Preparing for an Interview? Use the Job Description


Preparing for an Interview? Use the Job Description

Preparing for an Interview? Use the Job Description

The most underutilized tool in preparing for job interviews is the job description. As a job seeker, you rely heavily upon the job description in the early stages of the hunt—after all, it’s the only piece of information you have to help you land an interview. But, once you’ve landed that interview, the job description gets tossed aside because it’s no longer relevant.

Job descriptions actually contain a secret wealth of knowledge that can aid you in preparing for an interview. Instead of balling up that piece up paper (or closing that browser tab), use these tips to prepare for a smoother, successful interview.

1. Talking points

When preparing for an interview, most people will focus on what questions they think the employer is going to ask. While this is a valid approach, it can also be a complete guessing game. Instead of focusing on what the employer might ask, focus on creating answers you can use for any number of different questions based on the things included in the job description.

A good job description will lay out all the essential skills the employer is seeking. The employer wants to understand how you developed those skills and what you’ve accomplished using them.

Prepare for your interview by:

  • Brainstorming a talking point for each technical or hard skill or listed in the job description. Focus on highlighting your accomplishments, milestones, and the goals you’ve achieved using that specific skill.

If they are seeking someone with “2+ years of experience leading a team,” make notes on the key successes that a team has accomplished under your direction in the last few years.

The hiring manager who wrote the job description is likely to also be the interviewer, unless it’s a technical position where they are screening for technical abilities. Demonstrating that you understand the job and its requirements from the job description well enough to structure your answers around their desired qualifications is a good way to build rapport.

While not every bullet from the job description will be brought up in the job interview, if you’re prepared to explain not only that you possess each skill, but also how you excelled at it, you’ll have talking points for any skill-related question they throw your way.

  • Identifying stories from your past that will demonstrate you possess the characteristics and soft skills the employer is seeking.

Assessing soft skills in an interview is difficult because the employer usually spends less than an hour with you. While they’ll be able to get a snapshot of your general personality and interpersonal skills during the interview, you need to paint a complete picture of what you’re like in a professional setting day-in and day-out.

Create a list of stories from your previous jobs, school, and volunteer work that correspond to soft skills in the job description. If they want someone “highly communicative and client-centric” be armed with a story of a specific time you went above and beyond your normal job duties to satisfy a client or kept them abreast of developments in a highly important campaign you headed up.

If you’re prepared with talking points about both your hard and soft skills, including specific stories and examples to back up your claims, you don’t need to stress over what the questions will be—you’ve already got your answers!

 2. Identify weaknesses

Don’t feel disheartened if you don’t meet all of the criteria for a position. In a job description, the employer essentially lays out their “unicorn employee.” In reality, most candidates will have mastered some skills, but lack others.

In preparing for the interview, your weaknesses should become apparent. As you developed your talking points in step one, you probably struggled to come up with stories for some of the desired qualifications. Those are your weak spots, and you need to be prepared to talk about them.

To combat your weaknesses before the interview:

  • Be honest with yourself about your skill levels. If you exaggerate your skills during the interview, and can’t perform them upon landing the job, it will reflect poorly upon you—and could even get you fired.

Be armed with specific plans about how and where you can learn the skills where you are weak or lack experience. Also share any related skills you already possess that will speed up the learning curve.

  • Start learning as much as you can about the areas in which you are weakest. Even if you only spend a couple hours reading up on the subject, you will at least have enough knowledge of the topic to understand what the employer is seeking. Plus, there’s always the chance you know more about the subject than you realized!

Honesty about what you can and can’t do is important during the interview. The employer will appreciate your honesty, especially if it’s coupled with a sincere desire to learn the skills necessary to perform the job. And by acknowledging your weaknesses ahead of time, you can avoid being stumped by related interview questions.


3. Create questions

While a job description can give you a ton of useful information on how to prepare for your interview, it does not present a complete picture. Company websites and resources such as Glassdoor can be useful tools to gather further information, but interviews provide the best access to information—directly from the source.

After you’ve read the job description, you should have a broad sense of what the position entails, what the company values, and how you stack up. Ask yourself what the job description doesn’t tell you. Those are the questions you want to ask during the interview.

Consider the following:

  • What does the job description tell you about company culture?
  • Do you get a clear sense of what the company’s ideal candidate would look like?
  • Do you understand how this role fits into their team? Their organization? The company?

Use the questions above to guide you and think about what missing information you want to gather in the interview. Most interviewers expect you to have questions prepared, because it demonstrates that you’ve been researching the company and are serious about the job.

The other bonus to crafting questions based on the job description is that you can verify how accurately it portrays the job and the company. If the job description says the company values a good work/life balance, and that’s a big selling point for you, don’t be afraid to ask, “The job description mentioned this company prioritizes work/life balance. Can you tell me about the policies you have in place to promote this?”

Remember, you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. A good employer will be impressed, not put off, by your attention to the details in their job description and your interest in their priorities.

The job description is only a starting point, but it can help you assess what you don’t know, as well as what you do know about the job. It’s up to you to collect the rest.


When you land an interview, keep in mind that one of the hardest parts is already over. Your resume beat their applicant track system and now you have the opportunity to meet with someone face to face. The company has already shown an interest in you, so showing up to the interview prepared and relaxed will just affirm their decision to select you.

