Friday, January 29, 2010

Pit Falls of Social Media

Yahoo! Finance posted this fantastic article on the Financial Dangers of Social Media. We encourage you to click on the link to read the entire article, but below is the section about employment. However, there is a lot of great additional information on Debt Collection and Scams and ways to protect yourself.


Andy Beal, CEO of the social media monitoring platform, says jobseekers should assume potential employers will do a Google search of candidates' names. Social media profiles typically appear near the top of the search page.

If you have questionable pictures or posts on a public profile, take them down or make the profile private to avoid trouble.

Also, steer clear of negative talk about a prospective employer on any social media platform, Beal says. Many companies monitor mentions of their brand throughout the Web, he says.

He cites the case of a Twitter user who posted about a new job offer from Cisco, but expressed doubt about "the daily commute" and "hating the work." A Cisco employee noticed the tweet and demanded to know the name of the user's hiring manager.

Even employees who think their jobs are safe can sabotage themselves by being too honest online about their personal lives, or by posting feelings regarding a boss, client, co-worker or company for whom they work.

"We've seen a lot of cases of people publishing status updates that have gotten them in trouble," says Justin Smith, founder and editor in chief of Inside Facebook. "People have said things that have caused problems with their boss because of what they said about their work or because they've shared some other kind of private information about work online."

Caroline McCarthy, a staff writer at CNET News, says the best defense against such mistakes is to use plain old common sense. Remember, anything that appears on the Web is just a screenshot away from spreading quickly, despite the best efforts of social media users to keep it private.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Tough Love" Advice on Why Your Job Search Isn't Working

MSN Careers, one of my favorite sites for career and job seeking advice, has this article from Careerbuilder posted today.

10 Reasons Your Job Search is Failing
By writer

On paper, the prescription for unemployment is rather formulaic: send in résumé, go on interview, be your charming self, get hired.

The frustrating reality isn't nearly as simple. Getting an interview alone is an exercise in persistence and patience.

Here are 10 reasons for why you're not landing that interview and what you can do to reverse the trend.

Your résumé and cover letter are as articulate as Courtney Love's Web blog. If your application materials contain typos, grammatical errors and irrelevant or inconsistent information, employers will take notice -- in a bad way. Once you've looked over your résumé and cover letter to the point of dementia, take this advice from Joyce Gioia of the Herman Group: have three people, for whom English is a first language, review your résumé and cover letter before you send it.

Your cover letter is generic. Make it personal by tailoring it to the particular job and addressing it to a person, not "To Whom It May Concern." And include a sentence or two about how you are the right fit for that particular job. If no contact is listed, take the initiative to find out who the hiring manager is by searching the company's Web site or calling the reference desk.

Your letter is a CliffsNotes version of your résumé. Instead of simply restating what's on your résumé, include new information like how you found out about the job, why you want to work there and what you can do for them. Finally, close with something that will encourage a response, such as a request for an interview.

Your letter exudes self-consciousness, not self-confidence. If you don't feel qualified for a job, why are you applying for it? Don't call attention to your shortcomings in a letter; emphasize your strengths by focusing on your skills, experience and ability.

You cross the line from sounding confident to sounding cocky. Don't mistake selling yourself with bragging. Putting "I would be an asset to your company" in your cover letter catches the eye; writing "You would be crazy not to hire me" turns the stomach.

Your MySpace page lists "binge-drinking" as a favorite pastime. Don't post anything on a publicly accessible Web site that you wouldn't want a potential employer to see. Not all hiring managers run searches on job candidates, but some do, and it's better to err on the side of caution. Google yourself to see what comes up, because recruiters will see the same results.

You assume e-mail is enough. Hitting the send button on an online application is only the first step in landing an interview. For one thing, not every e-mail is received or read. Try following up your application by sending a paper résumé and cover letter via snail mail (indicating you've already applied online). After that, call the hiring manager to see that they've received your application and check on the status of the job in question.

You assume the Internet is enough. The majority of all employment opportunities aren't advertised, so be proactive: Contact human resources managers at companies you want to work for inquiring about positions available; register with a job recruitment agency; attend industry events to stay on top of news; and devote energy to meeting like-minded professionals who will be the keys to discovering more opportunities.

