Job Seeking Resources

Social Media Errors that are Affecting Your Job Hunt

Contrary to what some people may think, who you are online is not disconnected from who you are in your day-to-day life. As social media continues to gain normalcy, people filter their tweets and posts less and less, while potential employers are checking out social profiles more and more. What you say online could cost you the job you’re applying for. No matter how sure you are that what you’ve posted, tweeted, or shared is private, it’s not. Here are some things not to include on your social media or any other online accounts.

Fun Pictures from College

Believe it or not, if you have a picture from your college days, maybe as a previous profile pic on Facebook, it could work against you. Especially if said picture is you doing a shot or some other questionable picture. Employers look through your posts and pictures pretty well, and finding an image, even from way-back-when that is questionable could work against you.

Complaints about previous jobs

These definitely shouldn’t make it into your tweets or posts. Whether or not you actually say the name of your boss, coworker, or company, you could get passed over. Venting your frustrations online about your job is never appropriate. Choose instead to talk it over with a trusted friend. What you have to say may be true, but it creates a poor impression of you. After all, if you lacked discretion then, your potential employer is probably wondering if you lack it still.

Inflammatory statements

Especially with your professional accounts, you don’t need to state your political affiliation. As much as you might like to engage in a debate about your favorite or least favorite political candidate, resist the urge. You don’t need your potential employer viewing your professional account and finding long rants or heated conversations with other LinkedIn users. Everyone has opinions and expressing them is good. But there is a time and place for that. Social media, even if it’s your private account, may not be the best place to do so.

Anything illegal

Whether it’s a joking reference or not, avoid this at all cost. Online, you can’t decipher tone or context, so no one really knows what you mean by what you said. Any illegal activity on your part could get you in trouble with the law and would reflect poorly on your company. So don’t reference anything illegal and keep your reputation pristine.

Playing when you should be working

This one seems obvious, but it happens quite often. Requesting time off work for a “family emergency” and then posting pictures of yourself at a party is not going to end well for you. Lying to your boss obviously is poor judgment, and will reflect badly on you. Even if your potential employer doesn’t know the context, your post contains a date and time mark. This means that they see when it was posted, presumably when it was happening.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your personal and professional accounts separate. Don’t let the two mix. Stay professional on your LinkedIn and Twitter professional accounts. On your personal accounts, simply use good judgment. You can be more relaxed, but be aware of what can really turn potential employers away.

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7 Networking Mistakes That are Undermining You

How are your networking skills? But really, how are they? You may think you’re hitting it out of the park at every networking event you attend, but you could really be undermining your efforts. If you’re doing any or all of these 7 things, it’s time to change your networking style.

  1. Forgetting your business cards

The conversation went well. You see a potentially mutually beneficial relationship in the works. So you pull a gum wrapper out of your pocket and start jotting down your information. Big NO. Invest in yourself and your business contact; and get some business cards before you hit this point. Show that you believe that both your contact and yourself are worth the effort.

  1. Monopolizing everyone’s time

This can apply whether you’re meeting in person or online. If you’re at a networking event, then everyone else is there to, yes, you guessed it, network. You’re not the only one looking for advice or information. Be considerate of not only those around you but also the person you’re talking to. When you connect online, be aware that their life doesn’t revolve around meeting you. They have a life and a job, let them live it.

  1. Waiting until it’s too late

If you’re waiting to establish contacts until you need them, then it’s too late. By the time you need them badly, you don’t have the time to get quality ones. Plus, you’ll come off as desperate, a quality you don’t want to be exhibiting. Start building your network now, so that when you need them, you’ll be able to access those people immediately.

  1. Dressing down

If you’re at an event where you know you have the potential to connect with people and make good contacts, dress accordingly. If it’s a casual affair, be clean, tidy and sharp. Just because a picnic is involved doesn’t mean you should break out the stained t-shirt and holey jeans. This could be the conversation that lands you the job you’ve been waiting for. Treat the opportunity accordingly.

  1. Coming unprepared

Know what you need and how to get it. Don’t bumble and fumble your way through conversations because you’re not really sure what you want. Additionally, do your research. Know the individuals who are coming and how they like to connect with people. Do your research and be prepared to show your intelligence.