See also:

5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Job Interviews

Top Resume Skills for 2015

How to Research Potential Employers

Top 3 TED Talks for Job Seekers

How To Prepare For An Interview: The 20 Dos and Don’ts

how to prepare for an interview

How To Prepare For An Interview: The 20 Dos and Don’ts

“Besides getting several paper cuts in the same day or receiving the news that someone in your family has betrayed you to your enemies, one of the most unpleasant experiences in life is a job interview.” –Daniel Handler (a.k.a Lemony Snicket), The Carnivorous Carnival

To say that job interviews are challenging is putting it mildly. Among many other things, a candidate must be articulate yet concise, enthusiastic yet genuine, and armed with facts yet engaging.

Even so, your job interview doesn’t have to be an hour of horror like Lemony Snicket’s description above. Check out this list of 20 dos and don’ts and learn how to prepare for an interview.

how to prepare for an interview

(Photo Credit:

Interview preparation can be broken into two main parts: the steps you take focused on yourself, and those you take that are oriented towards your potential future employer.

The “You” Steps:

*DON’T choose your outfit at the last moment or automatically wear a suit to each interview.
*No matter how elementary school it may sound, DO select the clothes you’ll sport and lay them out the night before. Remember to factor in the company culture if possible. (And it doesn’t hurt to check the weather beforehand.)

how to prepare for an interview

Clean up any digital dirt that might negatively influence a future employer. (Photo Credit:

*DON’T let your online presence make a bad first impression.
*DO make sure to Google yourself routinely, and especially before  a job interview. Digital dirt is easy for employers to find and can negatively influence a recruiter before you even walk through the door.

*DON’T see yourself as “on the hot seat.”
*DO approach an interview as a two-way street. While the focus will certainly be on your skills and abilities, remember that you’ve got the opportunity to feel out the employer just as much as they’re examining you. This small mental shift can make a big difference.

how to prepare for an interview

Turning to a friend for interview prep help is a good idea.

*DON’T just rehearse interview answers in your head.
*DO take the time to practice delivering responses out loud. Talk to yourself in the bathroom mirror, call your mom, or even ask a trusted friend to conduct mock interviews! These tactics will help you not only become comfortable with your answers, but also give you the opportunity to assess how your voice sounds. Are you coming off confident?

how to prepare for an interview

You’ve got to be prepared for all kinds of questions in a job interview. (Photo Credit:

*DON’T underestimate the importance of questions.
*DO two things: research common interview queries posed by employers and craft your own set of questions about the company, the job, and the work environment. Without exception, every “how to prepare for an interview” article I found while researching this piece placed great emphasis on both anticipating and asking questions.

The “Them” Steps:

*DON’T go into an interview uninformed. Liz Ryan of Forbes calls a job interview a “recon mission,” and lack of preparation almost always results in mission failure.
*DO conduct 3 types of research:
1) Research the company itself. Use their website to become familar with the mission, vision, and values they’ve crafted. If it’s available, find a list of the board of directors. You might know someone in a position of influence.
2) Find out how the company stacks up in the business world. Check out their most recent press releases and consult the all-mighty oracle Google for any pertinent news.
3) Take a gander at the organization’s social media outlets. This is an excellent way to discover the company branding.

how to prepare for an interview

Quality research of can keep you from freezing up in an interview. (Photo Credit:

*DON’T forget about the job description.
*DO use Jobscan to identify (or revisit, if you used the resume analysis tool to land the interview) the most important keywords within the job description. The particular role you applied for is going to dictate the bulk of any interview. Keep in mind the essential duties and tasks for the job–and think about why you’re the best candidate to perform them.

how to prepare for an interview

How to prepare for an interview? Turn to keywords in the job description. (Photo Credit:

*DON’T walk into an interview of mystery managers.
*DO find out who you’ll be interviewing with. Are you scheduled for a one-on-one session, or a pair of interviewers? Perhaps your qualifications will be under review by an entire team! Once you have those crucial names, take a few minutes to consult LinkedIn for clues about each interviewer’s background.


A job interview is not about your goals--it's about how you can meet the employer's goals. (Photo Credit:

A job interview is not about your goals–it’s about how you can meet the employer’s goals. (Photo Credit:

*DON’T focus on your own goals too much as you think about how to prepare for an interview.
*DO think about the interview from the employer’s perspective. They posted the job in order to meet a particular need. In this case, you’re the solution to a problem–and it’s important to frame yourself as someone capable of helping to reach their goals.

*DON’T assume you’ll be able to shoot the breeze with your interviewer.
*DO prepare for both types of interviewers: those who rely on casual conversation and those who only want simple answers. Trust yourself to feel out the mood of each interview as it progresses.

Interview prep seems daunting, but you can do it! Keep these dos and don’ts in mind as you head towards your next job offer.


See also:

5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Job Interviews

How To Use Jobscan: A Step-By-Step Guide

8 Things You Need To Know About Resume Keywords

How To Create A Resume: The Top 29 Terms You Need To Know

how to create a resume

How To Create A Resume: The Top 29 Terms You Need To Know

“I know nothing in the world that has a much power as a word.”

Emily Dickinson’s simple sentence was likely not written in reference to career development, but it still serves as a good lesson to keep in mind through the process of creating a resume. For example, the resume keywords you choose are incredibly important in securing a job.

Words equally worth consideration, though, are necessary resume components. Alphabetically, here are the top 29 terms you need to know when creating a resume:

1. 6 Seconds: The average amount of time a recruiter takes to review your resume.

2. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): Automated software that over 90% of large and medium-sized companies now use to save time in the hiring process.

3. Active Voice: Always use action words when you create a resume! “Led a dynamic team” sounds way better than “Was a team leader.” how to create a resume

4. Career Summary: A short yet informative set of lines at the top of your resume that describes your career arc. It’s also a great place to include keywords.

5. Contact Information: Employers can’t offer up a dream job if they can’t find you! Your resume should include a professional email address, phone number, and your current city and state.