You misrepresent yourself. It may sound like a no-brainer, but misrepresenting yourself on a résumé is bound to catch up with you. Upon performing a reference check, Denise Moorehead, communications director of a non-profit service agency in Boston, once discovered a job candidate had left her previous job a year earlier than she'd admitted. It turned out that the candidate had gotten burned out and decided to take a year to temp and regroup, but thought the obvious employment gap would be held against her, so she simply lied about it. "I figured if she'd lie about something this easy to explain, she might lie about the deadline-driven work she would have to do with me," Moorehead says.

You give up. Remember that looking for a job is a full-time job. If you're not hearing back from employers, considering changing your strategy. Experiment with different cover letters, revise your résumé on a regular basis and look for opportunities to add to your experience even when you're not working (i.e. taking classes, participating in workshops, volunteering).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Current Available Positions

DISCOVER STAFFING specializes in Office Support and Light Industrial positions of various types. We staff throughout Cobb County, North Fulton County and Gwinnett County. Our available positions change frequently for various reasons. Here are some of the openings we have currently:

  • Inside Sales - Suwanee
  • Invoicing - John's Creek
  • Switchboard Receptionist - John's Creek
  • General Office Clerk - Sandy Springs
  • Health Insurance Data Quality Analyst - Alpharetta
  • Medicare Analyst - Buckhead
  • Administrative Assistant - Alpharetta
  • Customer Service Representative - Alpharetta

    If you are interested in finding out how DISCOVER STAFFING may be able to work with, please send your inquiry and a resume to
  • Friday, January 22, 2010

    Spell Check Your Resume for Typos

    I saw this post on a mailing list that I subscribe to.

    Survey Finds a Single Resume Typo Can Ruin Job Prospects

    The adage "It’s not what you say, but how you say it" holds particular weight when it comes to resumes, a recent survey shows. Eighty-four percent of executives polled said it takes just one or two typographical errors in a resume to remove a candidate from consideration for a job opening; 47 percent said a single typo can be the deciding factor.

    The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 senior executives at the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.

    Executives were asked, “How many typos in a resume does it take for you to decide not to consider a job candidate for a position with your company?” Their responses:

    One typo 47%
    Two typos 37%
    Three typos 7%
    Four or more typos 6%
    Don’t know/no answer 3%

    "Resumes often are a job seeker’s first contact with prospective employers," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Candidates who submit application materials with typographical or grammatical errors may be seen as lacking professionalism and attention to detail, and thus spoil their chances for an interview or further consideration."

    Domeyer noted that in addition to running a computer spell-check, it is crucial for job seekers to proofread their resumes and ask friends and family members to do the same. "A fresh pair of eyes can help candidates spot mistakes overlooked by the spell-checking function," said Domeyer. "I've often seen simple errors -- such as a job seeker applying for the position of 'office manger' -- derail even the most talented applicants."

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Data Quality Assurance

    DISCOVER STAFFING is currently assisting a company in Alpharetta with a Data Quality Assurance Analyst position. Qualified candidates will have 5+ years experience with Data Analysis, Quality Assurance, Vendor or Client Management, Crystal, Excel and Access Software and the Health care Industry.

    Please send your resume to for consideration. Candidates must be local to Alpharetta. Only qualified candidates will be considered.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Human Resources Generalist

    DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking a Human Resources Generalist for a position in Alpharetta. Client is looking for someone with a minimum 5 years HR Generalist experience including work with HR Systems, reporting and training. HR Managers or Directors are not being considered at this time. Will be responsible for employee benefits, employee relations, policies and procedures, maintaining employee records, training and development, compliance and reporting. Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with focus on HR preferred. Proficiency in MS Office required.

    Please submit your resume to laura@discoverstaffing for consideration. Only qualified candidates will be considered at this time. No phone calls please.

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Follow Us On Twitter!

    DISCOVER STAFFING is now on Twitter. Get "realtime" updates by following us on Twitter. You'll receive immediate notifications of our newest job postings, tips for your job search and helpful articles.

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    Recomendation: 5 Books

    I love finding real, tangible resources that help people in today's job market. As an avid reader, I always appreciate great book recommendations. Today, MSN Careers posted this helpful article complete with Links. To get the complete information please click on the link for the original article.

    5 Books That Will Help Your Career
    By Rachel Zupek, writer

    These days, many of you could use some good career advice. Whether you're unemployed, just out of college, looking to increase your paycheck or in need of résumé advice, the market is saturated with information. While we do our best to give you the most accurate information, we also know that there are other experts out there with some great advice.

