Career Advancement Resources

Resources to achieve your next level of success:

*Interview Tips to Help You Succeed

*Pitfalls of Accepting a Counteroffer

*Sample Resignation Letter

*Interview Tips To Help You Succeed :

You only get one chance to make a first impression with a hiring authority. To make it positive follow these interviewing tips:

*Make sure to double check the day, date and time of your interview on your calendar.  Know the name and title of the person(s) you will speak with. Have the phone number with you in case you are delayed in traffic or are called into a meeting unexpectedly. If you cannot make the appointment, call and reschedule.

*Arrive, if possible, at least 10 minutes early for the interview and know exactly where you need to go. Many people take a test drive a day or two before the interview to get familiar with the street location and parking facilities.

*Dress for success. When interviewing, ladies should wear a solid color, tailored dress, skirt and jacket or suit. Men should wear a dark suit, white shirt and conservative tie. When in doubt be conservative. Stay current, but not trendy.

*Take extra copies of your resume for yourself and the interviewers.

*Sell yourself and do it honestly.

*Show your enthusiasm for the position and let the interviewer know you want the job.

*Never speak negatively about current/former employers or fellow workers.

*Research the company via their website and learn about what the company does, how many employees and locations it has, its market niche, etc.

*Be prepared to say how you can benefit the company and why you want to work there. If you like what you see ask for the job! Sometimes people do not get hired simply because they do not ask for the job.

*Know your career strengths and be prepared to explain why they would benefit another company.

*If a question about your weaknesses comes up, focus on being a workaholic.

*When asked why you want to change jobs, respond in positive terms: greater opportunity, responsibility, room for career growth, joining an industry leader. Never focus on negatives of your current company or manager. Also avoid listing money as your prime motivator.

*Be prepared to answer questions about your qualifications and experience. When asked a question, answer it directly and give an example. Reflect on important job-related experiences you could bring to the company and incorporate these experiences into your conversation with the hiring manager. Be sure to understand the job description and how your experience would apply.

Be concise and stress your strong points. This is no time for modesty!

*Keep in mind the first few seconds of contact with the hiring manager can be as critical as the rest of the meeting. We naturally assess each other quickly. So be sure to smile, make eye contact, shake hands firmly and introduce yourself. Address the hiring manager by their full name until asked otherwise, “Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you, Mr. Jones . . . (or) John.”

*Be aware of positive body language and the appearance of confidence. Study yourself in a mirror and make sure your body language is positive: sit up straight and stand up straight.

*If you are interviewing with the hiring manager over the telephone keep a few things in mind:

  • Pronounce your words clearly
  • Speak slowly and concisely
  • Use correct grammar
  • Show enthusiasm and a positive attitude in your voice inflection
  • If you speak with a regional accent, work on clear pronunciation
  • Avoid the use of slang terms
  • Make sure your cell phone is fully charged or that you have a power source
  • Find a location where your cell phone signal will be strong and uninterrupted
  • ASK FOR A FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEW! To get hired you will need to meet with the manager face-to-face. Work to schedule a time when the manager can meet with you at the office. This will show a positive attitude and that you are a person who takes initiative.

*Prepare your own set of questions to ask the hiring manager during the interview. Many people focus on wages and benefits. But you will leave a more positive impression if you prepare well-thought-out questions about the position, how it supports the overall mission of the company and related issues. Feel free to refer to your notes and to take notes during the conversation.

*Ask questions during the interview such as:

  • Why is this position available?
  • What are the job duties?
  • Is this a newly created position or replacement to staff?
  • What is a typical day like?
  • Who would I report to?
  • What is your training program like?
    -What needs to be accomplished in the next 6 months?
    -What is the career path going forward from this position?
  • What has been the grown pattern of the company over the last few years?
  • Where do you see the company in five years?
  • Describe the company culture and environment.
  • What kind of person is the manager looking for?
  • How did you come to work for the company? What do you like about it?
  • What is your background?

