How a Bad Thank-You Note Can Cost You the Job

24 02 2015

thanks man


For those fresh out of college and new in the job market, getting an interview can be a daunting task.

Picking out the perfect outfit: scary. Acing the interview: even scarier. But if you think first impressions stop there, you are horribly mistaken. What comes next is the thank you note, and I know what you’re thinking: You’ve been sending thank you notes since your sixth birthday party.

But the thank you note you send after even the most successful interview is unlike any other you’ve sent before, and if you do it wrong, it could be what costs you the job. The first mistake you can make is not sending a thank you note at all, but if you make some of these other errors, you may end up wishing it got lost in the mail.

Sending it too late, doing it via email, being overly generic, being inappropriate, and talking only about the job and yourself could put not only your thank you note in the trash, but your resume too. Here are the five biggest mistakes you can make with a thank you.

  1. Emailing Your Thank You Note

Think about the number of emails your potential employer has to weed through on a daily basis. Chances are, there could be hundreds, and half of them are probably skimmed as closely as your college textbooks used to be. A card sent via snail mail shows true sentiment and effort. Everyone loves getting an old-fashioned letter, right?

  1. Sending Too Late After the Interview

Waiting until the interviewer has either a) forgotten about you or b) become interested in hiring someone else is the wrong way to try to get yourself hired. Since I already suggested sending snail mail (a nickname that doesn’t scream timeliness), a good way to make sure your sparkling hire-me-now letter arrives on time is to send it the day of the interview. This will help with remembering everything you connected on during the interview and personalizing it to a tee. k

  1. Having One Generic Thank You Note for Every Occasion

Similar to cover letters and resumes, a thank you note should be carefully crafted to fit the specific job and person. Having one letter where you change the names in it is an easy way to sound dull and leaves a lot of room for making mistakes. If you need inspiration for unique letters, check out some sample thank yous, but remember to customize each one and let your personality shine through!

  1. Talking Only about the Job and Yourself

In the interview, you had your chance to shine, brag and beyond. In a thank you note, you should be doing exactly that — thanking them. Don’t waste a stamp just to talk yourself up some more. Leave the employer feeling so appreciated and complimented they want to read your note again and again.

  1. Seeming Too Comfortable

Of course you want all of your charm to shine right off the paper the second it’s pulled out of the envelope, but you don’t want to risk sounding too informal. Choose your words carefully, because there are some things you should never say in your thank you note. And definitely avoid being sarcastic or over-confident – you haven’t gotten the job yet.

Once you’ve sent the perfect thank you note, the employer will have no choice but to hire you! Now all you’ll have to worry about is what to wear on your first day of work …


****For this great post, we thank Sarah Landrum!!****

Sarah LandrumAbout Sarah: Sarah Landrum is a recent Penn State graduate, writer, and founder of Punched Clocks. Passionate about helping others find happiness and success in their careers, she shares advice on everything from the job search and career development, to health and fitness, and more! Follow her for more great tips @SarahLandrum

Finding the Right Career for Your Personality [INFOGRAPHIC]

5 02 2015

Have you ever wondered why you are attracted to certain jobs? Ever thought about how happy you would be as an architect? Or how bored you would be as a software engineer? Your personality type could have everything to do with your preferences.

Understanding your personality type could be a key factor in finding the career that makes you happy. This infographic, compiled by Truity Psychometrics, a provider of online personality and career assessments, as well as the developer of the TypeFinder® personality type assessment, details the four dimensions of personality type and suggests ideal jobs for each type.

Some key points include:

  • 51% of people are introverts who prefer working independently and in calm, quiet spaces.
  • 73% of people are sensors who like working with concrete things like people, data and machines.
  • 54% of people are judgers who focus on organization and crave a structured, orderly workplace.
  • 60% of people are feelers who want work that reflects their values and  gives them an opportunity to help others.

Check out the full infographic below, to find out more about what types of positions make each personality type happy.

How does your personality affect your current position? What types of positions fit your personality best? Let us know in the comments below!


Avoid These Entry-Level Salary Negotiation Mistakes

3 02 2015

salary negotiation 1

Entry level positions are seldom open for negotiations. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you can’t at least try to land a better deal. The whole process can be nerve-wracking, and that’s because rookie negotiators don’t bargain, and they often end up accepting whatever offer the hiring manager makes. In the US, money is a taboo subject; when it comes to negotiating a job offer, entry-level candidates don’t have the courage to ask for more. They don’t even ask if there’s room for negotiations because they don’t want to offend or seem greedy. Here are some guidelines to help you avoid negotiation mistakes when bargaining for an entry-level position.

Don’t let hiring managers “read” your anxiety

It’s ok to be nervous when attending a job interview. If this is your first interview ever, then you’re allowed to freak out a bit. But don’t let the hiring manager notice you’re about to have a heart attack. Take deep breaths; talk less if your voice is trembling and stay focused on facts. Be brief when it’s time to answer questions, and don’t hesitate to ask for clearance if you have doubts.

