How To Give Notice

Giving notice and leaving a job can be one of the most difficult and emotional parts of a job search, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you are miserable in your job and can’t wait to resign, or leaving is bittersweet, there are some things you can do to make the resignation process smooth. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Clean things up – while it’s a good idea to keep your business and personal life separated, most of us have sent personal emails from a work account, logged into personal websites, etc., from work. Before you give notice, it’s a good idea to delete personal files, stored passwords for personal online accounts, and make sure you have any personal information that you’ll need after you are gone.
  2. Write a resignation letter and tell your boss first – avoid the temptation of telling friends or colleagues in the office first. Write a short professional letter and have a few copies available (for your boss, HR, etc.). The letter should simply state that you are resigning and offering 2 weeks notice, and your last date will be on a specific day. You are under no obligation to tell your employer anything about where you are going, why you are leaving, or the offer amount you received. In fact, you are much better off not telling this information to anybody during your resignation process. I advise candidates to take this approach because it makes the transition period out a lot easier. If you tell your current employer anything about the reasons for your departure, you are giving them all the ammunition they need to make you feel guilty, make you susceptible to a counteroffer, and manipulate you! This is a bad scenario and should be avoided at all costs! Counteroffers almost NEVER work out. Industry research shows that over 80% of people who take counter offers leave within six months of taking them. I’ll talk more about counteroffers in a later post and link to it here.
  3. Offer to be helpful but be mindful of your soon-to-be employer’s needs – it’s a good idea to tell the company you are leaving that you will do what you can in order to make the transition period out as smooth as possible. Offering to put in some extra hours during the notice period, to be available after you leave to answer brief questions, etc., is a professional and thoughtful gesture. However, in very few instances is it acceptable to give more than two weeks notice. I often see job changers get hung up on a sense of loyalty to the employer they are leaving, or a belief that things will come crashing down if they aren’t there to help. The reality is that life will go on for the employer you are leaving. It is important to start the new job on the best terms possible. The new employer will probably want you there ASAP, so don’t forget that they are waiting for you!
  4. Don’t go off the rails in an exit interview – if your company asks you to do an exit interview, don’t turn it into an airing of grievances session. Be mindful about what questions you answer, and politely decline to answer any questions you aren’t comfortable with. Keep in mind that the employer may not be done making a run at a counteroffer yet. Anything you tell them about your motivations for leaving, new offer, etc., can easily be turned around and used to make you second guess your decision. Second, any criticism of coworkers, bosses, and culture can create animosity and negative opinions of you.

Giving notice is hard, but you have a lot of control over how easy the process will be by following these guidelines. In general, I advise candidates to follow the “less is more” approach. Remember, you are moving on to something you are excited about!

By |April 15th, 2019|Job Offers, job search, professional development|0 Comments

CFO Compensation Packages – What’s a CFO Worth?

The market for senior level finance talent is hot. This is especially true for small to middle market companies ($20mm to $100mm in annual revenue) across a range of industries to include technology, products, software, etc. I’m often asked by CFOs what their market value is, and how compensation packages vary with regards to base salary, bonus, equity, incentives, etc. Unfortunately, there is no short answer, and it depends on many variables. For non-financial service companies in this revenue range, we see salaries from $250k – $500k, bonuses from 25-50%+, and equity from 0-2% or more.

If you are exploring the market, negotiating an offer, or lobbying for a raise at your current job, here are some factors to consider:

