deal of snobbery around colleges.
    Some companies are more particular than others.
    There is also an east west discrimination as well.
    Unfortunately, some companies or hiring managers
    really put up their noses at colleges such as Phoenix
    University where they think you “buy” your degree.

    Many colleges are recognized
    for their excellence in specific disciplines.
    For instance, the University of Michigan
    is known for its business program. The
    University of Cincinnati is known for its
    chemistry program. A degree
    in these disciplines from these institutions
    would certainly be a plus.

    My personal opinion is that an education is only as
    good as what the student learns and benefits from it.

    Carole Martin, The Interview Coach


    Fifth Answer:

    Your choice of school is not completely insignificant
    in terms of getting a job, but I would characterize
    it as a minor consideration.

    The choice of school can help you, of course, if you
    attend an extremely prestigious colleges, such as
    one in the Ivy League.

    Your choice can also help you in small ways in the job-selection process. If a decision-maker trying to determine whom to interview for a job vacancy notices on your resume that you went to the same college that he or she did, you might have a slight edge in being interviewed.

    Similarly, your school can be part of the conversation
    in interviews, if, for example, the interviewer attended
    the same school, knows someone who went to that school, or happens to know interesting things about the school.

    If an employer has had a good experience with hiring graduates of a particular school — yours — your choice can help you.

    So, yes, choice of school comes into play in the job search, but how the school stacks up in the job search should probably not be your major reason for choosing your college.

    What is far, far more important to employers is the
    quality of experience you gain in your field during your college years.

    Katharine Hansen, former speechwriter and college instructor who provides content for the Web site, Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and prepares job-search correspondence as chief writer for Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters

  • Ask the Experts: Making the Jump to Management

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    Question:

    I’m considering a career change. When I graduated from high school 20 years ago, I thought that I’d have learned everything I would need to know for my career by the time that I was thirty. I’m now forty and securely employed at a relatively low level with my company. I want to move into management but don’t know how to make that jump. What are some of the obstacles I’ll face and how do I best get around them?

    First Answer:

    Probably the biggest obstacle you face is the lack of a college degree. In
    today’s job market, education plays an important factor. Twenty years ago
    experience used to carry a lot of weight. Employers are looking for well
    educated people which equates to a college degree.

    As the Director of a
    Career Center, I see many adults who come back to school to document skills
    they may have already gained in the work place and to earn “that piece of
    paper” that will give them advanced job opportunities. Check in your area
    to see what types of programs are available for the adult who is working a
    full time job to continue their education and get a college degree. Many
    colleges have developed specialized programs for the working adult that
    makes getting that degree a reality. Check with your employer to see if
    your company offers any type of tuition reimbursement benefits for
    employees who continue their education.

    If you are interested in advancing with the company you are currently in,
    beginning checking with your supervisor, human resources, etc. to see what
    qualifications are demanded for the next level.

    Linda Wyatt, Career Center Director, Kansas City Kansas Community College


    Second Answer:

    You’ve made a great step in overcoming the first obstacle — no longer denying to yourself what you want to do.

    An excellent first step is to take a personality, skills, and knowledge assessment. This will help you understand who you are as far as how you deal with others and situations, whether you’re an outgoing people person or someone who likes to deal with tasks, projects and reports, whether you’re a cool cucumber under stressful or emergency situations or if you’re better at following the tried and true and improving on facts. The assessment will also show you how much you presently know in relation to management skills and therefore what you still need to know. This last one will help you be better able to handle construction criticism and direction.

    One of the biggest obstacles for any person wanting to get themselves promoted is credibility. Show you’re good at living up to your word. Make certain you follow through on all of the details of a project — especially the fine points. Express your good independent and creative judgment. Demonstrate your ability to plan and budget so that you realize a net profit from your efforts. Exhibit amenability to learning ways and concepts. Listen attentively and show you’ve understood. Be professional; don’t demean yourself.

    Another obstacle may be some form of advanced training or education. Never fear, there are ways to gain additional education and credentials through online or evening classes.

    Armed with your self knowledge, it’s time to start networking. Approach your supervisor. Approach trusted friends and colleagues who have moved into management positions. Let them know that you’re keenly interested in moving into management yourself. Tell them you’d like to be part of working on the planning and follow-through of projects that will help you gain the additional skills necessary to be a good manager. Have one in mind that you’d like to do. Be certain to get feedback where possible. Use it to improve.

    Once that project’s successfully completed (and make certain your successes are documented in your job file and on your resume), ask to be included in another project with a little more responsibility.

    May all your Entrances be through the doors of success!