6. CV (Curriculum Vitae): While a resume is a brief set of career experiences, a Curriculum Vitae goes into great detail about a candidate’s work history, awards, and accomplishments.

7. Dates: Say you worked at a company from September of 2013 to March of 2014. Don’t put “2013-14” on your resume–save the recruiter some time and be specific from the get-go.

8. Education: If you’re seeking jobs in a field that places special emphasis on education (such as medicine), schooling information should go near the top of your resume.

9. File Name: Instead of “Resume” or “2015 Resume,” incorporate your full name and at least part of the job title into the resume file name. “Jane Smith Marketing Director,” for example.

10. Font Choice: Font matters! Stick to standard, conservative typefaces: Helvetica, Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, or Calibri. An ATS may reject other choices.

how to create a resume

Font choice matters when creating a resume. Just say no to Comic Sans! (Photo Credit:

11. Gaps: Most professionals have work history gaps. Instead of trying to get tricky and covering up those gaps, address them either directly on your resume or in a cover letter.

12. Hard Skills: The term “hard skill” refers to a program, process, or procedure that you have experience using–such as SEO Marketing or the Adobe Creative Suite.

13. Instructions: According to recruiters, one of the biggest mistakes candidates make is not following application instructions. Heed any special resume requirements in job postings.

14. Job Description: A job description is your best friend when it comes to identifying keywords for each position. This is also an excellent tool for understanding a company’s values.

how to create a resume

Using proper keywords on your resume is the first step to getting a great job. (Photo Credit:

15. Jobscan: At Jobscan, we know that figuring out how to create a resume is no easy task. Jobscan’s analysis tool instantly measures how well your resume aligns with a specific job description–and then makes suggestions for improvement, like increasing the frequency of certain keywords or adding measurable accomplishments. Try Jobscan for free and see how it can increase your interview chances!

16. Keywords: Keywords are the most important element in today’s job search; an ATS searches for keyword matches between your resume and a job description. Additionally, though, once that resume passes the software platform test it will be seen by a human recruiter. Using the appropriate keywords showcases your ability to follow instructions.

17. LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn profiles have become standard in modern job searching, but they’re not a resume substitute. Do include your LinkedIn profile URL on your resume, though.

18. Measurable Accomplishments: Your resume should not be a series of past job descriptions. Instead, show what you achieved through quantifiable resume accomplishments like these.

how to create a resume

Quantifiable accomplishments make your resume shine. (Photo Credit:

19. Non-Traditional Resume: Creative resumes like t-shirts or cakes can be cool–but can also backfire. Non-traditional resumes should only be used if appropriate to your target industry.

20. Objective Statement: Replace this outdated resume element with a career summary. Your next boss knows that your objective is to find a job. How will you help her achieve her goals?

21. Orphan: This has nothing to do with Batman, but rather refers to a lone word on a line of your resume that needs to find friends. A resume should have both great content and visual appeal.

22. Page Limit: If important details of your work history (the past 10-15 years) don’t fit on one page, don’t sweat it. Resume length isn’t a factor for an ATS, and recruiters like white space.

23. References: The phrase “References available upon request” needs to be deleted from your resume, pronto. It’s implied that if an employer needs your references, they’ll ask.

24. Resume Format: When you’re creating a resume, there are 3 main formats to choose from:
A) chronological, which begins with your most recent experience and works backwards;
B) functional, where you present work experience as a collection of different skills; and
C) a hybrid resume, which combines elements of the first two options.

how to create a resume

Recruiters are busy. Submitting a clean, error-free, and honest resume makes their lives easier–and increases your chances of an interview! (Photo Credit:

25. Soft Skills: Soft skills are subjective traits that describe your work style and professional attitude. “Well-organized,” “communicator,” and “flexible” are all soft skills.

26. Tailoring: Tailoring the resumes you submit for each individual job application is an absolute must. Ten Marketing Coordinator positions will have ten different sets of requirements.

27. Templates: How to create a resume when you just don’t have the time? Try a resume template. Jobscan has compiled 20 ATS-friendly resume templates that you can use for free!

28. Typos: Spellcheck isn’t sufficient in the great fight against typos. Enlist the help of a friend, mentor, or other professional to ensure that your resume is error-free.

29. Volunteer Work: Not all work experience is paid! If a job requires leadership skills that you’ve honed outside the office, spotlight those volunteer achievements.

how to create a resume

One typo is enough to sink a resume. (Photo Credit:

Creating a resume is hard work, but there are many resources to help you along the way. Keep coming back to this list of terms when you need a resume refresher!

See also:

8 Things You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

20 Best ATS-Friendly Resume Examples

8 Things You Need To Know About Resume Keywords

Top Resume Formats in 2015

Why “Close Enough” Doesn’t Cut it for Resume Keywords

resume keywords

Why “Close Enough” Doesn’t Cut it For Resume Keywords (Photo Credit:

We’ve all done less than perfect work at some point in our lives. Whether submitting a vague high school English essay or only slightly braking at a stop sign, sometimes “close enough” is sufficient.

One place that’s not the case, though, is submitting your resume in today’s job market. Using the right resume keywords is a must for any current job seeker who wants to land that perfect position. Here’s why “close enough” just doesn’t cut it for resume keywords:

resume keywords

Using the correct resume keywords can mean the difference between employer radio silence and an interview. (Photo Credit:

Robots need exact matches.

