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Posts by Amy Armstrong

Job Hunting: Isn't Something Magical Supposed to Happen Now That I'm on LinkedIn?

If you're reading this post, you're probably a job seeker who has exhausted all of the "fresh" online job postings for the day, but feel obligated to stay in front of the computer to fulfill your daily quota of job hunt time.  It's okay.  You're not alone, but that's also part of the reason so many people are still unemployed.  Applying to online job postings is unlikely to land you a job.  Yes, your cousin's brother knows someone in Alabama who just got a great job through an online job board.  I'm sure others have too, but it's still not the best way to 

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Thank You Notes: A Job Search Essential

Writing thank you notes after a job interview can feel a lot like kissing your dentist's feet after a root canal. For most of us, the interview is a necessary, but uncomfortable experience that we want to just get over with and run screaming to the nearest pub to forget about. Besides, writing anything for a potential hiring manager is anxiety-provoking in itself. Still, skipping the thank you note could cost you! Read on for thank you note tips.

Why write thank you notes? Not writing one could cost you the job. If you think hiring managers and search committees 

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Light Reading for Job Seekers and Career Changers

When the food gets heavy, light, fun books call to me, and I don't think I'm alone in this.  Read on for highlights in funny, amusing, and entertaining career-related materials at NYPL.

Nice Job! A Guide To Cool, Odd, Risky, And Gruesome Ways To Make A Living by Lookout Media, Jake Brooks [et al.] Have you ever watched that scene from Office Space where three nerds try to figure out what money laundering actually means and thought, "Yep.  That's me"?  It's hard to find definitive ... Read More ›

Job Seekers: Your Burning Resume Questions Answered

Over the course of my career, as a career counselor and a hiring manager, I've looked at a lot of resumes and I continue to review a lot of resumes.  Job seekers often get so wrapped-up in revising the resume that it turns into this all or nothing pass into the land of employment.  While a good resume is an asset in any job seeker's arsenal of job hunting tools, it is not the only important thing or even the most important thing.  Also, your resume can only do you some good if it gets in front of the right people.  I will try to address the questions most people ask 

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Career Changers: I Want to be a Writer! How Do I Make it Happen?

If you're reading NYPL blogs because you're thinking about writing a novel or titillating nonfiction book, you're in good company. Many writers make the Library their temporary home as they research their subject and search for inspiration. A lot of my clients come in with questions about breaking into the glamorous world of writing whether it's writing children's books, blogging, writing memoirs, editorials, etc. Contrary to popular belief, I can't look at a person and detect 

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Protecting your privacy during the job search

Privacy is a tough thing to maintain during a job search because looking for work is a lot like dating.  If you aren't willing to totally open up, people will wonder if you're truly ready to commit.  Seriously though, I think we all would at least like to believe that even with web 2.0 spilling our digital guts all over the place, some information is still sacred.

Everyone has different concerns when it comes to personal information on the web and employment applications.  My focus in this posting will be on information you may submit over the web 

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What is an Informational Interview?

So, you've been looking for work for months and the only offer you've received is to become a representative for ABC Insurance Company---after you pay for training to become a licensed agent.  Your friends, family, career coaches, and all these articles keep mentioning networking and informational interviews, but what does any of that mean?

Informational interviews are one of the best ways to network because they give you the opportunity to gather inside information that could increase your chances of getting a good job.  Most of us associate informational 

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Painless Cover Letter Writing

With emails and tweets, writing or reading an entire letter seems old fashioned and overwhelming now, but a well written cover letter could help you get your foot in the door when you wouldn't have otherwise.

Even if you hate writing or think you are a horrible writer, you can still prepare an effective cover letter as long as you keep the following points in mind:

Keep it brief:  4-5 paragraphs at the most Customize it for the job and company Proofread it and have someone else proofread it

What goes into an effective cover 

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Employed and Miserable: Dealing With a Job You Hate During a Recession

It's hard to find much to be happy about when you think about the news for job seekers now.  In theory, it seems like the rotten economy would turn that annoying job you took to pay the bills right out of college into the best thing ever if you're still "lucky" enough to have it.  The unfortunate reality is that most workers are trudging through the day doing the same work they were doing before plus the work of colleagues who had their positions cut.  Meanwhile, the pressure is on to work overtime on short notice and without complaint, and to forgo little things 

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Will the Myers-Briggs Tell Me What I Should Be When I Grow Up?

