A proud partner of the
Everyone has skills, but not everyone knows how to market those skills to enhance
their career. This workbook will help you dene and market your skills, as well as
provide helpful information to assist you in your job search. The topics covered in this
workbook are outlined on page 4.
If you need additional assistance, contact a Kansas Job Center near you, visit or call (877) 509-6757.
Job Seeker Resources
Job Search
Job Search Workbook
What sets you apart from the competition?
A good résumé should include dates of employment
and demonstrate how you have helped your employers
make money, save money or improve their bottom lines.
Focus on the company to which you are applying, not
your wants, and remember to customize each résumé for
each job to which you are applying.
Identify a mentor in the eld you are interested in. If
unsure about an industry, sign up for a temporary job to
see what you think. Temporary jobs can lead to
full-time employment.
Ask someone you trust or a KANSASWORKS
representative to review for grammar, layout and other
Take the WORKReady!, My Next Move, mySkills
myFuture assessments and others recommended
in this workbook.
Network with everyone you meet! Get involved with
activities that align with your interests and the job you
Be early, be prepared with questions and take extra
résumés and anything else that demonstrates you have
the skills to do the job. Always prepare questions for the
interviewer at the end of the session.
KANSASWORKS representatives can do mock
interviews and coach you to help ease anxiety.
Negotiate wages after an offer has been received and
accept the job.
Follow up with a thank you note or email.
How could you have improved the interview?
The Kansas Department of Commerce administers the KANSASWORKS workforce system, which links
businesses, job seekers and educational institutions to ensure that Kansas employers can nd skilled workers.
The system includes various job centers, which are located statewide to connect businesses with job seekers in
their area.
In addition, the system integrates Kansas universities, community colleges and technical schools so they can
tailor their curriculum to the needs of Kansas businesses. The result is a seamless network in which Kansas
workers receive job-specic training and Kansas businesses can nd well-trained employees.
Funded in full by USDOL funds.
Managing your job search
Using technology to get hired
Email etiquette
Soft skills
Technical skills and talents
Determine your skills
Career goals
Tips for completing an application
Information for this booklet was pulled from various job seeker websites, such as,,,, and
Tips for writing cover letters
Cover letter format
Cover letter example
What is a résumé?
Effective résumés
Four types of résumés
Action verbs
Chronological résumé format
Functional résumé format
Combination résumé format
Targeted résumé format
Before the interview
How to answer interview questions
Traditional vs. behavioral interview questions
Preparation for the behavioral interview
At the interview
Questions to ask the interviewer
Closing the interview
After the interview
Tips on writing thank you letters
Thank you letter format
Thank you letter example
How to prepare for assessments
Employment & training resources
More resources
Other useful websites
Managing your job search
To be truly successful, you should consider a job search a full-time job.
Wake up early to begin searching and search all day (40 hours a week).
Plan your time and determine what must be accomplished each day.
Be your own boss or appoint a friend to hold you accountable to carry out your job responsibilities.
Apply for jobs early in the day. This will make a good impression and give you time to complete
applications, interviews or tests. Generally, avoid applying on Mondays and Fridays. You may want to
call employers to nd out the best times to apply. Some companies take applications only on certain
days, or within specic hours, during the week. Cover tattoos and remove piercings when picking up
applications and leave your cell phone in the car. Companies have reported they felt the job seeker was
texting rather than wanting to work for them. Bring your KANSASWORKS pocket résumé with all your
phone numbers on it.
Fill out applications completely and write N/A where appropriate. Do not write, “see résumé.” This is a
poor reection of your work ethic and shows employers you do not follow directions properly.
Keep a record of employers you contact, the résumé you sent for each opportunity, the date of your
contacts, people you talked to and special notes about your contacts.
Manage your time well by applying with several companies in the same part of town, when possible.
Use your network to nd out who is hiring in your expertise. The majority of openings are not advertised
publicly, but found through networking.
Be prepared. Develop a master application with dates, addresses, phone numbers, correct name spelling
and other information about previous positions. Have résumés, pens (preferably blue), Google maps or
similar navigation apps for your cell phone and job information with you at all times. You never know
when a lead will come your way.
Follow up on new leads immediately! If you hear about a job, research how the employer wants you to
apply and do so right away. Do not wait until the next day.
Network by telling everyone you know you are looking for a job. Stay in touch with friends and contacts
(e.g., church pastor, former co-workers, neighbors, relatives, etc.). Develop and practice your “elevator
pitch” about your skills. Ask our Workforce Specialists if you need assistance.
Using technology to get hired
Employers receive hundreds of résumés and applications for each position. Only the most qualied and
proactive job seekers are attracting the attention of hiring managers and get their foot in the door for an
Job search tactics now require embracing technology by creating a strong online presence, networking and
using new strategies to market your personal brand.
The following strategies will help you kick start your job search and nd that next opportunity.
You must have a basic understanding of the Internet. This will help you search for jobs, research companies and
send emails. You must also communicate effectively online.
1. Create an online presence. A common practice for hiring managers is to Google candidates before calling
them for interviews. Check into LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. These are great tools, but be cautious.
Do not post anything you would not want a potential employer to see or read.
2. Create your own web page or blog devoted to your job search. They are not expensive to create and can
help in your job search. Check out proles or other free website solutions.
3. Post your résumé on career sites such as so you can be found for your skills and
4. Network with professional organizations or alumni associations. Informational interviews are acceptable
in today’s market. Look for a mentor in the eld as well.
5. Develop your own personal brand. Be an expert and write papers related to your eld and post them
online. Volunteer at industry events to show your passion for what you do.
6. KANSASWORKS Virtual Services provides Skype Video conferencing to job seekers for out-of-area
interviews. Workshops are also available in some ofces. Speak with staff at a Kansas Job Center near
you, visit or call (877) 509-6757.
Successful job candidates are those with great communication skills and passion
who bring value to a company. By practicing these tips, you are on your way to
landing the opportunity!
Email etiquette
Communication via electronic means has become commonplace. Here are some tips to assist you when
communicating via email:
First contact with an employer - Use email when the employer has invited you to do so through its
website, job ad, verbal conversation or other communication. Otherwise, send a résumé and cover letter
via hard copy.
Responding to employers - If an employer emails you, it is permissible to respond via email. Be careful
to read the email for instructions. For example, you may be asked to do some follow-up online or with
another person. Always follow cues from the employer regarding preferred method of contact.
Thank you notes after interviews - An email thank you is acceptable, especially if the hiring decision is
happening quickly after the interview. An email will most likely be seen before a hard copy.
Keep it professional - Your email alias, your subject line and your content all need to be clear and
appropriate for the recipient. Do not use texting or abbreviations and use spell check.
Email alias - “” is not appropriate. Without a professional address, you will
not be taken seriously or viewed as professional.
Subject line - Make it clear and meaningful to the recipient, as in “Application for Graphic Designer
Listing 84G11.” A blank subject line is unacceptable. “Read this" and “Information” are meaningless and
may be interpreted as containing a virus.
Greeting - Do not misspell a person’s name. If you are writing to John Smith, use “Dear Mr. Smith.”
Use “Ms.” for women, as it is the feminine equivalent to the masculine “Mr.” The only exception to this
is when a woman uses another salutation such as “Mrs.” or “Dr.” for herself. If you do not know the
name, but you do know the department where you must send your letter, use “Dear Human Resource
Department staff,” or “Dear Hiring Manager at XYZ, Inc.” If at all possible, nd the name to which
it should be directed. Do not use “To Whom It May Concern.” The use of “Dear Sirs” will date your
workplace knowledge, so avoiding this is important in your job search.
Content - Use business-like writing style and be clear, concise and to the point. Start by stating why
you are writing. “I am applying for the accounting internship position your rm advertised through the
XYZ University Accounting Department.” Provide brief information about yourself. “This May, I will
graduate from XYZ University with a bachelors degree in human services.” My experience includes two
internships in community mental health agencies.” The same rules of hard copy correspondence apply to
business email.
