I would like to pass along some of the job hunting tips that the panel of employers had to say about today's job market.
- Rick Hardy/HR Director/American Woodwork
- Mark Reges/HR employee/City of Winchester
- Dawn Robbins/Hiring Manager/Grafton
- Tami Seabright/Recruiter/Navy Federal
- Cindy Robinson/Manager/Navy Federal-Winchester Branch
Highlights from Q&A Session
Rick Hardy: American Woodwork considers six dimensions when hiring: 1) experience/skills; 2) work habits; 3) communication skills; 4) maturity; 5) values; 6) intelligence
Typical American Woodwork interview consists of 4 canned questions (weren't specified) and then "Tell me about yourself." You'd best talk for at least 30 minutes after that. Concentrate on what skills you have that can contribute to the company; you can use personal-experience scenarios if they reveal how you can successfully manage conflict, etc.
All panel members liked cover letters. In your cover letter, explain gaps in employment. Show that, during that gap, you have been doing something, such as taking a class or doing something else that is productive and preparing you for another job. "I've just been looking for a job" is not a good answer.
All panel members emphasized that a "results-based resume" is much better than an "activities-based resume." Companies want to know that you can contribute.
Include all your experience and education in your resume. For the experience, give details of experience for only the past 10 years. If you have experience prior to that, just list the job title, name of company, and dates you worked there.
Most panel members preferred the behavioral evaluation interview (BEI) approach, although none of them actually call their interviews that. BEI approach helps employer determine how you think.
If you've been fired or have a criminal background, say so. The one sure path to not getting hired is to lie. A criminal background does not necessarily preclude you from employment from any of these employers; convictions for certain types of crimes will prohibit employment.
"Thank-you" letters, after the interview, are good. Keep them simple. "Thank you for the interview. I enjoyed talking with you, and I look forward to hearing from you." Something like that.
Sometimes, if two candidates are being considered for the same job and have pretty much the same qualifications, the "thank-you" letter can tip the scales in favor of the one who wrote it.
Follow-up phone calls are OK (follow-up e-mails are much better), provided you allow sufficient time for the employer after the interview. (Companies get huge numbers of resumes these days, so unless you are called for an interview, you might not get any feedback.) One or two follow-up calls/e-mails: that's fine. Six or seven: borders on harassment - don't do that.
If you are e-mailing a resume/CV, send it as a Word document or a PDF file. Some hiring managers said they still get resumes sent as WordPerfect documents. Almost no one has the capacity to open a WordPerfect document any more.