When you submit your resume through an online application form, the ugly truth is that it’s not going straight to a pair of human eyes. Most companies now use ATS (applicant tracking systems) to maximize efficiency in their hiring processes. An ATS scans the resume keywords in your application, looking for matches between those keywords and the corresponding job description. The software then generates an overall score based on the level of that match.

resume keywords

Without crucial keywords and phrases, an ATS sees your resume as a complete mess. (Photo Credit:

According to this nifty infographic from The Muse, it costs an employer an average of $3,479 to hire a new employee—and that employer will receive about 145 applications for one entry-level position. So it’s understandable that companies want to save time and money while searching for candidates.

Where the use of ATS technology hurts job seekers, though, is that automated software just isn’t capable of thinking and processing at the same discerning levels as a human being. An ATS cannot always, for example:

  • differentiate between singular and plural versions of a word;
  • correctly process acronyms; or
  • recognize keywords in resumes that differ slightly from the job description.

    resume keywords

    Each job application you submit should be neat, clean, and use the proper resume keywords.(Photo Credit:

So let’s say a marketing job with a global sporting goods company catches your eye. One portion of the job description calls for the ideal candidate to:

“Leverage internal directives, brand assets, community activations and consumer know how at POS. Lead seasonal marketing executions to increase core retail KPIs.”

As a bullet point on your resume, you use the following marketing resume keywords:

“Activates communities and works with asset branding. My experience with Point of Sale transactions has increased core retail KPI’s.”

Even though you’ve clearly got the necessary experience for the position, your resume isn’t going to make it past the ATS stage because: 1) you used “activates” instead of “activations”; 2) spelled out Point of Sale as opposed to writing “POS (Point of Sale)”; and 3) added an apostrophe to “KPIs”.

resume keywords

Even minions know that Jobscan is an excellent tool for identifying resume keywords. (Photo Credit:

So what’s a job seeker to do?

Identify the crucial resume keywords for each individual job application.

You could do this manually, but why would you when you could use Jobscan? Go to our main page, post your resume in one box and the job description in the other, and voilà! Instantly, the resume analysis tool will indicate how well your application aligns with the job description. Jobscan also makes specific keyword suggestions to improve your overall match score.

(And, psst! Don’t forget to sound like a human being in your resume as well. Ultimately your goal is to use resume keywords to get past that ATS and ensure that your qualifications are seen by a real human being.)

resume keywords

Don’t let your resume be the equivalent of a Pinterest fail! (Photo Credit:

When it comes to appeasing robots with keywords for resumes, unfortunately there’s no room for error. “Close enough” should apply to Pinterest fails—not your resume.

See also:

8 Things You Need to Know About Resume Keywords

8 Things You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

Resume Writing: Less is More

“I Hate My Job. Now What?” 3 Ways to Find a Position You’ll Love

I hate my job

“I Hate My Job. Now What?” 3 Ways to Find a Position You’ll Love

More than 50 percent of Americans are unhappy at work, according to Forbes. Low pay, meaningless duties, and personality conflicts with superiors are just a few of the reasons that contribute to a vastly unsatisfied workforce.

If you’re one of the millions who have said “I hate my job” and want to do something about it, read on for tips and resources that can help you find a new position you’ll love.

1. Identify the keywords you need to succeed

Whether you’re looking to change careers or simply find a different job in your field, a great resume is an absolute must. This crucial document is the best way to convey how you’ll help your next employer achieve their goals—and it’s how you’ll make your first impression.

However, it’s not enough to have a polished, professional resume. Because the typical job posted online receives hundreds of applications, most employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) in order to manage the hiring process. An ATS is set up to weed out candidates who don’t measure up—or candidates who don’t include the correct resume keywords. If your resume highlights your experience with customer relationship management (CRM) software, and the job posting specifies knowledge of Salesforce as a requirement, your resume could get overlooked if you don’t mention Salesforce by name.

I hate my job

Jobscan identifies the crucial keywords you need in your resume.

Take some time to consider what you hate most about your job—and why. Do you enjoy your tasks, but hate the setting? Would you prefer a nimble startup to a large, staid corporation? Come up with a list, and then search for positions that are more appealing to you.

Once you have identified some jobs you’d like to apply for, use Jobscan’s resume analysis tool to see how your resume stacks up to each one. The better your resume is targeted for each individual job, the better your chances of getting past an ATS. Keywords can vary even for very similar jobs, so don’t assume that a one-size-fits-all resume will get you noticed. Jobscan will identify the most important keywords in a job posting and tell you which ones you’re missing and which ones you should emphasize to better match your resume to the job.

2. Determine what your resume is missing

Keywords are, well, key to an effective resume—but they aren’t the only thing you need. Consider the following:

  • Measurable accomplishments. Anyone can list off duties they performed at a previous job. What prospective employers really want to see is what you achieved in each position on your resume. They want to know how you’ll be able to help them achieve their goals. Streamlining processes to save money, reducing time spent on projects, and increasing profits are all examples of how you can showcase your positive impacts. And remember to quantify your accomplishments whenever possible. “Consistently exceeded sales quotas” won’t get the same response as “Exceeded sales quotas for 6 consecutive quarters.” Measure and demonstrate your impact.
  • Education and training. For some roles, it doesn’t matter what your degree is in—or whether you have a degree at all. For others, you won’t even be considered if you didn’t major in the right field, or earn the necessary licenses, or pass specific exams. If you find that the majority of new positions you’re drawn to want education or credentials beyond what you have, perhaps it’s time to go back to school. If your education is your strongest selling point, you can lead off your resume with your education section. If your graduation is well in the rearview mirror, you can list it at the end.
  • Hard skills vs. soft skillsHard skills refer to programs and processes you have experience with, such as Six Sigma training or Joomla. While soft skills (“motivated” or “organized,” for example) are important, employers primarily need to know that you have the base qualifications for a specific position. Companies do often consider cultural fit when hiring, but the majority of your resume improvement efforts should go toward incorporating hard skills—because anyone can list any soft skill on their resume, these subjective traits are given far less weight by employers.