Soft skills
Soft skills are the skills all employees must have in order to succeed in the workplace regardless of the type of
job. Employers place great importance on these skills and an employee who has them is considered valuable.
These skills are separate from the technical knowledge you may need on the job, such as computer experience.
To employers, soft skills (also known as employability skills) are as important as technical skills. Your personal
characteristics and behavior affect your ability to interact successfully with others. Personal characteristics
associated with outcomes that are important in the workplace include job performance, organizational abilities,
productive work behaviors and teamwork. These skills are needed to keep the job once you get it. Soft skills
Attendance - Coming to work on time, coming every day, giving advance notice for days off, calling in
sick only when absolutely necessary and calling your supervisor if you are going to be late.
Communication/Interpersonal Skills - Communicating with co-workers, managers and customers in a
pleasant and professional manner. Seeking advice when needed and practicing listening skills. Expressing
yourself clearly so you will be understood. Being polite, not argumentative, in accepting and expressing
criticism. Remaining calm in all situations and maintaining good eye contact.
Teamwork - Working in a cooperative manner with others to achieve team goals and identify needs.
Initiative/Motivation - Beginning or following through energetically with your job duties or a task
without prompting or direction.
Responsibility - Working hard toward reaching a goal. Completing required and expected duties. Being
aware of time schedules. Managing personal responsibilities and working effectively with little or no
Appearance/Hygiene - Understanding and adhering to dress code policies. Wearing appropriate work
clothing. Displaying good personal hygiene and grooming (e.g., shower, clean clothes, brush teeth and
brush/comb hair). Being aware of your personal and professional appearance.
Flexibility - Willing to cheerfully accept special projects or ll in for absent employees. Embracing ideas
from others or changes in the middle of a project.
If you have been a homemaker, student, volunteer or participated in some other seasonal activity, these skills
may be applied to jobs. For example, planning and organizing a large family gathering requires communication
and organization. Volunteering on a committee can demonstrate your responsibility, attendance and technical
skill depending on the role you played on the committee. All these transfer into skills employers seek.
Technical skills and talents
Determine your skills
Technical skills and talents are the skills you possess to accomplish a job (computer skills, operating equipment,
understanding procedures, research, etc.). These are hard skills employers review to determine if you are able to
perform the work.
To develop your skills further, we have resources free of charge. Please visit with your workforce professional
about the right one for you.
Problem Solving/Conict Resolution - Identifying problems, evaluating all possible solutions, selecting
a course of action and evaluating the outcomes. Someone who is willing to negotiate for problem solving
while respecting others’ opinions and interests in a positive manner.
To help determine your skills and talents, list
your hobbies, club memberships, sporting
activities, church and school involvement and
areas of interest. List tasks you perform well or
strong skills you possess, even if you have not
been paid for these skills.
Your list may look like it has nothing to do with
job skills or experience, but that is acceptable.
The purpose of this list is to help you determine
the skills you already have that can be
transferred to a job.
All hobbies, sports and activities involve
transferable skills, knowledge and abilities.
Look at each item on your list. On the next
page think about the skills or talents it takes to
perform that activity. List your activities and
skills as demonstrated in the example chart on
the next page.
Complete the table below. Use action verbs to describe your soft and technical skills.
See page 29 for a list of action verbs.
Playing basketball
Hobbies, sports and activities
Things I do well
Skills, knowledge and talents involved
Hobbies, sports and activities
Things I do well
Skills, knowledge and talents involved
Positive interaction with others (be a team player)
Utilize math (keep track of scores)
Reach, lift, jump, stoop and run
Manage budgets
Ability to handle multiple tasks
Knowledge of human development
Skills in teaching and training
Ability to diagnose mechanical problems
Skill in using tools
Knowledge of electronics
Capacity to create printed materials
Skill in advertising
Organizational skills
Competence to lead others
Knowledge of fundraising
Communicate professionally
Fixing Cars
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Coordinator
Another means of determining your talents is to complete a formal assessment of your skills, values and
interests. This will help determine which careers are suitable for you and which are not. You may also nd that
your skills and abilities match an occupation you never considered. There are many career assessment tools to
help you gather this information and generate a list of occupations best suited for you. For example:
O*NET can help you match your skills to desired occupations. This tool includes a Skills Search
designed to help identify occupations you may want to explore. This is done by selecting a set of skills
from six broad groups of skills to create your customized skill list.
The Kansas WORKReady! Certicate is a nationally recognized
certicate informing employers of your skills before you even walk
into the interview room. It measures your skills in three areas -
Workplace Documents, Graphic Literacy and Applied Math - and
certies you as a Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze candidate. If you
are interested in taking this assessment, contact your local Kansas Job
Center, visit or call (877) 509-6757.
The Kansas WORKTalent! Assessment is utilized to provide insight into your personal characteristics
and work-related behaviors. This will help you learn to rely on your personal strengths and adopt some
different behaviors. This will help you learn to rely on your personal strengths and adopt some different
behaviors to make you even more employable and successful in the workplace. If you are interested in
taking this assessment, please contact your local Kansas Job Center, visit or call
(877) 509-6757.
Platinum Certificate
Governor of Kansas
This certies that on the 28th day of February, 2017
John Q. Public
was awarded this certicate for scoring at least a level six on each of the
Assessments and has the necessary foundational skills
for approximately 99 percent of the WorkKeys
job proles.
Applied Math
Level 6
Graphic Literacy
Level 6
Workplace Documents
Level 6
Additional information may be found on page 44, “Testing/Assessments.”
Now that you know your skills and interests, it is time to review your work experience. Write down your
previous employment history. Concentrate on the details of the positions within the last seven years, including
all part-time, military, volunteer, apprenticeship/internship and self-employment work. Make sure all dates,
job titles and applicable contact information are accurate. Write down your accomplishments and how they
relate to the position for which you are applying. Each résumé should be tailored to each position for maximum
credibility. Past experience determines future performance. What did you like the best? These details will
usually denote where your strengths are to help market your talents as well. Be prepared to discuss with a
potential employer in an interview any times when you were not employed.
Think about the skills, knowledge or abilities it took to perform each work duty and write them down. In
addition, list the kind of work characteristics involved with the duties (organization, self-management, etc.).
Here are a couple of examples:
Farm Worker
Smith and Sons
May 2012 - April 2013
Selected vegetables and fruits
Inspected fruit for damage and
Used hoes, shovels and shears to
plant, cultivate and prune
Performed quickly, skillfully and
Labored outside and alone for
long periods
Ability to work quickly, skillfully
and safely
Customer Service Rep.
Jones Financial Group
April 2013 - Present
Answer customer phone calls
Update customer accounts
Answer customer questions
or complaints
Display proper phone etiquette
Comprehend stock market
Locate information quickly
Experience with computer skills
Serve customers
Problem solving
Attention to detail
Time management
Work duties
Work duties
Skills or talents
Skills or talents
Work characteristics
Work characteristics
Complete your work experience list below. A list of action verbs is available on page 29.
Now it is time to examine your educational history. List schools you attended with dates and major studies
or courses completed. List most recent history rst. List honors, accomplishments, skills and expertise (e.g.,
computer software applications, machinery operation, etc.). Also list activities you have participated in to
increase your overall knowledge (e.g., training or certication, military services, relevant community or
volunteer work). Then ask yourself what classes or training you like and why you liked them, as shown in the
example below.
Degree, certicates, awards and honors
Degree, certicates, awards and honors
Classes or training I enjoyed and why
Classes or training I enjoyed and why
BA Biology
Certicate of Microsoft Ofce Training
Gold Star Sales Award
Employee of the Month, Oct. 2012
Outstanding Attendance Award
Web page design - enjoyed creativity and starting
something from scratch
Scuba diving - enjoyed contact with nature and
Complete your educational history in the following table.
What career would you be happy doing every day if money was not an obstacle? This is usually an indicator
of your passion and will help you be successful and attentive. At this point, you have completed your self-
assessments and know your values, interests and skills.
