Top Phone Interview Questions to Prepare For

Before you head to a job interview in person, you’ll likely have to go through a phone screen. Employers rely on these because they’re an efficient way to filter out applicants that are a weak fit and schedule face-to-face interviews with those that are the best fit.

But when it comes to preparing for one, you need to approach it just as seriously as you would a regular, in-person interview. To help you in the process, here are the top phone interview questions to get ready to answer. (more…)

How to Write a Thank You Email After an Interview

Most job candidates (57%) don’t send thank-you notes after an interview.

Here’s why that’s good news for you. 

According to a recent Murray Resources survey, 85% of hiring managers, executives and HR professionals say that a candidate’s follow-up after an interview makes a positive difference. 

Another study found that 1 in 5 recruiters and hiring managers will automatically dismiss a candidate if they haven’t sent an interview thank you email. 

The upshot? Sending a thank you note can differentiate your candidacy in a crowded job market – and help you land the job.

But how should you follow-up? Is a handwritten card best or are emails or phone calls preferred?

Email is the clear winner. 

According to the Murray Resources survey, 69% of hiring managers prefer receiving an email, a distant favorite over handwritten cards (25%) and phone calls (6%).

how to write a thank you email after an interview

Here are our best tips on how to write a thank you email after an interview.

 

1. Write a clear subject line.

Write a subject line that simply and clearly lets the interviewer know what the email is about. 

Include words such as “Thank you” or “Follow-up” and the interviewer’s name. Here are a few ideas:

  • “Thank you, Jeff.”
  • “Thank you for the interview!
  • “Following-up after our interview”
  • “Thank you for your time, Amy!”

Also consider including the position name within the subject line to immediately provide context. 

For example, you could say, “Follow-up regarding Junior Sales Rep position.” Just keep the subject line short and sweet. It’s recommended to not go over 9 words or 60 characters

 

2. Personalize your email.

If you Google “thank you email templates,” you’ll find hundreds of examples. But don’t simply copy/paste a template. 

Instead, personalize the email.

Here are five steps for personalizing and writing your email:

1. Provide an appropriate greeting. Include the interviewer’s name in the email. In a business email, it’s appropriate to use “Dear” followed by the interviewer’s first name and a comma (you can use a colon for increased formality).

2. Thank the interviewer. Quickly and sincerely express how much you appreciated the interviewer’s time. This can be as simple as “Thank you again for meeting with me today.”

3. Reiterate that you’re interested. Summarize why you’re a good fit for the position and share something about the position or the company that stood out during the interview. You could also share ideas for solving a particular problem or results you’ve had in the past.

4. Build rapport. Consider referencing something personal you talked about in your interview such as a sports team, hometown, or your shared love of dogs.

5. Close the email. Let the interviewer know that you’re available for questions and that you look forward to next steps. Close with a professional sign-off such as “Best regards.”

Analyze your audience before writing your email so that you can hit the right tone. For example, was the interviewer more formal during your interview? Use a formal, polished tone in your email. Try to match the tone of the interviewer and the culture of the company.

 

3. Edit, edit, edit. 

It’s important to send your email quickly so your candidacy is fresh on the interviewer’s mind. However, you have to balance speed with quality. 

According to the Murray Resources survey, 87% of hiring managers, executives, and HR professionals report that poorly written or unprofessional communication removed a candidate from consideration.

Carefully proofread your email to ensure that there are no mistakes. 

Run your email through a free writing service like Grammarly. This tool can help you spot typos and grammar issues. 

In addition, read your email out loud before sending. This practice often helps us catch errors and clunky sentences. You can also use a free tool like Hemingway to create short, effective copy. 

 

4. Adapt for multiple interviewers. 

58% of hiring managers reported conducting three or more rounds of interviews per role, so it’s likely you’ll interview with more than one person.

While you should send a thank you email to each interviewer, you don’t have to completely rewrite each email. However, they should be adapted. Try to reference something you individually discussed. 

If you only have one email address, thank the group. Here’s a great resource on how to properly greet multiple people via email. 