3. Seek out targeted career advice

Career advice that may be perfect for a social media manager won’t necessarily do a mechanical engineer any good. And if part of the reason you hate your job is because you no longer want to be in that field, you’ll not only need career advice targeted toward your new field, but overall advice on how to change careers.

I hate my job

Using this stress kit is one option, but we recommend finding a better job instead.

For brainstorming and research help, Jobscan has compiled a collection of resume keywords for specific career industries. Check out the list below of and learn about what words you’ll likely see in your search!

Biomedical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Customer Service
Mechanical Engineering
Non-Profit Management
Registered Nurses
Social Media Professionals
Software Engineering

Also, consider turning to an expert for advice. A career coach could help you work through why you hate your job, and what you need to look for—and avoid—for your next one. Jobscan partner Lisa Quast is a former Fortune 500 executive turned professional career coach. Whether you read her best-selling book or sign up for one-to-one coaching sessions, she’s certain to help you through your transition.

I hate my job

Career Woman, Inc. is run by Lisa Quast, one of Jobscan’s partners.

Finding a new job or changing careers might be hard, but dreading going to work each morning is hard on the soul. The more you know about the kind of job you want, including how to present yourself as a great candidate, the sooner you can eliminate the phrase “I hate my job” from your vocabulary!

See also:

How to Use Jobscan: A Step-by-Step Guide

8 Things You Need To Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

How to Do a Resume When Changing Careers

8 Things You Need To Know About Resume Keywords

Want To Be Your Own Boss? These Are the Top 3 Blogs for Entrepreneurs

Want To Be Your Own Boss? Read These 3 Blogs First.

Want To Be Your Own Boss? Read These 3 Blogs For Entrepreneurs First.

If you’ve decided to pursue your dreams and start a business, congratulations! You’re in great company with other innovative thinkers—there are groundbreaking entrepreneurs who are doing everything from enhancing personal safety to helping diabetes patients manage their health needs. But it takes a great deal of work to be your own boss, so add these three blogs to your list of resources as you go forth.

be your own boss

Harvard Business Review contains a section specifically dedicated to entrepreneurs.

1. Harvard Business Review

HBR is a great resource in general, but in this case, it’s specifically the Entrepreneurship section you’ll want to bookmark. This topic page contains current articles and time-tested resources alike—a few of the most popular features are more than 30 years old! Business trends may come and go, but some concepts are timeless.

One of the keys to being your own boss is maintaining a great deal of energy, particularly when it comes to staying abreast of new trends in business. The Entrepreneurship topic gets about 6 or 7 new articles tagged per month, and contains information on everything from angel investor mindsets to freelance feedback tips, making it a must-read.

Three key posts:

In Search of the Next Big Thing

Assessment: Identify Your Entrepreneurial Personality Type

How to Write a Great Business Plan

be your own boss

The OntraBlog is a snappy, snazzy way to get entrepreneurial expertise.

2. The OntraBlog

Ontraport is a company that creates automated business solutions for entrepreneurs, but their blog is 100% free! The OntraBlog has four different sections of articles for you to peruse (including “Entrepreneurial Life”)  on a variety of marketing and business topics.

The OntraBlog is updated daily, and its fresh, edgy look makes it one of the more visually appealing blogs around (you might even take some inspiration for your venture’s own online presence). Many of the articles are in a feature-piece format so there’s  a bit more reading required—but the content is worth it.

Three key posts:

The Top 5 Landing Page Tips for Small Business Owners

Creating Purposeful Profit

Fanatic Customers in 8 Steps

be your own boss

Marie Forleo’s weekly video blog captured Oprah’s attention! (Photo Credi:

3. Marie Forleo’s Blog

Through first building and then marketing her personal brand, Marie Forleo has earned acclaim from some pretty heavy hitters—including Oprah. Presented as THE place to go “to create a business and life you love,” MarieTV (Forleo’s video blog) is updated weekly with answers to reader-submitted questions.

Think of Marie’s career advice blog as the equivalent of soft skills on a resume. While many of the topics she discusses are broad and not always easily quantified, they’re key components to overall success in your entrepreneurial endeavor. You can’t sell a great product in the age of internet marketing without a solid sense of self!

Three key posts: 

How to Take the Shame out of Self-Promotion

5 Reasons People Don’t Take You Seriously

When Inspiration Backfires

Entrepreneurship can be a promising route for people who love problem-solving. Jobscan’s founder, James Hu, began Jobscan when he was frustrated with his own job search. Upon learning about applicant tracking systems (ATS), he wondered why there wasn’t a tool available to help job seekers get through the system. “I launched Jobscan in 60 days while learning how to code and traveling between Seattle, Taipei, and Beijing,” he said in this feature on General Assembly’s blog.

By focusing on the basics, he had soon created a solution: Jobscan’s resume analysis tool. By pasting in their resume and the description of the job they’re interested in, job seekers can use this tool to instantly see how well their resume matches up to the job—and specific improvements they can make.

Like James, maybe you’ve spotted a problem and devised a solution. Just picture it: your idea, your goals, your product…and your rules. If you’re going to be your own boss, make sure to check in regularly with these resources!

See also:

How To Use Jobscan: A Step-By-Step Guide

Showing Off Your Soft Skills On A Resume

Top 10 Pieces Of Career Advice From David Letterman

12 Quick Tips for Finding a Job This Fall

tips for finding a job

12 Quick Tips For Finding a Job This Fall

Whether you call it autumn or fall, the year’s third season has nearly arrived. This is a time of harvest—the time to reap the benefits of what was so carefully sowed back in the spring. But if you’re a job seeker, it can be hard to stay motivated as the sunlight leaves us again. Use this list of quick tips for finding a job and re-invigorate your search!