    Of course, we're big fans of the books we've written ourselves, "Cube Monkeys: A Handbook for Surviving the Office Jungle," and "Career Building: Your Total Handbook for Finding a Job and Making It Work," both from the editors here at CareerBuilder. But, if you want to add more literature to your professional library, here are five other books to check out:

    1. "Knock 'Em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide 2010," by Martin Yate, CPC
    Topic: Job search
    Why it helps: "Knock 'Em Dead" covers all of the job-search basics and then some, whether you're looking for your first job, you're returning to the work force or you've just been laid off. The book is a series of parts, from building and customizing your résumé to effective networking tools and negotiating the best salary and benefits.
    The best part: This latest edition to the series offers a new section, "Where the Jobs Are," which shows you what industries are experiencing the most growth.

    2. "101 Toughest Interview Questions ... And Answers That Win the Job!" by Daniel Porot and Frances Bolles Haynes
    Topic: Interviewing
    Why it helps: Interviewing is the most stressful part of the job search. Thinking about what to ask, how to answer, what questions mean and what hiring managers want to hear is enough to drive a person crazy. This book is the secret to every interview you have from here on out. It features the toughest and most commonly asked questions, featured in a flashcard-like format, as well as several possible responses to each, which you can tailor to your own experience.
    The best part: It fits in your purse or bag, so you can freshen up on questions before the interview.

    3. "Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck: A Conversation About Income, Wealth, and the Steps in Between," by Michael B. Rubin
    Topic: Salary
    Why it helps: With 61 percent of workers living paycheck to paycheck, according to a CareerBuilder survey, it's about time for everyone to learn a few monetary lessons. "Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck" is a comprehensive book that will help anyone struggling to make ends meet. It runs the gamut from simple saving strategies to taking advantage of your benefits to retirement planning.
    The best part: It's easy to read and funny, neither of which are commonly used to describe a finance book.

    4. "Am I the Only Sane One Working Here? 101 Solutions for Surviving Office Insanity," by Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D.
    Topic: Workplace culture
    Why it helps: One paragraph in the introduction sums up this book perfectly: "Each day, you try your best to get some work done, but the woman in the next cube is screeching at her kids on the phone, and the guy behind you keeps popping his head up to tell you what he saw on TV last night. Another staff meeting starts in 10 minutes. Meanwhile, you have 736 unread e-mails in your inbox, 700 of which have nothing to do with you. You stare blankly at your screen and wonder, 'Am I the only sane one working here?'" This book offers 101 types of people and situations you likely have or will encounter at work, and best way to respond to each one.
    The best part: Each scenario stands alone and offers clear, concise explanations about what is going on and what you should think, do and say to survive.

    5. "Strategies for Successful Career Change," by Martha E. Mangelsdorf
    Topic: Changing careers
    Why it helps: Today's economy has an increasing number of workers changing careers, whether they want to or not. In "Strategies," Mangelsdorf features dozens of in-depth interviews with real people who have successfully changed careers. The book gives you helpful information about finding a new career path, testing out a new job, pitfalls to avoid and steps to take, and how to do it all financially.
    The best part: The real-person interviews are inspiring and show you that even though it's hard work, finding the right career can improve your happiness.

    Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter:

    5 Tips to Combat Job Search Blues

    Today's featured artcicle on Yahoo! Hotjobs:

    5 Ways to Beat Job-Hunting Pessimism in 2010
    Survey: Dim View of the Job Market Persists Despite Possible Hiring Gains

    by Tom Musbach, Yahoo! HotJobs

    Job satisfaction held steady for workers in 2009, but pessimism and desperation plague many job seekers who remain grim about prospects for the job market in 2010, according to a new survey.

    In an annual study of job satisfaction among U.S. workers, Yahoo! HotJobs found that 38.3% are "very satisfied" with their jobs and are not looking to change jobs, compared to 38.5% last year.

    Most of the workers who said they were very unsatisfied and looking for new jobs were employees who had been hired within the last year. Those recent hires also reported applying for jobs below their qualifications (34%) or accepting a lower salary (30%).

    "For employers, the news about unsatisfied recent hires is a warning sign," says Chris Merritt, general manager of Yahoo! HotJobs. "These are the people who could leave once the economy turns."