Everything’s negotiable

Most entry-level positions have fixed salaries. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t try to negotiate either way. Do it the smart way, though. First of all, be ready to answer a question – why should you get more when you’ve got zero work experience? Use your head to come up with a straightforward answer. Talk about your passion for the job, your determination and enthusiasm to do whatever you can to help the company thrive. Make your words count and the hiring manager might just want to listen more of what you have to say.

Bad timing

Salary negotiations are tricky, especially for entry-level candidates. You can’t just walk into the office of a hiring manager and start making demands. Considering that you don’t have a rich resume, you must find other ways to persuade them and convince them that you deserve more. Nowadays, many companies look for motivated employees; even if they don’t have past experience, their drive and willingness to learn can make them great assets for the company.

Approach negotiations with fortitude and showcase a professional attitude. Don’t allow anyone to intimidate you in any way, and be ready to answer a few questions in the briefest and clearest way possible. Hiring managers appreciate candidates who are concise, articulate and fluent in their speech. This shows that they have great potential and that their rugged talents can be honed and turned into priceless skills.

Lack of preparation

Many job seekers enter interviews totally unprepared. They know nothing about the hiring company and they have no idea how much money an entry-level position pays. How can you negotiate better financial incentives if you’re not familiar with the company’s goals, mission and vision? Access salary-related websites to get a general idea about average salaries paid for the position you’re applying for; ask about bonuses based on performance, tuition reimbursement, and non-financial incentives. Engage in a conversation with the hiring manager and talk about what you can do to help the company thrive.

Know how to handle questions

This is probably one of the biggest mistakes candidates make when entering job interviews. It’s natural for hiring managers to ask about financial expectations, but they want to hear an amount and not receive blunt answers like “Well, I’m not sure” or “Whatever suits you”. This is not a very smart way of dealing with salary negotiations. Even if you’re bargaining for an entry level position, you still need to lay out clear facts. Recent graduates fail to land a job because they don’t exude motivation and commitment. How can you expect a company to hire you if you can’t give straight answers to the simplest questions?

Entry-level salaries can be negotiated, provided that you can market yourself. Since they don’t have prior work experience, candidates must persuade hiring managers that they should invest in their potential. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you and maintain a calm, relaxed attitude throughout the interview. This will show that you’ve got great potential, and that you’re not afraid to speak up and stand by your allegations.

****Campus to Career thanks Christopher Austin and for this great post!!****

How to Find a Job in 7 Days

22 01 2015


Let’s face it – life happens. Sometimes, we need to find a job FAST so we can keep the heat on during these cold winters. This week’s post highlights a few ways you can kick-start the job search and potentially land a job by the end of the week. NOTE: It’s a lot of hard work, but you knew that already, didn’t you? 

If you need to find a job quickly, you should ideally consider positions that need to be filled fast. Getting a job within a short period is possible when you have the right attitude. In order for you to get a job in 7 days, you need to begin by letting people know that you are looking for a job.

Tell your story. Give explanations regarding what kind of job you are looking for along with your qualifications. Create a marketable description of yourself that will quickly sell you. You can modify this description in accordance with the position you are targeting. This will also prepare you for questions and the answers that you need to give.

Make your list. The next step is to identify the companies that you want to work for. Create a list of possible employers. This should include a few that have not posted vacancies. Find job postings through various resources such as websites.

Do your homework. After establishing who you want to work for, you need to find out more about the companies. This will require you to carry out research into their backgrounds, the services or products they provide and the type of people they hire. Get in touch with people who are in your network of contacts.

Work your network. Focus on people who have links to the employers that you are interested in. If you are looking for a full time job, your contacts will be able to provide you with leads. Your contacts can also help you find out if you need to provide any additional information in your resume on how to improve your chances of getting employment. Let your career based contacts know that you are available.

Reach out and connect. Get in touch with prospective employers and use the professional description you created to sell yourself. You will usually receive a very short amount of time to express yourself. Every second counts and you need to be well prepared for the opportunity. Speak with enthusiasm and deliver your brief presentation confidently.

Tailor and apply. You also need to send out applications for various jobs and structure your resumes to fit the needs of different employers. Find out how to create an effective resume through a site like ValidateJOB. Create different resumes that you will customize for each application.

Spread the love. Apply generously. Even if the job is a bit of a stretch, consider applying. Those outside your comfort zone could potentially help you grow even more as a professional. With your positive approach and eagerness to learn, you may not only get the desired job but also discover the best of you. If there is a company you are interested in but no vacancy has been advertised, you can make a bold step by sending an introductory letter. It should be brief and to the point while expressing your interest in working for the company.

Follow up. As the week draws to a close, get in touch with every company that you sent a job application to.  Always have your phone close to you when you are looking for a job so that you do not miss out on any opportunity. You never know when it might ring!

Any other tips? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below!

