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Man and women in a job interview


Research Information about the Company

      Find out what the employer does so you can ask intelligent questions during an interview.

      Let the employer know you are really interested.

Get information about the employer from individuals who work there, chamber of commerce, Iowa Workforce Development, local newspaper, library, or company website

Questions you should ask when you are researching the company

      What type of work is performed?

      What types of jobs are available?

      How long have they been in business?
How many people are employed?

      What are the work hours?

      How do they train new employees?

      What is the normal starting pay?


      Your resume should focus on your skills.  Employers want to know what you can do, not just where you've been.

      Resumes vary depending on your situation:  recent graduate, extensive work history, gaps in employment, mature worker, etc. 

      Key words on resumes make a difference.  Some types of resumes include: chronological, functional (skills), or a combination.   Plus there are different types of format when creating a resume.  A listing of occupation keywords and to learn about advantages/disadvantages of type of resume and when to use them.  The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website gives resume examples of:  work history, recent graduate, little or no paid employment history, and blank model formats to get you started. 

      Electronic resumes are becoming more common or resume scanning, both of which require specific formatting. Resume scanning systems look for skills. This is because resume scanning systems use a lexicon or dictionary when looking for words and will identify only those words that are on file.

      Cover letters are important for over 80% of recruiters look at the cover letters and 76% of recruiters said they would not consider applicants who had errors in their cover letters.

      Get a copy of the job description you are applying for and read the description finding common areas of what the job describes and what you can offer.  If requirements are mentioned in the job description, note in your cover letter if you have these requirements. 

      Keep the cover letter to one single page. 

      Be sure to state your interest in the position and re-state your interest in your closing, and thank them for their consideration in your closing.

      Have someone read your cover letter before you send it. 

      Use an acceptable standard business letter format, i.e.

March 11, 2002

Mr. John Smith
1313 Mockingbird Lane
Somewhere, IA 55555

 Dear Mr. Smith:

 I am writing to express my interest in the editorial position (reference code RIP13) as advertised on your website homepage.  As my attached resume notes, I have six years of editorial experience……

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an interview, I can be reached at (555) 555-5555.

Thank you for your time.


John Smith



A variety of commonly asked questions and answers about filling out applications


A Lasting First Impression

      Ask yourself these questions before the interview

o       Are my clothes clean and neat?

o       Are they appropriate to the job?

o       Do they fit or are they too revealing?

o       Do I need a haircut?

o       Are your teeth clean and your breath fresh?

      Be on time

      Maintain good eye contact.

      Speak well of previous employers or co-workers.

      Go alone.

      Ask specific questions.

      Don’t discuss family problems or provide too much information.

      Send a thank you letter after the interview and wait a couple of days to make a follow-up call to see if the employer has made a decision.

 Commonly Asked Questions (& Answers) in an Interview

      Why do you want to work here? “I feel I can put my skills to good use here.”

      Tell me about yourself. Briefly list your skills, abilities, strong points and accomplishments.

      What did you enjoy the most about your last job? A safe answer is I can’t think of anything I didn’t enjoy.

      What would you want to be doing in five years? Show interest in moving up, increase responsibility, or learning new tasks.

      How do you deal with stress or pressure?  “I take daily walks to relieve stress.”

      List your strengths and weaknesses.  Honestly state your strengths and tell how you are trying to overcome a weakness.

      Why should I hire you?  “I feel capable of doing this job and ….(state your strengths and abilities again).”

      What do you expect for a starting wage?  “What is the normal starting wage for this position?”

 Bring these questions along to the job interview

      What would my job duties be?

      How would I be trained?

      How would my progress be rated?

      Are promotions possible?

      Who would I report to?

      Why is this job open?

      May I have a tour of the work area?

      If the employer has not volunteered this information, ask them about the rate of pay, fringe benefits, and any probationary period.


*Avoid email addresses that could be demeaning and insensitive, i.e.,,

*Avoid email addresses that make the employer wonder about ethics.

*Always provide a personal name if your system allows it, i.e.

*If you are providing an email address be sure to check your email inbox.

More information is available at your local Iowa Workforce Development office. Call or stop by for some one-on-one help with your questions or ask for copies of these helpful publications:

         The Great Job Search 

         A Veteran's Guide for Successful Job Interviewing 

         Billfold Rsum for Job Interviews 

         Successfully Interviewing Job Applicants


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