*Be prepared for some common questions the hiring manager may ask you:

  • Why do you want to work here? (Based upon company research the company can provide a positive, stable and challenging work environment)
  • What did you like/dislike about your last job? (Be positive about your last job. Regarding dislikes, focus on not being challenged long term)
  • What would you like to be doing five years from now? (Feeling challenged)
  • What are your greatest accomplishments? (Although I feel my greatest accomplishments are ahead of me, I’m proud of . . .)
  • Why should I hire you? (I work hard, have a good attitude, am honest and consistent, work well together in a team)
  • What are your strengths? (Integrity and follow through)
  • What are your weaknesses? (I can be a perfectionist)
  • How do you take direction? (If unclear, I ask for clarification)
  • Tell me about yourself. (Focus on a business, not personal. Understand the manager’s need in the position and tell how you can contribute to that area)
  • What is the most difficult situation you have faced? (Focus on a business matter; instance of high pressure and how you were part of the solution)
  • Do you prefer working alone or with others? (Comfortable with both, give examples)
  • How much money do you want to make? (If it is a good opportunity, I am open to a fair offer. But money is not my only motivator)

*When asked about salary, give your current salary level. If asked what you desire tochange, do not give a specific dollar figure. If you do, you will be locked into that number which could be too high or too low. Tell the manager that money is not the most important factor to you.  You are looking for a solid company with
challenging responsibilities and room for growth. You do not have an exact dollar figure in mind. Still, you would like to make a step forward financially. If the manager presses, give a RANGE, not a specific number. By keeping the salary range open and flexible, your recruiter will be able to negotiate the best possible offer for you. If you are interviewing for a temp or contract position, defer any discussions of hourly rate back to your recruiter.

*If you receive an offer at the interview, accept it if you feel good about the offer. If you have any concerns about the offer do not turn it down. It is much better to tell the interviewer you need to go over all the information in your mind and discuss it with your family. Promise to get back in touch within 24 hours. If the offer is not
to your liking, your recruiter will negotiate for you. If you have concerns about the position, these can also be addressed by your recruiter.

*Make sure to contact your recruiter to discuss the offer and the steps to take going forward. Many times, offers of employment are contingent on successfully passing drug, background and other pre-employment tests. So, make sure these test results are confirmed before you give notice at your current job. Do not give notice before speaking with your recruiter.

*Thank the interviewer for their time, even if you don’t think it went well. Consider an interview a great opportunity.

*Send a brief thank you note via email to the interviewer within 24 hours of the interview.

Three points should be covered in the note:

(1.) Thank the manager for the opportunity to interview,

(2.) Express interest in the position and,

(3.) Outline three reasons why you would be the best person for the manager to hire. Simply highlight aspects of your experience that came up during the interview that you know the manager liked.

This reinforcing of the positive sometimes makes the difference in getting an offer.

*Call your recruiter and talk with them about the interview. They will get feedback for you from the interviewer as soon as possible.



Reprinted From The  National Business Employment Weekly

Published by The Wall Street Journal

© Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights reserved


Counteroffer Acceptance:  Road to Career Ruin
A raise won’t permanently cushion thorns in the nest




Mathew Henry, the 17th-century  writer, said, “Many a dangerous temptation comes to us in fine gay colours that are but skin deep.”  The same can be said for counteroffers, those magnetic enticements designed to lure you back into the nest, after you’ve decided it’s time to fly away.

The litany of horror stories I have come across in my years as an executive recruiter, consultant and publisher provides a litmus test that clearly indicates counteroffers should never be accepted….EVER!

I define a counteroffer simply as an inducement from your current employer to get you to stay after you’ve announced your intention to take another job.  We’re not talking about those instances when you receive an offer but don’t tell your boss.  Nor are we discussing offers that you never intended to take, yet tell your employer about it anyway as a “they-want-me-but I’m staying with you” ploy.