    A Sluggish Recovery?

    But nearly half of job seekers don't expect the economy to improve in 2010, according to the survey. When asked how long it would take to find a new job today, about 40% of respondents expected the process to take six months or longer.

    "Improvements in the job market may not be that evident in the labor market statistics until 2011 or later," says John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "However, job seekers should not assume that simply because unemployment figures continue to hover in the nine- to 10-percent range that no one is hiring."

    In fact, nearly a third (32%) of managers and recruiters who took the Yahoo! HotJobs survey expected to increase hiring activity in 2010.

    Staying Competitive Today

    To maximize your chances of landing a job this year, Challenger and other experts recommend the following tips:

    Network. Join professional groups, and stay in contact with former associates. Spread the word about your job hunt. Tell everyone in your network about your situation and the type of opportunity you're seeking.

    Cast a wide net. Look beyond your usual industry; many of your skills may be transferrable. Use job-listing sites like Yahoo! HotJobs, but also examine industry-specific sites or company sites for your target employers, and don't forget alumni career resource sites, if possible.

    Customize each resume. Tailor your resumes to the job description, which will also provide useful key words. Take your time with each resume, as it is the first impression you make on the hiring manager.

    "Not tailoring a resume is a huge mistake, because employers want their particular needs and problems addressed," says Lauren Milligan of "Tailoring a resume shows that you have researched the company, or at the very least, read their job posting. Not tailoring it is a huge hurdle to overcome because other candidates will have been insightful enough to do this and will gain a competitive edge over you."

    Don't get overwhelmed. If unemployed, commit to action every day. Your job search should be like full-time job. Carve out a specific time every day to focus on doing it well. Set small goals for yourself and measure your progress.

    Reach out to your support systems. A lengthy job search can take a toll on your self-esteem and increase a sense of pessimism. To combat this, make an effort to connect with the people you care about. Their support will help you maintain a positive attitude.

    Get new-job alerts from Yahoo! HotJobs on Twitter by selecting to follow the appropriate account here: Choose the "list" view, and select to follow accounts based on relevant metros/industries.

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    30 Ways to Get Fired for using Twitter

    Yesterday, I had an opportunity to attend a webinar put on by Arbita. It focused on using Twitter as a recruiter to help promote our staffing company and source candidates. It was full of great ideas that I do hope to implement soon.

    However, there was also a brief mention about a blog called ResumeBear where the authors had posted a list called "30 Ways to Lose a Job on Twitter."

    I urge everyone who has considered using Twitter to read this article. The examples posted are real! Twitter is a valuable social networking tool, but just like everything on the Internet we all need to be aware of how to use it properly. Many of these things are common sense, but clearly some people aren't considering such things when they chose to post very inappropriate things on a very public forum. Be smart in all your social networking. And enjoy the blog post over at ResumeBear - it is both laugh-out-loud and shake-your-head funny.

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Form over Function

    SI Review, a leading publication in the staffing industry, included this information in its "Last Words" column on page 37 of their January 2010 issue.

    Form Over Function

    When it comes to crafting a perfect resume, a "top down" approach is still employer's favorite, an Accountemps survey reveals. Seventy-five percent of hiring managers polled said they prefer a chronological resume with the most recent work history first, over those organized by job function and skills.

    "Chronological resumes allow job seekers to present their career progression to prospective employers in a straightforward, easy-to-follow way," comments Accountemps chairman Max Messmer. "Functional resumes, which emphasize skills sets rather than jobs held, are popular among professionals in career transition or who have had lengthy gaps in employment, but they are not a favorite or employers. It is often better to address a career change directly than to try to write around it."

    No author/contributor information provided.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Using Craigslist to Help Find a Job

    As a recruiter, I get asked all the time about resources to help find a job. The Internet, of course, has been the top job searching tool for years with the domination of websites like Yahoo! Hotjobs, Careerbuilder and Monster. A few years ago a crazy on-line experiment started by Craig Newmark at his home in California started a new phenomenon. The website soon spread like wildfire and nationwide hubs of the website appeared in all major metro areas and even some minor ones. Next thing we know, Craigslist has become a source for jobs. Since it has a local flavor and started out free in most cities; and if eventually becoming a pay site only costing $25, or so, a posting (a steal compared to the major job board that require huge contracts), Craigslist was a place to find more than just the legitimate jobs. Craigslist very much has a split personality when it comes to being a job board.

