Thursday, 19 October 2017

😤 25 Ways to Breathe Life into a Painfully Long Job Search

If you're sick of looking for a job, this is for you.

25 Ways to Breathe Life into a Painfully Long Job Search

Photo by Alex Siale

Although most of these tips are useful for any job seeker, all of them are intended for people who’ve been job searching for much longer than they expected, possibly even a year or more.

My own long job search story

In December 2001, I started looking for a career job in Israel for the first time, having taken a few months to relax after resigning from my managerial position at in France.

In July 2002, 8 months later, I didn’t have much to show for my job hunting efforts and with my savings dwindling, I was starting to feel a little desperate and more alone than ever on my job search. However, I made one major change to my job search strategy and within a few weeks, I entered the recruitment process that resulted in my starting a new job on October 1st of that year.

That major change I made is #25 at the bottom of this list of tips for others like myself who know too well the frustration of a prolonged job search.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

25 tips when feeling hopeless about job search

1) Open yourself to change

There’s a fine but clear line between getting into a job search groove and a job search rut: in the former, you actually feel like you’re getting somewhere, moving closer to your next job, while the latter seems to go on forever.

Once you get into a set of habits, it’s not easy to change out of them, and it’s never easy to experiment when you feel that your livelihood (and reputation?) are in the balance, but you will need to embrace change if you’re not getting the job search results you desire.

2) Take a short vacation to recharge your batteries

Vacations are also good for inspiration and meeting people, plus- haven’t you ever felt like your best ideas sometimes come to you when your mind is 100% thinking about something else?

3) Stay positive

I know you're tired of not finding a job, but no one’s going to give you a job interview out of pity, and no one’s going to hire you out of pity. You need to stay upbeat while job hunting; your next job literally depends on it:

Do whatever it takes. Build on the successes of little things like finding a new job lead, making a new contact, etc., and by letting little achievements from outside of the job search throw some good feeling into your job search.

Another way to get the positive juices flowing is exercising regularly.

4) Stop job searching alone

For the 8+ months of my 2002 job search above, I spent almost every single day getting tired in front of my computer looking and applying for jobs online, rarely ever meeting with anyone outside of the occasional interview. It was no wonder that I felt alone and isolated, which certainly didn’t help my morale.

Instead, look for every opportunity to job search with other people, both job seeker and not, both online and off.

Have lunch weekly with other job seekers you know, hang out here on JobMob asking questions, and so on.

I wish I had known of such options back in 2002 when I struggled so much to find a job.

5) Write your curriculum vitae as if it was the first time, making a full job history you can reference moving forward

Go back to the beginning of your career. For each job you had, list your title, required skills, responsibilities, achievements and anything you were proud of.

Numbers are good if you have them.

Were there any memorable stories that may be worth recalling in a job interview? Jot them down too, for each position.

Can’t remember all the details? Use that as an excuse to re-establish contact with past colleagues or former employers.

6) Get an independent, expert audit of your job search to date

Go over what you’ve done well, what you’ve done wrong and get specific, actionable ideas of what you should be doing right now to change your luck.

Look for such help from your college/university alumni association, local employment center, favorite blogging job search expert, etc.

7) Hire a job search coach

They can conduct the above audit with you, and give you those kickstart ideas.

8) Reach out to local headhunters who specialize in your industry

They’ll immediately know if your skillset is in demand based on what their clients are looking for, among other things. They may also have better analysis on why all the job rejection.

Get a second opinion too; you don’t want to make any decisions based on just one person’s thoughts.

9) Consider relocation

Perhaps there really is no demand for your skillset locally. The farther you’re willing to move, the more job opportunities you open yourself to.

10) Consider remote work

If there’s no local demand for your skillset, find out where there is demand and apply for a teleworking opportunity. This allows you to respond to a company’s needs without the radical changes of a potentially unnecessary move, or possibly to test the waters before such a move.

11) Update your skills

The irony of having a job is that you’re often so busy, you don’t have time to refresh your knowledge, and this can even be true in countries where employee education budgets are required by law like in France.

Technology is always advancing, discoveries are being made, new ideas are practiced. If you’ve been job searching for a long time, stop to look around and make sure you know what you need to get a job today, not what you needed to know a year ago. Add value.

12) Learn new skills

When meeting local headhunters, ask them which skills are most in demand. Browse recent job board listings to corroborate, and choose the skills that can most increase your worth within a reasonable amount of time.

Then start learning every day. If you’re not someone who learns well on their own, take a course online, sign up for workshops at a local community center, college or institute. Again, add value.

13) Followup with old contacts

You probably told everyone about your job search back when you began looking?