You may also have a list of careers that align with assessment results. You now need to narrow your list of
careers so you can pursue the one you nd most desirable. There are hundreds of career options out there. Think
hard about your choice of occupations and you will nd a fullling and successful career. It could take some
time and energy to make a decision.
Gather information in career elds you are thinking about and research labor market information for availability
in your area. Gather basic information about each career on your list, such as job descriptions, employment
statistics, job outlook, earnings and educational and training requirements.
For basic information about career elds, use Career OneStop. You will nd occupational demographic and
labor market information at the local, state and national levels. This site is constantly updated. Other helpful
sites are and the Kansas Department of Labor.
Once you have enough information to decide what career(s) you would like to pursue, it is time to dig deeper.
You need to learn as much as possible about your narrowed list of occupations. Once this is complete, you
should be able to narrow your list to one. You can always continue your research and change your mind.
Remember, nothing is set in stone.
Career Goals
With a few career options in mind, it is time to gure out how to reach your goal of actually working in that
eld. Perhaps you lack a few skills for the career or there are no jobs currently open. Identify what steps will
help you gain experience for your career choice. Maybe you need to take some classes, get a degree or nd an
employer offering on-the-job training. To help determine what to do, list your career choice in one column (the
type of work you want to do ve or 10 years from now). In the opposite column, list what jobs, education or
experience you can get to help you reach your goal as demonstrated on the next page.
Complete your career goals in the following table.
Career I would like to have
Career I would like to have
Jobs/education/experience to help reach goal
Jobs/education/experience to help reach goal
Police Ofcer
Security Guard, Correctional Ofcer, Administrative
Assistant in Police Department, Court Clerk, Police
Writer Book Store Sales Clerk, Library Assistant, English Course
General Labor, Position in Manufacturing Environment,
Metalworking, Welding and Fabrication Courses
Today’s workplace is very competitive. However, there are also a lot of career opportunities out there and one
is for you! You need to have a variety of skills to give you a competitive edge. You may be choosing a career,
deciding whether to change careers, re-entering the workforce or recovering from a job loss. Staff at Kansas
Job Centers are ready to help at no cost. You may also visit or call (877) 509-6757.
Additionally, career information is available at your local library, community and technical colleges and
If you know what job skills you have and what you like to do, you are ready to look for a job. You can look for
job openings through the following sources:
NETWORKING is the key to a successful job search and the number one way people get jobs. Networking
consists of building on personal contacts and making yourself known to potential employers. Talk with anyone
who may know of an opportunity that would be right for you, including colleagues, recruiters, other job seekers,
career professionals, etc. Do you have a mentor? This is another option, and our workforce professionals are
also connected to where the jobs are.
SOCIAL NETWORKING provides a great way to make connections with potential job opportunities and
promote yourself across the Internet. This can help you describe yourself, your major strengths and the benets
an employer would receive by hiring you. Check into LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. These are great tools, but
be cautious. Do not post anything you would not want potential employers to see or read. Employers will check
these sites. They want employees who can respect their companies and their customers.
KANSAS JOB CENTERS provide assistance in nding jobs and offer an ofce to work from until you
nd your next position. We offer a wide variety of other services at no cost. For a list of job centers, visit or call (877) 509-6757.
COMPANY WEBSITES are used more than ever to direct applicant ow. Many companies accept résumés
and/or have résumé builders directly on their sites. Review the employment or career section of the site for job
opening information and the applications process. You may also contact employers directly (even if they are
not advertising openings) and speak to their personnel ofces. When an update posts (e.g., new jobs), some
websites automatically alert you. Follow the company on their Facebook page as it will typically post new
openings there.
opportunities. Phone numbers may be found under government listings. The State of Kansas has a Civil Service
Job site at To nd federal openings, use
PUBLIC LIBRARIES have books and other materials on occupations and often post local job announcements.
Some also have networking events or free computer classes.
NEWSPAPER ADS list jobs, but remember the newspaper contains less than ve percent of the vacancies in
your area. If you are qualied, send your résumé. These ads are usually time sensitive, so do not delay.
LOCAL RADIO OR TELEVISION STATIONS often announce available jobs.
COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGES offer counseling and job information to students and alumni.
CHURCHES AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS frequently offer employment services or provide job
search assistance.
VETERANS’ PLACEMENT CENTERS OR ORGANIZATIONS often have job listings for members.
Contact the Veterans Employment Representative at a Kansas Job Center near you, visit
or call (877) 509-6757.
UNIONS AND APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS provide job opportunities, information and training.
Contact the Kansas Apprenticeship Council at (785) 296-4161, a relevant labor union or a Kansas Job Center for
information. You may also visit or call (877) 509-6757.
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS often have websites and publications that post job opportunities.
There are numerous professional organizations for a variety of industries and career specialties. Many national
conferences and local chapter meetings are great networking venues.
*Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, all sources listed above serve persons of any race, color, religion, sex or
national origin. The Age Employment Act of 1967 forbids discrimination of older workers. Both laws forbid
employers to discriminate in hiring.
Tips for completing an application
Read the entire application before answering any questions. If you complete the application by hand, be
sure to print legibly and in pen, preferable blue ink, otherwise black ink.
Fill in all blanks providing complete, detailed information. If a questions does not apply to you, write
“N/A” (not applicable) to show you did not miss the question. Do not write “see résumé” on the
If you are lling out an application online, do not use auto-ll. The information loaded into your
application when using auto-ll may not align correctly. Your "position" answer might instead say which
college you attended or prior employment dates might just show start dates.
Be sure all names and addresses are spelled correctly and ll out the application carefully. Other items
that may be requested include: Military record, social security information and/or license/certication
identication. Because of identity theft, instead of entering your Social Security number on the
application, you may state, “Will provide at interview or upon hire.” Please use your judgment on these
For an online application, have all your information ready when starting, including a copy of your résumé
to upload. Some applications have a time limit, so having this information ready up front is benecial.
Have your work experience list with you so you can correctly enter titles, dates, addresses and full names
of supervisors if asked. Kansas Career Keepers, also known as “pocket résumés,” are available at Kansas
Job Centers to record your employment history.
Use appropriate job titles for your previous positions and for the positions you are seeking. Have a
specic job(s) in mind. Do not ask for “just anything.”
If you are not sure of the wages or salary of the job for which you are applying, write “negotiable” until
you have a chance to discuss the job responsibilities with the employer and research labor market trends
for that position in your area.
Having a telephone is the best way to get calls from employers requesting an interview. If you do not
have a telephone, ask a friend or neighbor for permission to use their number. Indicate on the application
this is a number where a message may be left. Be sure to check with them often so there is little time
Professional references: The typical rule of thumb is three people who can account for your work ethic
and character. These should not be related to you and should be contacts who will give you a positive
A job application is often an employer's rst impression of you. Employers often ask job seekers to ll out an
application before an interview. The matter in which you complete your application often tells an employer how
well you will perform your job. Since the product you are selling is yourself, it is worth the time and effort to
complete the application as best you can.
reference. Ask if they would like to be a reference for you and what they will say when someone calls.
Ask for their correct name spelling and which number they would like people to call, current address, city
and state and occupation. Some employers ask for business references or names of previous supervisors.
If you have not held a job before, it is permissible to use teachers or family friends as references.
If there has been a special situation in your past, such as a criminal conviction, it may be best to write,
“May I explain in person” in the appropriate blank. This will give the employer a chance to ask questions
and you to disclose information. However, some employers may require this information in advance of an
interview. We have trained staff in our centers to help coach this. If you would like additional assistance
in preparing answers regarding criminal backgrounds, visit with workforce professionals at a Kansas Job
Center near you, visit or call (877) 509-6757.
After you complete the application, check it over to make sure the information is thorough and accurate.
If you have any questions about the application, ask the person in charge to explain it to you. Usually,
you will be asked to sign a statement that the information you provided is true. False statements or
intentional omissions are grounds for dismissal after being hired.
