Equilibrium Institute- Delivering Core Intelligence

Apathy is not consent, it's the demand for Empowerment  

Re: Open Position __________________________________






Dear Human Resources Manager,



     I am experienced serving a diverse cliental as a case manager, workshop leader, administrator and vocational consultant. A variety of positions are gaining my attention, but your company’s position caught my attention because it matches what I am searching for and I have successfully performed many similar duties described in this job announcement before. 



     My resume touches on my accomplishments and familiarity with;



  • Labor market information (occupational research, trends, law)


  • Communications (producing CD’s, videos, print ads, public speaking, publishing)


  • Human resource management, promotions & event management


  • Delivering educational services for youth & adults in public settings


  • Analyzing state and federal laws where compliance issues are concerned


  • Establishing positive interagency collaborations and helped agency directors acquire rebate funds, protect assets or limit liability


  • Generated and managed employer accounts essential to increasing division productivity.



     In a team-building exercise my fellow workers wrote the following describing my personality; “giving, honest, patient, listener, strong sense of duty, dedicated, helpful, intelligent, attentive, positive outlook on life and compassionate.”  About my presentation skills my customers wrote on 2007 evaluations stating, “good audience involvement, informative, interesting, personable, relaxed, confident, caring and natural.” Earlier in 2003-04 customers wrote, “an understanding leader. You can learn a lot from him about looking for jobs. He knows what he is doing. I hope he continues giving this workshop. I hated to leave.”



     I recently passed the California Basic Education Standards Test (CBEST.)  I completed a Paralegal certificate course from the University of Colorado in addition to an earlier M.A. degree obtained from San Francisco State University.



     Thanks for considering me available for interviews.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.  












Types of Resumes


     There are three main types of resumes; reverse chronological, functional, and analytical.  There are a number of variations and names for these resume types.  The reverse chronological resume is useful for students and for a more generic form of application across diverse fields.  The functional format targets each job specifically highlighting relevant experience and skills. The analytical resume is a way job seekers can summarize their knowledge and experience with more emphasis on achievements and transferable skills.  Employers can deduce where the person might fit in or contribute in the business. Changes in HR strategies increases chances that people not familiar with the work are making initial selections. Therefore, it is advisable not to leave anything up for deduction and to be as clear and concise as possible.  Even when using Analytical resume formats, it is important to tailor and correlate the resume to the position that you are applying for so that it is clear how you qualify. 



     Resumes are sales tools.  It would be reasonable to learn the type of resume the employer prefers to receive in advance if possible.  Otherwise, try to follow the conventions that may differ depending on the field.  The rule concerning paper quality and color is to make sure it is a shade of white that can be photo copied or scanned without difficulty.  Place emphasis on the contents of the resume, appearance is secondary. 



     Don’t go overboard with the formatting, but make sure it is readable, understandable and accurate.  Avoid the overuse of bolding and use a 12-point font.  Make sure there is at least a half inch all the way around the borders and do a spell and grammar check.  Make job objective statements that express what you wish to do in a manner that shows you have the skills to do it or that you have done it successfully before.  Job objective statements can imply something that can be viewed as a potential asset that might catch the eye of the employer.  Show confidence with well illustrated examples.  Unless your industry is one that requires bold, comical, or unusual attitudes, it would be best to put forward your positive attributes and skills in a moderate tone.  By making clear statements, there is less room for misinterpretations and less opportunity for your statements to be misconstrued.



Methods to Locate Employment Opportunities


     Using a variety of job search strategies is helpful when seeking work.  Networking is one of the leading ways of locating jobs.  While many companies do post employment opportunities widely, many positions are filled through active recruitment or through internal referrals.  Applying directly with an employer in their offices, on employment telephone hotlines or at job fairs, answering newspaper ads, the use of private placement agencies, the use of school placement offices and the use of State Employment Development Department offices are also potentially helpful.  Using the internet, telephone books, community resource centers, unions, civic agencies, employment journals, professional journals and association, the chamber of commerce, the library, the radio or television, and responding to help wanted signs are other ways to locate jobs.  If you have a unique service or skill you can also publish or broadcast your availability in a variety of media including newspapers, websites, or by hanging flyers.  




Step by step


     Locate the jobs or companies you want to work for, send your resume and follow up with calls to the human resources personnel or hiring managers.  Verify they got your resume and ask to be scheduled for an interview.





·        You will improve with experience so try to keep a sense of humor about it.  Getting a good nights sleep before an interview is important.  If you make a significant mistake during the interview, address it and correct yourself on the spot.  Ask for clarifications to make sure you are understood.  You could also send a comment in a thank you note to reflect a correction, or addition, but don’t make that the emphasis of the note or it could backfire and leave a negative last impression.    