  1. Size of Company — the size of the company can have a big impact on the compensation level for a CFO. $20-$50mm companies generally price CFOs in the NYC/Boston areas between $250k and $400k base salary. $50mm-$100mm companies will see that range increase by 10-20%. Bonuses can vary, but a 25%-50% bonus range is standard, with some compensation packages exceeding 50% bonus. As the revenue of the company increases, and finance team size grows, so does the cash compensation component for most CFOs.
  2. Stage of Company — where the company is in its life cycle plays a large role in the variability of equity compensation for CFOs. Earlier stage companies obviously have more ability to bring in CFOs with the lure of equity vs. a more established business. A CFO joining a hot startup company early on can sometimes get 1-2% of the total equity. An established company would typically fall into the .25%-.75% equity range. Turnaround and company sale situations are special circumstances, and the increased element of risk often demands a higher equity incentive.
  3. CFO Duties — what type of CFO you are can have a large impact on the structure of a compensation package. For simplification purposes, we’ll look at “outward facing CFOs”, those hired with a mandate to do things like fundraising, dealing with company Board of Directors, possible transactions, IPO, etc.; and “inward facing CFOs”, those hired for more general management of broad accounting and finance operations at the company. Outward facing CFOs are often able to negotiate more lucrative equity grants. Back end cash bonuses are also common for a successful fund raise, sale, etc. If a client retains us to find a CFO who will assist in outward facing activities, we are generally able to negotiate a change of control clause for a liquidity event, larger equity grants, or cash payouts based on predefined objectives related to their hire (i.e. payouts triggered by specific dollar value capital raise, sale of company, etc.). Inward facing CFOs aren’t likely to get a change of control clause, unless they were a founding member of the company. Compensation for internally facing CFOs is often determined by their years of experience and size of the company. Also noteworthy is that the modern CFO in a company below $100mm in revenue can often play a dual role of COO. If non-finance duties are included in a CFO job, base salary tends to increase slightly, say 5-15%.
  4. Contract vs. “At-Will” — if there is a contract, CFOs should carefully consider the terms, and the consideration given. Separation terms, severance agreements, and executive perks are all negotiable. An experienced attorney should review your employment contract. An attorney can also provide good bench marking advice on the contract’s relative fairness.

With the labor market tight, there is generally more inflationary pressure than not on compensation packages for CFOs. As a result, total compensation for CFOs doesn’t tend to vary too greatly among peer level CFOs.


Don’t Lose the Talent War – Fix Your Hiring Process

miss the mark22018 saw one of the most hectic labor markets in decades. The economy is at full employment, and labor demand is sky high. The war for talent is in full swing. Some companies are losing this war however; and here are the two main areas where they go wrong:

Broken Hiring Process  – the #1 reason we see clients lose candidates to other employers is a slow or convoluted interview process. Job seekers in this market have multiple options. The company who makes the best hire is very often the company who moves the candidate through the interview process the most quickly and efficiently. This doesn’t mean you have to rush hires, but go into each hiring process with a plan. I suggest that clients:

  1. Identify who will conduct interviews in advance. Don’t have candidates interview with people for no reason. Pick the key decision makers, or the primary people that this position will interact with, and limit the interview panel to those people. Also, have an idea of who should meet with them, in what order, in how many rounds. If you cause delays or add unnecessary steps, you’ll lose candidates.
  2. Give up on the idea of interviewing or comparing multiple candidates multiple candidates against each other. When interviewing candidates for a high demand position, be prepared to offer the job to the first qualified candidate you meet. In a perfect world, you could meet multiple candidates, compare them side by side, and pick the best one. That is NOT a reality in this job market. Know what you are looking for in advance. Decide on “must have” and “nice to have” qualities. When you meet someone you like, hire them! Waiting to see other candidates is not going to guarantee a better hire. It will however guarantee that you’ll lose good candidates.

Make Good Offers – I’ve had several clients lose candidates in 2018 by starting with low-ball offers. Recent changes in Massachusetts and New York have disallowed employers and recruiters from asking applicants their current compensation. This has made offer negotiations a bit of a guessing game at times. Some succumb to the urge to start by offering a low compensation package, with the idea that they can negotiate up if necessary. This is a mistake. For one thing, candidates are generally insulted or put off by low offers. Second, more astute companies who understand candidate supply and demand are making strong offers to start, in order to show candidates that they really want them. I advise that clients lead with a strong offer. It’s always smart to have some wiggle room if needed, but starting too low can leave a company in a hole that is too big to dig out from. A few ways to make sure your offer is competitive:

  1. If working with a headhunter, talk to them about the offer. The recruiter will hopefully know the candidate, and has already talked about their compensation expectations. Recruiters will also know what the market value is for candidates. Get the recruiter’s advice on what the candidate is worth and what they are looking for.
  2. Compare the prospect against the person they are replacing, or peer level rolls internally. If you are hiring someone to replace Employee Y, use their current salary to benchmark an offer. Is the candidate as good or better than the incumbent? Make the offer reflect how they stack up against known comparisons.