If asked, agree to sign a statement giving the employer permission to contact your past employers and
check your school and work records. Not giving permission gives a potential employer the impression
you have something to hide.
Tips for writing cover letters
Write a separate cover letter tailored to each job for which you apply.
Include your address, telephone number, email and social media icons you would like them to see,
especially if the role indicates this as a duty to oversee. Quite often, this is set in the ‘header to
incorporate a consistent marketing brand on your cover letter and reference page. Ensure all documents
have a consistent font and font size.
Address each letter to a specic person (the person who would actually supervise you or the person with
hiring authority). Blind letters are not as effective. You can obtain a contact name by calling the personnel
department of the organization. If you cannot get a contact name, address the letter by title (e.g., Dear
Customer Service Supervisor).
Create a strong rst paragraph stating why you are interested in the position.
State the position you are seeking and the source of the job opening (newspaper ad, friend, etc.). If there
is an identication number, it is suggested to insert it here. Make it easy for the hiring personnel!
Highlight your job qualications and what you can bring to the company. It helps to have a completed
résumé before this step.
Try to identify something about yourself that is unique or of interest to the employer.
Show you’ve done some homework on the company (you know what they do, their interests and
challenges). Check out the company’s website and social media.
Request an interview. If possible, suggest a specic date and time that is mutually agreeable.
Convey personal warmth, enthusiasm and passion for working for the company.
Keep your letter short and to the point and grab the readers attention quickly.
Use proper grammar and correct spelling. Proofread your letter and have someone else review it.
Type/print letters on standard-sized (8-1/2” x 11”) white or standard color paper that matches your
If you are applying for a job that requires a résumé, you should always write a cover letter to accompany it. The
purpose of a cover letter is to:
Introduce yourself by setting a higher bar than others who choose not to send a letter of introduction.
Explain how you discovered the job.
How would your skills and talents benet the company in this role?
Show the employer why they should read your résumé and invite you to an interview.
Include past experience not on your résumé or application.
Ask for an opportunity to meet them and interview for this role.
Assure the employer you will follow up and do so.
Your Street Your Primary Phone
Your City, State, Zip Your Email
Company Name
Company Address
Company City, State, Zip
Dear Name or Title:
INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH - Specify the position for which you are applying, how you became
aware of the opening (e.g., newspaper ad,, radio, etc.). You want to capture the
readers attention. Show you have done some research on the company by talking about new projects the
company has taken on or citing something you read about them. Reference your enclosures.
BODY - In this paragraph, talk about your responsibilities, actions accomplished and results achieved in
past jobs. Use descriptive and concise action statements. Indicate how your experience would benet the
company. Do not repeat your entire résumé, but mention those items most appealing to the employer.
CONCLUDING INFORMATION - This is the section where you close your letter. Express your interest in
an interview for a position or in learning more about the company’s opportunities and hiring plans. Indicate
what your follow-up plan will be (e.g., I will contact you next week to schedule a mutually agreeable
meeting time, etc.). Be sure to mention how you may be reached. Finally, thank the employer for his/her
time and consideration (e.g., Thank you for your time and consideration).
*Leave four spaces for handwritten signature*
Your Name (typed)
Enclosure: Résumé
1275 Apple Lane (123) 456-7890 (C)
Topeka, KS 66612-2345
August 9, 2017
Patty Turner
Human Resources Manager
Patty’s Place
1234 Sailor Drive
Topeka, KS 66612-2345
Dear Ms. Turner:
I am writing in response to your ad in the XYZ paper August 6, 2017, regarding the position of Human
Resource Manager. I have heard great things about Patty’s Place and have enclosed my resume for your
consideration of my skills to the role which you are recruiting for.
As my résumé indicates, I have more than eight years of human resources management experience in a
manufacturing environment. I have a strong background in creating and implementing training, policies and
procedures and reducing turnover. Over the past three years, our company has experienced a 15% increase
in retention and a 40% reduction in grievances. Our company has exceeded production goals by 10%. We
believe our continued interest in our team is reected in these numbers.
As an HR manager myself, I know the pressure is on you to recruit the best available talent to help the
company grow and thrive. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss how we could
benet each other. Next week, I will follow up with you to answer any questions or concerns you may have
with my application packet. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Julie Alden
Julie Alden
Enclosure: Résumé
1275 Apple Lane (123) 456-7890 (C)
Topeka, KS 66612-2345
August 9, 2017
John Green
Human Resources Manager
Patty’s Place
1234 Sailor Drive
Topeka, KS 66612-2345
Re: Warehouse Manager, Requisition #12345
Dear Mr. Green:
When I read your ad for a Warehouse Manager on the website, I immediately noticed how well your
requirements align with my experience, education, skills and background. While my enclosed résumé provides a good overview of my
strengths and achievements, I have also listed some of your specic requirements for the position and my applicable skills:
As it appears my experience and expertise t the job title requirements so closely, I would enjoy an opportunity to visit more in depth to
determine how I can help Patty’s Place. I will follow up with you next week to answer any questions. In the meantime, please feel free to
call my cell phone at (123) 456-7890 at your convenience. I look forward to our meeting. Thank you for your time and consideration of
this opportunity.
Julie Alden
Enclosure: Résumé
I offer:
Currently I oversee the quality of 25 full time and 5
temporary employees at a 24-hour fast-paced facility.
5+ years developing and implementing cross-training
programs in accordance with the operations department’s
vision to exceed the goals of the company by ensuring
customer satisfaction is priority.
Success in implementing the Kansas WORKReady!
assessment in turn has reduced turnover and increased
employee referrals for employment.
Success in solving a variety of daily issues such as cross
training to avoid delay time when one is absent and
employee recognition.
You require:
Ability to coordinate and oversee the work
of subordinates.
Ability to strategically plan, develop and
implement programs and operations toward
achievement of team’s mission, goals and
The analytical skills to perform needs
assessments, evaluate current programs,
and initiate changes or adjustments to
current systems and improve operations.
Problem-solving and decision-making abilities.
1275 Apple Lane (123) 456-7890 (C)
Topeka, KS 66612-2345
August 9, 2017
John Green
Human Resources Manager
Patty’s Place
1234 Sailor Drive
Topeka, KS 66612-2345
Dear Mr. Green:
After a review of the Job Title role, I see similarities in what you are looking for and what I could offer.
Although my current role is extremely rewarding, I would like to tackle a new challenge. I see Patty’s Place
is growing and introducing new products of which I would like to be a part. Therefore, I wish to forward my
credentials for consideration of this role.
My experience includes working in and with upper management, stafng companies and entry level workers.
Currently I cross train staff on the operations to reduce down time when one is absent. Our retention rate
has surpassed the previous years and this may be a result of implementing the Kansas WORKReady!
assessment to new hires. I lead one of the most successful crews and maintain 90% of the talent we brought
My job is very rewarding and I have not been looking to change until this position caught my eye. It
would be a pleasure to meet and discuss this further. I will follow up with you next Monday to answer any
questions you may have of my application material. In the meantime, you may reach me at (123) 456-7890
at your convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Julie Alden
Julie Alden
Enclosure: Résumé
Today there are very few jobs where a résumé is not required. The average employer spends seven seconds
scanning a résumé. To be most effective, you need to grab their attention quickly! If you don’t, the next person
What is a résumé?
Effective résumés
The résumé is your marketing tool and summarizes your background. It provides an employer with an outline
of your abilities, education, work experience, special knowledge and training. It is your opportunity to attract an
employers attention and separate yourself from all the other applicants competing for the job.
When preparing a cover letter or résumé, remember to visit a Kansas Job Center or visit
to utilize resource materials or seek assistance. For a location near you, visit or call
(877) 509-6757.
Résumé tips:
Type your résumé. Use standard-sized white paper or résumé-specic paper.
Print on one side only.
Do not fold, staple or bend the résumé.
Use fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, Tahoma or Verdana with text at 9-12 points and headings at
10-14 points.
Keep your résumé simple, bold and professional.
Do not use shading, graphics or boxes. Limit use of underline, italics and vertical lines.
Do not use abbreviations.
Your résumé should be neat, clean and professional looking.
The layout of your résumé should make reading or scanning easy. Large amounts of white space are
Be specic. Use clear and concise sentences. One page is standard, but if you have more than 15 years
experience, two pages is acceptable.
Use a header to put your name and contact information on the top of each page.
Make sure your contact information is correct. Include primary phone number and email address.
Use bulleted or highlighted statements beginning with action verbs to describe your accomplishments and
duties. Try not to repeat the same words. Use the same number of bullets on each work experience.
Watch the verb tense. For current employment experience, use present tense. For previous
experience, use past tense.
Since duties on a functional résumé are arranged by category and not past/present jobs, you may
use either present or past tense. Choose one or the other and use that one throughout the résumé.
Do not use “ing” verbs (managing, acting, etc.). Use keywords to match your skills and abilities
to the requirements of the job.
A list of action verbs can be found on page 29.
Make sure there are no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. Proofread carefully and have someone
else review it as well.
Add numbers or hard data to your résumé. In a document full of letters, numbers really stand out (e.g.,
reduced costs by 17 percent during the past 10 years). Numbers draw attention and show results achieved.
Be positive and focus on benets and results. The use of “bold” will help these.
Do not use the words “I,” “me” or “my.” Your résumé is not a personal correspondence and should not
include details about your personal life.
Never lie or exaggerate.
If you can direct your résumé to a person in the organization who is responsible for hiring, you will be
much more successful at getting your foot in the door for an interview.
Ensure the language is consistent. Construct each description or summary in a similar manner, including
grammar, punctuation and length.
Do not include salary or wages. Perhaps you will be able to negotiate, so don’t sell yourself short.
Always send a cover letter with your résumé.
When using a Career Objective, ensure it is easy for the reader to see why you are a good t for the job
and include the specic title of the position (e.g., “Seeking a position as Sales Manager in which 10 years
of customer service experience will add value,” or “Seeking a position as Manager in which three years
of management experience will contribute to success.”). Be sure to adjust your Career Objective for the
different types of jobs to which you apply.
In some cases, a Summary of Qualications should be used in place of the Career Objective. List your
best characteristics to align with the details of the job (e.g., “Reputation for writing clear and concise
explanations for technical and nontechnical users.”). Be sure your list reects how you want to be
summarized as a potential candidate.
References are no longer necessary on your résumé. You do not even need to state, “References available
upon request.” Employers will request your references when they are ready.
Four types of résumés
There are numerous ways to format a resume. Four primary types are discussed in this section. Review all
of them and nd a format that works for your situation and career experience. Then use the information you
gathered on pages 11-14 to develop your résumé.
Widely used format
Logical ow, easy to read and
Showcases career progression and
Highlights most relevant skills and
De-emphasizes employment history
in less relevant jobs
Combines skills developed in a
variety of jobs or other activities
Minimizes employment gaps and
absence of directly related experience
Personalized to company/position
Shows research
More impressive to employer
Written specically to employer’s
Emphasizes skills rather than
Organizes a variety of experience
(paid and unpaid work, other
Disguises gaps in work record or a
series of short-term jobs
Emphasizes gaps in employment
Not suitable if you have no work
Highlights frequent job changes
Emphasizes employment but not skill
Emphasizes lack of related
experience and career changes
Can be confusing if not well
De-emphasizes job tasks and
Requires more effort and creativity
to prepare
Time-consuming to prepare
Can be confusing if not well
Must be revised for each employer
Viewed as a suspicion by employers
due to lack of information about
specic employers and dates
Individuals with steady work record
Individuals whose recent employers
or job titles are impressive
Career changers or those in transition
Individuals re-entering the job
market after some absence
Individuals who have grown in skills
and responsibility
Individuals pursuing the same or
similar work as in the past
Everyone - because any of the other
formats can be made into a targeted
Individuals who have developed
skills other than documented
employment and who may be
changing careers
Individuals with no previous
Individuals with gaps in employment
Individuals with frequent job changes
Action verbs
Action verbs give your résumé power and direction. Begin all skill statements with an action verb. If you cannot
nd the word you are looking for, use a thesaurus. For employment history, use the same grammatical structure,
punctuation and verb tense (i.e., current history is present tense; previous history in past tense). Do not use
“ing” verbs (managing, acting, etc.).
Below is a list of verbs to use on your résumé:
deliver inspect purchase
address design instruct recommend
administer determine integrate reconcile
advise develop interpret record
allocate diagnose interview recruit
analyze direct investigate reduce
approve dispatch improve represent
arbitrate document judge report
arrange dra lecture resolve
assemble edit maintain review
assign enlist manage schedule
attain establish mediate screen
audit evaluate moderate select
catalogue examine motivate solve
chair execute negotiate specify
classify expedite observe spoke
collect explain operate strengthen
communicate extract organize summarize
compile fabricate oversee supervise
compose facilitate participate tabulate
conduct forecast persuade train
consolidate formulate plan translate
contract generate prepare troubleshoot
control guide present utilize
correspond hire prioritize validate
create implement process verify
critique increase produce visualize
delegate initiate promote write
(785) 555-5556 (C) •
5555 Sample Road, Great Town, KS 44481
OBJECTIVE (optional or see Summary of Qualications on next): Mechanical Engineer
Industrial Engineer 2003-Present
Tool Incorporated, Great Town, KS
Researched the current shipping department and worked with a lean team to design a more productive
operating process by utilizing the latest techniques. This increased customers shipments within 24
hours turnaround and overall produce 50+ products out to customers each day.
Developed a multi-step shipping process improvement plan to cross train all team members on quality
control, resulting in increasing production numbers and helping the company grow 20% that quarter
alone while exceeding customer satisfaction as reported by the sales team.
Earned the Employee of the Year award for bringing the team together to accomplish this.
Design Engineer 2000-2003
Mechanical Systems, Paradise, KS
Introduced a complete safety package for a robot loader to increase efciency on the oor.
Trained and mentored 5 intern engineers on SOLIDWORKS for a semester. Successfully helped our
company retain 4 upon graduation.
Evaluated and recommended machine components to scal and involved in saving $5K+ on
HVAC Engineer Assistant 1995-2000
Engineering Consultants, Kansas City, KS
Prepared building and equipment bid specications.
Evaluated HVAC equipment options.
Incorporated EPA and OSHA regulations into safety procedures.
Currently studying for the Professional Engineering License Exam
Minor: Engineering Management
Sample University, City, KS
(785) 555-5556 (C) •
5555 Sample Road, Great Town, KS 44481
Review the job description and pick the top characteristics they are looking for and how you meet and/or exceed those.
Put them in this section. From research, this is the section to grab the readers attention and to keep them reading on...
Example: If the job description asks for a minimum of 5 years of SOLIDWORKS experience in a manufacturing
24+ years’ experience with SOLIDWORKS programming, AutoCAD and similar programs. The past 19 years have been
successfully creating design work in the manufacturing industry.
Industrial Engineer 2003-Present
Tool Incorporated, Great Town, KS
Researched the current shipping department and worked with a lean team to design a more productive operating
process by utilizing the latest techniques. This increased customer’s shipments within 24 hours turnaround and
overall produce 50+ products out to customers each day.
Developed a multi-step shipping process improvement plan to cross train all team members on quality control,
resulting in increasing production numbers and helping the company grow 20% that quarter alone while exceeding
customer satisfaction as reported by the sales team.
Earned the Employee of the Year award for bringing the team together to accomplish this.
Design Engineer 2000-2003
Mechanical Systems, Paradise, KS
Introduced a complete safety package for a robot loader to increase efciency on the oor.
Trained and mentored ve intern engineers on SOLIDWORKS for a semester. Successfully helped our company
retain 4 upon graduation.