 

5. Send your email within 24 hours.

Timing is crucial at this point of the interview stage. Show that you’re truly interested in the position by following up with a thank you email within 24 hours.

A well-crafted, timely email following a successful job interview could be the tipping point that catapults you to the top of the finalist pool. 

 

Go the extra mile with a well-written thank you email.

Stand out from the crowd. Write a carefully-worded thank you email that helps you get that next interview (and hopefully the job!). 

If you need interview prep or career coaching, check out our top-rated services at ResumeSpice. Contact us at 832-930-7378. We’d love to work with you!

Should I Always Include a Cover Letter With My Application?

While technology has certainly changed the way candidates apply for jobs, some things remain the same. This includes the need for a cover letter. Unless you’re applying online and the system doesn’t allow you to submit one, you should consider sending one in.

Why? Because most hiring managers want to see a cover letter. Even if they don’t fully read it, they expect to have one in hand from applicants. So if you don’t send one with your resume, you could stand out for the wrong reasons.

In addition, while a recruiter might not read your cover letter from beginning to end, they can often pass it along to the hiring manager and others on the hiring committee. It can therefore be the difference between getting a call for an interview – or not.

Finally, your resume is the place for you to list out your accomplishments and tasks. Your cover letter, on the other hand, is where you can tell your story. This makes you a more memorable and intriguing candidate, hopefully leading to job search success faster.

So unless a posting explicitly states NOT to send one, or the application process doesn’t allow it online, invest the time and effort into writing and submitting a cover letter. Some tips for doing that include:

  • Use the hiring manager’s name when possible. Do what you can to avoid addressing it “To whom it may concern” and instead find out the hiring manager’s name. If it’s not in the job posting, call the company or email the department to see if you can uncover it.
  • Include the job title. Hiring managers and recruiters are often hiring for multiple positions. Avoid any confusion by stating the position you’re applying for in the first paragraph and what drew you to the role.
  • Strike the right tone. Do some research on the company and try to determine what tone will work best for them. If it’s a more corporate, formal organization, you’ll want to use fitting language. On the other hand, if it’s a small, family-owned business or promotes a more laid-back culture, then strike a more casual tone in your writing instead.
  • Explain what makes you different. Focus on one or two strengths or accomplishments that are most relevant for the role or company. Explain the value you can offer through them and why your background best aligns with the company’s needs. Remember, hiring managers and professional recruiters are busy and you want to make it abundantly clear and easy to understand why you’re the candidate to consider.

It’s true that some employers won’t read a cover letter. However, many still do and it’s not worth all the potential risks of not sending one. Instead, go the extra mile and write a cover letter that makes it easier for you to set yourself apart.

Would you like more help with your cover letter?

Read these additional tips, or turn to ResumeSpice for more assistance. We can offer you professional cover letter templates to follow or write yours from scratch. Whatever your needs, we’ll distinguish you among other candidates and showcase why you’re uniquely qualified for a role. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.

5 Types of Skills to Include on Your Resume

Just a few months ago it was a candidate’s market with your choice of possibilities. Now, in today’s uncertain economy, employers are tightening their belts and approaching the hiring process with far more caution.

To get noticed and set yourself apart, you must include the right skills on your resume. Generally there are two categories: hard and soft.

Hard skills are those technical abilities and competencies you need to perform a job properly. Think accounting or coding experience, as well as analytics, marketing or administrative skills. Soft skills, on the other hand, are more interpersonal in nature and relate to how you work alone and alongside others. These include teamwork, problem-solving, and flexibility.

Both are important and can help you get your foot in the door with a potential employer. Here are a few skill-based areas to focus on from our professional resume writers:

Communication Skills

No matter what type of job you have, communicating effectively will always be a top priority. So focus on the ways you’ve done so effectively in past roles. This includes through making formal presentations, writing press releases, communicating with key stakeholders, answering phones, or resolving customer service issues.

Technical Skills

Solid computer and technology-related skills are also in-demand. For instance, if you have experience with a certain platform, software package or app and the company you’re applying to uses it, make sure you highlight your proficiency. Employers want to make the learning curve as short as possible for new hires. If you already have technical knowledge to perform the job, you’re more likely to get the offer.

