20 Job Search Questions You Were Too Embarrassed To Ask

Liz Ryan

Ten years ago finding a new job was a straightforward process.

These days job-hunting is complex. Few schools teach students how to find a job when they graduate.

It is absurd that a kid could spend four years in high school and four in college and never be taught the steps in a job search — but that is the reality.

Here are 20 common job search questions people wonder about.

2. How long should my resume be?

A standard resume is one or two pages long. An academic or scientific CV could be several pages longer.

3. I could never squeeze my resume down to two pages. How can I shorten it?

Drop off the jobs you held earliest in your career, or devote only a line or two to past jobs that are less relevant to who you are today.

10. I’ve always been told to stuff as many keywords in my resume as possible. Is that bad advice?

It’s good advice if you’re planning to toss your resumes into employer career portals where a keyword-searching algorithm will represent your best chance of getting an interview.

If you’re planning on sending your resume directly to a human being to read (e.g. your hiring manager) then it doesn’t need to be stuffed with keywords — your story and credibility will shine through more strongly when you steer clear of jargon.

You’ll still need to list your technical qualifications on your resume.

See all 20 questions, the answers, and the complete Forbes article

6 Tips for an Effective Job Search

Like vowing to lose weight or spend less money, landing a new job may sound like a great resolution for the new year. But reaching goals, and having an effective job search, involves more than just wishful thinking.

Turn your words into action with these six tips on how to really get into job search mode and have an effective job search:

3. Get networking.

You know you want a new job, but does anyone else? Get the word out to people in your network. Cast a wide net—anyone could be a potential lead.

Prioritize meeting new people by attending professional events, alumni gatherings, and the like. Connections still rank as a top way to land a job, and socializing sure beats spending all of your job search time behind a computer.

4. Construct an awesome elevator pitch.

Be ready to flip into go-getter mode at any second by having an elevator pitch down pat.

“An elevator pitch serves as an introduction and first impression,” says Ryan Brechbill, director of the Center for Career & Professional Development at Otterbein University in Ohio. “It immediately signals to the listener the candidate’s level of self-awareness, confidence, and purpose.”

Aim for brevity, a natural delivery, and a welcoming approach. And definitely consider what listeners will find interesting or helpful.

See all 6 tips and the complete article

9 Questions You Should Ask in a Job Interview

Sophie Deering

At the end of most job interviews, the interviewer will give the candidate a chance to ask questions of their own and in order to give the them the impression that you really are interested in the company, it’s important that you grasp the opportunity and ask at least one question. If you’re unsure of what kind of thing to ask however, here are a few questions that you should ask in your job interview.

1) What experiences and skills does an ideal candidate for this position possess?

This open-ended question allows the interviewer to tell you what exactly the company is looking for. If the interviewer mentions a skill or experience that you have, but didn’t include in your resume, now is your chance to let them know.

7) Is there scope for progression within the company?

This again will demonstrate that you are serious about becoming a valued asset within the company and are looking to progress within the business, showing commitment and drive. Employers want to hire staff with ambition and enthusiasm, so don’t worry about coming on too strong or jumping the gun, as it will just show them that you are looking forward in your career and are confident.

9) What is the next step in the hiring process?

This important question should wrap up your interview. By asking this question, you show the interviewer that you are really interested in the job and that you are excited to move forward. You may also ask the interviewer about the number of candidates competing for this position.

See all 9 questions and the complete UndercoverRecruiter article


The Job Search Trick That Skyrocketed My Response Rate

Krista Gray

Freelance writer Ryan Erskine was ready to make the leap to working for someone else full-time. But even though he’d written tons of package copy, articles, and newsletters for the web, he struggled to find a way to set himself apart during his job search.

“I was having a really tough time finding an effective way to highlight my previous work for potential employers. I knew I needed a way to really stand out and showcase what I had done before.”

Applying with a resume and cover letter wasn’t working, so Ryan decided to set up a personal website. His goal? Keep it simple and put his work front and center. As a result, he landed a job.

“When I interviewed with BrandYourself (the company where I work now), I was thrilled to discover that my site had actually played an essential role in landing me the interview. The head of HR found it at the top of Google search results, was impressed by one my blog posts, and felt compelled to reach out. Then, when I met with other members of the team, they specifically brought up my writing portfolio, which I keep on my website.”

