If invited, always go to the Interview

You are invited to an interviewIf you are invited in for an interview, go. Never decline an interview. Never.

Here are two short stories that help explain why you should always go to the interview.

Cindy, living in Charlotte NC, called me and asked, “Teddy, a recruiter in Cincinnati, OH wants to interview me for a job. I can do the work, but I am not sure I want to relocate to Cincinnati OH. What should I do?”

With no hesitation I told Cindy, “Go to the interview.” I explained that during the interview she had to be honest with the interviewer. “Let them know that you are not sure relocation is the right thing for you, however you would consider it for the right job, the right environment and the right salary.”

Cindy went to the interview in OH and a week afterwards she got a job offer. It was not enough money and her husband would not relocate. Cindy contacted the hiring manager, thanked him for the offer and politely turned it down.

A few weeks later Cindy got another call for another interview. This job was in Chicago, IL. Again, Cindy called me and asked for guidance. I again said, “Go to the interview and make sure you are honest with them that relocation would only happen under all the right conditions.”

Cindy went to Chicago and had another great interview. Again, in a few weeks Cindy received a job offer. Again, it was not enough for her husband to consider relocating and Cindy turned down the offer politely.

Fast forward a few months. The two people who interviewed Cindy were talking about an upcoming industry event. One of them mentioned Cindy and the other said, “I interviewed her too. She would have been good for my business.” While talking one of them decided to send Cindy’s resume to a mutual friend in Fort Mill, SC who could use Cindy on his team.

Within another week Cindy got an interview in Fort Mill, SC right down the street from where she lives. The pay was similar to there other jobs, the work was the same and best of all, she did not need to relocate. Her husband was happy.

The second story is about a friend named Bill.

Bill got a call for an interview. Bill was sure the job was not going to pay what he really wanted. The recruiter wanted Bill to meet the business owner. Despite the concern of the low pay Bill agreed to meet with the owner. During the meeting the business owner discovered that Bill would be a better fit for a position that he had not considering filling yet. The business owner changed the subject to the other job which was a perfect fit for Bill. Bill got hired for a job that had not been posted yet because the business owner got to meet him.

Why do I share these stories with you? To get you to never turn down an interview. You have no idea how the conversation will go, what possibilities may develop or who else you may meet because of the conversation.

Go for the discussion, the connections, the conversation – go for the interview. Be honest, be polite, be open to ideas.

Career Transition is all about new conversations. Interviews are great places to have conversations.

Let me know if you have had a unique interview experience.

If you need help with this area of your career transition journey, let me help you with my Career Transition Program or my Quick Start Career Transition Program.

T-Square Cover Letter creates Success

T-Square Cover LetterCreate job search success with a T-Square Cover Letter.

I’ve read thousands of cover letters. Far too often they all read the same.

They usually go something like this – “I found your job listing on XYZ job board. I am very interested in your company. I feel that I am a qualified candidate. Blah, Blah, Blah. “

Then one day I found what I now know as a T-Square Cover Letter. Wow, this was far better and it made me stop and read the resume.

Why? Because the cover letter was way different than everyone else’s. The applicant quickly introduced himself. Mentioned that he spoke to one of my staff about the job and then in a table format (or numbered bullet points), told me how he was highly qualified for the position by addressing the top job requirements.  Look at this sample

Here are two good examples of a T-Square Cover Letters

T-Square Cover Letter #1 (PDF on DropBox)

T-Square Cover Letter #2 (PDF on DropBox)

Here is another example of a T-Square Cover Letter Sample:

Mr. Willia Hireme
Recruiting Manager
XYZ Corporation
Kansas City, Mo 24109

Dear Mr. Hireme,
I talked with Steve Floormngr today and during our conversation he told me about the Marketing Manager position that is open at XYZ Corporation.  I spent some time reviewing your corporate website and my interest in the position and company increased significantly.

Please accept this cover letter and resume as my application to the Marketing Manager position. I believe the combination of my education, previous marketing experience and social media skills make me an ideal candidate for the position.