Leadership Skills

Employers are looking for those who are proactive and take initiative, regardless of whether it’s for an executive role or an entry level one. Discuss your ability to make decisions, solve problems, motivate a team and remain positive despite challenges.

Organizational Skills

Employers want to hire people who are naturals when it comes to prioritizing tasks, staying organized and managing time. This translates into a worker who’s more conscientious and diligent. Some ways to showcase your skill set in this area are to discuss your ability to remain on task and disciplined. You can also talk about a time you caught a potentially expensive mistake thanks to your attention to detail.

Collaborative Skills

These skills involve how you work with others. Companies want people who are able to work independently and as part of a team. They know that successful collaboration among a diverse group of people is key to creativity, innovation and maintaining a competitive edge. It’s therefore important to highlight how you’ve worked with others on your team or across departments in the past to bring important projects to fruition.

Ready for professional help with your resume?

ResumeSpice is here for you. Read more about which skills to put on your resume here and here, or simply reach out to us for assistance through our resume writing services. Whether it’s simply making suggestions and edits or writing a resume from scratch, we know how to highlight your skills and experience, so you get noticed. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.

How to List a Furlough or Layoff on Your Resume

It’s been a challenging season for companies and employees alike. If you’re one of the workers who has been furloughed or laid off through it all, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, in October 2020, the national unemployment rate was 6.9%. Around the same time last year, it was a mere 3.5%.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that even if you lost one job, there are still many employers out there looking to hire people like you. You simply need to polish your resume and start your search. To help you handle the situation properly – and position your experience in the best light – here are some resume tips to follow:

Review and refresh your resume.

If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your resume, it likely needs some updating. Read through it and make sure your experience, achievements, and accolades are all up to date. Also, add any volunteer activities or continuing education opportunities you’ve completed. Finally, make sure your resume is ATS-friendly and visually appealing.

Update your Work History section.

There’s a difference between being laid off and furloughed. If you were laid off, there’s a permanent separation between you and your former employer. However, with a furlough, there’s an expectation that the situation is temporary and you’ll have your job back after a period of time. It’s why you need to list them differently in your resume’s Work History section.

If you were laid off, for instance, include your past employer’s name, your job title, and your beginning and end dates of employment. If you were furloughed, on the other hand, you don’t need to include an end date for the position since you’re technically not laid off. You can also keep your job description in the present tense rather than the past as you would with a layoff.

Highlight recent activities.

Whether you were furloughed or laid off, it’s important to discuss what you’ve been doing since. For instance, perhaps you’re taking an online class to get certified in a certain area. Maybe you’re consulting or accepting freelance or temporary assignments. Whatever you’re doing, you want the hiring manager to get the sense you’re taking the situation in stride, making the best of it, and continuing to learn and gain skills throughout it.

Always be honest.

If you were laid off or furloughed, it’s not a reflection of you or your work performance. It’s simply the reality of a global pandemic that’s been damaging to the economy. So don’t try to hide it on your resume or in your cover letter. In fact, make it clear the situation is COVID-19 related. Countless other candidates are in the same position, and hiring managers understand it is out of your hands. It’s, therefore, nothing to be ashamed of or to lie about.

The bottom line?

Many candidates, like you, are out there grappling with an unexpected employment gap. During it, your goals should be to stay active, continue learning and gaining experience, and highlight this on your resume so hiring managers know you’re productive despite unfortunate circumstances. You’ll stand out and get noticed as a result.

Ready for professional help with your resume updates?

ResumeSpice is here for you. We are professional resume writers passionate about helping job seekers. We know how to put together a resume that works and resonates with hiring managers with options ranging from feedback and edits to a resume written from scratch. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.

3 Cover Letter Templates for Your Job Search

When it comes to your cover letter, there are many easy mistakes to make. These include being too generic or repeating what’s on your resume. They also include focusing more on yourself and what you’re looking for and less on the company and its needs. But the worst mistake of all? Not including a cover letter at all. (more…)