  1. Not following up

You may tell yourself that you would never do this, but many people never actually follow up on contacts. Whether they think they don’t need the contact or they get paralyzed by ‘what-ifs’, this is a huge mistake. You went to all the trouble of meeting the person, putting yourself out there, and maybe even getting an offer of help. Even if you only had a good conversation, follow up by email or phone and let them know you appreciate the conversation and their time. This will also help them to remember you longer than a week.

  1. Forgetting to send a thank-you

This can be accompanied in your follow up, and should definitely be present when you and the other person part ways. Thanking someone for their time is a standard courtesy that many people forget. Rise above the crowd and send a thank-you along with your follow-up. Let them know that you really did appreciate their time because it is valuable.

If you avoid these 7 networking mistakes, you’ll have stronger, better network relationships. Evaluate your networking abilities right now. Is there anything you need to change? If so, do it! It’s never too late to start networking like a pro.

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Time’s Up! Why 5 Years is Long Enough at Your Job

After a certain amount of time, staying at your current job starts working against you, not for you. Job-hopping isn’t a good idea, but there’s a difference between that and strategically moving your career along. Gone are the days of employees staying at the same company in the same position for 30, 40, 50 years. The culture of the times has changed and you’d better be ready to change right along with it.

The Why

If you find yourself at the same job, doing the same ol’ same ol’, for an extended period, you’re in danger.  Because of the extensive use of technology, changes happen frequently and fast in the business world. If you’re not up to date on what’s new, you’ll quickly find yourself outdated and irrelevant.

The truth is, after you’ve been at the same job for a while, you lose your ‘new’ factor. Though you may be performing optimally, the new faces may get more attention and promotions from your managers.

So, When?

What is this magic number that has such an impact on your career? Most people agree that five years is the max amount of time you want to stay in the same job at your company. This changes depending on promotions within your company. However, if you find yourself still at XYZ company, in the same job, passed over for a promotion again at year five, then it’s time for you to look for a new opportunity.

Leaving a job too soon, however, may show you to be flighty. You need your higher-ups to feel they can count on you to stick with a job for a while. It’s necessary to stay at a job long enough to do your work well, build a good reputation, and build your skills. However, avoiding stagnation and an unchallenging atmosphere is also important. That’s why year four or five is the best time to start thinking about moving on. You’ve built up a good foundation at the company, but since you haven’t been promoted and assuming there aren’t any opportunities for growth within the company, it’s time to move on.

What’s the Problem?

Like above, becoming irrelevant or out of date at a job is very dangerous. There are always new ways of doing things and new technologies to consider. If you’re not keeping up with those, then you’ll quickly fall behind.

This also impacts how others view you. If you stay at a job for more than five years without a promotion, then your boss may come under the false belief that you are content with the job you’re at.

A common reason for staying with a company is the money. The chance for a raise or a bonus can be an incentive. However, when compared with the ability to negotiate your salary and a chance at a different company for continued promotions, this fails to be a good reason to stay.

Finally, staying at a company too long can kill your career advancement. If you want to continue advancing in your career, and your company doesn’t provide for that, then you need to move on. Don’t lose sight of your goals. If your goals change, that’s fine. But if you still feel that drive to keep moving forward, then you’ll need to start looking.

Knowing when to leave your current job takes strategy and careful planning and thought. You don’t want to leave too soon, but you don’t want to leave too late, either. Keep on the lookout for what you want to do next, and be tuned in to your company’s capability for promotion.

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The Top 7 Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

If you’ve been on the job search journey, you’ve spent some time with the Interview. Many people struggle with the questions they are required to answer. Here are several go-to questions that you can review that will help you to be better prepared.

  1. Tell me about yourself.

While worded as a statement, this is really a question you can use to describe your work background and qualifications. If you capitalize on this opportunity,  you may subtly describe why you’re the best candidate for the job. This is the time to outline your professional (not personal) journey. What you’ve learned along the way and what you may value at a job. Tailor this to the job you’re interviewing for, and you’ll not only impress the HR person but give them some valuable info. Remember, this isn’t the time to describe your personal life journey, including the brief period of heartache when your fish, Fido, passed on.