Part One: Research

1. The financial services and technology sectors continue to lead in the numbers of new jobs created. More specifically, Amazon and JPMorgan Chase currently rank #1 and #2 respectively for companies that have added the most new positions.

2. The Muse publishes a monthly list called “Companies that are Hiring Like Crazy,” so go read September’s edition and then keep your eyes open for future articles!

3.  If you want a new position but aren’t set on a particular field, use the “Industries at a Glance” overviews from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This comprehensive statistical database can help you figure out which industries might offer the best opportunities. There are pages for more than 100 industries.

4. A company’s quarterly financial reports can give you great insight into whether or not to pursue a position there. Look for trends not only in overall profits, but also how the company is spending its money—such as increases in administrative expenses.

tips for finding a job

There are a ton of jobs out there waiting for you this fall…you just have to know where to look.

Part Two: Housekeeping

5. Take the start of fall as an opportunity to clean up your resume: incorporate a career summary, add pertinent accomplishments, and make sure you’re using the right format.

6. Review your job references as well. Competition for jobs is high, and there’s no quicker way to irritate a potential employer than to point them towards references that can’t actually be contacted. A few quick check-ins is all it takes to get this squared away.

7. Get in the habit of running your resume through Jobscan before submitting applications. Tailoring a resume for each individual job description is crucial—and Jobscan’s analysis tool helps you instantly see how well you’ve incorporated a job posting’s keywords.

8. LinkedIn is your friend in countless ways when it comes to job hunting. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date (including contact information that’s easy to find), join discussion groups in your chosen industry, and follow news from companies you’ve applied to.

tips for finding a job

As you switch from summer soda to fall apple cider, warm up your job search with these action items.

Part Three: Action

9. Take some of the control back in your job search and reach out to companies for informational interviews. This is a low-pressure situation that can yield great results for you as a candidate: industry insight, the ability to demonstrate your interest, and perhaps even a new mentor.

10. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to apply for seasonal work! Many employers will start posting temporary jobs this month in anticipation of the coming holiday rush.

11. Try out a resume template. Jobscan’s free collection of 20 resume templates designed to get past applicant tracking systems is sure to have one you’ll like.

12. When’s the last time you checked in with a mentor? Send an email to a previous supervisor, teacher, or colleague you’re close with and update that person on your job search. Ask for help with networking or find out how they managed their own career transitions.

tips for finding a job

Fall is a great time to get a new job you can be happy about. (Photo Credit:

Think of these tips for finding a job as a big, glorious leaf pile: just jump in and have some fun!

See also:

How to Find Jobs With LinkedIn

8 Things You Need to Know About Applicant Tracking Systems

7 Steps for Choosing and Using Job References

Resume Format: How to List Seasonal Work

The 6 Most Creative Resumes and What You Should Learn From Them

creative resumes

The 6 Most Creative Resumes and What You Should Learn From Them

Recently I exchanged emails with a friend managing a new hire process for his company. “I’ve looked at enough resumes the last few weeks to last me a lifetime,” he wrote. Any candidate applying for a job in today’s market has to compete with up to hundreds of other applicants. How can job seekers possibly capture a recruiter’s attention when all resumes look the same?

While there are plenty of subtle ways to make a resume stand out, some job seekers have gone above and beyond active verbs, quantifiable achievements, and proper resume keyword selections. Here are six of the most creative resumes to ever make headlines—and what you should learn from them.

creative resumes

A resume formatted to look like Google search results netted the applicant an interview, but not the job. (Photo Credit:

1. The job: A position with Google.
The resume: The candidate, Eric, laid out his qualifications and experience to look like Google search results.
The result? Eric didn’t get the Google job he sought, but his resume’s creative formatting did land him an interview and quite a bit of online recognition! 
The lesson? 
According to Business Insider, the job he applied for was in Google’s marketing division. However, his resume featured the skills and experiences of a design professional. Having an eye-catching resume format is important, but tailoring each application you submit is crucial.

Enlist the help of Jobscan with the tailoring processour resume analysis tool identifies the important keywords in a job description for you to help you optimize your resume!

creative resumes

This cake resume made for a sweet, successful job application. (Photo Credit:

2. The job: An internal position at Zappos.
The resume: A red velvet cake professionally made to reflect one of Zappos’ core values: “be adventurous, creative, and open-minded.”
The result? The edible resume Pua, a Zappos customer loyalty team rep, sent in place of paper worked: she was selected for the position.
The lesson? As many an event  organizer will tell you, food does make a difference in getting people excited about something. However, the cake resume likely worked in large part because of the applicant’s existing knowledge of the company’s values and her familiarity with internal staff. Researching employers you want to work for is a key part of the job search process.