That was well over 6 months ago, and unless they know better, they may think you’ve already found something. Send a gentle reminder that you’re still available.

14) Stay in touch with your contacts

Once you’ve reached out to someone, whether at the beginning of your job search or now so much later, stay in contact with them so that they are less likely to forget about you.

Also, don’t break contact again once you do find something, leaving them feeling used. Perhaps you can help them back somehow.

15) Find new contacts

Over months of searching, it may feel like you’ve exhausted all your contacts. Discover new networking opportunities by joining local associations or networking groups, attending conferences and meetups (find them here), both offline and online; if they’re locally-based, you can then carry over an online meet into a real world meet.

Learning new skills (#6 above) will also introduce you to new communities of people.

16) Reapply to a former employer

As long as you left a good impression on the way out, they may only be too happy to have you back since they know what you’re capable of, making for a shorter, less-expensive recruitment and a quicker integration.

Another good reason to stay in touch with your ex-colleagues and ex-bosses (at least, the ones you enjoyed working for).

17) Start freelance consulting as soon as possible

Whether you’ve been looking for work for 1 week or 1 year, get yourself business cards that say you’re a consultant in your field of professional expertise.

When people ask what you do, reply “I consult on X, but am also available for full-time work” and hand them a business card, which leaves a better impression than just saying “I’m looking for a job”.

Plus, you might even get some clients, which is a great way to fill a resume gap while potentially leading to a permanent position with a client company or business partner they referred you to.

18) Offer job trials to prospective employers

Let employers see what you can do by working in a temporary job capacity for them or on a per-project basis.

However, the end goal should be definitive i.e. a ‘yes or no’ achievement, to prevent employers from taking advantage of you.

19) Get a temporary job

Use a temporary job to impress employers into finding ways to convert the position into a permanent one. Also a great way to build your network of contacts even more, and discover other jobs, both temporary and permanent.

You might even decide you like the temping lifestyle and aim for those types of positions, which are in constant demand due to natural company turnover.

20) Line up information interviews

If you need a hook, find a magazine/trade publication/blog (your own?) to whom you can submit an op-ed or guest post and then tell companies how you’re researching an article for them. If you write well, aim for this interview reason first.

Otherwise, you can always take notes or record the interview on your cellphone and then hire a freelance writer to finish the article for you.

21) Be selective in which positions you choose to apply for

Aim for the quick win by applying for jobs you have already succeeded in. This will mean fewer jobs to apply for, but will increase your chances of finally getting a positive response.

Fewer job applications also means less demoralizing rejections or non-responses, and more time for other more interesting job search activities listed here.

22) Avoid career changes

Similarly to the previous tip, now is not the time to look for a change in career direction. It’s much harder to convince someone you can do a job without any experience than when you’ve already succeeded in that role.

That said, be open to new opportunities if such an unexpected offer comes your way.

23) Volunteer

There are many reasons to volunteer while on a job search, but these are even more true on a prolonged job search.

Achieving through volunteering will improve your morale in leading to new contacts while potentially improving your skills, if you choose an appropriate organization to volunteer for, such as the leading association of professionals in your industry.

24) Consider a move downward

Like an army that retreats to fight again another day, it’s better to take a step down the career ladder than stay off it entirely.

This can be tricky as employers may see you as overqualified and you may be frustrated by not being able to show off all that you can do. All that really matters is what you can achieve for your new boss and how you can leverage that into a position that will allow you to meet your potential.

Even entry-level jobs can be used to springboard you back up the ladder again.

If you do take a step down, start looking again as soon as you're ready:

25) Be flexible

Take a good hard look at the self-imposed limits of your job search and decide which limits you can remove, opening yourself to new job opportunities.

In the story of my 2002 job search in Israel, what made a big difference was my decision to no longer limit myself to jobs in Israel itself, and with that, my wife and I returned to France with a good job in hand, found almost immediately after I’d become more flexible.

Bonus tip

26) Keep trying!

Don’t give up looking. New opportunities can appear at any time.

In hockey, a goal scorer in a slump will eventually score as long as he keeps shooting pucks at the net. Likewise, if you persevere in following best practices while trying new ideas in looking for leads, growing your network and improving your skills, something will eventually come your way.

Question of the article

If you overcame a long job search, what was the turning point? Tell us in the comments.

Additional reading

READ NEXT: Stop Falling into Resume Gaps

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for more insight on ending long job searches.

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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

📃 Why Paper Resumes Aren’t Going Away Anytime Soon

For years, people have been saying that paper resumes are dead. Are they really?

Why Paper Resumes Aren’t Going Away Anytime Soon

Photo by clive darra

The hype

Search Twitter for “paper resume” and many of the results are articles announcing that the Internet-based resume era is here.

