How to Answer “So, Tell Me About Yourself”

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Women-job-interview

So, the first question you’re probably going to get in an interview is, “Tell me about yourself.” This is not an invitation to recite your entire life story or even to go bullet by bullet through your resume.

Instead, it’s probably your first and best chance to pitch the hiring manager on why you’re the right one for the job.

A formula The Editor at The Muse likes is called the Present-Past-Future formula. So, first you start with the present—where you are right now. Then, segue into the past—a little bit about the experiences you’ve had and the skills you gained at the previous position. Finally, finish with the future—why you are really excited for this particular opportunity.

Below is an example:

If someone asked, “tell me about yourself,” you could say:

“Well, I’m currently an account executive at Smith, where I handle our top performing client. Before that, I worked at an agency where I was on three different major national healthcare brands. And while I really enjoyed the work that I did, I’d love the chance to dig in much deeper with one specific healthcare company, which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity with Metro Health Center.”

Remember throughout your answer to focus on the experiences and skills that are going to be most relevant for the hiring manager when they’re thinking about this particular position and this company. And ultimately, don’t be afraid to relax a little bit, tell stories and anecdotes—the hiring manager already has your resume, so they also want to know a little more about you.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

12 Proven Strategies to Prepare for a Job or Career Fair

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Career attendees walking to event

Knowing the right way to prepare for a job fair can help you land the next great job on your career path. Whether you’re seeking your first job or your fifth job, attending a career or job fair is a smart strategy for marketing yourself to potential employers.

Forget reviewing hundreds of online ads or spending countless hours filling out applications and emailing resumes! At a job fair, you can connect directly with recruiters and hiring managers from a wide range of companies, learning about them as they learn about you.

Yet, knowing how to effectively prepare for a career fair means you’ll stand out from other attendees and ultimately find your next great career role. Follow these steps to make the most of every job fair you attend.

How to prepare for the career or job fair

A key contributor to your success will be in your preparation. Here are some tips:

If you can, pre-register for the event: This can include submitting your resume and/or other information just in case attending employers review your information before the fair.

Research the companies that are attending: Having a background on these organizations means you can ask specific questions about the job and company. “This impresses [company] representatives because it shows a genuine interest in them,” according to the UC Berkeley Career Center.

After researching, decide who you’ll talk with: By doing this, you don’t have to waste precious time wandering around and deciding who to start a conversation with. You’ll know when you walk in the door, greatly increasing your chances of success. If you can get a layout of the fair beforehand, you can make a “plan of attack” to see each employer in order of interest.

Prepare and print your resumes: Bring more than you need, as some companies may want more than one copy. If you have multiple job objectives, make sure you bring enough versions of each resume, and of course, be sure your resume is well-written and free of errors.

Create and practice your elevator pitch: This 30- to 60-second speech should explain who you are, what your skills are, and what your career goal is. This is one truly important piece of learning how to prepare for a career fair, and Carnegie Mellon University has a page with some great tips on creating a solid elevator pitch.

Prepare for potential interviews or interview questions: Check out this list of the most common interview questions and prepare your answers beforehand. This will ensure you present yourself professionally and help calm your nerves.

What to do on the day of the fair

Arrive as early as possible, come dressed appropriately for the job fair, and then follow these tips to make the most of your time:

Be confident and enthusiastic: Introduce yourself with a smile and a firm handshake. Companies are there because they want to meet you, and more importantly, make a hire. Be ready to give your elevator pitch when appropriate. If you’re still a student, talk about your academic and extracurricular experiences as well as your career interests.

Take notes if necessary: Do this especially “when you inquire about next steps and the possibility of talking with additional managers,” says the UC Berkeley career center. “Write down the names, telephone numbers, etc. of other staff in the organization whom you can contact later.”

Ask the company representative for a business card: This will give you all the information you need to get in touch with this person if necessary and to send a thank-you note for the time the representative spent with you. Believe it or not, many a candidate has won the job because of a thank you.