Hiring is a huge challenge for companies right now. Streamlining the process and making competitive offers can go a long way to ensure you staff up with the best possible talent in 2019!

By |December 17th, 2018|Job Offers, job search, recruiting strategy|0 Comments

Stop Connecting with Everybody on LinkedIn

square-linkedin-512LinkedIn is the “killer app” of professional networking. Used correctly, it is an invaluable tool that can help you manage and expand your professional network. If you follow the conventional wisdom regarding LinkedIn usage, you’ll hear that you should connect pretty liberally with people. I disagree.

First, I believe that the quality of your professional network is far more important than it’s size. A giant list of 1st degree connections that you don’t really have a relationship with is not helping you do much. I don’t see the point of having a 1st degree connection that would scratch their head and wonder “who is this?” if you tried to contact them.

Second, and similar to the first reason, a smaller network is much easier to manage. Having a smaller list of 1st degree connections that are known to you is a lot easier to stay on top of with meaningful and personalized correspondence. Again, if you have a bunch of contacts that you never engage with, or send generic emails to periodically, you run the risk of being forgotten or ignored.

Third, high quality networking contacts that engage with you are better information and referral sources. As a headhunter with 20 years of experience, I know for sure that strong connections are your best source of referrals. One of the key ways I use LinkedIn to expand my network and add meaningful connections leverages good 1st degree connections. Say I’m doing a search for a client — I search LinkedIn and find a bunch of 2nd degree connections. I look at whom we share in common as a connection, then I reach out to the 1st degree connection for an introduction, or I reference the actual relationship I have with 1st degree connection when trying to engage with the new contact. This dramatically increases the likelihood of that person responding.

By |March 29th, 2018|job search, LinkedIn, professional development|0 Comments

Unintended Consequences of Salary Disclosure Laws – Why They Are Bad News For Applicants, Recruiters, and Employers


To address pay equity issues, New York City has joined 20+ other jurisdictions in implementing legislation aimed at prohibiting employers from obtaining salary history from applicants during the hiring process. On April 5, the New York City Council passed legislation outlawing salary history inquiries. The law takes effect on October 31, 2017. Once enacted, the new legislation will impose significant changes on the hiring process. The New York City law makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to inquire about a prospective applicant’s salary history during all stages of the employment process. In addition, the bill would make it an unlawful discriminatory practice to rely on a job applicant’s salary history in determining the applicant’s salary, benefits or compensation.

While this law does have the noble intention of narrowing the wage gap between men and women, there are also some potential unintended consequences. These unintended consequences are particularly likely to happen to high wage, high skill workers, recruiters, and their employers. At best, this law will complicate the hiring process. At worse, it may adversely impact those it seeks to protect.

I write this from an executive recruiter perspective. In my 20 years of experience, the market sets predictable compensation levels for high demand talent, and there is rarely a huge degree of difference between what “Company A” and “Company B” pays. In the normal course of business, executive recruiters collect salary history for potential applicants. There are rarely instances where a potential applicant falls too far outside established salary norms. Obtaining this information up front helps the recruiter and potential employer benchmark the candidate, as well as manage expectations about a future offer.

By outlawing salary history inquiries, it becomes nearly impossible to advise candidates and clients on what is realistic or reasonable regarding candidate compensation. Employers will be put in a position where their offers will be a shot in the dark, versus the current system where salary and expectations are handled up front. This could lead to a lot of wasted interview time and effort by all parties because compensation is not aligned.