This crafty, hand-sewn approach definitely deserves a spot on our creative resumes list. (Photo Credit:

This crafty, hand-sewn approach definitely deserves a spot on our creative resumes list. (Photo Credit:

3. The job: The applicant’s first position following college.
The resume: The candidate, Melissa, printed her resume on white fabric and sewed copies to a variety of patterned fabrics.
The result? Using the fabric resumes did indeed land Melissa the job she was pursuing.
The lesson? Melissa chose this creative resume format because she wanted it to “really represent not only my design skills, but my affection for sewing and including handmade elements.” This thought process shows excellent awareness of what prospective employers in her industry were looking for. Just be sure that when creating and submitting resumes, you focus more on what an employer needs rather than your personal goals.

creative resumes

It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate, but make sure your resume format is industry-appropriate. (Photo Credit:

4. The jobs: Positions with various marketing firms.
The resume: A chocolate bar with the candidate’s profile information as “ingredients” and “nutrition facts.”
The result? The candidate, Nick, was offered two jobs in three months because of his sweet resume choice.
The lesson? This candidate clearly knew his target industry well, demonstrating his knowledge that marketing extends past products and into more intangible concepts like productivity. If you do use a non-traditional resume, make sure it’s appropriate for the job you’re seeking. “Think about the best way to highlight your skills for the position, and don’t hide a lack of experience behind a cool, out-of-the-box format,” writes HR pro Angela Smith at The Muse.

creative resumes

A t-shirt resume is definitely different, but is it your best jobseeking bet? (Photo Credit:

5. The job: Any full-time position job seeker Kelly could use to support her family.
The resume: A t-shirt with the candidate’s resume on the front and cover letter on the reverse side.
The result? Although the story of Kelly’s resume t-shirt was covered on major news networks, there’s a lack of follow-up reporting. Her bold job seeking strategy was highlighted in 2008.
The lesson? 
When an applicant uses an off-the-beaten-path resume and it goes viral, she or he may not receive the type of recognition they intended. The Today Show didn’t pull punches on the topic: “trying a crazy trick to get attention may even hurt your chances of landing a really good job, with an employer you want to work for.” If you want to use a creative resume, think carefully about how it will come across. A shirt emblazoned with “I need a job!” conveys desperation for any job, when what employers really want is someone who would be a great fit for a specific role.

creative resumes

An interactive resume video game where the jobseeker’s the hero? Cool and creative! (Photo Credit:

6. The job: Work in computer programming.
The resume: An interactive, animated resume taking inspiration from Super Mario Brothers!
The result? The candidate, Robby, created a finished resume product so strikingly different and of such high quality that news coverage centered around showcasing the work itself. “We’re pretty sure…he landed a job offer or 50,” according to Forbes.
The lesson? If you’re considering a creative resume, don’t just go for the zaniest idea you can come up with—come up with an idea that clearly showcases your strengths.

Creative resumes can be effective when used thoughtfully. Just make sure yours is right for your target industry, skills, and the specific job you want!

See also:

Top Resume Formats in 2015

Change Your Resume Objective into a Career Summary

8 Things You Need to Know About Resume Keywords

10 Awesome Resume Templates

Doctor’s Orders: Top 8 Tips on Resumes for Medical Professionals

Resumes for Medical Professionals

Doctor’s Orders: Top 8 Tips on Resumes for Medical Professionals

“The medical field.” It’s only three words long, but the phrase encompasses hundreds of different occupations and a rapidly growing employment sector of the American economy. With such a vast array of specialized positions available in medicine, job seekers must ask and answer the following question: What should go on effective resumes for medical professionals?

resumes for medical professionals

Don’t be scared of writing your medical resume—it hurts much less than a shot.

Start with this neatly bisected list of eight tips to craft your answer.

Exam room one: helpful hints for medical professionals.

1. Emphasize your education. Most prospective employers want to see your skills and work history on a resume well before any educational details. Not so in the medical field! Many positions within medicine require extremely specific degrees and certifications. The school you went to can also be much more important in medicine than it is in other fields. Schools develop reputations for being competitive or demanding, or for excellence in certain specialties. Place the Education section near the top of your resume and give hiring managers an immediate sense of your schooling.

2. Don’t skimp on skills. Whether you’re an osteopath or an optometrist, your new job in medicine is going to draw on a highly specialized skill set. Honed skills are important in any occupation—but because the medical field involves making decisions that directly affect human lives, demonstrating your capabilities takes on greater importance. Take a look at these two sample resumes, for a Pharmacist and Certified Medical Assistant, from Monster. Both have prominent skill sections, and include technical as well as patient-focused abilities. Soft skills are especially important for patient-facing roles.

Resumes for medical professionals

Resumes for medical professionals should include specialized skills that align with each individual job description.

3. Perfect the personal statement. A personal statement is an incredibly important part of applying to schools in the field of medicine. Prospective nurses, physicians, mental health counselors, and even pharmacists must include one with their AMCAS application. However, it’s also a great tool for your healthcare resume, serving the same function as a career summary in other professional sectors.

The Princeton Review has an excellent set of tips on writing personal statements, including that “good medical students—and good doctors—use clear, direct language.” A personal statement is your chance to explain why you want a career in medicine, and to highlight your accomplishments so far. Use it to captivate the reader’s attention and make yourself stand out.

4. Take time to tailor. At Jobscan we urge applicants to tailor resumes in all sectors of work, and experts on medical resume writing agree. “Health care human resources staffers and recruiters know the typical duties for nurses, orderlies, and medical technicians. So, if you’re applying for a job that requires certain skills or experiences, it won’t do any good to provide a summary of routine duties,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Your resume should instead convey your individual experiences and accomplishments—and tie those back to the specific job you are seeking. Tailoring your resume also gives the employer a sense of how well you follow procedures—which is key to any medical career.

Once you have your first resume draft done, run it through Jobscan’s resume optimization tool and make sure it’s tailored to perfection! Thanks to the personalized results you’ll get from Jobscan’s resume analysis, you can effectively present yourself as a match for your desired position.

Exam room two: words of wisdom from medical professionals.

These insights come directly from people in various stages and specialties of the medical profession.