Network, network, network: In addition to the company representatives, make time to talk with other job seekers to share information on everything from the companies to job leads and get their contact information if possible. Also, definitely approach any professional organizations at the fair and get information for future networking opportunities.

Actions to take after the event

Once you’ve prepared for the career or job fair and then actually attended, there are a few important things to do once it’s over. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Follow up with company representatives you talked to: As mentioned above, send a thank-you note as soon as possible after the fair. Review your interest in and qualifications for the job and promise to follow up with a phone call. You can also attach another copy of your resume to the note or email.

Continue to network: Reach out to fellow attendees you talked with to share your experience of the job fair and ask about their successes. Tell them you’ll keep them in mind if you see an open position they might want and ask them to do the same for you. Join any of the professional organizations that were at the fair if they are appropriate to your career goals, as well.

In addition to the tips above, the University of Minnesota has advice from employers on various aspects of how to prepare for a job fair, which is helpful for both students and experienced professionals alike.

By following these guidelines at your next career fair, you’ll give yourself an excellent chance of landing that next great job in your career path.

Continue on to read the complete article at topresume.com

5 Things Workers Think Are More Important Than Salary

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black-woman-at-work

When we think about the things that drive us to accept a job offer, money tends to top the list, and understandably so.

After all, everyone has bills to pay and financial goals to meet, and having a respectable salary makes that possible. But money isn’t the primary driver in workers’ job-related decisions. Here are five factors that employees regard as more important than compensation, according to CareerBuilder.

 

1. Location

Though some people don’t mind commuting, a terrible one can turn an otherwise decent job into a nightmare. When considering a new role, take the associated commute into account, keeping in mind that unless your company has a work-from-home policy, you’ll likely be dealing with it day in, day out. Choosing a job in a convenient location will lend to better overall satisfaction and less stress, and that’s something you’ll be grateful for in the long run.

2. Affordable benefits

It’s one thing to get health benefits, but it’s another thing to pay an arm and a leg for them. Employers subsidize health insurance at different levels, so ideally, you should aim to find a job where you’re given access to a decent plan at an affordable out-of-pocket cost to you. Furthermore, it’s not unheard of for companies to subsidize employee health plans completely so that your insurance actually doesn’t cost you a dime.

3. Job stability

There’s something to be said for not having to constantly worry about getting laid off. Though there’s no such thing as a lifetime guarantee that you’ll never lose your job, your chances are much lower if you accept a role in a thriving industry, and at a company with a solid track record. In other words, make sure to vet your employer before signing on, because if a given company has been losing money year over year, it’s a sign that it’s not the most stable environment. At the same time, make sure any job offer you accept is truly a good fit. You might manage to talk up your qualifications and get offered a reach position, but if you struggle with it, you might find yourself out of work soon enough.

4. A good boss

A great boss could spell the difference between enjoying your job and hating it. What qualities should you look for in a manager? For starters, it helps to work for someone who’s approachable, open to ideas and feedback, and honest. You should also aim to work for a person who will push you to do better, and support you on the way there. At the same time, there are certain types of bosses you should try to avoid, like those who feel compelled to micromanage or are extremely set in their ways.

5. A positive work culture

Working for a company that values its employees, fosters collaboration, and encourages creativity is a good way to wind up happy on the job. You can get a sense of a company’s culture by asking what the work environment is like during interviews, and reading company reviews online. The right culture fit is essential not just to your happiness, but your professional growth as well.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

Have a Job Offer? Consider these 5 things before saying yes

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Women-job-interview

Corporate culture may be the key to happiness at work. You can have an exceptional job offer, but if the culture is not a match, it could be problematic.

You deal with a lot—coworkers, the boss, and office politics. If you can’t succeed in a certain culture, you can’t succeed in the job.

Why Corporate Culture Matters

It is too simplistic to think that corporate culture is solely about mission and values. It manifests itself in other avenues, such as working overtime, availability of flextime and telecommuting, how people interact with each other, the dress code, benefits, professional development opportunities, how performance is evaluated, leadership style, and the decision-making process. In essence, everything is culture-driven.