Section 3


Being Interviewed



30 sec and 10 sec commercials


     Memorize pitches and ice breakers that highlight your greatest attributes and achievements for introductions used to sell yourself as a match for the employers business needs.  If you know what an employer is looking for from a candidate, help them understand how your skills and experiences make you a good fit for the position.  The ten second pitch is usually used to get an interview scheduled and the 30 second script should basically answer the following questions, “tell us about yourself,” or, “why should we hire you?” It is recommended that you share your script with professionals you know to continuously improve and update your approach as your career path advances. 



Transferable skills


     It is a good idea to know how the skills you possess can be utilized in different contexts or environments.  For example, if you are very inquisitive and have a knack for paying attention to detail, such skill could be applied to specific duties.  If you have examples of accomplishments that involved a highly developed attention to detail skill, then you can use that to show how your skill is relevant to specific tasks in the position that you are applying for.  In doing so you help the employer see how the skills you possess can be used to meet their needs and you also have a better idea of how different jobs in different industries may be able to use your skills and that may broaden and focus your employment search as well.  



Best Image


     First impressions are really important, but it is the lasting impression demonstrated by consistent action that builds trust.  Trust is necessary for effective teamwork on any job, including family-life. Good hygiene and cleanliness is a must.



     Dress appropriately for an interview.  Different industries have different standards in terms of dress code expectations so adapt to the industry standards.  Dress slightly above the current workforce in interview situations. It is possible to over dress.  Iron the cloths, if needed.  Don’t smoke or have an alcoholic beverage before an interview.  If you chew gum, be sure to discard it prior to being called into the interview.



The skeleton of interviews looks like this:


     Resume selection and scheduling, rapport, assessment, informing, questions from you, final statements, closure, and hopefully follow-up offers, or an invitation to future interviews. 



Here are some assessment types of questions to expect.


     Tell us about your past.  This is mainly a personality and lifestyle question.  The responses provide interviewers with information about your relative development, interests, skills, motivation, and achievements.  They will use that information to determine if you are likely to fit in.   Another common question is- where do you see yourself in five years?  Your accomplishments, perspective, abilities, attitude, and your self concept are all things that will help your employer learn more about you.  Remember that your hobbies and other aspects of your life that you may wish to share also help establish your credibility and describe your personality so that employers can make a decision about how you will fit into their environment.  Talking about things relevant to the position and keeping responses short, simple, and to the point works well. 



Key assessment questions:


Are you extraverted or introverted?


How do you respond to stress?


What skills do you possess?


Do you like to learn? How do you learn best?


Are you adaptable to the work environment?


Is the job something you are really interested in and able to do?


What is motivating you?


What are your strengths and weaknesses?


Does your philosophy match or are you likely to be loyal to the mission or goals?


What additional information do you need?


How organized are you, how do you solve problems and make decisions, what technical skills do you have, how mature are you, what activities are you involved in? 


Will you be productive?


Do you have any limitations on your ability to perform the job?


How do you get along with others?


How do you respond to conflicts between others?  How about conflicts that involve yourself?  


How long have you lived or do you plan to live in the area?


What is your career path?


Tell me about yourself.


Why do you wish to work for us?


What are your greatest accomplishments?


Why should I hire you instead of someone else that is equally qualified?



Making the most of the interview opportunity


     Your job as the interviewee is to convey how your experiences and skills make you a qualified and hopefully an outstanding candidate for the position.  Demonstrate that you know what the company does or what skills are required and that you have what it takes to perform well. 



     Body language makes up more of our communication than the words we chose, so make sure you are totally centered, relaxed, and focused.  Make eye contact, sit up straight and put on your happy face. 



·        Show your enthusiasm by letting the interviewer know you want the job and why once you know more about it! 



·        Did you bring supporting documentation like references and extra copies of resumes?



·        Don’t interrupt the interviewer, but you can politely ask them to rephrase a question if you don’t understand it or if you think it could be answered in multiple ways. 



·        Stay focused on the questions, keep it brief and to the point.  Follow the interviewers lead.



·        Try to work your strengths and skills into the conversation.



·        Have a definite reason for wanting the job and make sure it is consistent with the employers needs.



·        Compare the job requirements with your skills and accomplishments and point them out clearly to the employer.





Questions to ask:


1. What would a typical work day be like?


2. What are the most important work duties for this job?


3. What do you like about working here?


4. When will you notify me I should start if I am awarded the position?


5. Is there room to negotiate salary or benefits?



Research these in advance-


What does the career ladder for this position in this company look like?


