Tag Archives: jobs

Interview Tips and Tricks

The interview process is the last hurdle in getting a new job, promotion, or starting a new career.  It is during the interview that you as an individual truly get to shine and finally explain why you are the best person for the job.  The interview can also be the most stressful part of the job-searching process because it often feels like one misstep could turn everything against you.  Fear not!  Join us as we walk you through the interview process and the most common interview questions and strategies for answering different types of questions.

 

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Resume Tips and Tricks Program Recap

Your resume is your brand and it is important that your resume effectively communicates the most relevant information possible related to the position you are applying for.  Your resume is a living and breathing document and it should change for each position you apply for as well as every time you learn a new skill, take on additional responsibilities, or complete a major project.

There are three types of resumes:

  1. Chronological – This is the most common type of resume and focuses on your work history.  It is used to emphasize continuous employment as well as highlight the major duties and accomplishments for each job.  You should use this format if you are applying for a job in your current field or if your experiences and skills are intimately linked.
  2. Functional – The least common format, yet it does have its purpose, especially if you are transitioning careers or have long gaps in your employment history.  This format emphasizes the skills and knowledge you learned throughout our education/work/volunteering, including job/field specific skills (software) and soft/transferable skills (communication, problem solving).  Use this format if the profession or job cares more about your skill set rather than strictly work experience.
  3. Hybrid – A more popular format, it allows you to combine the best elements of your skill set and work history, allowing you to showcase how your skills were used in your job duties/responsibilities.  Additionally, you can include any professional experience such as coursework and volunteering within a Professional Experience section, focusing on relevant experience rather than just all of your past employment.  This format allows for much more flexibility and customization which can be useful when applying to multiple jobs, especially across different fields.

Once you have your general resume written, it is important to tailor it to each specific job you apply for.  It is recommended to go through the job description and highlight keywords, skills, and other important requirements, including numerical qualifiers – years of experience, number of people supervised, etc.  Once you have finished this, go back to your resume and see how much of your resume matches what is in the job description.  The more overlap you have, the more likely your resume will pass through the Application Tracking System many organizations use to filter out electronic applications.  You may need to rewrite major portions of your resume, especially your job duties and responsibilities, to better reflect what is stated in the job description, but the extra will pay off with a more professional and better targeted resume that will impress.

Some other general tips include:

  • Keep your resume to 1 page, 2 at most if everything is related to the requirements of the job
  • Use san serif fonts, such as Courier, Times New Roman, or Helvitica – these fonts are easier on the eyes and allow Applicant Tracking Systems to more accurately pull information from your resume
  • Keep font sizes between 10 – 12, except for major headings which can be up to 14
  • Adjust your margins as needed to fit all of your information on 1 page, but be aware that some programs will not print out anything beyond the standard .5 inch margins
  • While graphic resumes are eye-catching and allow you to express yourself in bold and impressive ways, there is a higher chance that they will be unreadable or significantly altered if opened in a different software program or uploaded to an Applicant Tracking System.

You can download a copy of the presentation at https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Resume.pdf.  You can download a copy of the handouts at https://www.njstatelib.org/assets/ResumeHandouts.pdf.

Career Connections Presents – Volunteering: A Doorway to Employment

Thanks to those who attended Career Connections Presents – Volunteering: A Doorway to Employment!  During the presentation, we discussed how volunteering might be a valuable addition to standard job searching activities.

Volunteering gives you the opportunity to:

  • Expand your social circles and create more networking opportunities
    • These networking opportunities can lead you to potential job openings, within or outside the volunteer organization, and have your supervisor serve as a professional reference
  • Learn new and develop existing skills, such as customer service, project planning, communication, or problem solving
  • Learn more about a specific job or field that you are interested in to determine if you should commit your time to pursuing a new career
  • Add work experience to your resume to demonstrate the necessary skills you will need in a new job or help fill in gaps of employment to show that you are motivated and active

Are you interested in finding a volunteer position and are not sure where to start?  The Governor’s Office on Volunteerism can link you to volunteer agencies who are looking to recruit.  In addition the New Jersey Career Connections website has a listing of volunteer organization websites or search engines designed to help connect you with a great volunteer position.  If you need additional assistance locating a great volunteer position, please contact the New Jersey State Library Reference Department at 609-278-2640 x103.