When you have a pending job offer, primary consideration may be compensation, benefits, and perhaps the commute. Those are all significant factors, but when you are thinking about making a move, dig a little deeper.

Key Considerations Before Accepting the Job

1. How did you feel when during the interview?

It is normal not to feel completely at ease, but you should have some sense of feeling comfortable. During the interview, be a consummate observer—from the time you walk in until the time you leave.

Pay attention to the way you were greeted and how were you treated during the entire process. Were all communications professional, timely, and respectful?

If you hear a common theme in the questions the interviewer asks, that is a clue about what he or she will expect from you. For example: “Tell me about a time when your workload was particularly heavy. What steps did you take? “How do you establish priorities to never miss a deadline?”

Also observe how people interact with each other in the office—were they friendly or did you detect friction? Pay attention to how they act when their boss is around.

2. Can you thrive with the office vibe?

Is it a suit-and-tie culture when you are a business-casual person who loves jeans on Fridays? Is it the ever-popular open office space? I’m the quintessential introvert, and I know that an open office space would severely limit my performance. It is simply not how I work best. If that defines you as well, see if you can tour the office before you make a final decision. The physical space, noise level, and interactions with staff will all play a crucial part. There’s most likely not going to be a perfect environment, and all jobs will include some sort of give and take. The bottom line is to know your deal breakers so that your performance and satisfaction are not inhibited.

3. Is the company on firm financial footing?

Due diligence is the name of the game. If the company is public, you may be able to gather information on their financial stability from public filings and reports. If you are thinking about working for a government contractor, it is OK to ask about the length of the contract. If the contract is nearing an end, will they be able to place you elsewhere? You can also uncover information from a simple Google search and checking their social media mentions. You’ll be able to get a sense of whether there might be trouble ahead. Try to ascertain whether they have been adding jobs consistently or if hiring has been shrinking.

4. Will you be better off after taking this job?

Here is a million-dollar question: If you had to find a new job in the following year, will this job help you with your professional development? Before you start any job search, you should have a strategy. Accepting a new role should be a stepping stone that inches you closer to your career goals. By the same token, if you stay with this organization can you see a path of career development? Avoid exchanging one dead-end job for another one.

5. Can you respect and like the person to whom you will report?

Studies have shown that a significant number of people leave a position because of their boss. Having a great manager can make or break your work experience. When you’re in an interview, it is a two-way conversation. You owe it to yourself to ask questions. Find out how success will be determined. Learn as much as you can about your manager’s expectations beyond the job duties, as well as his or her leadership style. This will give you an indication of whether you’ll be working for a leader who is reasonable or one that will make you unhappy.

Author
Jan Johnston Osburn
news.clearancejobs.com

Want To Learn Coding? Check Out These Resources Recommended By Tech Experts

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Nearly everywhere you look—from business management, to customer engagement, to product development—technology plays a massive role. As such, tech-related skills—and coding in particular—are excellent additions to nearly any professional’s resume.

A variety of books, apps and websites make it easy for even busy professionals to get a start on learning the fundamentals of coding. But which entry-level resources are the most effective? Below, 13 experts from Forbes Technology Council share their recommendations for beginners interested in learning coding.

1. Code Complete

The single best cornerstone book on good software development is Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction by Steve McConnell. Oftentimes new developers will get hung up on “The new technology X book,” which is a mistake. You need to understand the fundamentals before jumping into the details. While this book has code examples, it focuses more on patterns and practices. – Matt KruczekTallan

2. Lightbot

For the very young or those who have not yet had any experience with procedural abstraction, I would recommend the Lightbot site/app/game. This learning tool is fun and can identify problems with abstract thought processes. It is an excellent first attempt at understanding programming concepts without having to worry about language/syntax and all the other elements of a programming toolchain. – Chris Kirby, Retired

For the complete article, continue on to Forbes.