Here are the top position requirements from your job description and what I can bring to XYZ Corporation:

  1. Past retail experience – I have 3 years of retail marketing experience in a $65M company
  2. 2 years of developing product marketing plans – I have created marketing plans for numerous and varied product types and received accolades from executive management, business development and national marketing associations for my work
  3. Strong written and oral communication skills – I am an experienced Toastmaster, avid blogger and author.
  4. Exceptional Project management Skills – Over the past 5 years I have taken Six Sigma and PMP courses to enhance my project management skills.

I hope that you will be able to review my resume further to see the other skills, talents, experiences and accomplishments that I have which are relevant to the requirements of your Marketing Manager position.

I will contact you within a week to ensure you have received all the necessary materials and to discuss our next step. Please feel free to contact me at 336-555-1212 or via e-mail at NCWiseman@TeddyBurriss.com if you would like further information.

Thank you for your consideration.

Give Me ABrake (Signature)
Give Me Abrake (Typed)
Enclosures: Resume and Transcripts


There is value in a T-Square Cover Letter, but only if you have the skills, expertise, talent and experiences that the job requires. If not, don’t apply for the job, PERIOD.

I hope that you see the value of a T-Square Cover letter and that it makes sense to you. It sure does for me and my recruiter and hiring manager friends.

Bonus Suggestion – Save your T-Square Cover Letter as page one of your resume. Save both documents as a single PDF. This way when you send your documents to a recruiter or hiring manager, they only need to open one file. Make it easier for them to see all your stuff.

Why do some recruiters use fake jobs

Fake Job Offer

Fake Job Offers

Our unemployed friends and family often tell me that they get asked to apply for Fake Job Offers. Why?

So here is the question – Why do Hiring Managers and Recruiters create Fake Job Offers?

Would there be any value in being honest? Post for applicants but tell them upfront that this job is not ready to be filled or not currently open.

Please help our job seekers with the answer to these questions:

You are too old

This is part 3 of the 16 post series

It’s true, despite all the laws, ethics and common sense, Age Discrimination is real for all of us. College graduates as well as our more mature work force face this discrimination regularly.

Yes, we all want this not to be the case. We want to be judged for our skills, experiences, talents, successes, accomplishments, abilities and all of our other potential values to a business. Yet age is a real discriminatory issue, for many.

I have no solution for this reality.

I, as many other professionals, know that our more mature work force have a significant value to offer our businesses. Additionally, our college graduates can bring new ideas, philosophies and passion to our business. We just have to find the hiring managers, recruiters and business people who know this.

I have no great magic for finding these folks, but I do have three suggestions for you to consider:

Point #1 –  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Here is why I remind you of this parable – You need to accept age discrimination as real and get over it. You can’t change people who discriminate. Furthermore, do you really want to work for these people? If they will discriminate over age, what other things will they do that are not fair or honest?

Point # 2 – Remove negative thoughts by only thinking positively

All of the worlds philosophers, career coaches, and successful people will tell you that as long as you keep thinking “I’m too old, no one wants to hire me,” they won’t. If you replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts, you are more likely to achieve your goals. Start saying, “I am a professional {pick a profession}. I have excellent skills, talents and experiences. I can do {pick a job}.” Positive thoughts trump negative thoughts every day. And, recruiters, hiring managers and the people you meet on your journey of that next great job can see thru your feelings. Let them see you are Positive, not negative.

Point # 3 – Your Resume is not going to get you a job. Applying online is not going to get you a job. You are going to get the best job for you after a good conversation with the right people. Discrimination dissolves in relationships.

Conversations create trust, respect, care and ideas.

Conversations create an environment for discovery and awareness of value

Conversations create opportunities for relationships

Relationships dissolve discriminatory issues

Start Networking and meeting people who can connect you to more people. Ask your connections to introduce you to other people that they think may have ideas for you. Keep connecting and sharing. Help others and they will help you and relationships will develop. Eventually one of your connections will turn into a great relationship with an idea of the next conversation that will result in a job opportunity that is not restricted by discrimination.