  1. Why are you leaving your current job? or Why were you fired from your previous job?

While this may seem like a tricky question, it’s one that you can easily manage if you give it some thought. In a way that doesn’t bash your previous boss or coworkers, explain your reasons for moving on, but phrase them in a positive way. Talk about the growth opportunities at this job or, if you were laid off, explaining the bad economy at your job is okay too. Be honest about the reasons for your firing. But also tell what you’ve learned from the experience and what you’ve done to address the issues your boss had with you and your performance.

  1. Why do you want to work at this job?

This is where you show your research about the company (which should be done before the interview). Be able to explain the benefits of working in that environment, with those opportunities. Bring up specific examples you’ve researched. In this way, you show that they’re not just another company, but a place you have a strong interest in.

  1. What is your greatest strength?

Another great opportunity to address the job’s specific needs, you can really shine on this question. Relate them to your abilities and how they can fix the problems that the company is encountering. Be able to express your unique strengths and qualities specifically, but keep it brief. Don’t allow arrogance to kill the appointment. Also, be willing to give a brief story of how this played out at your job.

  1. What is your greatest weakness?

This is the question that often paralyzes people. Don’t go for one of the trite answers, like “perfectionist tendencies”. Those are insincere and don’t really give the HR person any idea of what your weaknesses might actually be. Choose something that you’ve been working on, or was an issue in your last job. Try to find something that doesn’t specifically relate to the issue in the position you’re applying for. Once you know what it is, explain how you’ve been working on it or addressing it and give a specific example of how you’ve improved.

  1. Why should we hire you?

Though another potentially intimidating question, this opens up the floor for you to explain what is unique about you. This is your opportunity to share what made you think you’d be suitable for the job in the first place. Remember, researching the company to know their specific needs will be very helpful to you. Tell how you’ve solved a similar problem at a previous job.

  1. Do you have any questions for us?

Do not say no! It may have been a long, rigorous interrogation, I mean, interview, but don’t allow your weariness to keep you from getting the job! The vast majority of people say “no,” so saying yes will immediately catch their attention. Come prepared with thoughtful questions you’ve considered ahead of time that address the company’s values or concerning the job itself.

Feel prepared to conquer your next interview by reviewing these questions and considering your response to each of them. You don’t have to have a memorized response to each. Actually, if you’re going to be going to several different interviews, then that would be a bad idea. Do your research and know how you would answer, and you’ll be ready to knock that interview out of the park!

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Answering the Quitting Question

There could be many different reasons for why you left your last job, or employed, but currently looking for a new opportunity. In an interview, you need to be able to articulate those reasons well without digging yourself into a hole.

All About Perspective

Whether you were fired, laid off or chose to quit your job, don’t let the negatives become the focus. Explain the benefits of what happened. If you felt like you couldn’t grow any more in the job you’re in, emphasize how you feel the job you’re applying for would give you those growth opportunities. If you were laid off, hopefully it wasn’t because of any fault of your own. Talk about how you and your boss still have a good relationship (maybe they’re even one of your references!). But only do this if you actually do have a good relationship still. There are plenty of negative reasons for quitting a job, but you don’t necessarily want to air all of those. Instead, find the positives and draw their focus there.

Be Honest, Not Comprehensive

They don’t need to know every frustration. Be tactful and succinct. Express why you left, but again, don’t be very negative about it. Industries can be interconnected, so you’ll never know if the interviewer knows your previous boss in some capacity. Plus, if you indulge in complaining about your other workplace to the interviewer of this new job, they’ll probably wonder how long it will be until you’re complaining at your new job.

Practice giving a to-the-point answer as to why you’re making this change. Don’t give in to the temptation to complain or point fingers at your workplace.

Consider Your Response

What are some responses for why you’re quitting/have already quit your job? A few could be: you got burnt out, you had to take care of a sick family member or just needed to spend more time with family, the job you’re currently applying for was just such a good opportunity, or you needed room to grow. All of these are acceptable answers and are much better than just saying, “I hated my job and wanted to leave”. Your next employer wants you to be honest with them, but how you phrase your responses will help them to see the validity of your choice.