Jeff Moriarty a marketer and SEO expert who was in search of an agency job, shares Ryan’s successes with using a personal website to get himself hired. “I built my Squarespace site in about six hours just before I started looking for a new job,” he says. “My first goal was to show my industry knowledge with niche content like videos and blog posts, but it was important for me to share some of the companies I’d worked with in a more visual way and to include testimonials from them.”

Now happily working full-time, Jeff tells us that he confirmed that his site was a definite difference maker in his search—he got hired within three weeks. “It helped me show so much more than my resume or Linkedin profile did,” he notes. “It captures the spirit of who I am, which made the difference when applying for jobs.”

These stories aren’t unique. NYC-based career and business coach Harper Spero agrees that a personal website is a valuable part of your job application materials that you should never overlook. “Studies show that recruiters spend six seconds on a resume,” she says. “This is obviously not a long time to impress them. If your website is featured on your resume, there’s an opportunity for someone to spend more time checking you out, sharing your story and work samples, and learning things they never might have never taken the time to dig into about you otherwise.”

See the full The Muse article and How to Build Your Own Job-Landing Website

How I Manage 6 Side Gigs While Looking for My Dream Job

By Shelcy Joseph

My goal is to be a full-time content creator. But as I embarked on my job search, I was routinely told I didn’t have enough experience.

It’s a Catch-22: I needed a job to get experience, but I needed experience to get a job.

So, I found a way to create my own opportunities and set myself apart. I’m currently working two part-time, in-office internships in digital marketing; I run a career blog and YouTube channel; and I do freelance writing and video editing on the side. For those of you who lost count, that’s six gigs.

As exhausting as it might be, having these pursuits has brought me closer to my dream job. I now have a solid portfolio of work I can showcase to prospective employers and a variety of skills I wouldn’t have otherwise developed. I also had the chance to network with a few experts in my fields of interest. Most importantly, I have enough experience and self-confidence to excel as a job candidate.

But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. Balancing jobs is tough: I have to motivate myself to work on projects after a long day in the office. And doing that requires me to really focus on time management because every hour in my day has to count.

1) I Focus on Endeavors That Complement Each Other

I’m what writer and entrepreneur Emilie Wapnick would call a “multipotentialite,” I thrive on pursuing numerous things. But if my side gigs and internships required totally different skill sets, it would be overwhelming to apply to jobs as well.

I work in digital marketing, and I use the same skills for my side hustles. My job consists of taking pictures, filming videos, editing clips, blogging, and scheduling social media posts—and so do my personal projects. This saves times because anything I learn will get me ahead in my internships, my freelance gigs, and make me a more attractive candidate for the roles I’m applying to.

For example, just recently I started teaching myself Photoshop at the office for an up-coming project for my job. It works out perfectly because now I won’t have to do that on my free time—and I’ll be able to add it to the skills section of my resume.

Now I know it’s not the case for everyone—maybe you work in finance and you’re a photographer on the side—but you can identify skills that’d work for both (e.g., if you could improve at organization) you’ll only have to take the time to learn something once, but be able to use it across the board.

See the 4 ways to balance and the complete TheMuse article

The One Tiny Change That Could Open Up All the Doors in Your Job Search

By Jenni Maier

Ever since I’ve started working at The Muse, I’ve gotten cornered by people at social gatherings who whisper in my ear, “Hey, I’m looking for a job, I heard you can help.”

I typically respond by pulling the person into a back alley, opening up my trench coat, and asking if the person’s looking for fully-tailored resumes, or cover letters with witty openers—or, for an extra cost, offer letters that only need their signature.

Just kidding. The lighting in back alleyways tends to be horribly unflattering.

Instead, I typically respond with something about letting their network know they’re looking, since that’s the best way to get their foot in the door. To which they almost always say, “Oh, that’s nice, but I’m trying to keep this pretty low-key right now.”

I get it. When I started my last job search I did the same. I had this fantasy of waltzing into dinner and announcing the news to my friends and family that I landed this amazing new position.

They’d say, “I didn’t even know you were looking.” And I’d casually reply, “Oh, it just fell into my lap.” Then they’d all simultaneously think, “Wow, Jenni must be really good at what she does to leave one great company for another.” Then I’d say something fancy like, “Next round is on me, old chaps.”

How did that fantasy play out in real life?

Find out how it played out, the single change, and the complete TheMuse article