Evaluated and recommended machine components to scal and involved in saving $5K+ on negotiating.
HVAC Engineer Assistant 1995-2000
Engineering Consultants, Kansas City, KS
Prepared building and equipment bid specications.
Evaluated HVAC equipment options.
Incorporated EPA and OSHA regulations into safety procedures.
Currently studying for the Professional Engineering License Exam
Minor: Engineering Management
Sample University, City, KS
C: (785) 555-5556
Address, City, KS
10+ years as the line supervisor of highly competitive distribution center; leading and developing a team
of 25+ members at a given time to ensure product is quality assured prior to leaving the facility with a
10% error rating in past year.
Proven skills include:
Onboarding Cross Training Motivation
Stafng/Scheduling Safety Protocols Retention
Member of the National Management Association.
Served as a liaison of upper management and the stafng company.
Hold the record of highest production with lowest overhead cost of departments.
Have trained 100+ employees and a track record of 90% retention of talent.
Department has increased safety training and ensured cross training resulting in 60 less accident
reports in the past year.
Hands-on leadership, forklift operation and in-house certication.
Certied with OSHA 10.
CPR Certied and EMT coursework (no certication).
Kansas WORKReady! Certicate: Silver level credential, 2003.
Introduced company to the Kansas WORKReady! Resulting in numerous accolades for the proven
ability of the assessment in the workplace.
Line Supervisor 2000-Present
Assistant Line Supervisor (1.5 yrs)
Team Member (1.5 yrs)
Company Name, Topeka, KS
Customer Service Professional
C: (785) 123-4567 • • Address, City, State, Zip
Proactive self-starter of taking initiative, personal responsibility, ownership of work and reputation for removing obstacles and making
things happen. Passionately involved in coaching new hires and mentoring the interns. One who is committed to researching trends and
suggesting innovations to stay ahead of competitors. Works closely with all levels of management, KANSASWORKS and stafng companies
for recruitment needs. One whom is passionate of providing high quality customer care.
General Ofce
Organized and implemented weekly group activities for collaboration and innovation
Scheduled appointments for General Manager
Maintained accurate nancial records and timely invoice payments
Prepared reports and created documents using Microsoft Ofce products
Customer Service
Welcomed customers and visitors in a professional and courteous manner
Provided customers with desired information in a timely manner
Assisted customers with concerns
Received exceptional rating from company’s secret shopper
Introduced Instant Messaging as a solution of responding to needs quickly
Developed social media platform for company to have an online presence
Established rapport with diverse individuals and groups in the community
Suggested ideas to the management team and inuenced action for employee morale
Company ABC, Paradise, KS • June 2013 - Present
Maintain social media sites for company
Communicate with customers, employees and other individuals to answer questions, trouble shoot problems and provide a clear
picture to the owner
Responsible for annual Employee Recognition Awards Luncheon, negotiate catering costs and ensuring the event was successful
To pass public relation scripts to owner for addressing in a timely manner
506 10th Avenue (913) 123-4567 (C)
Kansas City, MO 66118
Experienced manager with expertise in human relations and project management
Extensive background in staff recruitment and retention
Staff training and development
Superb written and oral communication skills
Organizational and strategic planning
Program marketing
Contract negotiation and compliance
Knowledge of federal and state employment law
Society of Human Resources Management
Portland Human Resources Management Association
Clinical Director
Riverbend Inc., Chicago, IL • 2010-2015
Senior management of a Joint Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accredited treatment facility.
Responsible for all aspects of program management including clinical, administrative and scal.
Responsible for recruiting, orienting, training and supervising 50 staff. Reduced staff turnover from 38 percent to 14 percent by
improving staff orientation and training, professional development and mid-level management coaching.
Provided oversight of all aspects of staff performance - performance evaluation, progressive discipline, mediation of staff
disputes and grievance procedures in accordance with state and federal laws.
Increased annual revenue by 38 percent through program marketing.
Program Director
R. Dykeman Center, Chicago, IL • 2003-2010
Administrative, clinical and human resources management of an outpatient mental health center - 60 full-time employees and 45
contract employees housed in various locations.
Responsible for the recruitment, supervision and performance evaluation of medical and administrative staff.
Provided training to enhance workplace performance at all levels of stafng.
Independent consultant to several small businesses, law rms, non-prot agencies and school districts on staff grievance
procedures, team building, and the setting and achieving of organizational goals.
University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany • May 2002
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology • 3.8 GPA
Before the interview
How to answer interview questions
Plan ahead - Research the company, the position and if possible, the people you will meet in the
interview. Review your work experience. Be ready to support past career accomplishments with specic
information targeted toward the company’s needs. Have your facts ready. There are lots of sample
interview questions out there. If you journal out the questions and answer, you will be able to review for
the next interview if this one does not work out.
Be prepared - Take the following items with you to the interview: copies of your resume, drivers license,
union card, military records and a list of references, both work and personal. You will need some of
these items once you are hired as you will be asked to complete an I-9 form. Also bring any supporting
documents to help you close the deal and be hired (e.g., an architect should bring his portfolio).
Role Play - Once you have nished studying, begin role-playing (rehearsing). Use the general questions
provided below. Write down answers if it helps make your presentation more concise. Try to keep your
answers to the information your new employer will want to know. Staff at your local Kansas Job Center
may also be available to provide mock interviews.
Create and Rehearse - You have a limited amount of time to make an impression on someone. Create
and rehearse a 30-second statement, also called an “elevator speech” or “30-second commercial.” By
writing this out and rehearsing it everywhere, it will ow more easily. Be prepared with the following
Who you are
What business or eld you are in
What is your unique selling proposition and what makes you different from the competition
What benets will employers derive from your services?
Here is an example: “Hi, my name is Abby Smith, and I have ve years experience as a Marketing
Manager in a fast-paced advertising company. I love to build relationships with people, and I work a lot
in the community building alliances and partnerships. My passion is working on projects with people.
Interviewers often begin an interview by asking you to tell them about yourself. It is helpful to think about your
response before going to the interview so you do not stumble with a response. Be sure and keep your answer
tailored around the position and company you meet with.
Questions asking “what if” are difcult to answer. For example, what would you do if your supervisor told you
something illegal? These questions should be answered based on your knowledge, experience and personal
Interviews can be a little overwhelming, but with the proper preparation, you’ll be ready. Below are some
general tips to get you focused. After a few interviews, you’ll feel more condent.
Traditional vs. behavioral interview questions
In a traditional interview, you will be asked a series of questions that typically have straightforward answers like
“What are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “What major challenges and problems did you face? How did
you handle them?” or “Do you desire a typical work week?”
In a behavioral interview, an employer has decided what skills are needed in the person they hire and will ask
questions to nd out if the candidate has those skills. Instead of asking how you would behave, they will ask
how you behaved in the past (what you did, what you said, how you reacted or how you felt). The interviewer
will want to know how you handled a situation, instead of what you might do in the future. Behavioral interview
questions will be more pointed, more probing and more specic than traditional interview questions. Follow-up
questions will also be detailed.
Examples of Traditional Interview Q&As
1. Can you tell me a little about yourself? Prepare ahead of time by developing your own 30-second
personal branding statement to tell clearly who you are, your major strengths and the clear benet your
employer received. The advantages of this approach are quickly getting their attention and interest in
knowing more.
Sample answer: “I’m a seasoned retail manager who developed training programs and loss prevention
techniques resulting in revenue savings of over $2.3 million for Acme Corp. during the past 11 years.”
2. What is your greatest weakness? Be careful with this one. When you are asked what your greatest
weakness is, try to turn a negative into a positive.
Sample answer: “Being organized hasn’t always been my strongest point, but I implemented a time
management system that really improved my organizational skills” or “I like to make sure my work is
perfect, so I tend to spend a little too much time checking it. However, I’ve created a good balance by
setting up a system to ensure everything is done correctly the rst time.”