How you present yourself and your position can be a huge factor in getting a job in today’s competitive market. Being able to articulate why you left/are leaving a job in a way that shows respect for your previous employer. But always show excitement for the opportunity and challenge ahead. With some practice and forethought, you can effectively answer the quitting question.

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Four Don’ts for Your Resume

Whether you’re accustomed to working with a recruiter or not, there are some things that they—and others—don’t want to see on your resume. With so many resumes coming to them on a daily basis, recruiters want you to cut to the chase. Get rid of the unnecessary parts that bog you down.

If you found yourself adding one or more of these to your resume, don’t lose heart! Get out your resume right now and as you read, make the necessary changes. It’s never too late to create an exceptional resume.

Don’t Over Compensate

Have you not had much job experience yet? Maybe you’re fresh out of college or you’re just starting in your field. Don’t try to mask that by going into extreme—and unnecessary—detail on the jobs you have had. Instead, explain what you did at that job and also what the results were from that. What did you accomplish because of your responsibilities?

Don’t Follow the Crowd

Buzzwords are a big thing. And because they’re a big thing, everyone uses them. So rather than picking your ten favorite buzzwords and using them in your resume, go for something more personal. They’re called buzzwords because people are talking about them and using them. Which means that, by the time you’re on to the game, they’re old hat and are becoming overused. Carefully choose what words to use in your resume, and if you feel one of these is necessary, see if you can’t use a synonym instead. Use words with punch. As soon as they become overused, they lose impact and gain a reputation as annoying.

Don’t Try to Hide Gaps

If you weren’t working for a time, explain why that was, don’t try to hide it. Maybe because of a downturn in the economy you were out of work for a while. Perhaps you had to quit your job to focus on caring for a relative. Whatever the reason, rather than trying to hide or come up with ambiguous dates to conceal the gap, explain it.

Don’t Get Too Creative

If you’re applying for a design job or something having to do with illustration, then by all means, go for it! But if you’re not, then you don’t need—and shouldn’t include—7 different kinds of fonts with 5 graphics. This ends up distracting from what you’re trying to say, not adding to it. It also comes off as unprofessional, especially if you don’t do it well. Consider the job you’re applying for. Be somewhat creative, use small, effective means to make your resume pop, just not enough that it explodes on the recruiter’s desk.

In a competitive economy, where many people are applying for the same jobs, it’s no easy task to stand out. However, if you pay attention to these details, the recruiter will thank you. Or really anyone who may come across your resume. Show how great a candidate you are, and boost your chances to get your resume noticed.

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4 Simple Ways to Express Your Strengths

One of the single most dreaded questions during an interview is: “What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?” The weaknesses part is a discussion all by itself, so today we’re going to look at your strengths.

  1. Be specific

“I’m a hard worker” is not specific. That’s a very general answer that everyone would claim. Instead, saying “Once I commit to a job I do whatever needs to happen to get it done,” is a better option.

Whatever strength you say you have, follow it up with a short, 1-2 minute story. How did this strength play out at your last job? In what way did you use your strengths and develop them?

If you’re having trouble figuring out what your strengths are, ask a friend or a coworker you trust. You can also go back and look at performance reviews or compliments from your boss. What stood out to them? That’s probably a strength you have.

  1. Be realistic

Don’t come up with a strength that you don’t have. If you claim to know French fluently but don’t, you’ll be in big trouble if you’re asked to communicate with suppliers there. Google Translate will not serve you well for long.

You have specific talents and abilities. Don’t sell yourself short—or prove yourself a liar—by claiming a strength that’s not your own.

  1. Be relevant

Since you’ve already discovered what your various strengths are, consider the position you’re applying for. Does it require a certain skillset? What descriptions about the job carry subtle cues as to what will be needed? Part of being able to sell yourself and what you can do well is knowing what the company needs. How do you fit this job with your unique strengths? If you can first understand that, then communicate it to the interviewer, you’ll leave an impression. Rather than just another interviewee wanting a job, you’ll be someone who knows what the company needs and knows how to fit that need to a ‘T’.

  1. Be yourself

Your greatest asset for getting this job is knowing you. You are a unique individual and no other candidate is exactly like you. That’s what you need to express. In what way do you stand out from the crowd? Let your personality show as you explain your strengths and weaknesses in the interview. Don’t allow stress or nerves to turn you into a robot.