Free bonus: The One Resume Resource You’ll Ever Need is a handy reference to make your resume get you more job interviews. Download it free now

But who has actually been saying they’re dead?

1) Companies who stand to gain from you not using them, such as video resume companies

While video resumes and paper resumes will both help you on your job search, one doesn’t negate the other as you might think after seeing the above tweet. They’re both personal job search marketing tools that can make an impact when used appropriately.

2) Recruiters who don’t want to deal with paper resumes anymore

And I don’t blame them.

Since I started JobMob back in 2006, I’ve received hundreds of resumes via email and have viewed many more online. I’m not a recruiter, but if I had to store all those as paper somewhere, my home office would need a second floor.

As it is, whenever a job seeker hands me their resume at a networking event or job fair, I’ll always tell them to save it for others at the event without forgetting to email it to me later.

3) Personal branding experts, like me

In my 5 Most Interesting Notes From the 2010 Israeli Recruitment Conference, I mentioned that-

Morit Rozen even said that “the resume is going to die” – I disagree; more on that another time – and that soon, recruiters will just want names and use the Internet to find everything else. She suggests googling yourself right now (“לגגל” – l’gagel) to make a quick assessment of your situation, and I definitely agree with that.

And I still do.

But even if I’ve been recommending for years that you regularly build your brand online through social media, personal websites, blogging, or whatever combination makes the most sense for you, that still doesn’t mean you don’t need a paper resume any more.

The truth

Reasons why you still need a paper resume:

  1. Even in 2015, many companies still aren’t fully digital, especially smaller companies who make up the majority of any major job search market
  2. Be different. When everything is going virtual, the few people who successfully manage both the online and the offline will really standout. (This is why some people are still using fax machines to get their resumes in the door)
  3. Digital resumes get lost just as easily as paper ones. Resume copies you bring to interviews might be the only ones in the room, and the interviewers will appreciate that when it happens, especially when they go on to take notes directly on your copies.
  4. Like a business card, a resume crisply printed on high quality paper leaves a professional impression wherever you go: networking event or job fair.
  5. To show off your creativity

The proof

In May 2014, I posted the following poll to JobMob:

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

If the paper resume was truly dead, why would such a high percentage of people still be using them?

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Thursday, 28 September 2017

📵 Why You Should NOT Answer the Phone When Recruiters Call, Stupid

Better a return call when you're ready than a missed call when you aren't.

Why You Should NOT Answer the Phone When Recruiters Call

Photo by Matthew Kane

This is a guest post by Graeme Gilovitz.

This has to sound like the stupidest idea you have ever heard.

How can you get the job if you don't actually talk to someone?

Even today, when you can communicate via so many media such as email, SMSes, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Facebook Messenger and any other applications, the only way to actually get the job is to talk to someone on the phone at some point and then meet them.


Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Two reasons to ignore recruiter calls

1) Get prepared

son job interview answers phone as mr bean

As a recruiter, we love to catch people off guard because then we get to see (or in this case, hear) the real you and how you behave. Your tone gives us a great insight to your attitude, personality, politeness and professionalism.

So when we call and you have no idea who we are, where we are calling from or what role you applied for, you are already on the defensive and the power is with the recruiter. Most likely, you have applied for a few jobs and after a while the calls all sound the same which makes it harder to answer any of their phone questions.

It would be funny if it weren't so true.

This little conversation is the first stage of the interview process and needs to be treated with as much preparation as a face-to-face interview, even if the call only lasts 5 minutes.

Not answering the call gives you time to gather all the relevant information regarding your application, find a quiet place to talk and focus on answering their questions as well as you can. You can’t do any of that when you are taking calls on the fly, especially in a noisy area.

So instead of rushing to take the call, call them back.

2) Play hard to get (a little)

miss job interview call slept in tweet

When someone is a too easy to get hold of, it gives the impression that you are sitting by the phone all the time, which translates into “I am desperate for a job”. But if you play a bit hard to get, you can increase your “perceived value”.

You can always tell them later that you were in an interview, or a meeting, etc., giving the impression that you must be a valuable potential candidate because other people are already meeting with you (simple logic of supply and demand).

Alternatively, just say that you were “unavailable to take the call” – the most universally used excuse ever.