15 years ago, Google’s CEO had a brilliant response to a tricky interview question – and it helped him get hired

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When it comes to job interviews, we all want to give answers that make us stand out from the rest of the candidates. That means knowing how to answer each question, including the tricky ones designed to stump you.

But what if you don’t know the answer to a question?

That’s a problem Google CEO Sundar Pichai faced in 2004, when he first interviewed at the company for the VP of product management position. In a 2017 chat with students at his alma mater, Indian Institute of technology, Pichai shared details about his interview experience at one of the world’s largest tech companies.

In the first few rounds, Pichai said the interviewers asked him what he thought of Gmail. There was just one problem: Google had just announced the email service that very same day, on April 1st. “I thought it was an April Fool’s Day joke,” Pichai said.

He responded by saying he couldn’t answer the question because he hadn’t been able to use the product.

“It was only in the fourth interview when someone asked, ‘Have you seen Gmail?’ I said no. So he actually showed it to me. And then the fifth interviewer asked, ‘What do you think of Gmail?’ And I was able to start answering it then,” Pichai said at the talk.

Most candidates would have attempted to make something up before trying to move on to the next question. Pichai did the exact opposite and ended up impressing his interviewers (after all, he got the job).

Here’s why his response was so brilliant:

1. He displayed “intellectual humility”

More often than not, telling an interviewer you don’t know the answer to something will dock off a few points, but it’s better than coming up with something that may be completely false. Science agrees, too. Research has shown that people with “intellectual humility” – or, as they say, the willingness to admit what you don’t know – are better learners. Laszlo Bock , Google’s former senior VP of people operations, calls it one of the top qualities he looks for in a candidate. In an interview with The New York Times, he said: “Successful, bright people rarely experience failure, and so they don’t learn how to learn from that failure. They instead commit the fundamental attribution error, which is if something good happens, it’s because I’m a genius. If something bad happens, it’s because someone’s an idiot or I didn’t get the resources or the market moved.” The next time you’re faced with a difficult interview question, stay calm and take a moment to think before you respond. Pichai carefully thought about the question. What could he say about something he hadn’t even seen? Gmail, at the time, was a newly launched, invite-only product, and so he concluded that it was acceptable to not know the answer.

2. He had a reason

Instead of simply saying “I don’t know,” Pichai told his interviewers why he didn’t know: he wasn’t able to use the product. By doing so, he expressed curiosity, which is a trait employers always love to see in a candidate.
Pichai recognized his advantage in the scenario: for every “I don’t know,” there lies an opportunity to learn. And by the fourth round, his interviewer decided to demonstrate the product.

3. He redirected the conversation

After asserting what he didn’t know, Pichai redirected the conversation to assert what he did know. Getting a glimpse of Gmail gave him a clearer understanding of the product. This allowed him to display the forthrightness and intellect that he would go on to become so famous for at Google.

The takeaway is that giving an honest answer doesn’t happen in a vacuum where you score virtue points. The value of being intellectually honest is that it gives you the opportunity to show what you do know.

Continue on to YahooNews to read the complete article.

Computer Science Demand Is Soaring Due To Tech Bubble 2.0

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For the past several years, I’ve been warning that the tech startup boom (and the surge of interest in “coding”) is actually a dangerous bubble that is driven by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s ultra-loose monetary policies since the Great Recession. A recent New York Times piece called “The Hard Part of Computer Science? Getting Into Class” describes how young people are clamoring to study computer science:

Lured by the prospect of high-salary, high-status jobs, college students are rushing in record numbers to study computer science.

Now, if only they could get a seat in class.

On campuses across the country, from major state universities to small private colleges, the surge in student demand for computer science courses is far outstripping the supply of professors, as the tech industry snaps up talent. At some schools, the shortage is creating an undergraduate divide of computing haves and have-nots — potentially narrowing a path for some minority and female students to an industry that has struggled with diversity.

The number of undergraduates majoring in the subject more than doubled from 2013 to 2017, to over 106,000, while tenure-track faculty ranks rose about 17 percent, according to the Computing Research Association, a nonprofit that gathers data from about 200 universities.