3. Do you prefer to work independently or on a team? When the interviewer asks this question, they
want to know if you’re a team player or would rather work on your own.
Sample answer: “I am equally comfortable working as a member of a team or independently. In
researching the LMN Company, your mission statement and the job description, I could see similarities to
my previous position where there were some assignments requiring a great deal of independent work and
others where the team effort was most effective. As I said, I’m comfortable with both.”
4. Why are you the best person for this job? The best way to respond is to give concrete examples of
why your skills and accomplishments make you the best candidate for the job. Take a few moments to
values. Remember your solution is not as important as your attitude. A calm approach is best - do not rush into
an answer. It is best to cushion your answer by saying something like, “One thing I might consider would be...”
Then, if the interviewer does not like your solution, you can consider a different approach.
Interviewers are not allowed to ask questions concerning marital status, religion, ethnicity or national
origin, age (other than if you are between the minimum and maximum age required for the job), children,
childcare arrangements, pregnancy or disability. Most employers who ask for this information do so in casual
conversation or out of ignorance. Think about how you will answer or avoid answering such questions.
compare the job description with your abilities, as well as mentioning what you have accomplished in
other positions. Be positive and reiterate your interest in the company and the position.
Sample answer: “I’ve got extensive experience in [name the appropriate eld] and have the specic
skills you are looking for,” or “I’m a fast learner. I adapt quickly to change and will hit the ground
running” or “I’m dedicated and enthusiastic about helping this company meet its goals and will provide
top-quality results with minimal oversight. I’m an outstanding performer who takes pride in my work.
You won’t have any regrets when you hire me.”
5. What is your greatest strength? This is one of the easier interview questions you’ll be asked. When
you are asked questions about your strengths, it’s important to discuss attributes that qualify you for the
job. The best way to respond is to describe the skills and experience directly correlated with the job for
which you are applying.
Sample answer: “When I’m working on a project, I don’t want to just meet deadlines. Rather, I prefer
to complete the project well ahead of schedule” or “I pride myself on my customer service skills and my
ability to resolve what could be difcult situations.”
6. How do you handle stressful situations? Give some examples of stressful situations you’ve dealt
with in the past. Tell how you use time management, problem-solving or decision-making skills to reduce
Sample answer: “I react to situations, rather than to stress. That way, the situation is handled and
doesn’t become stressful” or “I actually work better under pressure and I’ve found I enjoy working in a
challenging environment.”
7. What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them? Be sure to include
specic examples of how you handled a particular difcult situation. Discuss how you researched the
issue and contributed to nding a solution.
Sample answer: “During a difcult nancial period, I was able to satisfactorily negotiate repayment
schedules with multiple vendors” or “When the software development of our new product stalled, I
coordinated the team that managed to get the schedule back on track. We were able to successfully
troubleshoot the issues and solve the problems within a very short period of time.”
8. I see from your application you have been convicted of a crime. Will you explain this to me? Be
prepared to answer questions about your criminal record. Do not be lengthy in answering the question.
Be truthful and accountable. Talk about regret, responsibility and redemption in your answer. It is best to
write this out and practice prior to the interview.
Sample answer: “I’m glad you asked because I want you to feel comfortable hiring me. I want to assure
you it had nothing to do with my previous employers. I made some poor choices I wish I hadn’t made,
but I have matured and will never make those same choices. Since then, I’ve taken the time to decide
what eld I would like to get into, have enrolled in several clerical courses and can type 50 wpm. I am
familiar with several software programs for word processing and have excellent phone skills. I am very
interested in learning all I can about this industry and I know I would be an asset to your organization,”
or “When I was younger I got mixed up with the wrong crowds and got in trouble for breaking into
cars. We all do things when we are young we regret. I used the time to my advantage by completing an
air conditioning and heating training program and received my certicate. I’ve researched several air
conditioning companies in the area and yours is well respected. I would really like to be a part of your
team” or “In my past, I was involved with drugs, but that is all behind me and I’ve taken control of my
life. I have two years experience in food service and want to stay in this industry and learn as much as
possible. Because of my past, when you hire me, your company is eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax
Credit, which can save you up to $2,400. Are you familiar with this program?”
Preparation for the behavioral interview
The best way to prepare for a behavioral interview is to refresh your memory and consider some special
situations you have dealt with or projects on which you have worked. Prepare stories to illustrate times when
you have successfully solved problems or performed memorably. The stories will be useful to help you respond
meaningfully in a behavioral interview. Remember, your answer is not as important as your attitude. A calm
approach is best - do not rush into an answer.
Examples of Behavioral Interview Q&As
1. Give me an example of a problem you faced on the job and tell me how you solved it. This is a
great question to show your ability to be creative and problem solve. Choose a problem you might face in
the job you are interviewing for.
Sample answer: “I think it is important to get information and clarify the problem rst before coming up
with possible solutions. If you skip this step, other people’s time can be wasted. For example, at my last
job we had a problem where the situation was “X,” the action I took was “Y” and the positive outcome
was “Z.” I was commended by Keith in Accounting for solving the problem and getting the project back
on track.”
2. What did you like best and least about your previous job? This question reveals a lot about you.
You want to be sure to include the things you liked especially those that will appeal to the hiring manager.
Give specic examples of how your last job allowed you to show your skills. Never make statements
such as “I liked my last company because they gave me a lot of vacation days,” or something similar.
When answering what you liked least, keep it short and do not be negative.
Sample answer: “What I liked best about my previous job was getting to work with a wide variety
of people. This really allowed me to learn how to be patient, handle different situations and provide
excellent customer service. What I liked least was there didn’t ever seem to be enough time to complete
all the paperwork required. I know the paperwork is necessary, but I really prefer to utilize my time and
talents to provide service to customers.”
3. Describe a situation when working with a team produced more successful results than if you
had completed the project on your own. The hiring manager wants to learn more about your thought
process. You will want to show your ability to solicit ideas from others, listen carefully and persuade
people to your point-of-view.
Sample answer: “I have worked both as a member of a team and independently in my career. I enjoy
both and can do both equally well; however, I do think working with others has brought better results to
projects. For example, at XYZ, I was asked to chair our committee on implementing a new process for
taking customer orders. I was able to bring the team together for several meetings, stay in contact via
emails and together we developed a new process that received great reviews from our boss. It also really
improved the time it took to input information and in turn really made the customers a lot more satised
as well.”
At the interview
Dress appropriately for the interview and the job. Dress at a level above the position you are interested in
obtaining. For men and women, a nice conservative suit is appropriate. If you have tattoos, cover them as
their dress code may not allow it. Remove piercings or put in clear studs. Try not to smoke immediately
prior to the interview.
Always go to the interview alone. Arrange for a babysitter and transportation. Plan to arrive 10 to 15
minutes early and be relaxed before the interview.
Remember that your rst impression is made when you walk through the door. Introduce yourself and
shake hands rmly. Be friendly to everyone you meet. You never know who will be involved in the nal
hiring decision.
Maintain eye contact with your interviewer. If there is more than one interviewer, include all interviewers
when you answer the question. Show you want the job with your interest.
Take notes. Show the interviewer you are serious about their time, what he or she says and demonstrate
your organizational skills.
Listen and adapt. Be sensitive to the style of the interviewer. Pay attention to those details of dress, ofce
furniture and general decor, which will afford helpful clues to assist you in tailoring your presentation.
Try to relate your answers to the interviewer and his or her company. Focus on achievements relevant to
the position.
Encourage the interviewer to share information about his or her company. Demonstrate your interest.
Some suggested questions to ask the interviewer are provided in the next section.
Be positive. Avoid negative comments about past employers. Answer questions in a clear and concise
manner. Show how your experience and training will make you productive in the shortest time with
minimal supervision.
Thank the interviewer and ask for his or her business card. This will help when sending the follow-up
Questions to ask the interviewer
At the end of the interview, the interviewer will probably ask if you have any questions. Asking questions shows
your interest in the company or the position. It is also your chance to clarify any item not thoroughly explained
during the interview. Here are a few sample questions you might ask at the end of the interview:
How would I be trained or introduced to the job?