What to do after ignoring the call

interview call back anxiety tweet

When you actually return the call, follow these tips:

  1. Find a quiet place to talk and more importantly, where you can listen
  2. Have a copy of the recruiter's job ad ready – make sure that you have reread it and have notes
  3. Have a copy of your application (resume and cover letter) to reference, and especially selection criteria (if there were any)
  4. As you know the name of the person who called (if they left you a message) and where they work, do some background digging – try LinkedIn and Facebook. I wouldn't recommend you using this information but at least you'll know who you are dealing with
  5. Apologize for not being able to take the call
  6. Have note paper and pen in case they mention anything useful or ask you for an interview and they provide details
  7. Anticipate the questions that they might ask

What happens if they don't leave a message or you accidentally answer the call?

  1. You need to get off the call ASAP no matter what!
  2. Apologize and explain that it isn't a convenient time to chat “as you are expecting an important call” and ask that you call them back at an agreed time
  3. Take their name, company, phone number
  4. Revert back to the above tips

Ring ring – what are you going to do?

flight delay prevents jetblue interview call tweet

READ NEXT: How To Video Job Interview With Your Cellphone

Bonus: A Recruiter Calls, But I'm Not Prepared

About the author

graeme gilovitz portrait

Graeme Gilovitz is Director of Summit Resumes and Summit Talent (an Australian-based recruitment agency with an international reach and client base), & has worked in-house with the some of the largest companies in Australia. With a background in advertising and marketing prior to recruitment, Graeme possesses an unique perspective on communication, the recruitment process and how to ensure that you get the most out of your job search. He blogs regularly, focusing on his insights.

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter to get the most out of mobile video on your job search.

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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

✈ 50 Great Jobs You Can Easily Do While You Travel

Use your laptop to pay for travel, while you travel.

You might just discover a new career while you're at it.

50 Great Jobs You Can Easily Do While You Travel

Photo by Andrew Neel


In a posting to the Digital Eve Israel Yahoo Group, a group member asked the following question:

“Any leads on how to find a job that can be done on my laptop, here and there, so that I can still pay my bills while traveling?”

This reminded me of the time when I was still a programmer at back in 2000.

Living in Paris but working daily over the Internet with people in Seattle, I wanted to visit my family in Montreal without taking a lot of vacation time either. Luckily, Amazon's computer systems allowed people to connect from outside the office and that made it easier to convince my boss to let me go.

In the end, I only took off 2 days for traveling purposes and otherwise worked full days from my parents' house, basically paying for my trip and expenses. A side benefit to Amazon was that having me in a middle time zone (6 hours behind Paris but 3 ahead of Seattle) made some projects easier to finish on time.

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Working while traveling abroad and telecommuting aren't quite the same thing

People usually associate telecommuting with a full-time job that lets you regularly work from home, but it can also be a part-time job on the road.

To best answer the question above, let's set out some criteria that make more sense regarding jobs for travelers. Those jobs usually need to be:

  • Jobs you can do over the Internet
  • Jobs that can be done over a short time-span i.e. during your travels
  • Jobs you can get on short notice

This last one is important in case you need multiple jobs to pay all your bills during your trip.

So we're dealing with freelance jobs. However, if you choose well and deliver well, a short-term freelance job can become a longer-term freelance job that you continue from home after traveling.

Jobs you can do while traveling

With that in mind, the list below of online jobs for travelers should give you all sorts of ideas. Each job title points at a real job description, and if the description isn't a good match for you, just do a search on the job title to find more open jobs like it.

  1. 3D and Flash Animator
  2. Accountant
  3. Advertiser
  4. Administrative Assistant
  5. Article Writer
  6. Billing and Debt Collection Representative
  7. Blog Programmer
  8. Career Coach
  9. Virtual Assistant
  10. Advertising Poster
  11. Copywriter
  12. Customer Service Representative
  13. Data Entry Provider
  14. Data Specialist
  15. Database Developer
  16. E-book Writer
  17. Email Template Designer
  18. Flash/Web Developer
  19. Graphic Artist
  20. Caricaturist
  21. Marketing & Lead Generation Campaigner
  22. Logo Designer
  23. Online Tutor
  24. Personal Assistant/Secretary
  25. Press Release Writer
  26. Project Manager
  27. Recruitment Researcher
  28. Sourcer (not sorcerer!)
  29. Resume Writer
  30. Sales Presentation Designer
  31. SEO Analyst
  32. Foreign Language Voice Talents
  33. Technical Support
  34. Telemarketing Professional
  35. Transcriptionist
  36. Travel Planner
  37. Typist
  38. Video Editor
  39. Web Content Writer
  40. Web Designer
  41. Website Translator
  42. Stock Photographer
  43. Voice-overs
  44. Cartoonist
  45. Real Estate Researcher
  46. Business Consultant
  47. Legal Advisor
  48. User Guides and Manuals Editor
  49. Game Developers
  50. Travel Writer

Don't think this is possible? Not for you?