    Because it is local and inexpensive, many legitimate companies are really using the site to post their openings. People with certain skill sets are not using the major job boards and Craigslist is more accessible for those types of positions. On the other hand, it is a hotbed for scams that propose a lot of benefits and end up leading to lost dignity at the least and lost money in the worst case. How do you tell the difference between a legitimate job and a real one? That is hard to say, because the individuals crafting the posts are generally good at what they do in either case. Even posting a company website doesn't necessarily add an air of legitimacy as it doesn't take much to throw something together to look professional.

    It is always best to trust your instincts. If you contact the posting via email or phone and simply don't get a good vibe from the person at the other end, walk away. This could mean you miss out on real jobs, but not everyone gets along and maybe that is not a bad situation in either case.

    The following article offers a lot of great advice for working on Craigslist.

    Using Craig's List to Find a Job

    Each Craigslist site has the same "look" and organization - but not content - as all the others, with many categories of classified ads, including jobs and gigs (projects), as well as events, housing, and things for sale.

    2 Important Cautions

    Craig's List is different from most sites you have used in looking for a job because the cost of posting a job is non-existent (a.k.a. free!) or very low cost ($25 to $75), in comparison with most job sites. That difference is a major benefit of using Craigslist since it attracts postings from employers of every size. However, as with most things, there can also be a downside.

    1.) Watch out for scams.
    The Craigslist people work hard to minimize the scams posted, and visitors can "flag" postings that they think are inappropriate or badly categorized. However, since posting an entry is free for most categories and locations, there is abuse by scammers, scammer wannabe's, and just plain inept people. So, be careful. To help their visitors, Craigslist has a section called "avoiding scams and fraud." Be sure to read it!

    2.) Protect your privacy if you post your resume.
    There is a category where people can post their resumes. Those postings will be visible to anyone who visits the site, so limit the contact information and details that you include. Anyone, including your current boss, can view your resume on Craigslist if you post it there. See Job-Hunt's CyberSafe resume article for tips on methods to use to protect your privacy while enabling your job search.

    Finding the "Right" Craigslist

    To find the Craig's List for your state or town, or where you want to live, go to Craig's List and select the location you want from the lists of links on the right side of every Craig's List home page. Just click on the appropriate location link from those listed. The new home page will look like the one you just left except there should be a different name in the heading at the top of the page. If you pick a state with several local Craig's Lists, you will get a page that offers you a choice of towns and cities in that state.

    Understanding Craigslist

    The listings are organized by category, in reverse chronological order which means that the newest ones are at the top, with yesterday's next, and so on to the oldest at the end. So you can pick a category and/or a sub-category to see the listings. Listings may be mis-categorized by the people who post them, so focusing on a sub-category can be a mistake if something you want is listed in a sub-category you don't check (more below).

    Finding the Jobs (and Gigs) in the "jobs" Column

    Near the top center of the home page, you'll find the column heading -"jobs".

    To get started, just browse through the job postings by clicking on the word "jobs" and scrolling down to see what was posted today (so far), yesterday, the day before yesterday, etc. as far back as you want to go. I like to browse through everything posted recently (last few days) in Jobs so that I don't miss something that is in an unexpected category.

    Below the jobs on the home page are the "gigs."" Gigs" are mostly short-term jobs, also organized into sub-categories and presented in reverse chronological order. Browsing through the gigs is usually very interesting in most locations. Sometimes you can end up with a permanent job starting out with a "gig;" sometimes you'll just make enough money to cover your bills until you get a "real job;" and sometimes you're just adding experience to your resume (and maybe a skill or two, too).

    Searching in Craigslist

    Craigslist also has a search function that works very well. They provide different search capabilities depending on what page of Craigslist you are visiting. If you select the category or subcategory for "jobs" or "gigs," you get an advanced search function that provides you with good fine tuning capabilities for that category. Pick the category or subcategory you want, and then search through the postings using the usual key words and the fine tuning.

    If you type your query into the search bar on the Craig's List home page, select the part of Craigslist you want to search through from the drop down list (e.g. "for sale," "events," "jobs," "gigs," etc.) for a simple keyword search.