Job applicants are also potentially opening themselves up to earning less money due to the “back end” style of salary negotiation. Without having recent salary information on a potential applicant, it is very likely that companies will begin the negotiation process by making as low an offer as possible. Employers will have no incentive to make strong offers up front, as they risk paying more than they otherwise could. Candidates in turn are going to have to begin a negotiation process by fielding “low ball” offers, and will likely have contentious back-and-forth compensation discussions. Beginning a negotiation from the bottom of a range and working up is the exact opposite of how salary negotiations are currently handled. Under the current system, if an employer knows a candidate is currently earning $X, their initial offer is typically some increase above that current level. A good headhunter, or astute job seeker, can then determine if the offer is fair, or negotiate if the offer is not in line with market factors. If the starting point begins at the lowest possible number and works slowly up to what is minimally acceptable, strong talent risks leaving money on the table. In turn, employers will run a greater risk of losing good employees to companies with more aggressive offer practices.

The risk of miscommunication and misunderstanding also increases dramatically due to this law. People hear what they want to hear. If employers and executive recruiters are now put in a position where they will tell an applicant the salary range of the position up front, the candidate will likely fixate on the top of the range, while the employer is very likely to be focused on the bottom. Thus, when it comes time to negotiate the offer, the applicant and employer will likely be working from two very different starting points.

It’s important to note that our opinion comes from a very specific section of the employment market – low supply, high demand / high wage talent. There is strong evidence for serious wage gap problems in many sectors of the economy, and this law may very well improve those conditions in certain employment sectors. That said, as with any change, there are often unintended consequences.

By |October 5th, 2017|interview, Job Offers, job search|0 Comments

Why Going to a Startup Isn’t Risky

Startups!My firm does a lot of work in the startup space. Right now there is a lot of investment capital flowing into startups. That means there is A LOT of job demand at startups. I occasionally have a candidate push back on the idea of going to work at a startup because it is “too risky”. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth! Hear are a few reasons why going to a startup isn’t risky:

  1. Are You In Demand? – If you have a skill set that is in demand, like accounting, IT, programming, sales, etc., there will always be other jobs for you. In big metro markets that have a broad industry base, there are just some careers that are going to stay in high demand for the foreseeable future. If you are lucky enough to have a career in one of these fields, you can always take a gamble on a startup, and then go back to corporate America if the move doesn’t work out.
  2. Big Companies ARE NOT Safe – Ask someone who was a top performer at Lehman Brothers pre-2009 how “safe” they were because they were a top performer at a big company. The conventional wisdom that you are safer at a big company just isn’t true anymore. Large companies are often more short term focused than startups, looking closely at quarterly performance and minor fluctuations in the stock price. Big companies routinely slash big chunks from their workforce to save money. At a startup, each hire is much more “mission critical” to the success and growth of the company. Growing startups often have a vision of where they want to be several years out, and they realize that retaining good employees and hiring more are key ingredients to their success. Moreover, as job demand among startups in places like New York City has increased, startups and big companies alike are all fighting for the same talent. The result is that salaries, benefits and perks at startups are now much more in line, if not better than, big companies! Our startup clients pay aggressive market rates, and their benefits are often top notch. It’s not uncommon to see startups have liberal vacation policies, 100% coverage for medical, catered lunches, gym memberships, and work from home policies. I even have one company that pays for employee vacations!
  3. Startups Get You a Pass – Because startups are perceived as inherently more risky, and their life cycles can be shorter (lose funding, get acquired, etc.), if you have short employment stints with a few startups, you won’t necessarily be labeled a “job hopper”. In fact, I have many contacts who go from startup to startup, staying only for a year or two at each, because they like to do the “set up” work associated with implementing an accounting system, setting up an initial budget, or helping a company secure funding, etc. These people have become serial startup junkies because they like the early stage dirty work, and companies are more than happy to hire them for their specific knowledge and expertise.
  4. Startups Might Just Be More Fun – Study after study about employee satisfaction ranks startups as some of the most satisfying places to work. While not all aspects of a startup are fun and games, they do offer a great opportunity for people who want to have a visible impact on their employer. They are also great places for people who want to broaden their skills and responsibilities. Unlike big companies that have very defined and limited job parameters, startups offer the ability to “wear many hats” and get involved with a lot more. This cuts both ways — some days you might shovel the sidewalks, and other days you might be making a key strategic decision for the company. Many startup employees I know love the idea of working in a casual office setting with a bunch of motivated people working towards a common goal.