    Yvonne LaRose, career and professional development coach, Career and Executive Recruiting Advice


    Third Answer:

    Your biggest obstacle is yourself! If you’ve been working this long,
    you’ve likely got some good insight in your industry and field and have
    a good idea of where your interests lie. You just need to believe in
    yourself–you are capable of moving up and being successful–and take
    action to get there. In order to do so, there are a number of
    questions you’ll want to consider:

    Can your current manager/supervisor help?

    If you have regular performance reviews, make sure your career path ever
    a part of those discussions. If not, you want to begin a dialogue with
    your immediate supervisor to determine what your options are. Your
    interest in moving up and continued development and progression should
    be noted in your reviews. You can also use review time as a chance to
    set development goals. In your current position determine if there are
    management tasks you can assist with to demonstrate your abilities. Ask
    your supervisor for stretch roles and take them on with energy and
    excitement. It is the easiest way to demonstrate you’re ready for your
    next challenege.

    Have you made yourself known?

    Do some career research and have some lunch conversations or coffee
    meetings with colleagues across your company. Make it clear you’re not
    looking for a job, but rather just doing some career research. Ask
    advice on how to move up and best practices from their experiences.
    Don’t spend these conversations talking about you. Instead, have a good
    list of questions such as: what do you like most about your management
    role? What actions and development activities were key to your growth?
    What advice would you give someone who is looking to grow into that type
    of role?

    Have you done any long-term planning?

    Moving into management is admirable, but make sure it is where you want
    to go. Don’t just make a move to make one. Spend some time ensuring
    that your skills, abilities and behaviors will enable you to be a
    success in management, and, that it is truly where you want to go.
    Itching to leve your current role doesn’t men the only move is up in
    your current organization. Be confident that it is what you really want.

    Susan Strayer, Assistant Director, Career Services, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education at the Johns Hopkins University and founder and President of University and Career Decisions

  • Ask the Experts: How to Properly Use Old References

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    Question:

    I interned at a company three years ago and would like the person who
    supervised me there to be one of my references. Unfortunately, he left
    the company at which I interned but I was able to find her through a
    google search. I have her new phone number and email address. Should I
    call or email her to ask if I may use her as a reference?

    First Answer:

    You should email her with a formal reference request, but do it
    carefully. In a first paragraph, begin the message by indicating that you
    learned through career research that she is now working at XYZ organization.
    Be sure to ask her how she is doing and reiterate how much you enjoyed
    working for her and what you learned during that experience. In a second
    paragraph, update her on your current situation, your time since you interned
    and your current status.

    Finally in a third paragraph, indicate that your purpose for writing is to
    ask if she would be willing to serve as a reference. Be sure to let her know
    that if she agrees, you’ll be respectful of her privacy and only provide the
    hiring organization with her preferred contact information after her
    approval.

    You’ll also want to let her know that if she is willing, you will follow-up
    with details on the job description, an overview of the search process,
    detail on who might be contacting her from the hiring organization and
    details on when that contact might occur. Don’t forget to attach a copy of
    your resume, and any information about what gaps the hiring organization may
    try to address, or what skill or performance areas might be the focus of the
    call.

    Remember, the more informed your reference, and the easier you make the
    process, the better the reference will be.

    Susan Strayer, Assistant Director, Career Services, School of Professional Studies in Business and Education at the Johns Hopkins University and founder and President of University and Career Decisions


    Second Answer:

    Should you ask someone who could be a valid reference for you to be one even if she left the original company? My quick answer is YES, as getting a great reference is one of the benefits of being an intern. However, I’ll temper that by saying that I would feel more comfortable contacting this person if the information is for her new, business address. If this is the case, email first and say that you’ll take the liberty of following up by phone.

    However, if the new information you got off Google is her personal contact information and NOT a business, I’d hesitate using it. Some might consider it an invasion of privacy (which the Internet has made so easy to do). Instead, I’d try to track her new business contact information from the original company you worked at. Chances are if they know you’re seeking a reference, they’ll provide the forwarding business email or phone.

    Alison Blackman Dunham, life & career expert, columnist, personal public relations consultant, half of THE ADVICE SISTERS®, and the author of the ASK ALISON career advice column


    Third Answer:

    This is the easiest question I’ve been asked in my time as a CollegeRecruiter.com expert and should put a smile on your face. Of course you may contact her to ask for permission to be a reference, and I would recommend calling over emailing as a more personal way to renew your professional relationship. If she agrees-and clearly you believe her appreciation of your work supports a recommendation–offer to email her a copy of your current resume, so that she can see your progress since the internship, and tell her what kind of a position you are seeking now. This will help her to answer a prospective employer’s questions.

    As a learning point for you, references are often more valuable when they have left the company at which you earned the recommendation. Most employers today muzzle their current employees and forbid them to give references; once you’ve left a firm, you are freer to speak.