    Networking with Craigslist

    Networking is still the best way to find a job! And, in addition to the jobs and gigs, Craigslist's "community" and "discussion forum" sections may also be helpful to your job search. In the community section, you'll find activities, groups, events, volunteers, classes, and politics. All of those are potential sources of opportunities for networking. And, volunteering to help less fortunate people in your community usually makes you feel better about yourself while you help someone else (and network, too). In the discussion forums, there is a "jobs" discussion group, although at this point there isn't a separate forum for each location - the forums are combined into one very large one.

    Subscribing to Craigslist Updates

    Craigslist offer RSS feeds for most categories and sub-categories. Just click on the RSS feed button - or on the Add to My Yahoo button at the bottom right of each page to subscribe to updates of that page's contents.

    About the author...

    Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff "graduate" who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg.

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Interview Myths

    Yahoo! Hotjobs has this great article on interview myths that might be keeping you from getting that job.

    Interview Myths That Keep You From Landing the Job
    by Karen Noonan,

    With so few jobs currently available and so many people currently hoping to fill those jobs, standing out in an interview is of utmost importance. While jobs themselves are scarce, job advice is overly abundant. And with an influx of information comes an influx of confusion. What career counsel do you take, and what do you ignore?

    There are a number of common misconceptions related to interview best practices, experts say. Kera Greene of the Career Counselors Consortium and executive coach Barbara Frankel offer tips below that can help you stand out from other interview subjects, avoid frequent pitfalls, and secure the job.

    Myth #1: Be prepared with a list of questions to ask at the close of the interview.

    There is some truth in this common piece of advice: You should always be prepared, and that usually includes developing questions related to the job. The myth here is that you must wait until it is "your turn" to speak.

    By waiting until the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, "it becomes an interrogation instead of a conversation," says Greene.

    Greene recommends that you think of an interview as a sales call. You are the product and you are selling yourself to the employer. "You can't be passive in a sales call or you aren't going to sell your product."

    Frankel mimics Greene's comments. "It's a two-way street," she says. "I recommend asking a follow-up question at the tail end of your responses."

    For example, Frankel says, if the interviewer says, "Tell me about yourself," you first respond to that question and complete your response with a question like, "Can you tell me more about the position?" The interview should be a dialogue.

    Myth #2: Do not show weakness in an interview.

    The reality is that it is OK to have flaws. In fact, almost every interviewer will ask you to name one. Typically job seekers are told to either avoid this question by providing a "good flaw." One such "good flaw" which is often recommends is: "I am too committed to my work." But, these kinds of responses will only hurt you.

    "Every recruiter can see through that," Greene says of faux flaws.

    Recruiters conduct interviews all day, every day. They've seen it all and can see through candidates who dodge questions. "They prefer to hire someone who is honest than someone who is obviously lying," Greene says.

    And for those of you who claim to be flaw-free, think again. "Everybody has weaknesses," Frankel states. But one is enough. According to Frankel, supply your interviewer with one genuine flaw, explain how you are working to correct it, and then move on to a new question.

    Myth #3: Be sure to point out all of your strengths and skills to the employer.

    Of course, you want the interviewer to know why you are a valuable candidate, but a laundry list of your skills isn't going to win you any points. Inevitably, in an interview, you will be asked about your skills. What can go wrong in this scenario?

    "You don't want to list a litany of strengths," Frankel says.

    "What is typical is that they will say: 'I'm a good communicator,' 'I have excellent interpersonal skills,' 'I am responsible,'" Greene explains. "You have to give accomplishments. I need to know what did you accomplish when using these skills."

    Frankel recommends doing a little groundwork before your interview so that you are best equipped to answer this question. She tells her clients to find out what the prospective job role consists of. "What makes an interview powerful is to give an example related to their particular needs or challenges that you have demonstrated in the past."

    Provide three strengths, with examples. You will get much further with a handful of real strengths than with an unconvincing list of traits.

    Myth #4: Let the employer know your salary expectations.

    One of the trickiest questions to answer in an interview relates to salary. Money talk can be uncomfortable, but it doesn't have to be. The fact is you don't even have to answer when asked about desired salary.

    According to the book "Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You The Job!" a perfect response would be: "I want to earn a salary that is commensurate with the contributions I can make. I am confident I can make a substantial contribution at your firm. What does your firm plan to pay for this position?"