When Can You Start?

startAs you get deeper into the interview process and begin to anticipate an offer, it’s a good idea to prepare for the question “when can you start?” It is usually safe to assume that the sooner you can start, the better! Here is some general advice on how to handle this question:

  • The “Two Week Notice” Rule – generally speaking, giving a two week notice to your current employer is totally adequate. It’s quite possible your employer may ask for more notice, but you are not obligated to yield. Two weeks is an appropriate amount of notice at almost any job level. Unless you have an employment contract that stipulates specific notice terms, you are well within business norms by sticking to a two week notice.
  • New Employer Considerations – if the hiring company is making you an offer, it’s because they need and want you. If they ask, “when can you start?” during the interview process, it’s a sign that they like you, but the speed with which you can start may also be a hiring consideration. Before you start thinking about giving notice, taking a couple of weeks off, etc., put yourself in the employer’s shoes and think about your answer from their perspective. The sooner you can start, the better.
  • Necessary Delays – if there are good reasons you must delay a start date beyond two weeks, discuss them openly with the new employer. A vacation you’ve already paid for, relocation, waiting for a bonus payout, etc., are good reasons for delay. Wanting to take a week off to relax is not a good reason. If you must delay the start date, just remember to do so for good reasons.
  • If You Are Unemployed – if unemployed be prepared to start immediately. While unemployed job seekers are generally at a tactical disadvantage to employed candidates, this is one area where the ability to start ASAP is an advantage.
By |February 8th, 2016|interview, Job Offers, job search|0 Comments

Job Search Mistakes

Searching for a job can be a daunting task. There are literally THOUSANDS of books and related materials on the Job Search Mistakessubject. With a lot of advice about what TO DO, job search mistakes are still very common. Here are some costly, and common, job search mistakes:

  1. Having Only One Resume – There are no one-size-fits-all resumes. If you use a single resume for your job search, you are making a big mistake! Resumes are usually glanced over very quickly to pick those candidates selected for interviews. It is critically important for you to target your resume to the specific company/job. A bit of minor tweaking can often make the difference between getting the interview, or not. Refer to my earlier post on how to target your resume here.
  2. Applying Online – this is a classic job search mistake to avoid. The main reason is because it is what everybody else is doing! It is very easy to get lost in flood of applicants who apply indiscriminately online. Second, many recruiters hold the belief that top-notch candidates don’t apply online. Top candidates are either sought out, or come in through other methods. Finally, applying online may hurt your chances of getting an interview or proper consideration at a company. You are far better off being evaluated as an employee referral, represented by a recruiter, or recommended by someone known to the company.
  3. Not Being Selective – whether you are actively or passively job searching, BE SELECTIVE. I generally advise people to take initial interviews liberally. Meeting the people and company face to face is the best way to see if there might be a fit. After an initial interview, I suggest people get much more selective. Don’t get deep into the interview process, or take things to the offer stage, if you can’t see yourself working at the company. You’ll not only be wasting your time, but you could leave a negative impression with the people who feel like you wasted theirs.
  4. Not Networking – this is the ultimate job search mistake. Study after study shows that the best jobs, and the best chances of landing your next job lies in networking. Friends, classmates, recruiters, alumni organizations, professional organizations, and former coworkers are just some of the categories of contacts you should tap into when considering a job change. Many people don’t do this because it involves more effort, but it is absolutely worth it!

David Staiti is the founder and Managing Partner of Virtus Recruiting, LLC. He has almost two decades of executive search and recruiting experience. He’s published numerous articles on job search and career management topics for The Wall Street Journal, CareerBuilder, and Forbes.com

By |January 18th, 2016|job search, resume|0 Comments

Realities of an Offer

realities of an offerThe realities of an offer are important to consider when negotiating compensation. In an blog post from February this year, I discussed what a “good” job offer is in this competitive market. In short, a 5-10% bump in total compensation would be considered a strong offer. A link to that article is here.