With that said, you can also practice expressing what your strengths are. Write out what you would say, and go over that until you’re familiar with it, but not mechanical. Know how to communicate what makes you a valuable asset to their company. Develop your skills in this area. You may be like many others who don’t necessarily feel comfortable tooting their own horn. However, this isn’t a pride issue. Unless you ramble on and on about how you’ll be this company’s greatest asset ever, the interviewer will welcome you explaining more about yourself. After all, they won’t know unless you tell them.

Interviews can be a big blank spot for a lot of people. That doesn’t have to be you. When you learn what your strengths are and have the ability to communicate those properly, it will get you a long way, and could even land you that job.

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Don’t Sweat It

When you’re between jobs, looking for your dream job or just trying to find any job, stress levels can run high. There is plenty that you can stress about in this process, but there are some things that your HR connection doesn’t really care about. So neither should you.


  • Design

Unless you’re trying to get a job with a design firm, most Hiring Managers don’t care about how fancy the font is or the special design on your resume. Instead, these details will seem superfluous and will make it look like you’re missing the point. It can give the impression that you’re more interested in creating a nice-looking resume than making sure you’re the best fit for their job.

Rather than spend hours on making sure your resume has just the right look, make sure that it clearly conveys why you’re the best fit for the job you’re trying to get. Pay attention to the details that will make your resume stand out because of its clarity and conciseness, not because it’s reflecting the overhead lights.

  • Length

Many articles have been written on how the length of your resume shouldn’t exceed one page, that you’re just shooting yourself in the foot if you dare to venture onto page two. If you’ve had five or more years out in the work force, then don’t worry about it. The information on your resume needs to be appropriate, to the point and relevant to the job. If that warrants adding an extra page to the document, go for it. Don’t spend all your time changing font sizes and adjusting margins.


There is no debate – send a thank-you note after an interview. And do it within a day or two. However, with how quickly things move these days, hand writing a thank-you and sending it through the postal service is no longer necessary. Many hiring managers agree that, as long as it’s well-written and not a form thank-you, email works just as well. If you prefer sending it by mail or know that’s the hiring manager’s preference, go for it! But don’t let it bog you down. Also, if you have multiple interviews, continue sending those thank-yous!

When you do send that thank-you, by mail or email, make sure that the spelling and punctuation are correct. All forms of communication continue to be important. The pressure doesn’t leave just because the interview is done.

Cover Letters

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to contrive some incredibly creative, off-the-wall cover letter. In fact, that may hurt rather than help you. What hiring managers want to see in your cover letter is why you, personally, would be good for this job. What about you fits so well with the job opportunity? Let your personality show, but still be concise.

Remember, your cover letter should be specific to each job you’re applying to. Don’t write up a universal cover letter. You’ll lose interest fast if you don’t address why you’re the right individual for the job and why.

There are plenty of things you’ll stress about when applying for jobs, going through the interview process and eventually getting a job. These points don’t have to be on your stress-list. Focus on the things that really matter and enjoy the results.

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Is the Writing on the Wall for Your Job?

Sometimes the writing is on the wall, but you just can’t seem to see it. There are sure signs that, when combined, are strong hints that you should consider switching jobs. You can resolve some issues through work and cooperation. And by all means, pursue that first. But there are some areas that can’t be fixed, which may result in you needing to seriously consider switching jobs. What are those reasons?

Stagnation has become the norm.

Your work isn’t always going to be what you wish it would be. After all, you call it work for a reason. There is a point, though, where it goes beyond that. The excitement you once had at the challenges and opportunities has fizzled out like a sparkler during the Fourth of July. The skills that you brought to the table either aren’t being used or you haven’t experienced any growth. If you have to look for ways to learn new things yourself and your boss has little interest in providing those for you, that’s a problem.

Generally, the American populace works 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. That’s a lot of time to spend on a job that leaves you bored, stagnant and unchallenged. This may be a sign that you need to move on.

You have irreconcilable issues with your boss.

This isn’t an easy “out”; there are many interpersonal issues that can be resolved with a little effort. However, if your boss reacts to your efforts in a hostile way, then you have a major issue. Some relationships are unable to be repaired, whether because of a misunderstanding, a difference in personality, or lack of trust. This is especially true when you are willing to put in the effort, but your boss lacks any interest in meeting you there.