****For this post, Campus to Career thanks Jenny Richards!!****

Winged Migration: What a Flock of Geese Can Teach Us About Leadership

13 01 2015


As I was out for a run recently, I observed a flock of geese landing in a nearby field. I watched as they touched down in what seemed like a carefully choreographed dance, their wings spread wide, feet lowered as they signaled to each other with joyful honks. Nature is all around us – beautiful and full of lessons. You see, we’re not so different from that flock of geese as we embark on our journey of leadership development.

We all have leadership potential. The animal kingdom doesn’t elect leaders. Respect is earned. In my opinion, leaders are born, but there is no such thing as a born leader. Leaders emerge through their own hard work and dedication. Ever notice the V-formation birds, especially geese, fly in? The leader at the point rotates over the course of the journey. Every goose pulls their weight.

***What are you doing to earn the respect of your peers and co-workers? Are you pulling your weight as a leader or are you expecting everyone else to do the work?***

This article was originally posted to LinkedIn – read the rest of the story here

Crazy Career: How to Apply Your Humanities Degree

16 12 2014


You’ve heard it before, the dreaded question that everyone seems to ask after you explain what you decided to study. “So what do you want to do with that?” The question makes you squirm, but at some point you’ll need to address it, if only to figure out how to start repaying your student loans. The future can seem far away now, but when you have a solid plan, the rest will come easy.

We’ve put together a list of five ways to parlay your humanities degree into a real career that pays real money. Take a look and find a place where you might be able to belong.

Think Deeply

This part should be no problem for you. You’re good at thinking deeply, after all you did major in humanities. Step one is to consider what living well means for you. Try to identify your top three priorities. For example, you might crave getting married, or owning a home.  Others might prefer a life of adventure and travel. Humanities might be important to you now, but understand what you want from the future and what kind of job will keep you happy for the longest. Whatever it is, before you do anything else consider your priorities and what you want out of a career.

Establish Benchmarks

Once you understand what your most important goals are, develop a concrete vision of success. Maybe you want to get into a trial advocacy degree program before you’re 30, or be making enough to finance a home by your mid-forties. Write down a list of what quantified success looks like. Decide how much schooling you want done and by when. It’s important to create a timeline to know if you’re on track. Talk to a counselor at school if you can so they can help you make a manageable time table to follow, and you won’t be stretching yourself.

Map It Out

With definite goals in mind, start thinking about how to achieve them. This can seem like the most challenging part, but the key is to be creative. Identify transferable skills that will be valuable for a potential employer and explain them in your cover letter. A philosophy major might cite their ability for critical and analytical thought. Students of psychology could explain their natural understanding of others. If you’re having trouble identifying your skill set, ask professors, friends, and former supervisors to list your top five best traits. A trend will soon emerge that you can capitalize on in applications. Market yourself. Make it clear to an employer why they should hire you.

Open Possibilities

Guess what? You don’t have to do what everybody else is doing. Be creative and innovative in defining your own path to a rewarding career. Get your feet wet with internships or volunteer experiences in fields that seem interesting. Don’t be afraid to take a job for a year or two that you’re unsure about. Every experience will help you learn what you enjoy and don’t enjoy doing. Soon you’ll be putting your abstract knowledge to work in a concrete way.

Humanities are a great thing to study and can lead you to many different career paths. Make sure you have goals in mind and a schedule in which to complete them. When you have a good direction to go in, you’ll be less likely to be sidetracked and drawn away from a career path in humanities. Just make sure you know what to expect and how your degree can help you get where you want to go.

***For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Brooke Chaplan!!***

brooke chaplanAbout: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan

Ho-Ho-How to Set Yourself Apart This Holiday Season

9 12 2014

Psst!  Can I tell you a secret?


Employers don’t stop hiring during the winter holiday months.  Use this time to research companies and apply for their fantastic jobs!


Here are a few tips to help make your internship/full-time job search more successful over the holiday break:

Networking – Holiday parties are a great way to meet people and really connect on a personal level (focus more on personal conversation vs. your elevator pitch.)  Don’t “elf” it up: Click here to read a great article on holiday networking.

Get social – Take this time to update your social media profiles and ask your connections for references.  The more people you’re connected with, the more you’ll be able to get some great career advice and job search assistance.  Is your LinkedIn profile 100% complete??

Schedule it – Keep up with a full-time job search during this time of the year can be chaotic.  Set a specific time of day where you’ll work on your job search as well as set job search goals you want to achieve.  Every day has the SAME amount of seconds, minutes and hours – it’s what you do with them that COUNTS!

Be proactive. APPLY – As winter approaches, the opportunity to apply for internships is coming to an end.  The majority of companies recruit for Summer 2015 internships during Fall 2014.  Don’t wait too long to get your foot in the door!  If you’re looking for full-time employment, don’t wait until you’re a month away from graduation.  Research and apply.  Wouldn’t it be great to walk across the stage to get your diploma knowing that you have a great job waiting for you??

Above all, be sure to enjoy the holidays with friends and family.  They want to support you.  Stop looking at your smartphone and engage in real conversation.  You’ll be glad you did.

Happy holidays from Campus to Career!


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