This takes time and a commitment to consistent activity. But it will work. Besides, the rewards of connecting with good people is far greater than the investment you make into applying to every job you see, sending your resume out to the world and sitting behind the computer screen praying and hoping that the computer will eventually beep with that email saying, “You are hired.” It won’t happen.

So, in summary – Accept that discrimination exists, get over it by thinking positive and start networking and connecting.

Failed to get hired because of Facebook

This is a true story of Social Media activity resulting in failure.


A recruiter, we’ll call him Gary, told me this story.

One of Gary’s clients asked him to find candidates for a pretty good job – Manager of Desktop Services leading a staff of 3 people supporting 200 computer users. The pay rate, benefits and profit sharing plan is better than average for the region and industry.

Gary did a great job searching for candidates. He found 3 that his client interviewed and narrowed the search down to two.

Gary’s client asked him to do some more interviewing and research and make a recommendation of which of the two would be the best hire.

Gary interviewed the two candidates two more times and arranged for another high level recruiter to interview them as well.

One of the candidate, let’s call him Steve, rose to the top of the everyone’s list.

He answered all the questions with solid responses, made great suggestions for improving customer service and desktop functionality. Bill, the other candidate  did a good job in the interviewing, but not quite as good as Steve.

Steve was slightly more polite, professional and a little easier going than Bill. Everyone agreed that Steve would be the best hire.

Despite all of this, Gary had a nagging feeling that something was not quite as it seemed.

Gary had looked at Steve’s LinkedIn profile already, but he went back to look at it again. His profile was fairly standard. Nothing different than what his resume shows.

Gary decided that he should Google Steve’s name.  When he did, the top search results were numerous Facebook pictures of Steve.

Gary opened the first Facebook picture. It was in an album that contained dozens of pictures of guys drinking and playing pool. Gary looked at another album, similar pictures.

Many college kids have photos of themselves playing, drinking, dancing and doing what many college kids do. However Steve has been out of college for 3 years and all of these pictures were recent.

Gary pondered what he had learned. Steve was a good candidate, yet Gary worried about recommending him to his client because of these images. What if the client searched for Steve online and found these pictures? Would the client be disturbed about these images? Would he be upset that Gary recommended what could be considered a “party animal”?

Gary searched online for Bill and found a LinkedIn profile that supported his resume. He found a Facebook profile but no public images or activity at all.

Gary had made up his mind. He told his client to hire Bill.

Gary asked his HR manager if he should tell Steve why he did not get hired. The HR Manager said to tell Steve that he was not the best candidate and nothing more.

In summary, the best candidate is chosen based on skills, expertise, experience, critical thinking ability and lots of other criteria, including perception of the person fitting into the working environment. This evaluation is done thru interviews, reference checking and like it or not, Social Media research.

Therefore, make sure your Social Media information supports your business & career goals.


Would you apply for this job

This is the text from a Real Job Description sent to a candidate from a company seeking employees. It’s a wonder they can find any good people with this type of job description. I want to know – What would you do if you were given this information and asked to apply for the job.

Come on folks – Throw out your ideas.

Enterprise Help Desk Manager

City – shhh – I can’t tell you this otherwise you’ll know the company


  • Manages a team of support personnel who troubleshoot IT issues
  • Implements policies and procedures regarding how problems are identified, received, documented, distributed, corrected
  • Ensures maximum issue resolutions in minimum time
  • Evaluates new information systems products or services and suggests changes to existing products or services to better aide the end user
  • Requires a bachelor’s degree with at least 7 years of experience in the field.
  • Familiar with a variety of the field’s concepts, practices, and procedures
  • Relies on extensive experience and judgement to plan and accomplish goals
  • Performs a variety of tasks
  • Leads and directs the work of others
  • A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected
  • Reports to head of a Unit/Department
  • Extensive experience managing Help Desk and Infrastructure thereof – must have enterprise-wide experience

Other than the City identification I did not edit the post in any way

Why would anyone spend the time to both write this up and then to share it with the recruiter?