    Greene suggests a similar response: "I prefer to discuss the compensation package after you've decided that I'm the best candidate and we can sit down and negotiate the package."

    Myth #5: The employer determines whether or not you get the job.

    While yes, the employer must be the one to offer you the position, interviewees have more control than they often realize. According to both Greene and Frankel, candidates have a larger say in the final hiring decision than they think.

    "They should call the interviewer or hiring manager and say: 'I'd really like to be part of the company,'" says Greene. "It can't hurt you. It can only help."

    "Acing the Interview" encourages all candidates to conclude their interviews with one question: "'Based on our interview, do you have any concerns about my ability to do the job?' -- If the answer is yes, ask the interviewer to be explicit. Deal forthrightly with each concern."

    For more interview tips and myths, download a free book summary of "Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You The Job!" here.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    Customer Care Associate

    Thank you for your interest in this position. At this time, our client has made a hiring decision and it is no longer available. Please continue to check back for our most up to date postings.

    DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking an experienced Customer Care Associate for a health insurance provider in Alpharetta. Candidates must have 2+ years experience with Health Care Claims. Must have exemplary customer service skills and experience with Microsoft Office programs. Position is a temp to hire opportunity starting at $13.00 per hour.

    Candidates must be local to the Alpharetta area and have reliable transportation. Only qualified candidates will be considered. Please send your resume to

    Atlanta Area Career Blogs for 2010

    To kick of the 2010 Employment season, I though it would be a great idea to provide the job seeking community with a blog roll of local Atlanta resources.

    A local career coach, John S. Lang, has provided some great advice on Atlanta Career Coach. There hasn't been an update since September of '09, but there is a lot of great information in the archives.

    The AJC has a blog dedicated to the job search. It features career advice from a panel of experts. You can check it out at Blog Break.

    Career Rocketeer has a fresh approach to JobSeeking 2.0.

    An Atlanta area blogger has created Ms. Pink Slip, a motivational site for the unemployed.

    Atlanta Career Path is a great interactive site that provides articles on the current job market as well as additional resources to help individuals in their job search.

    There are, certainly, any number of additional blog resources on the net, many are focused on the Atlanta area. The Internet is a great place to find motivational information to help kick start your job search for the new year.

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    Putting Your References in Order

    I had no idea this existed. The following article from MSN Careers explains how many people in today's job market are faking their previous work references. It also introduced me to a website that makes this happen, often with elaborate back stories, websites and phone numbers. I was floored! Please understand that if you do these things in your attempt to find a job it will only backfire. You will be found out eventually, I promise. Be honest about your experience. Provide contact information for people who have thought highly of you in past positions instead of making something up. If you continue to fabricate information you will develop a very negative professional reputation that can and will follow you further into the future than one bad job experience.

    Should You Fake Your Job References?
    By Rachel Zupek, writer

    Every day, William Schmidt gives job seekers with a not-so-great job history, a gap on their résumé or even a criminal record, a second chance. How does he do it? He fabricates job references to cover up their sordid pasts.

    Schmidt is the founder of, a Web site that says it will fill any gap on your résumé by acting as your past employer. It will go as far as creating a new company with an accompanying phone number, logo, Web site and LinkedIn profile. He says the site is designed to "help our subscribers meet the needs of the modern day job market."

    "Many of our subscribers tell me how a bad reference from a previous employer is akin to having a criminal record and is preventing them from providing for their family. All they ask is for a second chance," Schmidt says.

    While Schmidt says he feels good about the service he provides for job seekers, naturally, not everyone shares his opinion. After all, not only is it unethical to lie about anything on your job application, but some argue that it puts those who have legitimate references at an unfair disadvantage.

    "It's like using a professional photographer, who helps you look your best, versus using someone else's photo. One is enhancing your appearance, while the other is blatant misrepresentation," says David Wright, author of "Get a Job! Your Guide to Making Successful Career Moves." "People do make mistakes and bad choices. Winners learn from the mistakes while losers try to cover them up, hide them or keep making the same mistakes over and over while expecting different results."

    Is the economy to blame?
    Many people can agree that finding a job today is difficult and that not having anyone in your corner to toot your horn could be detrimental. Schmidt said he got the idea for his company after perusing posts on Twitter, where he said he saw many users asking strangers for references.