See how these laptop warriors have built careers while traveling:

Bonus tip for beginners

Like with any job, having work experience will help a lot compared to a candidate who has no experience. But even having just a little bit of experience will make a difference because it will still allow you to tell potential employers “I've done this online before”.

With that in mind, get experience before your travels by doing some quick, cheap projects. This has the added benefit of getting you familiar with freelance marketplaces, negotiation with potential employers, and actually getting paid with all that's involved.

It would suck to be in a foreign country expecting to receive your pay the next day only to discover that you need to wait a few more days because of some strange policy you didn't know about. Practice before you go!

GET STARTED NOW: Top 50+ Freelance Marketplaces Online and Top 25+ Micro Freelance Marketplaces and Why You Should Use Them

Question of the article

Have you ever worked while traveling for pleasure? How did you find the job? Tell us in the comments.

freelance traveling jobs tweet

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for more travel job search ideas.

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

🚩 One Surprising Reason Recruiters Aren’t Responding To Your Job Applications

Recruiters can only respond to your email if they actually get it.

One Surprising Reason Recruiters Aren't Responding To Your Job Applications

Photo by Karl Fredrickson

One of the most frustrating things about the job search process is the uncertainty. What's it going to take to find that next job? How long will it take? And so on.

There's a particular kind of uncertainty that drives job seekers crazy: not getting a response from recruiters.

When I ask my readers what their biggest job search challenge is, this problem comes up again and again-

  • “not hearing back”
  • “I have sent some CVs out but haven't gotten responses.”
  • “The biggest problem I have is getting responses to my job applications.”

I used to get so many complaints about this that I once blogged An Open Letter to the Recruiters of the World From Job Seekers Everywhere, and that was just to get recruiters to auto-respond to job applications.

If you're like most job seekers, you are probably more likely to be bothered about the lack of recruiter response than you are about getting rejected. Crazy but true.

Here's the thing though-

That lack of response is often because of something you did: sending an email job application that was automatically flagged as spam.

lewis c. lin resumes in spam folder tweet

You get aggravated by not hearing back, but the recruiter never even saw your email, and good luck getting them to check their spam folder when you have no better way of contacting them directly.

Stop shooting yourself in the foot.

Here's what you can to do to increase your chances of getting to recruiter inboxes. And you'll see how I also have to do better.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

3 ways to avoid recruiter email spam filters

A) Blacklist check

If your job search email address is from Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook, you can skip this tip and go on to the next one, but pay attention if your email address is from your own personal website or any kind of organization (your current employer?) that regularly sends marketing emails such as client newsletters.

Email spam being the massive problem that it is, companies and others have compiled blacklists of mail servers that are being used for spamming. Spam filters then check incoming email against those blacklists.

If you're sending email from a blacklisted server, your email will be flagged as spam and the recruiter will never see it.

Use a free tool such as MX Toolbox's Email Blacklist Check to quickly check over 100 different blacklists for the mail server used to send your email:

mxtoolbox email blacklist check

Running the check will generate a list of results. If all goes well, you should a lot of green OKs like this:


However, if you see any red LISTED results, consider getting a different job search email address before applying for any more jobs over email.

You can also compare your results with another tool such as IsnotSPAM.

B) Score how spammy your job application emails are

A email blacklist check is just one kind of anti-spam tool you can use. Another kind will take your email and score it according to how likely it is to be considered spammy by spam filters, such as

Before emailing a recruiter, send your job application email – the actual email you were planning to send – to a unique email address shown on their homepage:

mail-tester homepage

Next, click “Then Check Your Score” and Mail-tester gets to work scoring your email:


When it's done, your final results will show where your score lost points:


Clicking any line in the report will provide details. You can actually see my results here.

For this test, I simply forwarded a recent newsletter I'm subscribed to, which means that their message “contains errors”.

More importantly:

Argh! My email server is on 3 blacklists!

It's only 3 lists out of 21 checked, so I should be ok, but it's still worth trying to do better. I want to be sure my email will always get to where I want it to.

C) Avoid doing things like a spammer

Spam filters use many rules to score your email in deciding if it's spam or not, just like Mail-tester above.

SpamAssassin, one of the most popular spam filtering programs out there, provides tips on their official website on how legitimate email senders like you can get your non-spam email past their filters.

Based on those tips, here are some of the most common things you should avoid in your emails to potential employers:

1) Email priority

If you're using Outlook or another email program that lets you set priorities, don't set your message to high priority/importance. Classic spammer tactic to make their junk stand out in an inbox.

2) BCC

Don't send your job application to multiple employers by using the BCC (blind carbon copy) option.