Economics and the promise of upward mobility are driving the student stampede. While previous generations of entrepreneurial undergraduates might have aspired to become lawyers or doctors, many students now are leery of investing the time, and incurring six-figure debts, to join those professions.

The tech frenzy can be seen in the chart of the monthly count of global VC deals that raised $100 million or more since 2007. According to this chart, a new “unicorn” startup was born every four days in 2018.

To read the complete article, continue on to Forbes.

How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter From Scratch in 30 Minutes

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You know enough to regularly update your resume—so if you find a job posting you’re interested in, you’re halfway through the application process.The other half, of course, is your cover letter. If you have some time and are just rusty, you can make a game plan to write a draft, then take a break, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

But if you see the deadline to apply is just 30 minutes away, you don’t have any time to spare. Here’s how to write a cover letter that will bolster your application—in just half an hour. (And if you need to revamp your resume or prep for interview in the same amount time, look here and here.)

Minutes 1 Through 10: Write Down Your Main Points

Maybe it’s just me, but I often struggle the most on the opening line of a cover letter. I know I shouldn’t lead with “My name is…,” and I want something that’ll grab the hiring manager’s attention. But my quest for the perfect beginning can lead me to spend 15 minutes (or more) typing and deleting the same line over and over. (And at that rate, my 30-minute cover letter would be all of two sentences.)

So, skip the intro if need be, and just start writing about why you’re a great fit for the open position. Don’t stress about the very best way to phrase your current responsibilities. Just write down your main points.

Need a prompt? Answer these questions: What do you find most exciting (or interesting) about the position? What relevant experience do you have? What would you bring to the role (and/or company) that’s unique to you?

Definitely make sure to have your resume and the job description open or printed out next to you. That way you can glance over at both and make sure you’re highlighting the right experience.

Minutes 10 Through 20: Add in Examples

OK, so you’ve written out all of reasons why you’re perfect for the job. Now it’s time to make sure you’re on the same page as the hiring manager. How so? Go back to that job description.

Re-read what the position calls for. Did you mention the experience and skills they’ll be screening for? To connect the dots in a way that’s clear—but wouldn’t be confused with a laundry list—add in an example or two.

If the job calls for people skills, swap out the line that reads, “I have excellent people skills” with a line that explains how in previous roles you’ve managed relationships with board members, which taught you about working with opinionated stakeholders. Does the position call for someone with sales experience? An anecdote about how you’ve been in sales since you set up your first lemonade stand when you were seven years old is memorable.

Continue onto Muse to read the complete article.

The Institute for Educational Leadership Launches Rise Up for Equity Campaign to Eliminate Barriers to Equity in Education and Workforce Development

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education and workforce

The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) announced the launch of Rise Up for Equity, a digital and grassroots campaign to prepare, support, and mobilize leaders to eliminate systemic barriers to equity in education and workforce development.
This so everyone – especially transition-age youth and families in communities with inequitable opportunities across the United States – has the opportunity to succeed and lead independent lives.

“IEL incentivizes communities to innovate and prepares and supports local and state leaders to improve opportunity and outcomes, and close gaps in access and achievement in education and workforce development in under-resourced communities,” said Johan Uvin, President of IEL. “To us, equity is about creating more opportunities for success in education and workforce development for children, youth, adults and families, particularly in communities where that opportunity is lacking due to systemic and structural reasons.”

IEL’s strategy intends to help alleviate poverty and its impact and to contribute to creating new gateways to prosperity. Today 15 million children, or 21 percent of all children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, and 51 percent of students across U.S. public schools are low income.[1] Childhood poverty is associated with negative outcomes in adulthood, such as lower academic achievement, employment rates, and poorer health.

For more information about how you can Rise Up for Equity to support leaders so all children, young adults, and communities can succeed, visit www.riseupforequity.com or join the conversation on social media using #RiseUpforEquity.

[1] According to the 2016 fact sheet of the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP)

2019 Hot Jobs

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Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers are revolutionizing the STEM field. If your New Years goals include a career in this field, or educational studies to advance your career, check out these hot jobs for 2019!