    "We understand that there are over 12 million workers who have been fired or let go from former employers in the last eight years. With six applicants for every job today, anyone with a blemish in their career can be left out," Schmidt says.

    Lauren Milligan, résumé expert and job coach for ResuMayday, says that it's sad that job seekers would think they had to fake their references, but that she can see how the poor economy could lead to making desperate choices.

    "If a candidate was previously turned down because of a lack of reference, that otherwise honest person may decide to unethically stack the deck in his or her favor," she says. "It's kind of pathetic that anyone would have to [use a service for a reference], but perhaps it could be that 'rock bottom' that turns around bad behavior."

    Is it worth it?
    Some job seekers may think they need to use a fake reference because they were fired or need to cover a gap in their employment history. Experts say that paying someone to do that for you is likely a waste -- especially since many employers ignore the references you give them anyway.

    "Having consulted on hundreds of hires, I don't care about the three personal references the candidate has given. Anyone can find three people that will swear they can turn water into wine," says Barry Maher, career consultant and owner of Barry Maher & Associates. "I check everything else I can. And not just the last job, which may be a service that will vouch for them, but the job before that and the one before that, all the way down the line."

    Checking references all the way down the line has also become much easier with the advent of social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, which provide a place for you to list your employment history. Employers aren't stupid -- if a few things don't match up, they'll catch on pretty quickly.

    "The good thing about social networking is that the world has become a much smaller, accessible place. The bad thing about social networking is that the world has become a much smaller, accessible place," Milligan says. "Within a few minutes, I believe that anyone with a mid-level of expertise in LinkedIn or Facebook (combined with an elementary-level [Internet] search) could identify fake information. Hiring mistakes are so costly; due diligence can really pay off in a company's recruiting process."

    And while employers cross-reference information that candidates provide them, including references, services like have an answer for that, too.

    " uses [social networks] to our advantage," Schmidt says. "As a matter of fact, it is the Internet and the reliance of the Internet by human resource managers that make our services work so successfully."

    Consequences of your actions
    Every action has a consequence, including providing a fake job reference to a potential employer. Although you may not get caught, you'll likely have to deal with trying to cover up your lies and forever worrying about if you'll get caught.

    "Liars are always going to use lies to try and put themselves at an advantage over honest people," Wright says. "This may be effective in the short run, but over time, honesty wins out because eventually lies do get found out, and liars are exposed for who they really are. As in a great quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: 'You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.'"

    The truth will set you free
    If you feel the need to use a fake job reference, try these three tips from our experts instead:

    1. Turn your negatives into positives
    "Nothing builds credibility like exposing your own negatives. You can turn them into positives, selling points, even bragging points," Maher says. He gives the example of Clyde Thompson, who "provided us with all the reasons why we may not want to hire him; all the ones that we probably would have brought up on our own once he was out of the room, and a few more we might never have come up. Clyde presented his unemployability in a light made it appear that he'd be a more reliable employee. And his honesty gained him a massive amount of credibility."

    2. Don't give up
    Before giving up and resigning yourself to having no references, Milligan suggests scouring LinkedIn and Facebook to try to reconnect with former colleagues. Or, consider if you've volunteered anywhere, played on a sports team or been a member of industry associations. Reach out to peers from these organizations for a reference.

    "References don't only have to come from supervisors or co-workers," she says. "Perhaps company clients or vendors would have a few good things to say about you."

    If you still can't find anyone to give you reference by the time an employer asks for one, Milligan suggests saying, "Unbelievably, I wasn't able to connect with any of my former supervisors or co-workers after ABC Co. shut down unexpectedly. Thanks to social networking, I'm in the process of trying to find people, but it just hasn't panned out yet. In lieu of that, I would assure you that I wouldn't have been able to achieve (insert career success here) if I wasn't good at my job and I fully expect to create more successes like that one, for you."

    3. Tackle the issue head-on
    Instead of trying to sweep the issue under the rug, be the first one to address it, Wright suggests.

    "If you know you've got something bad that would probably show up on a background check, it can help to be proactive, particularly when you've established some degree of rapport with the hiring manager," he suggests. "Tell them that you want to be upfront with them -- you made a mistake in the past and they'll probably find out anyway, but you'd rather them hear it from you first. By being proactive, you have the opportunity to position it better as well, emphasizing your strengths or how you overcame that experience."

    Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter: