Templates UPLOADED

I’ve gone through most of my blogs and added the templates for resumes, master application and much more as well as posted them below. Post your comments/questions below and check back for my responses!

Functional Resume Template

Chronological Resume Template

Master Application

Sample Cover Letter for Students

Your Welcome! 🙂

Interview Do's and PLEASE Don't!

I’ve been getting a lot of questions of what people should do or don’t do during an interview. So here’s an updated list of what I present during my Career Development Trainings. Please note that this isn’t just for during an interview, but what you should do/don’t before and after an interview.

Before an Interview (at least a few days in advance)…
– Research about the company/org and obtain any information about the company/org that will be useful for your interview (example: positive news, sales records, product line, innovation, etc.)
– Prepare any questions you might have about the company/org to ask the interviewer
– Know the duties and the complete description of the position
– Have the interviewer’s name, number and address as well as the interview location and directions
– Practice how you will answer tough questions, talk about yourself and turning on your positive voice
– Prepare interview outfit and make sure it is clean, neat and suitable
– Arrange for a sign language interpreter if necessary
– Prepare and organize your documents in a portfolio

PLEASE Don’t…

– Assume you know everything about the company/org when 90% of the time you don’t have a clue
– Get intoxicated (especially if you’ll be taking a drug test!)
– Have all your documents in a disarray
– Be afraid, very very afraid
– Leave everything for the last minute

Dressing for an Interview…
– Job specific clothing such as hard hat and clean jeans for a construction job or a two piece suit for an office job
– Dress conservatively as possible within the confines of your personality
– Neutral, semi dark color clothing
– Simple jewelry such as one or two rings, small earrings and a necklace (depending on where you are interviewing, a small nose ring should be ok)

PLEASE Don’t…
– Wear revealing or skintight clothing, haphazardly
– Wear every piece of jewelry you own
– Use strong perfume, aftershave, deodorant, body spray, etc.
– Wear bright nail polish, lipstick or clothing

Take to the Interview…
– Valid photo ID or Passport
– Social Security Card
– Your prepared and organized portfolio
– Master application/completed company application
– Multiple copies of your targeted resume
– References and letters of recommendation
– Small calendar/appointment book
– Other required certifications or documents such as typing tests, training certificates, etc.
– A bottle of water is fine if securely closed
– Confidence and a positive attitude

PLEASE Don’t…
– Bring your relatives, friends, children or pets!
– Bring any food or sticky drinks
– Even thing of bringing drugs or alcohol

Interviewing Etiquette includes…
– Arrive at least 15 minutes early
– Make sure your cell phone is off or at least on vibrate or silent
– Shake hands firmly and quickly
– Wait for the interviewer to invite you to have a seat
– Sit attentively, straight up and ready
– Pay attention to the interviewer and listen to everything told and asked
– Pay attention to your poster, body language and nervousness
– Eye contact is very important, look at the interviewer when asking and answering questions
– Look interested, excited and ready
– Use professional language and speak clearly in an appropriate volume and tone
– Show off your confidence and SMILE!

PLEASE Don’t…
– Be late
– Smoke
– Chew gum
– Have a cell phone on or on loud
– Answer your cell phone
– Slouch in your seat, cross your legs with the bottom of your feet facing the interviewer and hands everywhere
– Touch everything
– Interrupt the interviewer
– Speak in “slang” or use foul language
– Lie about your work or criminal history
– Be apologetic for whatever qualification you may lack
– Move far beyond the topic
– Take what is not given to you
– Talk too little or too much
– Speak in a very low voice or extremely loud
– Talk with your hands over your mouth or look away from the interviewer
– Take care of your hygiene
– Be fake
– Walk out yelling, screaming and raging

After an Interview…
– Send a “thank you” note to the interviewer for their time
– Make a follow up call and converse with the interviewer
– If asked not to call, send a follow up email to the interviewer

PLEASE Don’t…
– Contact the interviewer on how horrible they were
– Bombard the interviewer with calls and emails on your status

Should you questions, post them in the comments so that I may respond!

What's Your Objective?

In every resume I’ve critiqued at least in the last month, I noticed one thing in common: everyone of them had a nice lengthy objective. I have a lengthy problem with that… here’s why.

What’s an objective? An objective is basically one’s intentions towards something, a goal to accomplish. With that understanding, it is very important that you do relay to your potential employer what your intentions and goals are in your career and in working with that company.

So why do I have a problem with it being in your resume? Well on your resume, you are listing your education, qualifications, work history and skills. An objective is written out in a good 3-5 sentence paragraph. That’s why it should not be on your resume! So where does it go?

On your cover letter!

Your cover letter is a personalized letter to the hiring personnel that introduces your resume. In your cover letter, you are to discuss what makes you best for the position in question, what your objectives are and how you can be reached after they review your resume. It’s simply an opening statement, a good 3-5 sentence paragraph about your objectives and qualifications. Then a closer with your contact information. Very simple, very basic.

Why don’t you want to go on about your great achievements or expanded skills? You need to leave something for the interview. You list your skills and any relevant achievements and awards but your cover letter gets them to read your resume. Your resume, gets them to set up an interview with you.

So, what’s your objective?

Master Application

Almost every job has an application to be filled out. You’ve been out filling out as many applications as you can during this difficult economic time. You simply can’t risk not answering a question incorrectly or missing an employer in your employment history. What do you do to make this process a little easier?

For many years, I’ve been training individuals on filling applications. A lot of information can be simply forgotten when you are sitting there filling out applications all with different (and many times confusing) questions. Especially when you have to fill out a paper one on the spot before an interview or in order to be considered. I recommend anyone and everyone to have a master application.


What’s a master application? Simply put, a master application is an application that helps you fill out all the other applications. It’s an application that includes the most asked questions on employment applications. The following are a few tips on filling out your application. Make sure to note these tips in your master application so that you don’t forget!

– Social Security Number: DO NOT write your Social Security Number on any paper application. Instead write, “available upon hire.” You never know how many people are handling your paper application to have such important information on there. If you’re filling out an online application, that’s fine as they are secured and are only handled by authorized personal.

– Conviction: If you have been convicted of a felony, BE HONEST about it! Check “yes” and where it asks you to explain write, “will discuss during interview.” Having a conviction doesn’t disqualify you from being hired*, having lied can. As a college student a few years ago when I was working part-time at a retail store, one of my co-workers was getting promoted to being head of sales. He was making the most commission out of his department and everyone was excited for him because he deserved that promotion. The next thing we know, he was terminated. When I finally saw him about a week later, he said it was because he lied on his application. He didn’t want to put he was convicted a few years ago for something so small and lose a promotion over it. It turns out, they learned of his conviction when they conducted their background check for his promotion. Later that week, I tried to talk to the manager on his behalf. The manager simply said that it wasn’t because of his conviction, it was because they just can’t trust him to be honest to customers if he wasn’t honest on his application.

– Employment History, Reason for Leaving: If you have been fired, please DO NOT put, “fired because boss was a stupid jerk!” Instead put something along the lines of, “involuntary termination” or “will discuss during interview.” You should before anything, check with your previous employer and try to figure out what they are telling other employers calling for work verification. During the interview of course, you will stay positive and honest. You will NOT get all defensive on why you were fired. It’s ok if you got fired, it’s what you learned from it that counts!

– Age: Applications should NOT be asking you of your age, just if you are over 16 or 18 and can legally work. Most cities and states have varying laws of how old you have to be as a minor to legally work. Many states allow 14 year old students to work no more then 15 hours a week while others require that you be 16 years of age to work no more then 20 hours a week. If you are in those age ranges, you need to contact your school counselor or dean on obtaining the necessary documentation to work. Companies that do hire minors have to include such a question in their application so that they are complying with the state and local law. Make sure you have approval from your school before applying to any job!

– Gender, Race, Etc.: Almost all applications now have it be optional if you want to answer these question to help the company make sure it is being fair and diverse in it’s workforce. I personally do not recommend anyone to fill any of these out so that not to give any chances of any discrimination what so ever.

Action Plan for Ex-Offenders

Last week, on March 21st, four Oakland Police officers were killed in the line of duty. An ex-offender, 27 years old, had violated his parole and had a warrant out for his arrest. A routine traffic stop turned into a battle that ended with his death amongst the four officers noted. The mass memorial service for all four officers in Oakland was attended by the entire Oakland Police Department force along with over 20,000 members of the community and televised on almost every local station in the Bay Area on March 27th. This story truly struck a cord with many in uniform across the nation and with many community members in the Bay Area.

This story struck a personal cord with me, with family and friends on both ends.

It upset me that this young man had a chance to turn his life around after getting parole only to get killed going back to his offenses. I remembered how during my first year of being educated on providing counseling and job training, (ironically also in Oakland), I worked not only with the homeless community, but also with ex-offenders. More then I can count that year did I see ex-offenders get hired in positions they never thought they were even qualified for. Participating in many workshops and trainings throughout the years thereafter, I would almost always meet at least one individual who was an ex-offender that went from having a negative to a positive outlook on what they can achieve; and what an accomplishment they have become!

Below is what I have learned since that year on better helping ex-offenders in their job search as a start to their new rehabilitated life. Those who wanted to truly make those mistakes learning stones and a thing of the past by having a positive outlook on what they can achieve.

Action Plan for Ex-Offenders
If you think you can’t get a job because you are an ex-offender and/or out on parole, think again! The number one reason you may never break this barrier is because you simply don’t want too. Making the excuse that no one will hire you because you are an ex-offender isn’t the way to go. You must be willing, determined and have a positive approach to your job search. You need to develop an action plan on how to you’ll get back on your feet to walk the better paths.

First, you need to be fully aware of what your charges were and that there are no errors of any kind. The US Department of Labor notes that any “inaccurate information may give an unnecessarily negative profile of the individual.” This means that you don’t want to state in your applications and interviews that you were convicted of one offense and the employer does a background check only to find other offenses. You would lose the chance of being hired not because of your offense, but the pretense that you lied to them. So make sure you are all set there by getting a copy of your records and going through them with your attorney or assigned probation/parole officer.

When you have all that information set, you need to learn what kind of work you can actually hold. There are federal laws that prohibit and regulate that those with certain convictions of or involving dishonesty, breach of trust, money laundering or participation in a pretrial diversion program for those offenses cannot work in the financial industry in any position with access to money. For example, if you were convicted of theft, you can’t be a teller at a bank. Many states also have similar laws that detail specific industries an ex-offender may not work in depending on their convictions. For example, certain positions with such prohibitions tend to be in industries where those deemed “vulnerable” are directly involved. Such industries include childcare, education, security, nursing and home health care.

That may come off negative but you can’t simply expect to be given such a risky chance without willing to prove that you have changed, learned and can be of a major asset to the employer as well as society. Note though that an employer has the right and responsibility to determine the conviction in relation to the position to be filled. The factors an employer should put in considerations are:

  1. How long ago was the offense?
  2. How old were you when the offense took place?
  3. What was the nature and gravity of the conviction?
  4. What efforts have you made toward rehabilitation?

What can help you, especially with the last factor there, is if you have all your documents in order along with your resume such as any certifications you received as well as a recommendation letter from your assigned probation/parole officer. That takes us to the next step in your action plan. Depending on where you live (and funds available for these programs especially during these difficult economic times), there are many support groups, training programs, courses at local community colleges and even job fairs for ex-offenders. These types of information and resources your officer would almost always know about. Make sure to always be in touch with your officer and never, I mean NEVER, miss a meeting. Its when you can showcase to your officer your action plan and commitment to being a better person that they can be of a better support system to you!

Aside from the steps discussed in the Career Development Guidebook (and throughout this blog) there are extra steps to take to better overcome this barrier of being an ex-offender looking for work. You must always be confident that your conviction, aside from the laws stated above, doesn’t eliminate your chances of being a good candidate for the position you are applying for. Make sure before turning in your application and resume to the company, that you check with the employer if there are any specific convictions that can disqualify you from the position your applying for. This could be that they have certain policies complying with state laws or as mentioned above, what relation the conviction is to the position open. Be sure to note the person’s name and position in the company as this will be important in your application and interview.

When you fill out your application, under where it asks you of any felonies or convictions, BE HONEST! Don’t detail everything in your application! You can write something like, “Will be pleased to discuss during interview.” If someone told you that your conviction doesn’t disqualify you, make sure to add that note after your response, “conviction does not automatically disqualify according to name, job title.” I would also put your assigned officer’s name and number for a reference. This assures the employer that even before they interview you, that you have been making the efforts because your assigned officer is willing to give you a reference!

During the interview, the conviction without a doubt will come up as you noted that you’d be pleased to discuss it then. You do not need to detail everything that happened. You want to say something along the lines of, “When I spoke with name, the job title, I was very pleased that I would be seen for my experience and skills before my conviction. My conviction was _____. Since then, I have participated in a _____ program where I graduated and expanded on my skills in _____. Currently I utilize these skills by volunteering at _____ and hope to obtain this position where I can utilize these skills and learn new ones.” You want to highlight all the positives arising from your conviction. You don’t want to bad mouth anyone or put yourself on the defensive. This isn’t the place, the time or the person to be delving all that information too.

With your action plan, you should be able to break that barrier. Remember, you are confident because you are now a better person then the mistake you made. Be honest, be positive, be willing to ask for support and you will find yourself in a much better place then you were.

To learn more about available programs and support systems in your area, make sure to check the US Department of Labor’s Web site, be in contact with your assigned probation/parole officer and connect with your network. You can always send me an email with your question and expect a response!

Interview Facts

Interview Facts
CDG, Step 5: Interview Preparation

Here are 10 basic interview facts to remember…

1. The interview is meant to be a conversation between the candidate and the company in order to discover whether there is a fit with the company’s needs as well as a fit with the candidate’s needs.

2. The interviewer can often make the decision about the candidate in the first three to five minutes of the interview.

3. An interview is in some ways unfair. Who can figure one out in five minutes or even two hours? At best, interviews are an imperfect way of accepting or rejecting an impression of the candidate and/or the company environment.

4. Most people don’t talk enough during an interview (due to nervousness or lack of interpersonal skills). Candidates should initiate discussion and let the interviewer know of their interest in the position to be filled.

5. During an interview, a candidate’s interpersonal skills are tested. Interpersonal skills are as important as a candidate’s background, experience and education.

6. The best interviewees do it fast by setting the tone of the interview in the first few minutes, then spending the rest of the time enhancing what’s been said.

7. The interviewer is more likely to remember the interviewee’s negatives then positives.

8. Confidence is sitting up straight, head high and eye contact with the interviewer. Body language can speak volumes louder then words

9. A “thank you” note, card or even an email after the initial interview can make the chances of being hired even higher. Such simple acts can add to the impression left during the beginning of the initial interview.

10. One may get a job without a resume, but definitely not without an interview.

18 & Jobless?!

I recently responded to a Yahoo! Answers question by an 18 year old individual looking for work and needing a few tips. Click here to check out my response and other good ones to his question.