5. “Process improvement/quality improvement projects are popular now. This is basically looking at systems of care and finding small changes that can be implemented. You measure how effective you were at it before the change and how effective the process is after, and hopefully it got better. That would relate to a job application in that you could say for an ‘X’ size clinic, we were able to see ‘N’ more patients, or work ‘Y’ more efficiently/effectively. Medical folks love data…hard numbers to show what you can bring to the organization.” —A physician in the Army, practicing family medicine

resumes for medical professionals

Much of healthcare now happens in teams. Your resume should indicate how well you worked with those around you.

6. “I made sure to emphasize my direct interactions with patients [in my resume]. Practitioners and admin staff alike are usually pretty willing to train new hires in highly specific and technical procedures. It’s easier to do that than, say, try to teach someone how to have a proper bedside manner.” —Second-year medical student

7. “When I hire someone, I am usually looking for an individual with a personality that will connect with our patient population and stakeholders. Most people have a lot of the same skill set these days. If a resume could convey something about how well the author connects with patients, clinic staff, and medical providers, the prospective employer might take notice.” —Program staff member at Rehabilitation Institute of Washington

resumes for medical professionals

You certainly CAN appeal to Asclepius—the Greek god of healing—for help with your medical-industry resume, but try using keywords and quantifiable results first. (Photo credit:

8.  “I used to work with students who were applying to residency training programs after finishing medical school—and that is a lot like a resume. Keywords [and keyword phrases] often included:
A. ‘History of hard work’ in medical school
B. ‘Motivated by compassion for persons’ to enter healthcare
C. ‘Have learned the importance of communication (I listen to my patients)’
D. ‘This is a job that I find interesting’
E. ‘I enjoy being a team player’—as healthcare is usually carried out by a team these days.” —Medical ethics expert at the University of Washington

Take more than two of these tips, and I bet prospective employers will call you in the morning!

See also:

8 Things You Need to Know About Resume Keywords

Resume Examples: Keywords for Biomedical Engineering

Top 3 Blogs for Healthcare Jobs

Resume Examples: Keywords for Registered Nurses

Top 3 Blogs for Education Jobs

Top 3 Blogs for Education Jobs

Top 3 Blogs for Education Jobs

While the summer heat isn’t waning as August draws to a close, a sure sign of fall on the horizon has already materialized in some places around the country: students heading back to school.

Educational professions are a common vocational choice in my family. From college professors to elementary school teachers, I am surrounded by incredible passion for learning and instructing. Thus, readers who share in the desire to educate, I salute you with the utmost respect! However, all the zeal and motivation in the world aren’t going to help if you don’t know where to look for education jobs—so check out these top blogs as part of your career lesson planning.

Gone are the days of searching for education jobs in print. Use these blogs to get good results.

Gone are the days of searching for education jobs in print. Use these blogs to get good results.

1. Teach.comEducation is an extremely complex art. As such it’s fitting that offers information and help on a multitude of subjects within the broader teaching profession. (The site is linked to USC, so you’ll see lots of ads for their graduate programs, but its content is worth the plugs.)

The most notable feature of the site itself isn’t a specific education jobs search engine, but rather the “Get Your Teaching Job” section. This portion of clearly articulates the different components of a successful search for K-12 positions, and offers links to 15 education-specific job databases such as Teachers-Teachers!

As for the blog, it averages three to four posts per month and sports several different types of articles: Q&As, feature pieces on specific educators, educational conference (such as SXSWEdu) wrap-ups, and recommended tech resources.

Three key posts:

10 Reasons to Blog as Professional Development

Finding Your Niche: Teach100Mentors Talk Transitions

7 Innovative Apps for Parent-Teacher Communication

education jobs

Bluto can’t believe all the pressure higher education professionals are under, and wants you to use these job search resources. (Photo Credit:

2. VitaeVitae is an extremely comprehensive collection of resources solely for higher education professionals. You can use the basic job search function without creating a (free) account, but signing up does offer some nice benefits, including saved job searches.

The “Get News & Advice” section of Vitae’s site is authored by a wide variety of writers, and contains incredibly diverse content. From forum discussions about what to do on the first day of class to advice regarding department politics, the blog is both informative and entertaining. (And frequently updated!)

Three key posts:

Long-Distance Networking

The Sound of Silence

The Importance of Writing Skills in Tech-Related Fields

education jobs

Finding a great education job is the perfect way to maintain your excitement for teaching. (Photo Credit)

3. SchoolSpring. SchoolSpring doesn’t actually have a separate blog, but I’m making a curriculum choice and including it here anyway. Instead of limiting its education jobs to either K-12 or higher education positions, it includes every grade level from preschool to post-secondary.

Significantly, this resource also produces results for administrator jobs in addition to the array of teaching positions. A good administrative team works with teachers to create positive school climates and environments with professional development, so it’s important to get quality candidates (like you, if you’re looking in that sector of the profession) in those jobs!

Three key tools:

Find a Job (Advanced Search)

Facebook Page

Profile Form (Free sign-up; this gives you the ability to create job alerts and saved searches)

education jobs

Jaime Escalante’s passion for education helped him push students to succeed. (Photo Credit:

Once you have your target jobs lined up, head over to Jobscan and make sure that your resume aligns with the specific job openings you’ve decided to pursue. Educators need reliable resources throughout their careers, and we want to provide one for you!

Extra Credit: If you’re a K-12 professional, be sure to check out Edmodo once you’ve secured that fantastic education job. A free tool featuring classroom management resources, the capability to share assignments with students, and a frequently updated blog, Edmodo helps teachers stay organized.

Class dismissed!

See also: 

Resume Format: Your Education Section

Top 3 Blogs for Finance Jobs

Vocational Visuals: The 3 Best Resume Tips Videos