Salaries and grads

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(From USA Today)

College seniors — 42 percent of them — expect to earn more than $50,000 at their first jobs while 23 percent of companies pay that amount.

Source: ICIMS analysis of 400 college seniors and 400 hiring managers. Jay Yang and Vernon Brave, USA Today.

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Impress employers with creative questions

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(From Mary Lorenz — CareerBuilder)

Here are what leading career coaches identify as their favorite interview questions from interviewees:

  • What is it YOU enjoy best about working here?
  • Do YOU have any concerns about my qualifications that would prevent you from selecting me for this position?
  • Why did the previous person leave this position?
  • What is an unexpected benefit of working here that someone outside the company might not know?
  • What is the least appealing aspect of this job?
  • Would you mind telling me what you did yesterday?
  • What advice would YOU give to someone starting this position?

(Mary Lorenz is a writer for the Advice & Resources section on She researches and writes about job-search strategy career, management management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

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That all-important Cover Letter — Make it stand out

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(Reprinted from the Courier-Post – April 3, 2016)



Writing a résumé can be tricky, but it seems like a walk in the park compared with writing a cover letter.

What’s the secret? Here are five tricks to writing a standout cover letter — and getting it noticed by hiring managers.

  1. Get rid of the fluff.

A cover letter gives you the opportunity to speak more expansively than you can on a résumé or application form, but there are still limits.

Remember, hiring managers aren’t obligated to read your cover letter — it’s up to you to grab their interest.

“Keep it concise and focus on areas of your background that are connected to the opportunity,” says Allie Basilica, social media director at Atrium Staffing. “Recruiters (and) managers rarely look at résumés and cover letters for more than one or two minutes.

“Often when people are trying to sell themselves, they use more verbose language than they ever would in another setting,” she says. “Most positions in the business world require candidates who are succinct and efficient, and a wordy cover letter portrays the opposite message.”

  1. Tell them something new.

If your cover letter doesn’t add anything that hiring managers couldn’t find on your résumé, then it’s not worth their time or yours. “Use the cover letter as an opportunity to sell attributes that would make you a good fit for the position you are applying for that cannot be seen with a quick glance at your résumé,” Basilica says.

This is your chance to make the case for why you are the best fit for the position. Connect the dots laid out on your résumé, and give examples of how you’ve implemented the skills necessary for the job and the results you’ve attained from past experiences.

  1. Research the company.

Personalizing your cover letter means more than just replacing the company name. It’s important to tie the skills and experience listed on your résumé to the position you’re applying for — and to do that, you need to know something about the company.

“Demonstrate that you’ve done your research,” says Trevor Simm, founder and president of OpalStaff and Talos Solutions. “Take some time to thoughtfully review the company’s website and media coverage to get a feel for its solutions, services, culture and operations, and then find a way to reference this in your cover letter as a reason you are the perfect fit for the job.”

  1. Don’t make it just about you.

Another key difference between a résumé and a quality cover letter is the focus. Your résumé should be all about you — the skills you’ve acquired and the results you’ve achieved. Your cover letter, on the other hand, should tie it back to the company and explain how you can address its specific needs.

“Focus on how the company will benefit from your expertise and not (on) selling yourself,” Simm suggests. “Your cover letter should show how you’re a skilled and qualified candidate, but it’s more important to explain what value you bring to the company. Avoid using ‘I’ or ‘me,’ and instead (share) how you’ll provide solutions for the company’s challenges.

Doing this will illustrate why you’re the best candidate for the job without you having to explicitly say so.”

  1. Take your time.

Above all, it’s important to be patient and careful when writing your cover letter. “Avoid being in a rush to send off a letter,” says Crystal Olivarria, a writer for CareerConversationalist. com, an online community and resource center for students. “Your cover letter is often the first impression a potential employer has of you.

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Take the time to do it right.”

Matt Tarpey is a writer for the Advice & Resources section on He researches and writes about job-search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

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Uncommon, but well-paying jobs

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Matt Tarpey of’s column appeared in the Courier-Post on March 6, 2015. Here is a summary of “eight less-than common occupations that offer competitive salaries”:

1. Astronomers – 2015 Jobs = 1,945/Average hourly earnings=$52.48

2. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists – 2015 jobs =2,105/Average hourly earning = $20.15

3. Genetic counselors – 2015 jobs = 2,451/Average hourly earnings = $34.33

4. Theatrical and performance makeup artists – 2015 jobs = 2,752/Average hourly earnings = $31.47

5. Historians – 2015 jobs = 3,407/Average hourly earnings = $29.45

6. Commercial divers – 2015 jobs = 3,519/Average hourly earnings = $24.19

7. Transit and railroad police – 2015 jobs = 3,902/Average hourly earnings = $25.53

8. Broadcast news analysts – 2015 jobs = 4,316/Average hourly earnings = $39.19

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What, No job offer after the interview?

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(This summary comes from “CareerBuilder’s” Susan Ricker. Full story in Courier-Post on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015.)

     Getting called in for an interview is a positive sign — it usually means that your resume’, cover letter and reputation made a good impression on the hiring manager and he/she would like to have a more in-depth conversation with you about your experience.

     However, if you are getting a lot of interviews, but no job offers, there are some red flags to watch for. Here are some questions to ask yourself to ensure your next interview is a success.

1. Do your application materials match your personality?

2. Did you prepare well enough for the interview? (Check out No. 23 on

3. Is your body language (facial coding — See Larry’s The ABCs of Strategic Communication) sending the wrong message?

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Be prepared for 3 toughest interview questions

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(From Susan Ricker at “CareerBuilder. Read her entire article in the Courier-Post — Aug. 30, 2015)

1. Why are you leaving your current job, or why are you currently unemployed?

2. What is your greatest weakness?

3. Where do you see yourself in five years? (Be careful with this one, especially. You may not want to say “at a large New York City agency if you are applying for a job in Philadelphia.)

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Are you ready for your interview?

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(Portions taken from John Rossheim’s Philadelphia Inquirer “Monster” article.

1. Explore prospective employer’s websites

2. Use search engines to read the latest news about the organization.

3. Visit trade journals.

4. Use networking sources to contact current employees to help determine if prospective employer would be a good fit.

5. Since you have already Googled the prospective employer, be certain to Google yourself. Your prospective is Googling you so you had better know what’s online about YOU.

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8 words and phrases you should eliminate from your resume

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According to Monster contributing editor Catherine Conlan, “they’ll make your resume stand out – but not in a good way.”

Eliminate these words and phrases:

  • Results-oriented
  • High technical aptitude
  • Ninja, rockstar and other quirky titles
  • Assisted
  • Strong work ethic
  • Disruptive, cutting-edge and other trendy objectives
  • Self-starter
  • Detail-oriented

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Tips for trimming your resume’

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From CareerBuilders’ Debra Auerbach come these tips:

  1. Remove outdated professional experience
  2. Condense the professional experience that’s left
  3. Summarize or remove details under Education or Activities sections

Debra Auerbach is a writer for the Advice & Resources section of She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management and hiring trends.

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Soft skills companies want in their job prospects

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Thanks to CareerBuilder’s Susan Rickler for this.

According to a CareerBuilder survey, companies say the 10 most popular soft skills they look for when hiring are: (Think about using these keys in your cover letter and/or resume.)

  • Strong work ethic (73 percent)
  • Dependability (73 percent)
  • Positive attitude (72 percent)
  • Self-motivation (66 percent)
  • Team-oriented (60 percent)
  • Organization and multitasking (57 percent)
  • Performing under pressure (57 percent)
  • Effective communication (56 percent)
  • Flexibility (51 percent)
  • Confidence (46 percent)

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