Career Connections Presents – Volunteering: A Doorway to Employment

If you’re looking for a job, you may think your time would be better spent on job-search activities than volunteering.  However, there are several benefits to volunteering.  Come join us as we delve into how volunteering can have a positive impact on not only your job search, but also developing and enhancing important skills and talents sought after by employers.

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development has developed a career navigation framework consisting of expert insights and actionable guidance, which follows 3 steps: Plan, Prepare, and Succeed. Volunteering: A Doorway to Employment falls under the ”Prepare” step of this model.

 

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Career Connections Presents – Master the Art of Networking Program Recap

As the job market becomes more competitive, the old adage of “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is more relevant now than ever.  Networking is a major factor when it comes to job searching, as well as securing that crucial interview.  Master the Art of Networking, presented by Career Connections, highlighted several tips for building your network and maximizing the impact of those in your network, including:

  • Network can include anyone you come in contact with on a regular basis, including friends, co-workers, social/community groups, service providers (hair stylist, doctor, accountant)
  • Use informal interviews with people in the field or profession you are interested in to gain a better understanding of what is expected from people who work in that field
  • 4 types of network contacts: sources, recommenders, decision makers, and linkers
  • Ensure that your social media profiles are professional and clear of anything that could have a negative impact on your image, such as photos, opinions, and use of language
  • Create an Elevator Pitch that is short and sums up your major goals and competencies in case you have an opportunity to meet new contact for your network or potential hiring managers

For more information on networking, please visit the Master the Art of Networking webpage from Career Connections, available at http://careerconnections.nj.gov/careerconnections/prepare/networking/master_the_art_of_networking_index.shtml.

Career Connections Presents – Master the Art of Networking

A critical component of anyone’s career goals and advancement is networking.  Finding the right job or career can be all about WHO you know rather than WHAT you know.  Join us as we highlight why networking is so important in today’s job environment while addressing the following topics:

  • Identifing, building, and expanding your network
  • Network planning
  • Using social media

 

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Civil Service Exam Test Books

The New Jersey State Library provides library service for all New Jersey state government employees. While we provide reference services and materials to help state employees perform their day-to-day duties, we also provide assistance for state employees and the general public who are interested in civil service jobs. We have a Test Book collection that focuses primarily on civil service exams, but we also have information on other tests, such as the Postal Exam, SAT/GRE, and the Police Officer Exam.

It is important to point out that the NJ Civil Service Commission, who is responsible for posting civil service jobs and administering any tests, only provides a small selection of Orientation Guides, primarily for Public Safety titles, and does not make old copies of tests available.  As a result, we use a national publishing company, the National Learning Corporation, to provide test preparation materials for civil service exams.  The NLC test books are used across the country, so there is not always an exact match to the positions within the state government of NJ.  However, we do our best to provide the closest match.

Currently, we have over 1,000 books within our Test Book Collection, located on Level 4.  We have a wide variety of test books including popular titles such as Investigator, Administrative Assistant, or Social Worker.  We also have books specifically for the Supervisory Test Battery and Management Test Battery.   Additionally, a limited number of Test Books are available electronically for free for registered authorized users, including state employees and Thomas Edison State University (TESU) students, staff, and mentors.  You can access our eBook collection via eLibraryNJ.  Authorized users needing a State Library access card should complete the appropriate online registration form.

As always, please contact the Reference Desk with help finding the right test book for you at refdesk@njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 103.

Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 2 Program Recap

Thank you to all of the participants who joined us for Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 2.  Your resume is your opportunity to make a statement and lasting impression on the person or committee hiring for a specific position.  Here are some tips to help ensure your resume highlights your qualifications and skills:

  1.  While a chronological resume is the most widely recognized format since it emphasizes work history, a functional resume is great for recent graduates or career changes since it focuses on your skills and overall achievements rather than work history.
  2. Read through the job description and take note of all of the keywords.  Include as many of these keywords in your resume to show that meet or exceed the requirements of the job.  Also, many job applications are online and therefore first screened by a computer; including keywords from the job description will help ensure that computer does not dismiss your application.
  3. Make sure that a majority of our skills, relevant work experience, and keywords are within the first three-quarters of the first page of your resume.  You want to grab the attention of the person reading the resume right away since hiring managers tend to spend very little scanning each resume at the beginning of the process.

Top Notch Resumes 2 also touched on cover letters and references, which can be equally as important as your resume.  Follow this tips to maximize your impact on the person reading your credentials:

  1. Make sure your heading on all of your application materials is consistent.  If you papers get lost or mixed with others’ applications, it will be easily identifiable.  Also, this demonstrates your attention to detail and that you are organized.
  2. Your cover letter should not be a copy of your resume.  Refer to the job title in your cover letter and express interest in the position.  Demonstrate your ability to do the job in a few sentences, focusing on achievements and skills while also including those keywords from the job description.
  3. A cover letter should never be more than 1 page.
  4. Always provide professional references when asked, unless specifically instructed to provide personal references.

For more information on resume building as well as interview skills, finding the right career, and more, visit New Jersey Career Connections powered by the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 2

Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 1: The Basics focused on the 2 main types of resumes and what should be included on them.  In Top Notch Resumes 2, we delve deeper into maximizing our resumes and other supplemental material that accompany them.  Topics covered will include:

  • Mining job postings/descriptions for important details
  • Tailoring resumes to specific jobs
  • Converting resumes from Chronological to Functional
  • Cover letters

 

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Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 1 Program Recap

Resumes and cover letters serve as your introduction to and first impression on potential employers.  As a result, it is critical that your resume and cover letter are polished and effectively communicate your strengths, skills, and accomplishments.  Your resume is essentially Your Brand and represents everything that you are.  Therefore, it is important to make sure your resume, and by extension your cover letter, are tailored specifically to the job you are applying for and complement each other with being exact duplicates of each other.  Here are some important tips to remember when drafting and submitting your resume:

  • A functional resume, while less common, focuses more on your skills, proficiency, and objectives rather than your work history.  This can be a great way to structure your resume if you are changing careers, unemployed or in a single job for a long time, or fresh out of school.
  • A chronological resume is the most common type of resumes and focuses more on your work history to show an upward or lateral progression in a certain career or profession as well as highlight continuous employment.  Always list your current or most recent job first and then work backwards in time.  Listing the last 10 years of employment is generally sufficient if you have held multiple jobs; if you are looking to advance in a particular field or career, it is worthwhile to list more than the last 10 years as long as those jobs relate to the skills or profession you are in.
  • Use bullet-points to list your skills, job duties, and responsibilities rather than paragraphs.  This will make it easier for employers to find the skills they are looking for and it will make your resume easier to read.  In the same vein, when using bullet-points, also list the most important or impactful skills and job duties first, especially those that are related to the job for which you are applying.
  • Be Consistent!  Whether it is punctuating at the end of your bullet-points or choosing the tense of the verbs in your description, always be consistent in both your resume and cover letter.
  • Use ACTION VERBS when describing your skills and job duties and try to link your duties, responsibilities, and accomplishment to certain goals or results, whether they can be measured or not.

For much more information on resumes, please visit the Prepare tab on the Career Connections website available at www.careerconnections.nj.gov.   For more information on careers and occupations, including summaries and required/desired skills, visit CareerOneStop at www.CareerOneStop.org.

Career Connections Presents – Top Notch Resumes 1: The Basics

Resumes are a critical part of getting a job.  Oftentimes, resumes, coupled with cover letters, are your introduction to a potential employer.  Resumes should communicate your skills, talents, abilities, and accomplishments while also making a strong and lasting impression on those reading your resume.  Please join us as we go over tips and tricks to strengthen your resume.

 

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Career Connections Presents – Path to Employment

Are you struggling to find employment or tired of your current job?  Please join us for Career Connections Presents: Path to Employment to learn about the best practices for finding a job as well as some powerful resources from the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce.  Topics we will cover include:

  • Creating a job search plan
  • Job searching
  • Career Connections
  • Jersey Job Club

 

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