Software Developer

Annual Wage: $101,790

Employment of software developers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.

Computer Systems Administrator

Annual Wage: $81,100

Employment of network and computer systems administrators is projected to grow 6 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Computer networks are critical parts of almost every organization. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. They organize, install, and support an organization’s computer systems, including local area networks, wide area networks, network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems.

Petroleum Engineer

Annual Wage: $132,280

Employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface. Petroleum engineers also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells.

Architect

Annual Wage: $78,470

Employment of architects is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.

Cartographer

Annual Wage: $63,990

Employment of cartographers is projected to grow 19 percent from 2018 to 2026.

Cartographers collect, measure, and interpret geographic information to create and update maps and charts for regional planning, education, emergency response, and other purposes.

Source: bls.gov

The Unspoken Rules of Job Searching in January

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Job search

I don’t have to tell you that January is quite the kick-starting month. Exhibit A: Have you noticed how packed your gym suddenly gets every January due to fitness-related resolutions?

But it’s also a big time of year for careers. See, plenty of us have just spent the holidays reevaluating our goals (and having to talk about said goals with judging family members). As a result, we enter January feeling motivated to make a change—whether it’s to go after a new job, a new company, or a new field completely.

But before setting the wheels in motion, it’s important to understand exactly what to expect from a job search this month. Here’s what the experts say:

Mid-January Is Your Best Bet for Applying

Why? As HR executive and Muse career coach Angela Smith points out, most people will still be recovering from the holiday break that first week.

“Companies might be kick-starting their annual hiring plans in early January,” she says, so once those processes start to pick up your best bet is to apply toward the middle of the month to ensure your application doesn’t get lost in a sea of unopened holiday mail.

Hiring Is a Big Priority in January

“In sales the end of the quarter is when people don’t take time off. In recruiting people tend to not take time off in the beginning of the year because that’s the busiest time,” says Smith.

The reasons why are several-fold, she explains. The new quarter brings new budgeting plans, which can mean more money to hire more people. It also brings new sales forecasts or company-wide goals, which can indicate where a company might be focusing their recruiting efforts and which teams they’re looking to build out. “Companies might be kick-starting their annual hiring plans in early January,” she says.

That said, Smith warns that this doesn’t necessarily mean that there are more jobs available in January than other times of the year.

…But There’s Also More Competition

January tends to bring an influx of eager job seekers, leading to more competition for job openings.

To state the obvious, “there will be a higher volume of people applying for jobs in January as more people wait until the holidays are over to begin looking for a possible change,” says Jamie Cole, Senior Account Manager at Merritt Staffing, a full-service recruiting agency.

Besides the #NewYearNewYou energy, folks may have a financial incentive to wait until January to job hunt. As Cole notes, companies often have a policy where bonuses aren’t distributed until the end of the year, and “people ideally do not like leaving money on the table with their last employer.”

…And the Process May Be Slower

While hiring in January may be more aggressive, it may also be a more drawn-out process.

Besides new budgets, January could also indicate other internal changes for companies: “I’ve worked with companies that have implemented a new ATS [applicant tracking system] in the new calendar year, so they’re testing out new systems or processes,” says Smith, which could mean delays in getting recruiting off the ground.

And, says Cole, you have to “be aware that not every company may have a finalized budget in place for the year…and this may cause a delay in hiring decisions.”

However, she notes, this could also be a positive: Since they haven’t yet filled those roles, you have a shot at locking them down if you apply in January.

The bigger reason why the process tends to slow down in January is because there’s no real rush. Simply put, “[employers] take their time because they have the time and the money” to do so, says Smith. “Pace yourself, and don’t expect super quick responses or a super quick process,” she adds.

What Does This All Mean?

The short answer? Treat your job search in January like you would any other month.

Keep in mind how your application will get through an ATS. Tailor your cover letter and resume. Network to get a leg-up at a specific company. Follow up to keep yourself on someone’s radar.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.