Cover Letter Superstar

May 7, 2010


THIS is a cover letter:

Creative job seekers- take note!  Don’t copy, of course, but this gives you an idea of how to seriously differentiate yourself.

That’s all.  Just look and learn.





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What Not to Wear- to an interview

April 27, 2010

The other day I had a conversation with a hiring manager about how people dress for interviews.  He stated that if an applicant didn’t wear a suit they were automatically out. I laughed and said that most companies I have worked with see wearing a suit as a disqualifier.

Many articles on interviewing talk about dressing professionally, right down to wearing a suit- for men and women.  However, this is misleading.  It completely depends on the culture of the company at which you are interviewing.

If you are interviewing with a Fortune 500 company, a law firm, a bank, etc., then yes, suits are required.  If, though, you are interviewing with a 10 person start up made up of mostly engineers, chances are you’ll appear too stuffy or conservative in a suit.  You will differentiate yourself in a negative way.  This is not what you want.

Regardless of where you interview, you want the way you dress to accentuate the fact you are a great fit.  If you are not sure what to wear, call your contact and ask before the interview.   Once you know, veer slightly towards more conservative.  This means, if they say they wear t-shirts and jeans every day, you could wear khakis and a casual button-down.  If they wear khakis and button-down shirts, then wear your nicest button-down.

Here is a sample of  ”what not to wear” items regardless of the company:

  • Wrinkled clothes
  • Clothes with holes (intentional or not)
  • Clothes that show an inappropriate amount of skin, such as shorts, short skirts, tank tops, halter tops, etc.
  • Stained clothes
  • Dirty (smelly) clothes
  • Cologne/perfume (the scent may be too strong, your interviewer may have allergies or may have a negative association with the scent you choose)

Above all, you want to show that you fit the culture- and appearance is a piece of the pie.


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Interviewing: What NOT to Say

September 29, 2009

There is a lot of information online about potential interview questions, but not as much about “no no” topics and comments.  Given that, we thought it would be helpful to have a “What NOT to talk about in an interview” list.

Below are some examples of topics to refrain from discussing.  To some, they may be common sense, to some a surprise.  To all, take note.

  • You were fired from your last job for violating the NDA, but who cares, NDAs don’t matter
  • How much you enjoy drinking on the job
  • You are planning on moving out of the country in the near future
  • You’ll sue anyone if they make you angry
  • You really need a job, any job
  • You beg for the job
  • You ask if you can wear pajamas to work
  • You got in a fistfight with a co-worker who disagreed with you
  • You discuss your previous boss’s personal problems
  • You discuss your religion and ask the interviewer to come to your church
  • You don’t have references because you never got along with anyone at any job
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September 25, 2009

Here is a scenario.

Julie wants a job. She sends in her resume and somehow gest an interview with a company. Julie shows up for the interview and the first question asked is “What do you know about our company?”.

The problem is, Julie didn’t research the company beyond a quick glance through their website for the job posting and contact information. She knows the general industry, but none of the details contained on the website or available in a quick google search.

Her answer is “Your company is a leader in the paper cup industry.”

1 point for the right industry, 0 points for any other information.

To the interviewer, if you are really interested in the position, you know something more. Facts like these show you have done some degree of research, you have put in some effort and actually are interested in them, not just any job:

  • How long the company has existed
  • Company size
  • Annual revenue
  • Market share
  • Bonus: Challenges they face
  • Bonus: Ideas you have to help with challenges they face

Your perceived value increases when you obvious interest in and understanding of the company increases.

So, before the next interview, research the company!

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