Recent layoffs have resulted in an increased work load with no increase in pay.

There are legitimate reasons for a company having to resort to layoffs. If you’re still at the company, that could be a good thing, but there could still be problems. You may find more work on your desk and more expected of you but without the additional compensation. This is a short road to becoming burned out and very dissatisfied with your job. If the downsizing results in the company doing better, and yet you’re seeing no return on that investment for you, it could very well be time to go.

You dread going to work.

Not only has all pizzazz gone out of your job, you’ve started to dread even going to bed Sunday night because you know Monday morning you’ll be heading back to work. If you’re frequently thinking about how much you don’t want to go to work on your days off, then you have a problem. This could just be a short season, but if it persists, it’s part of a bigger problem. Your job takes up a huge part of your life. Are you willing to let your misery continue?

There’s no chance for promotion.

You want to keep climbing the proverbial ladder, but it has apparently run out of rungs. Are you happy with where you’re at or are you wanting to continue advancing? If the latter is the case, then your only course of action may be switching to a new job. You may run the risk of having to go down a peg or two in the process, but the end result will be worth it as more opportunities for advancement come up.

Only you can know if it’s time to move on from your current job. Chances are, if you’ve read to the end of this article, it may be time for you to make a change.

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Spin these 4 Common Job Hunting Weaknesses to Positives

When you’ve been at a job interview, have you ever dreaded the question, “What do you consider your weaknesses?”. Yes, sometimes it’s a difficult one to answer. It’s safe to say that even the most confident people have some sort of weakness, but this doesn’t have to impede your job search. Regardless of the time and energy you have spent in researching an organization or getting ready for an interview, it only takes one question to ruin an interview.

Most job seekers dread candidacy weakness questions because they don’t want to attract attention to their negative attributes and spoil the chances for the job. However, a weakness can be seen as an area of untapped potential rather than a personal deficiency. For this reason, several approaches can be taken in answering questions about your weaknesses.

Here are 4 ways you can put a positive spin on job candidacy weaknesses:

  1. I am assertive
    A number of people view assertive people as arrogant and dominating. Assertive people tend to exude self-assurance and confidence that may be misconstrued as being bossy. You may want to tell your prospective employer that you consider your assertiveness as a desirable communication skill where you honesty and respectfully interact with your co-workers. When you assert your views, you solve problems and take responsibility. Assertiveness is a healthy alternative to submission and aggression.
  1. Inexperience
    Lack of experience is a top weakness among job seekers. If you’re lacking experience for a job, you should major on your skills and attributes that prove that you are a fast learner. Everyone starts as a beginner at some point in life. It’s important to list your accomplishments on your resume. Point out the projects that you have successfully implemented. Inexperience is common, particularly for people seeking to change careers. In such instances, you can look for your takeaway skills that can be customized to suit your new job. Lack of experience can also be an advantage because skills can be taught.
  1. Disparity in your work experience
    In today’s unpredictable employment climate, you may find yourself without a job for longer than you expect. If the recession left you without a job, you should be able to account for what you did during this period. You may have volunteered or taken classes to keep you busy. Most employers will look for this information because, by being engaged in different endeavors, you show your commitment to your career. Therefore, it’s important to indicate this on your resume.
  1. Job hopping
    It’s undeniable that employers prefer job seekers with a stable work history. However, people change jobs for a myriad of reasons. Employers may be uncertain whether you will be with them for long. You may have changed jobs because your spouse was transferred or you relocated to assist your elderly parents. It’s appropriate to indicate this on your cover letter. No one expects you to work with one employer from internship to retirement, but changing jobs quickly can make employers think that you fear commitment. You can spin this by focusing on the prevalent themes of your work, and these can be categorized under a common heading. This is bound to make you look more experienced rather than the hit-and-run type. Pointing out your accomplishments and successes along the way can help your job search process.

Don’t allow commonly perceived weaknesses to keep you down when it comes to a job interview. Go ahead and look for the silver lining in any weakness you may have and boldly declare the positive spin during an interview. Be confident, as confidence goes a long way when it comes to landing a job.