If blindly emailing different people the same generic message isn't spam, what is?

3) Subject lines

alisha blake nudes resume email subject tweet

Don't leave your email subject lines blank. That screams ‘spam!'

A subject with an exclamation point can also look spammy, especially when together with a question mark.

If you need ideas for your great subject lines, there are so many good ways to fill them.

4) Email content

Don't address the recipient with a “Dear Madam,” “Hi friend,” “Hey girl,” or anything remotely generic. Where job seekers are more likely to trip up is with a “To whom it may concern” or similar, which is just as bad. Do your company research to get a contact name.

Your conversations with recruiters often start with an email cover letter, and that shouldn't include any special formatting or attention-getting design using colors and images.

You definitely don't want to use any spammy language such as “urgent reply needed”, even if you clearly do want a response asap. Even mentioning sums of money, such as how much you earned for a past boss, can look spammy.

5) Attachments

Some experts recommend not attaching your resume but it really is common practice. However, stick to safe file formats such as PDF, RTF or DOCX as opposed to any kind of compressed file (ZIP, TAR, RAR).

There's no reason your resume should be larger than 1 MB (and even that's quite large for a 1-2 page document) and large attachments will look suspicious.

6) Marketing email tools

In How These Smart Job Seekers Used Blogging To Find Jobs, I compiled case studies of job seekers who used a blog to find a job.

Many of them were in the marketing industry and mentioned how they used professional marketing tools as part of their “job search campaigns”.

If you're also thinking of being creative and e.g. using marketing email tools to spam mass email recruiters, your emails will have a much higher chance of being flagged as spam unless you know what you're doing. Be careful.

Finally, you can test all these tips but by checking what's in your own spam folder.

What other experts are saying

Question of the article

Has a recruiter ever told you that your resume was caught in their spam folder? Have any other spam story? Tell us in the comments.

Subscribe to JobMob via email and follow me on Twitter for more funny tips on good decisions for your future.

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Thursday, 7 September 2017

👉 One Handy Job Interview Technique You Need to Master

Start your first impressions with a good first impression.

One Handy Job Interview Technique You Need to Master Today

Photo by Jonas Vincent

Have you ever noticed this?

People shake hands all the time. Unless your handshake is particularly bad, people will rarely react negatively to it and they'll ignore the occasional jitter or semi-clasp. On the other hand (pun intended), if your handshake is particularly good, you will stand out and people will remember you.

But here's the kicker:

When it comes to job interviews, the opposite is actually true.

A 2008 University of Iowa study showed what you may have already suspected:

a firm, solid handshake is an important part of a successful job interview, while a dead fish can end the interview before it even begins

Put differently, while a basic handshake is expected and won't stand out, a bad handshake can ruin everything.

Ultimately, since a handshake is such a common thing, expectations are relatively low. That also means you can easily achieve good results.

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Free bonus: The One Job Interview Resource You’ll Ever Need is a handy reference to help you prepare for any kind of job interview. Download it free now

The Best Handshake Ever?

A friend of mine has the best handshake in the world.

No, really.

The first time I met him and we shook hands, I was literally wowed.

Here's what made his handshake so great (over-detailed analysis coming up…):

1. Softness
Nobody likes shaking hands with sandpaper. Although you don't necessarily need to carry around a bottle of hand moisturizer, at least make sure that your hands aren't rough to the touch. Introduce coconut oil into your diet somehow.

2. Moisture
Without being sandpaper, your hands should be dry and not sweaty or clammy. Let them air out.

3. Temperature
Your hands should be warm, not cold.

4. Texture
Do you like shaking hands with someone's scabs or callouses? Enough said.

5. No bandages or casts
You don't want people to think they might hurt you by shaking your hand.

6. Clean
The only thing worse than worrying about hurting someone's hand is worrying about catching a virus from it like warts, a cold, etc. Even feeling just one Band-Aid is discomforting.

7. Few rings to none
The fewer rings there are, the less chance of pinching and hurting someone's hand.

8. Confident reach
Don't wait for someone's hand to come to yours, reach for theirs and meet it.

9. Good timing
Lock hands without any jitters or fumbling, sliding one hand into the other. Don't aim to grasp fingers, aim for the palm.

10. Perfect position
Aim for the webbing of your hand (skin between thumb and forefinger) to catch the webbing of their hand. Thanks to David Tra for pointing that out.

11. Solid grasp
Everyone hates the dreaded “dead fish” where someone leaves a limp hand in yours. Do the opposite; clutch the palm without squeezing so hard that it becomes painful for the other.