In this post, I wanted to look at some realities of an offer and why a 5-10% increase is the market norm. The offer stage can be a highly emotional part of the search process. It’s important to remember that on both sides of the negotiation, this is a business decision. Money is important, and negotiating is part of the process, but remember these realities of an offer when approaching the negotiating table:

  1. Friends sort of lie – do not listen to friends or colleagues about their salary. Friends provide some of some of the most unreliable data available. First, people have egos and they tend to fudge the numbers. Second, even if your friend is completely honest about a huge job offer they got, one example does not represent the market as a whole.
  2. You aren’t underpaid – most job seekers I talk to feel they are underpaid. In reality, very few people are underpaid. If you are a top performer with good skills, you are much more likely to be on the upper end of the pay scale for your experience and skills. The economic law of supply and demand sets a pretty standard pay scale for a given skill, years of experience, credentials, etc.
  3. Titles don’t matter – don’t get hung up on titles. I was quoted in a Fortune magazine article the other day about this (link to Fortune article here). In short, titles aren’t universally defined. One firm’s Director is another’s Manager. The responsibilities of the job, how you will develop professionally, and what you are being paid is all that really matters.
  4. Evaluate money last – I always talk about job search motivations at length with a candidate – well before we look at an actual opportunity. Money is important, but it should almost never be a primary motivating factor when changing jobs. A reasonable offer that accomplishes many of the career goals and objectives you were seeking is a great job offer. Even if you receive a lateral offer, why would you not take a job that offered more responsibility, more growth, learning opportunities, etc.?


By |January 18th, 2016|Job Offers, job search|0 Comments

The Best Time To Look For a Job

the best time to look for a jobI’m often asked, “what is the best time to look for a job?” The answer often surprises people. The best time to look for a job is when you are happy at your current job. The common retort is, “why would I want to leave my current job if I’m happy?” It’s a fair question, with a basic answer – because you have the tactical advantage. The best time to look for a job is when you’re generally happy because:

1) Passive Candidates are Most Desirable to Employers and Recruiters – potential employers and recruiters covet the “passive” candidate market. The perception is that passive candidates are the best at what they do. A passive person is likely to only consider an opportunity on a highly selective basis. This makes the candidate less likely to be scooped up by another competitor. It also reassures the potential employer that if the candidate takes the job they will be very committed.

2) Bargaining Power – if you don’t need to leave, you have tremendous bargaining power when looking for a job. First, and most importantly, when you compare a potential opportunity against your current good situation, you are likely to be very selective. The odds of taking a “bad job” are reduced greatly because you are in a position to really scrutinize the opportunity. Secondly, you are far more likely to negotiate the best possible job offer. A potential employer knows they’ll have to step up to the plate with a great offer package to entice you.

3) You’ll Interview Better – if you go into an interview with the confidence of knowing you are in a good situation and don’t “need” a new job, your interview presentation will be much stronger. Your confidence level will be higher, and it will show.

When you are unhappy at your current job, or unemployed, it is often the worst time to look for a new job. The opposite of the above reasons become true. If you appear to be too active, employers and recruiters alike may be turned off because the chances of losing you to another employer are greater. Second, if you “need it” or appear desperate in any way, the employer is going to be less interested, and at best you’ll have far less negotiating power. Finally, you’re bound to be more nervous and appear more needy for the job if you are in a bad situation.

Even though when you are happy is the best time to look for a job, keep in mind that it doesn’t mean you have to take a job. As I mentioned above, you can be extremely picky when evaluating outside opportunities when you are happy in your current role. If you see an amazing opportunity and have a tough decision to make, that’s a pretty good situation to be in! Additionally, if you aren’t open to entertaining outside opportunities because you are happy, you can only potentially miss great potential jobs.

