Tips for the Job Seeker

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MSCCN Partners

When trying to get the interview, your resume needs to be on point. Here are several tips that can help bring your resume to the top of their stack.

Cover Letter: What is the purpose of a cover letter? The purpose of a cover letter is to compliment your resume, not repeat it. Make it a part of your resume; never send a resume without a cover letter. It can make the difference between you getting the interview or having your resume, your life, tossed into file #13 (the trash can). You need to give as much time and considerations to your cover letter as you do your resume. A cover letter is not only used to convey your interest and qualification in a job but it will also give the employer an opportunity to observe your attentiveness to detail, spelling, grammar and the overall qualify of your written communication. If you want you cover letter to speak to the recruiter, you need to explain the reasons how your relevant skills and experiences will benefit that company. It needs to be job specific, no generalizations.

Interview Tricks: You need to understand how the system works from the inside. There are interview question traps that you have to be able to see coming and learn the ways to get around them. You can’t avoid them but you beat them. It is illegal to ask certain questions that do not pertain to your ability to do the job, two being health issues and children. These are things they try to find out without coming right out and asking you. Take kids for instance. They can say something as simple as “Oh, thank you for waiting. Sorry, I had to take a call from my son’s school nurse. It seems he’s got an upset stomach and I might need to be picked up. Aren’t kids great?” What may seem as a normal situation that we all may go through, it could be a ploy to see what you would say. The norm would be understanding, empathetic, and talk about their own situations with their kids, feeling like it’s an ‘ice breaker’ when in all actuality, it could be a deal breaker. What one should say in response is “Oh, how wonderful. You have children.” You want to deflect it back onto them. Never divulge personal information, it’s not necessary and it’s illegal.

References: Do not expect that any information on your application is a substitute for your references. Those are you past employers and they can only discuss your things like your title and your dates of employment. They are bound by law to not give out any information that could be determined as personal or their personal feelings toward a previous employee. There is a very fine line that they can not cross. You need to hand-pick your references to people who know you professionally or personally and can vouch for character and/or your work ethic and will help propel you over the rest of the applicants. I would not attach them with your cover letter/resume you upload or emailed to the employer. I would bring a copy of all three in with you to the interview. You can give them the cover letter and resume at the beginning of the interview and at the close of the interview, or when asked for it, hand them the list of reference or letters of recommendations.

Gaps on Resumes: If you have a gap in your work history more than 6 months, fill it. Add volunteer work, consulting (taxes, financial advice for friends-depending in what you’re applying for) making it relevant to the job. Any jobs that you weren’t with for a long time leave it off your resume. The can not check something that isn’t there, only what is on your resume. It’s better to omit then to lie. They will check what is listed and if it does not match what the employer is stating then it will hurt you.

There is one trick to all the trick questions, stay positive! Every trick question comes from a negative place. They will trick you into seeing if you would say something negative about your former co-workers, employer, and company. They know that they can not out right ask you to tell them something negative, it’s unprofessional and down right dirty. But, if you offer it, they’ll sit back, listen and take notes on how unprofessional YOU are. If you’ll talk bad about one person, you will talk bad about anyone. It makes you lose all credibility and integrity. Even though they seem interested and probably will make it seem ‘off the record’ you’ve just killed that chance of getting that job. Always stay positive, always seek the silver lining, and always present you as the star of the interview.


BrendaLee Winans
Navy (Retired) Spouse
Sr. Gateway Applicant and Recruiter Connect Specialist

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