With the unemployment rate stuck at over 9%, seeing the bright side of the situation can be tough.  One positive outcome of these hard times is that job seekers are becoming more interested in finding a job that's a good fit, not just something to pay the bills.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify what the right job would be if you don't have much experience doing work you enjoy.  As a career counselor, I get a lot of questions from clients about personality assessments, and if I had to pick the one I get asked about the most, it would be the

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Create a Superhero Response to the 'Greatest Weakness' Question

Clark Kent walks into his interview at The Daily Planet.  The interviewer, a prim and proper human resources representative inked to perfection, shuffles some papers, clicks her pen and says, "So tell me, Mr. Kent, what do you consider your greatest weakness?"

What do you think he says?  Go ahead.  You know you want to say Kryptonite.  Just remember:  Clark Kent had to be the responsible alter ego and support Superman's lavish lifstyle.  Dry cleaning a cape gets expensive!

Career TV's video

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Job Seekers: How Is Your Phone Voice?

If you are actively looking for work and keep networking and applying for jobs, the phone is bound to start ringing.  For job seekers who have submitted over 100 resumes, getting the phone to ring might seem like an achievement on its own.  In a way, it is, but the end goal is to get a job.  If the employer doesn't get the feeling that you want to hear from them, they may decide to opt for someone in their "to call" pile of resumes who has a friendlier phone manner. 

Here is a list of some of the most common job seeker phone 

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Closing gaps on your resume

When it comes to addressing gaps in employment, job seekers tend to do one of three things:  1. lie, 2. leave everything as is and hope nobody notices, 3. provide an elaborate explanation that gives the prospective employer more information than they need or want.  Every situation is unique, so it is impossible to give one solution that will work for every gap, but some strategies are more effective than others.

Take credit for what you've been doing

If you have been a caregiver or a stay-at-home parent, it's better to put that down than to leave 

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Are you underpaid?

It's 4 o'clock and you could swear that the clock must be stuck since it feels like it has been 4 o'clock for hours.  Everything aches after that two hour workout you did yesterday because you got stuck in yet another meeting that went nowhere.  On top of it all, you just got an email from your boss saying you need to complete another report that you know he isn't going to read and it's due in a day.  When you finally get home after fighting the crowds on the hot, filthy subway cars, you might catch yourself saying, "They don't pay me enough to put up with 

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Job Hunting: Now with more social media

If you went to the movies this weekend, you would probably that agree that Facebook pops-up in everything.  Not only is David Fincher bringing The Social Network to the big screen so we can all know more than we ever wanted to about Facebook's founders, but SimplyHired can now use your profile to find hiring companies where you have friends!  But wait, there's more: you can also find the recruiting 

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Are electronic job applications a black hole?

For our patrons who have already attended John Crant's Self Recruiter lectures at the Science, Industry and Business Library, you already know that he believes the "Submit" button on applications is the company's way of reminding you who is in charge of the process. With some online job applications taking as long as two hours to complete, job seekers should consider whether or not the whole process is worthwhile.

Here are a few things to consider before you do all 

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Are your skills ready for prime time?

Skills, strengths and abilities sound like fluffy words in a market where many job seekers are left feeling like being qualified just isn't enough.  Employers seem to be looking for someone who can do the job, fit in with a culture that they want to keep under wraps until you start, and will be the perfect age, gender, etc.  Check-out some of the free tools you can use to determine the value of your skills to current employers as well as some resources for enhancing your employability.

A quick way to see the general value of your current work-related skills 

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Deciphering Job Postings

As some of us remember, jobs used to be posted in the newspaper classifieds or "want ads". Due to space limitations and cost, employers were forced to adopt creative abbreviations similar to the ones used for singles looking for dates.  In employment ad speak, DOE is the answer to the single's SOH.  While the higher character limits of online postings have made job posting language a bit closer to something the rest of us can understand, it's important to keep a few things in mind as you browse and decipher.

Deciphering the Posting Some 

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Five Questions to Get You Through Any Interview

Job interviews are scary.  Sure, it's great to land them, but once the initial glee over getting the interview passes, you're left with the anxiety over what they're going to ask and how they will feel about your answers.

Preparing for a job interview can feel a lot like preparing for a cumulative final for a course that covers 200 years of history.  You could be asked about anything and it seems impossible to be prepared for every question.  According to Richard Nelson Bolles, author of

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Will More School Lead to a Better Job?

Most of my teachers in elementary school could remember the "good old days" when corporal punishment was acceptable in the public school system, so it's not surprising that they were kind of harsh when it came to feedback on lackluster performance.  If one of them called on me as I was drifting into an afternoon nap, my puzzled expression was often met with, "You had better start practicing how you're going to say, 'Would you like fries with that?' because you won't make it to college sleeping through class."

Actually, I think the strategic 

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