How stable is the funding for this position?


View the position statement if available?


View an organizational chart?


What kinds of people do best in this sort of environment- do you match?





     Look at the interview as a chance to prove that the interviewer made a wise decision to consider you.  Try to learn the interviewing and hiring process of the employer from the H.R. department at the time the interview is scheduled.  Interviewers base their decision on several factors including an interviewee’s ability to follow directions, general demeanor, communication skills, appearance, and employment history.  Never speak negatively about yourself, avoid the use of language that could be considered extreme and learn to be respectfully diplomatic in answering difficult questions.  Always answer the question in a brief and succinct manner.  If the interviewer wants more information they will usually cue you verbally or with a long pause, but be careful not all pauses are cues. Let the interviewer steer the meeting, but keep in mind if someone is probing you in an area that is not productive, to some extent your answers can still be directed to make positive impressions depending on your tone, physical responses and your word choice. 



     Arriving 15 minutes early to an interview is advisable.  Shake hands with everyone you introduce yourself to and look them in the eye, smile and clearly pronounce your name in a confident or friendly tone. 



     Practice interviewing with job coaches, friends, and counselors.  The main thing is to make a positive impression, to be prepared, and to be able to articulate how you can meet the employer’s needs.  Make eye contact, smile, speak with confidence and thank the interviewer for their time.  Send them a thank you note the same day.  Here is another word of caution.  Some interviewers try to trick candidates to see how they respond to situations, so be prepared for stress tests and situational challenges.



Section 4


Adapting to the New Job



Office politics


     Embrace the mission of the company or division.  Be friendly and listen carefully to everyone that speaks to you.  Smile, offer your name and try to remember people once introduced.  In a nutshell, do as the Romans do.  Adapt to the standards in your workplace.  Ask for the rulebook.  Follow procedures.  If you surpass others they may resent you.  If you question their methods or challenge their effectiveness before you are trusted they may resent it.  Be tactful and keep in mind many people don’t like change or people that outshine them.  By blending in you actually become a more powerful player when it is your time to influence things.  Stay within your jurisdiction.  Pick the battles carefully and let everything short of safety and health issues slide right off your back.  If reportable conditions exist, try reporting anonymously.  Don’t take things personal or needlessly expose yourself to other people’s problems.  Most work environments don’t have built in process to vent the stresses earned at work, so it is up to you to find ways to cope at work.  Learning to control yourself in that way is not an easy process, but keep in mind what you are experiencing is common.  Some people get off on power trips and seek conflict, my advice is to avoid those people when you can and confront them tactfully and peacefully head on when you can’t avoid it and keep issues separate and well documented.  Try looking for ways to not reinforce the abnormal behaviors exhibited, if any.  Deflect stuff, redirect people, and use tactics that will allow a defense and de-escalate situations.  Try the conflict resolution process only if you think the other party is reasonable and willing.  In most circumstances problems result from miss-communication.  Hear each other out, and don’t pass judgment.  Try to identify the source of the problem and come up with possible solutions and then let stuff go.  Learn to identify violence and don’t harbor bad emotions.  Some work environments are healthier than others.  Keep logs of unusual interactions and make them as factual and clear as possible, but keep them confidential and talk to counselors if you think you’re being victimized.  Describe the behavior and don’t accept invitations to participate in personal battles.  Giving people the benefit of the doubt and understanding that behavior is motivated by many factors helps put into perspective that balance is at times out of our control.  The environment, our internal biological systems, and the various stresses experienced in both the conscious and unconscious spheres explain behavior.  One won’t always understand behavior, or agree with it, but there are reasons why people behave the way they do and a lot of it is beyond our influence.  Accept responsibility for your contributions to conflicts and work to minimize them.  If you can’t work it out together and the problem persists, report it to a supervisor, or move on.  However, if you report it, think of the ramifications and have a realistic plan.      



     Anti discrimination and safety regulations offer some intended assurances in the workplace, but where enforcement and immediate situations are concerned, professional distance and good judgment may aid you more directly.  While laws and rules may be well intended, they are rarely enforced in a manner that offers real protection when things go wrong.  When encountering people with moderate and severe mental health issues, I strongly recommend minimizing contact and maintaining dignity.  Experience shows that illogical behavior produces hazardous results.  Expecting someone to change their behavior just because you point things out is impractical.  Be creative.  There are ways to defend yourself and fight back in ways that can prevent abusers from hurting others without getting yourself hurt.  However, priority number one in such cases should be self-preservation.  The idea- lose the battle, but win the war is sometimes a helpful device.