By |January 18th, 2016|job search|0 Comments

Target Your Resume

target your resumeThere are no one-size-fits-all resumes. In my earlier posts, I’ve covered some resume basics (Two Ways To Boost Your Resume & Resume Formatting). In this post, we will talk about how to target your resume. This is probably one of the most useful, and most underutilized ways of increasing the chance of getting a job interview. When you target your resume to a specific job, you are making your qualifications more obvious, and thus making it easier to get noticed by the employer. As a recruiter, there are days when I go through dozens or even hundreds of resumes. With that type of volume, I can tell you with full honesty that I’m not reading them all in detail, but rather looking for some very obvious signs that the candidate in question warrants a further conversation. Here are some basic methods you can employ to target your resume to a specific job:

1) Cut Out The White Noise — when you want to target your resume, it’s important to focus on the things that are relevant to the potential employer. Things to cut out are Objective, Summary and Personal Interests. An Objective is self explanatory if you are sending it to someone. A resume is itself a summary, so take this section out. Personal Interests are also not going to help you get the interview if you don’t adequately demonstrate your qualifications. In fact, your interests could run contrary to the person screening your resume.

2) Use The Job Description — the job description for the role you are applying to is basically a blueprint as to what is important. Use the position description to identify the key skills and duties of the job, and then make sure your resume and matching experience speaks to the job. For example, the first few bullet points about your current job should highlight the duties talked about in the first few bullets of the position description. If you need to move bullets around, do so! If you need to add more details about your current experience related to the job, do so!

3) Cut And Paste — your word processing program makes tweaks to your resume sometimes as easy as cutting and pasting material in new spots. Bullet points should be shuffled around depending on their relevance to the job. Removing extraneous details is also helpful. Don’t hesitate to move things around to make them more obvious.

4) Focus On The Present — the most recent 3-5 years is where you should include the most detail about your work experience. A complete accounting of your work history is necessary, but short descriptions of your jobs more than 5 years old is sufficient. Your next employer is not likely to put a big premium on experience that isn’t current.

It’s a great idea to have a general resume as a starting point. However, a minimal amount of minor revisions on your resume can really make the difference between getting the interview, or not!

By |January 18th, 2016|job search, resume|0 Comments

Why Are You Looking


Q&A – Why Are You Looking?

Carol B. asked me, “I’m pretty happy where I’m working, but I look at new jobs occasionally. I get stumped when asked ‘why are you looking for a new job?’ I feel like I don’t have a great answer… how do you answer this question?” Great question, Carol B.! “Why are you looking?”, is a pretty common interview question, and one that people should be prepared for. If you are gainfully employed and interviewing for another job, it’s really important to handle this question the right way.

Whenever answering any interview question, it’s a good idea to consider the intent of the question. Why are you looking? is a question focused on uncovering a reason that is compelling for the potential employer, and to eliminate people who might be looking for the “wrong reasons”. Some good reasons as to why are you looking include:

More Challenging Role – pick out specific aspects of the new potential job that are broader than your current role, will help you gain more experience, and present learning opportunities. Seeking a more challenging role is a great reason to move jobs.

Better Company – don’t be too negative about your current employer, but cite reasons why the potential employer might be a better company. Perhaps your current employer lost major clients and is making cuts. The new employer might be growing much more rapidly and expanding their business while your current employer is stagnant.

Location – the commute to work can be a very legitimate factor when considering a job move. A new role that is good for your career and saves you substantial commute time is definitely a valid reason.

Structural Changes – if there are things happening at your company outside of your control, or life factors that might lead to a job change, you should mention them. For example, your company is planning to move offices out of the area. Perhaps you are getting engaged/married and your significant other is moving out of state. Maybe you are having a family and settling in an area outside your current geography.

One or more of the above types of answers are great ways to approach the “why are you looking” question. Topics to avoid would be money (we’ll cover how to handle that in a later post), personal problems with colleagues, or being too vague or general. You should be prepared for this question with a good answer that is tailored to the specific opportunity where you are interviewing.

By |January 18th, 2016|job search|0 Comments