12. Positive
Grin or smile while shaking hands.

13. Be sincere
Don't just grin or smile, do it like you mean it. A fake smile ruins the whole effect.

14. Look them in the eye
The best way to prove you're being sincere.

15. Shake source
“Shake from the elbow, and not from the shoulder,” says international etiquette expert, Denise Zaldivar.

16. Shake method
“Aim for 2 pumps when shaking,” Denise also recommends.

17. Shake vigor
Don't shake too vigorously, but don't let them shake your whole arm either.

18. Know when to let go
A good shake usually involves a palm squeeze and release, but be careful if the other person is too quick or too slow, which could lead to an awkward moment. Instead, with a confident reach, be first to engage and disengage.

19. Synchs with your personal brand
For most people, this just means following all the previous points to being a handshaking professional, but for some people this means having a unique handshake or one that's more in tune with their profession. If a clown always shook hands in a serious way, you'd wonder about his sense of humor.

20. Memorable
So few people do this that if anyone ever impresses you with their handshake, you won't forget them just like with my friend above. If your handshake is memorable, it is successfully building your personal brand.

21. Viral
Not in a bad way… this whole article came about because my friend's handshake was so terrific I had to tell you about it.

Bonus tip

22. Encourages loyalty
A great handshake is one that makes people want to shake your hand again. For that, they'll need to have you around them again.

READ NEXT: The Most Powerful Job Search Tool You Didn’t Know You Had

Question of the article

What was the best or worst handshake you've ever felt? Or, do you have a job interview handshake memory to share? Tell us in the comments.

What others are saying

Free Bonus

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This free download contains:
  • 130 positive personality adjectives to describe yourself
  • 444 of the most popular job interviewer questions to prepare yourself with
  • 175 questions that you can ask in job interviews to make a good impression and learn about your future employer
Click the image below to get access to The One Job Interview Resource You’ll Ever Need: The One Job Interview Resource You'll Ever Need download button

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I originally published a version of this article on the terrific Personal Branding Blog.

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for more ideas on job search body language.

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Thursday, 31 August 2017

📞 Top Free Consultation Questions To Ask Job Coaches

Choose the right coach by asking the right questions.

Top Questions To Ask Job Coaches In A Free Consultation

Photo by Jordan McQueen

Many job search and career coaches offer free consult calls as a way to connect with you.

But the free consult isn't really a chance to get a lot of free advice. Instead, it's a way to explain your situation and then flip the tables around to interview the coach and see if you should hire them to help you get hired.

To make the best choice, you need to know the best questions to ask during a free consultation.

I polled coaches from my 50 Career Coaches Who Give Free Consults On Every Topic You Need for their favorite job seeker questions, and here's what they suggested.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Free bonus: Download JobMob's Free Coaching Consults Guide which contains a directory of coaches offering free consults, and a list of the top questions to ask them during those consults.


17 questions job seekers should ask in a free consult


Name: Thea Kelley

Based in: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA

“Based on what I’ve told you about my situation, how can you help me get more interviews and then succeed in those interviews?”

“Why do I need interview coaching now? I’ve just started my job search.” (Answer: A phone screening or informal “conversation about an opening we might have soon” could happen any minute.)

“What’s your approach to interview coaching?” (My answer is: It’s proactive: not just “how to answer common interview questions” – and we will cover that – but knowing what you want to emphasize, why, and how.)


career potential logo

Name: Ford Myers

Based in: Haverford, PA, USA

“Here are a few great questions clients have asked during the initial consultation:

– How do I figure-out what kind of work I’d really like to do and how I’d ideally like my career to be?

– How can I identify what’s holding me back and getting in the way of reaching my career potential?

– How do I close the gap between where I am now and where I want to go in my career?”


shayna lee logo

Name: Shayna Lee

Based in: New York, NY, USA

The best question any job seeker or person can ask a coach is, “How are we measuring the progress I make by working with you”.

While the client is the one doing the work and generating the results they desire, it is the coach's job (in my view) to hold that client accountable to the process and help them to stay on task. So tracking and monitoring tasks/milestones will be a key factor for defining success!


sharon mccormick logo

Name: Sharon McCormick

Based in: North Carolina, USA

The best questions are when my clients tell me that they care about people and our planet, and they want to know HOW to make a career change to do more for humankind. They want to know HOW to develop as greater leaders. I LOVE that. I looked through my client communications and those questions are a common theme and the best in my opinion. I love people who think like that – like how to help others!


sydney career coaching logo

Name: Tina Monk

Based in: Neutral Bay, NSW, Australia

I think that the best question to ask is: How do I get the most out of our time together?


name your career logo

Name: Hamza Zaouali

Based in: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Towards the end of the consultation, the #1 question I would ask a coach if I was a job seeker is:

“I need to tell you that I'm currently in touch with other coaches as well and I want to make sure I make the best choice. In your opinion, why do you think I should choose you?”