These are merely astute positioning tactics you may choose to use to reinforce your worth by letting your boss know you have other options.  Mention of a true offer, however, carries an actual threat to quit.

Interviews with employers who make counteroffers, and employees who accept them, have shown that, as tempting as they may be, acceptance may cause career suicide.  During the past 20 years, I have seen only isolated incidents in which an accepted counteroffer has benefited the employee.  Consider the problem in its proper perspective.

What really goes through a boss’s mind when someone quits?

  • ”This couldn’t be happening at a worse time.”
  • ”This is one of my best people.  If I let him quit now, it’ll wreak havoc on the morale of the department.”
  • ”I’ve already got one opening in my department.  I don’t need another one right now.”
  • ”This will probably screw up the entire vacation schedule.”
  • ”I’m working as hard as I can, and I don’t need to do his work, too.”
  • ”If I lose another good employee, the company may decide to ’lose’ me, too.”
  • ”My review is coming up and this will make me look bad.”
  • ”Maybe I can keep him on until I find a suitable replacement.”

What will the boss say to keep you in the nest?  Some of these comments are common.

  • ”I’m really shocked.  I thought you were as happy with us as we are with you.  Let’s discuss it before you make your final decision.”
  • ”Aw gee, I’ve been meaning to tell you about the great plans we have for you, but it’s been confidential until now.”
  • ”The VP has you in mind for some exciting and expanding possibilities.”
  • ”Your raise was scheduled to go into effect next quarter, but we’ll make it effective immediately.”
  • ”You’re going to work for who?”

Let’s face it.  When someone quits, it’s a direct reflection on the boss.  Unless you’re really incompetent or a destructive thorn in his side, the boss might look bad by “allowing” you to go.  His gut reaction is to do what has to be done to keep you from leaving until he’s ready.  That’s human nature.

Unfortunately, it’s also human nature to want to stay unless your work life is abject misery.  Career changes, like all ventures into the unknown, are tough.  That’s why bosses know they can usually keep you around by pressing the right buttons.

Before you succumb to a tempting counteroffer, consider these universal truths:

  • Any situation in which an employee is forced to get an outside offer before the present employer will     suggest a raise, promotion or better working conditions are suspect.
  • No matter what the company says when making your counteroffer, you will always be considered a fidelity risk.  Having once demonstrated your lack of (for whatever reason), you will lose your status as a “team player” and your place in the inner circle.
  • Counteroffers are usually nothing more than stall devices to give your employer time to replace you.
  • Your reasons for wanting to leave still exist.  Conditions are just made a bit more tolerable in the short term because of the raise, promotion, or promises made to keep you.
  • Counteroffers are only made in response to a threat to quit.  Will you have to solicit an offer and threaten to quit every time you deserve better working conditions?
  • Decent and well-managed companies don’t make counteroffers…EVER!  Their policies are fair and equitable.  They will not be subjected to “counteroffer coercion” or what they perceive as blackmail.

If the urge to accept a counteroffer hits you, keep on cleaning out your desk as you count your blessings.





Direct Supervisor

Company Name



Re:  Notice of Resignation


Dear Mr./Mrs. _____________________:

As of this date, I wish to tender my notice of resignation.  I have accepted a position with another firm and have given my personal and professional commitment to begin work with that organization on or before ___(two weeks from notice).

I want to thank you for a rewarding professional association during my employment with ________________. However, after careful consideration I believe this move is best for my career at this time. My decision is final and I have given my personal and professional commitment to begin work in my new position on or before __________. As such, I will not entertain or discuss any counteroffer proposal.

My focus now is to help with a smooth transition and to make certain all of my responsibilities are handled in the interim as you direct.

With sincere thanks I wish you, your department and the company best wishes and much success in the future.




(Your Name)


cc:  Department Manager (Name)


cc:  Branch Manager (Name)


cc:  Personnel Director (Name)





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