    Treat all your references as the solid gold assets they are. Going forward, make sure you at least “check in” with them every six months. Senior-level former colleagues are not just a resource for when you are in job search; you may find yourself reaching out to identify talent, point you to information or a contact you can’t identify on your own. Additionally, relationship building is a two way street: you may find future opportunities to do something for those who’ve shepherded your career.

    Carol Anderson, Career Development and Placement Office, Robert J. Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy at New School University in New York City


    Fourth Answer:

    Definitely call first. Be polite and professional in your request and if you don’t hear back from the phone message, you could follow up with an email request. If you don’t hear back, don’t press the matter further.

    Tracy Laswell Williams, certified job and career transition coach, accredited resume writer and founder of CAREER-Magic.com


    Fifth Answer:

    This is definitely the time to call your previous supervisor. An enormous span of time has passed — three years. A huge number of things happen in our lives every day. Compound that by months and then by years. You soon realize that it’s easy to forget names, things, people when other priorities start to push a short (here, I’m saying one to three months) meeting aside.

    Asking someone to be a reference for you is nearly always going to be a personal conversation done in person, if you’re still at that site, or by phone call. Picking up the phone, especially after your prospective reference has made a job change, is a great way to re-connect. You can congratulate them on their new situation and ask them about it. Then segue to remind them of where you worked, what projects you worked on, how much you enjoyed a particular project or the insights you gained from your supervisor’s guidance and mentoring. These sorts of things are difficult to do in the body of a brief email. A phone conversation is the better route.

    You’re opening an exciting door to your future. May all of your Entrances be through the doors of success!

    Yvonne LaRose, career and professional development coach, Career and Executive Recruiting Advice


    Sixth Answer:

    In a word, yes. It matters little that she no longer works for the same firm at which you interned. What matters is her knowledge of you.

    You should always seek as references the people who will make the
    strongest recommendations for you. The key is people who know your
    strengths and abilities — and who will say positive things about you.

    Overall, you ideally want about three to five references – people who
    can speak highly of your accomplishments, work ethic, skills,
    education, performance, etc. For experienced job-seekers, most
    references should come from previous supervisors and co-workers whom
    you worked closely with in the past, though you may also choose to
    list an educational (mentor) or personal (character) reference.
    College students and recent grads have a little more flexibility, but
    ideally you should have several references from internships or
    volunteer work in addition to professors and personal references.
    Avoid listing family members; clergy or friends are okay for personal
    references. Former coaches, vendors, customers, and business
    acquaintances are also acceptable.

    You’re on the right track by planning to ask your former supervisor
    whether she would be comfortable serving as a reference for you. Most
    people will be flattered — or at least willing to serve as a
    reference — but you still need to ask to be sure. Be prepared for a
    few people to decline your request — for whatever reason.

    Make sure to get complete information from each reference: full name,
    current title, company name, business address, and contact
    information (daytime phone, email, cell phone, etc.).

    Ensure that each reference always has a copy of your most current
    resume, knows your key accomplishments and skills, and is aware of
    the jobs/positions you are seeking. Again, the best references are
    the ones who know who you are, what you can accomplish, and what you
    want to do.

    Don’t forget to thank your references once your current job search is
    complete. Some companies never contact any references, some only
    check the first one or two, and some check all. Regardless, these
    people were willing to help you, and thanking them is simply a common
    courtesy.

    Katharine Hansen, former speechwriter and college instructor who provides content for the Web site, Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and prepares job-search correspondence as chief writer for Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters


    Seventh Answer:

    Don’t believe there’s any other way to do it unless this person has
    well-established ESP abilities…

    Email the person first, letting them know what kind of position you’re
    seeking – this way, they should be able to tailor to reference to fit the
    position. Let them know when you plan on calling them and call them at that
    time. When you call them, thank them profusely and offer your assistance in
    any way possible.

    Now there’s always a possibility that they may not want to offer you a
    reference – be polite but re-emphasize how much you learned from them (you
    know, suck up) and how much you’d appreciate their reference being a
    springboard for your career. Unless they’re completely heartless, you should
    walk away with a great reference.

    Steve Levy, Principal of outside-the-box Consulting


    Eighth Answer:

    Absolutely, you should contact her! It really doesn’t matter where she is NOW; what matters is that she worked closely with you three years ago and that, as such, she can speak about you with credibility and expertise.

    It will be up to her, of course, to decide whether she WANTS to serve as a reference for you. But if you don’t even ask her, then there’s NO chance she will be! 🙂

    Peter Vogt, college career counselor, President of Career Planning Resources, and a Personal Career Coach with College to Career