If the answer is not convincing, move on. If you feel your question irritates him/her, I wouldn't pursue either.


acecis logo

Name: Naren Chellappah

Based in: Melbourne, Australia

The typical questions we get asked are “why can’t I get interviews and why won’t the recruiters/companies offer me the job?”

The other common questions are – “Is there something wrong with my profile stopping me from getting a job?”

After we have assessed the person’s profile, we can advise them on the issues holding them back – such as poor quality job application, no local experience, poor interview skills or competition from stronger candidates (which we need to help them match).


flint careers logo

Name: Michelle Flint

Based in: USA

The best question (which I frequently get) is, “Can I really do this?”

Many times, my clients come to me discouraged because they are really stuck. Perhaps they have no idea what they want to do with their lives, or perhaps they have been job hunting for a long time with no results, or perhaps they have a terrible, critical boss who has left them completely without confidence. As a result, they are afraid they will never find a good job that makes them happy.

I appreciate when clients bring this question to the table right away because then I can talk to them about what we're going to do differently together that will get them where they want to go. Usually clients leave that initial consultation with a lot more hope about their worth and their future– that's why it's such a great question to ask.


career coach bethany logo

Name: Bethany Wallace

Based in: North Central Arkansas, USA

The best question job seekers ask me during an initial free consultation is:

“What is the next step I should take as a job seeker?”

In my opinion, this is the best question because it demonstrates a willingness to learn and grow, and it's not just asking for facts (like how much I charge as a career coach). It's gathering real advice.


kick start logo

Name: Mark Anderson

Based in: Brighton and Sussex, UK

1. Can I contact any of your previous clients to discuss their experience?
2. What makes you different from any other Career Coach?

Question of the article

What do you think is the best question to ask in a free consult? If you've asked it, did you like the coach's response? Tell us in the comments.

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for job search answers from job search experts.

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Thursday, 17 August 2017

👆 Can You Describe Yourself in One Word for a Job Interviewer?

Dilbert creator Scott Adams asked his readers to describe themselves in one word. Can you?

Can You Describe Yourself in One Word for a Job Interviewer

Photo by Jeanne Menjoulet

We usually find it pretty easy to call other people names, but could you do it for yourself in a job interview?

It's a good intellectual exercise that's harder than you'd think.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Free bonus: The One Job Interview Resource You’ll Ever Need is a handy reference to help you prepare for any kind of job interview. Download it free now

One real-world example

From one of the comments on Scott's article:

“I was asked this very question in an interview.

I stammered, so he (the interviewer) revised it, “One *good* word”. I was still dumbfounded, so he revised it yet again, “One *good* word, one *bad* word.”

Smart. Ass.

Easy 🙂

I got the job.”

How you should describe yourself

If you've done your company research at any point before the interview, you should have an idea of what kinds of values they appreciate. Simply choose one that accurately describes you and run with it.

If you haven't noticed any particular company values standing out, choose a favorite word from these 130 powerful personality adjectives, all of which are positive.

Recruiter Jeff Altman answers in more detail:

Your turn

Imagine if you were asked to do this test in conciseness in your next job interview. Without answering ‘unique' (too easy), how would you respond?


Tell us in the comments!

Funny bonus

river_niles one word hired tweet

Funny bonus 2

Actually, Scott's reader exercise was a 2-parter.

He also asked that people describe him in one word too and some people linked the two together. ‘Me' is the commenter, and ‘you' is Scott Adams. Here are the ones I liked most:

Positive Words Poetry Magnets


Me: Hamburger
You: Tofu-burger

Me: Enginerd
You: Philosotainer

me: drunk
you: which one

You : Entertainer
Me: Audience

Me: Unemployed
You: Over-employed?

You: Confuser
Me: Confused

Me: Tarzan
You: Jane

What other bloggers are saying

Free Bonus

If you want a handy job interview resource that you can keep on your smartphone or print out for easy reference, I’ve got a special bonus for you.

This free download contains:
  • 130 positive personality adjectives to describe yourself
  • 444 of the most popular job interviewer questions to prepare yourself with
  • 175 questions that you can ask in job interviews to make a good impression and learn about your future employer
Click the image below to get access to The One Job Interview Resource You’ll Ever Need: The One Job Interview Resource You'll Ever Need download button

JobMob Insiders can get this free bonus and other exclusive content in the JobMob Insider Bonuses area. Join now, it's free!

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for more helpful job interview words in your mouth.

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