Will you please describe the department’s goals for the year?
What are the opportunities for growth and advancement in this company?
Will you list the major job duties I would be performing in a typical day? Be sure you have a good
understanding of the job (duties, work hours, etc.).
When do you plan to make a hiring decision?
What can one do to exceed your expectations in this role?
What does your top performers day look like?
What attracted you to this company or what do you like best about working here?
Closing the interview
If the employer does not offer you a job or say when you will hear about it, ask when you may call to nd
out about the decision.
If the employer asks you to call or return for another interview, make a written note of the time, date and
Thank the employer for the interview and reafrm your interest and qualications for the job.
Ask for the interviewers business card. If more than one person did the interview, ask for a business card
from each.
Send a thank you note immediately. If necessary, clarify any points you did not make well or overcome
any employer hesitation. Reinforce your interest and qualications.
Do not ask about benets or salary in the interview. Save this for the offer stage. Most likely, the
employer will tell you.
If you do not have any questions, say something like, “Thank you, but I think you have given a good description
of what the job involves and have answered all my questions. I am very interested in the job and am sure I
would be an asset to the company.”
After the interview
Make each interview a learning experience. After it is over, ask yourself these questions:
What points did I make that seemed to interest the employer?
What questions did I have the most difculty answering?
Did I present my qualications well?
Did I overlook important qualications for the job?
Did I learn all that I needed to know about the job?
Did I ask all the questions I had about the job?
Did I talk too much? Too little?
Was I too tense? Too relaxed?
Was I too aggressive? Not aggressive enough?
Was I dressed appropriately?
Did I effectively close the interview?
What did my non-verbal communication “say?”
Make a list of specic ways you can improve your next interview. Remember, practice makes perfect. The more
you interview the better you will get. If you plan carefully and stay motivated, you can market your job talents.
See “Thank You Letters” on page 41 for more information.
Tips on writing thank you letters
When you write your letters, use these guidelines:
Use the same paper stock you used for your resume and cover letter.
Write clearly and concisely.
Be sincere - most people can tell when you are not being honest.
Proofread your letter and make corrections. Check for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.
Keep a copy of thank you notes and replies for your records, especially if you have attempted to restate
or clarify topics discussed.
Mention the day of the interview and job title.
Talk about your interest in the company and the position for which you interviewed. Be specic about
why you are interested and how you are a good t for the team.
Say you want the job.
Address any questions you feel you did not fully answer during the interview. This letter is your last
chance to make a positive impression on the interviewer.
There will probably be several people interviewing, so set yourself apart from other candidates so the
interviewer will remember you. Highlight a key point the interviewer will recall and therefore remember
If you meet with more than one person, send them all thank you letters, each one a bit different because
you don’t know who is making the decisions.
If the company communicated its specic needs, issues or challenges, use your thank you letter to show
how you can meet their needs.
If the company communicated its ideal qualications for a candidate, use your thank you letter to outline
how you meet or exceed those qualications.
Thank you letter samples are on the following pages.
You should plan to send a thank you letter within 24 hours of your interview. Some professions expect a mailed
hard copy while others nd an emailed thank you appropriate. Follow the cues from the employer regarding the
preferred method of contact
Your Street Your Primary Phone
Your City, State, Zip Your E-mail
Company Name
Company Address
Company City, State, Zip
Dear Name or Title:
FIRST PARAGRAPH - Thank the person with whom you interviewed being sure to remind them of the
position for which you interviewed. Refer to how impressed you were with the company or how enthusiastic
you are about the possibility of learning more about the company. Highlight a key point from the interview
that will make you stand out.
SECOND PARAGRAPH - In this paragraph you could offer information you may have forgotten to
mention in the interview or refer to how your experience relates to the position. Include a brief statement
explaining how these relate mentioning your qualications, skills and education, if applicable to the position.
THIRD PARAGRAPH - Thank the interviewer once again for taking the time to meet with you. Make sure
the employer knows you are still interested in the position. Tell the employer you look forward to hearing
from them and can provide additional information, if necessary.
*Leave four spaces for handwritten signature*
Your Name (typed)
1275 Apple Lane (123) 456-7890 (C)
Topeka, KS 66612-2345
August 9, 2017
Patty Turner
Human Resources Manager
Patty’s Place
1234 Sailor Dr.
Topeka, KS 66612-2345
Dear Ms.Turner:
Thank you for meeting with me last Friday about the Administrative Assistant position. I was very impressed
with your facility and believe my qualications would be a good match for Patty’s Place.
As discussed in my interview, I have more than 10 years of experience in an ofce setting and feel my skills
match your needs. My afliation with the Society of Human Resources Management will also be of value to
your company. I welcome the opportunity to learn new responsibilities working for your company and am
very interested in the position.
Again, thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I would be pleased to provide any further information
and look forward to hearing from you. You may reach me at either my cell phone number or email address as
listed above.
Julie Alden
Julie Alden
Some jobs may require testing or assessment. Usually, the job announcement or ad will mention required tests.
Tests that may be given include:
Assessment tests - Predict your ability to learn and perform job tasks.
Practical tests - Measure what you know and what you can do in a job (e.g., word processing speed for a
secretarial job or knowledge of street names and routes for a reghter job).
Below are some online resources available to improve your basic computer skills:
ACT WorkKeys Curriculum - Please enroll with your workforce professional.
Microsoft Word Tutorial - This site will take you through a tutorial on the functions and tools available in
Microsoft Word.
Learn Free - This site offers courses about everyday life, math and money, computers, Microsoft Ofce,
email, Internet and online classes.
Kansas WORKReady! Certicate - This is a nationally recognized certicate informing employers
of your skills before you ever walk into the interview room. It measures your skills in three areas -
Workplace Documents, Graphic Literacy and Applied Math - and certies you as a Platinum, Gold, Silver
or Bronze candidate. Benets to you are:
Leads to higher starting salaries
Improves your chances for career advancement and promotions
Makes interviews less stressful because your skills are already documented
Provides you the condence of knowing your specic strengths
Allows you to assess your skills and choose the best career for you
If you are interested in taking this assessment, please contact your local Kansas Job Center, visit or call (877) 509-6757.
How to prepare for assessments
Brush up on job skills related to your job eld. For example, if you are taking a typing test, practice typing. If
you are taking a construction test, review books and blueprints. If you are taking WorkKeys, ask a workforce
professional to enroll you in the refresher course - ACT WorkKeys Curriculum (previously known as Career
Ready 101).
Here are some tips to help you with most tests:
It is natural to be nervous about tests.
Make a list of what you need for the test (pencil, eyeglasses, ID, etc.). Check it before leaving.
Get a full night’s sleep.
If you are sick, call to reschedule the test.
Arrive early at the test site.
If you need any special accommodations, tell the test administrator in advance.
If you do not understand the test instructions, ask for help before the test begins.
Work as fast as you can. Do not linger over difcult questions.
Find out if guessing is penalized. If it is not, guess on questions of which you are unsure.
After the test, nd out what your scores actually mean.
For many jobs, your work talents and other capabilities will count more than your test scores.
Kansas Department of Commerce:
State of Kansas Employment:
Career One Stop:
O*Net Online:
Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Federal Employment:
US DOL Employment & Training:
Job Corps:
ACT WorkKeys:
ACT KeyTrain Curriculum:
Kansas HRePartners:
Kansas Commission on Veteran Affairs:
Kansas Department of Labor:
Kansas Department for Children and Families:
Kansas Department of Corrections:
Kansas Board of Regents (College & Universities):
Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns:
Kansas Registered Apprenticeship Program:
Kansas Realtor Association:
Kansas Chamber of Commerce:
Kansas Department of Motor Vehicles Relocation Guide:
Relocation Calculator:
The Kansas Department of Commerce is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services
are available upon request to individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment.
(877) 509-6757
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