Why would a recruiter then send it to anyone? (& yes – they sent this to a candidate)

If you want someone to recruit for you, give them a solid useful and informative Job Description.

If you want to engage in the best possible candidates, give them a Job Description that tells them as much useful information as possible about the job.

Everyone fails here. The company won’t be able to hire good people, the recruiter will have to spin their wheels and answer far too many questions that the candidate must ask, and the candidate will fail because they have no idea what the real expectations, requirements and goals are of the position.

Would you apply for this job?

My counsel to you – DONT – force the people who are trying to hire good people to communicate better than this. If they can’t – ignore them.





Triad Area Temporary Agencies

I found this list today (3.09/2012) and decided to share it with everyone. 

These are only the Temporary Agencies.

Please let me know any other Temporary Staffing Agency that I should list here. I will update this list as I find additional names

TemporaryStaffingAgency NorthCarolinaCity WebAddress LocalPhoneNumber
Advanced Personnel Resources, Inc Greensboro www.aprinc.com (336) 272-7720
Bradley Personnel Inc. Winston-Salem www.bradleypersonnel.com (336) 248-8171
Carolina Placement Inc. Greensboro www.carolinaplacementinc.com (336) 794-2401
Debbie’s Staffing Services Inc Winston-Salem www.debbiesstaffing.com (336) 744-2393
EJ’s Staffing Services Greensboro www.ejsglobal.com (336) 273-0095
Express Employment Professionals Lexington www.expresspros.com (336) 282-7901
Graham Personnel Services Greensboro www.grahamjobs.com (336) 288-9330
Key Resources Greensboro www.keyresourcesinc.com (336) 297-1700
ManPower Burlington www.us.manpower.com (336) 584-4160
Salem Solutions (Medical) Winston-Salem www.salemsolutionsllc.biz (336) 774-3029
Synetgistic Staffing Greensboro www.synergisticstaffing.com (336) 291-1017
TEK systems/Aerotek Greensboro www.teksystems.com (336) 851-6970
Temporary Resources Inc. Winston-Salem www.temporaryresources.com (336) 896-1000
The Clarks Group Winston-Salem www.theclarksgroup.com (336) 765-7377
TRC Staffing Services Winston-Salem www.trcstaffing.com (336) 852-2651
Winston Personnel Group Winston-Salem www.wpgroup.com (336) 768-1830
WorkForce Carolina Mount Airy www.workforcecarolina.com (336) 789-8220

Experiencing a Job Fair

I attended a job fair last week as a volunteer.

This was the 15th year of this event and it was very well planned, organized and attended. Lots of volunteers putting lots of time into the event.

There were over 50 businesses participating. A very diverse group of businesses including a kennel business, insurance company, local Police and Fire departments, Hospitals and an auto racing team, just as examples. All attending with the primary intent of meeting new potential candidates for currently open positions as well as future positions.

Because I was a newbie helping this organization, they decided to give me an easy role. I stood at the front door of the coliseum and directed people to different areas of the room. I also had to point people towards the exit. I basically saw every person as they came in and went out.

This turned out to be a great place to observe.

It is estimated that 2980 potential employees attended this event. I made some rather significant observations of these candidates from my vantage point.

Here is some of what I saw:

1) The individuals running the booths for the attending businesses were dressed in Business Casual attire or Suit & Tie.

2) Less than 25% of the candidates were dressed for a discussion with a potential employer, let alone being dressed for Success.

3) A significant number of the candidates came in wearing old jeans, sneakers and logoed T-Shirts.

4) There were a few people who came in wearing dirty T-shirts and jeans and asking for directions to the banking or hospital business booths, not the lawn care guys.

5) Some of the candidates showed up in designer ripped up jeans and wearing lots of jewelry or bling (depending on our gen-level).

6) A good number of women came dressed in attire that I think would be fabulous for a bar or night club, but far from appropriate for a potential employer discussion. At least the employers who were there on that day.

7) Many of the young male candidates wore baggy jeans, and I’m using a Gen-X term indicating fully disclosed boxers.

8) Dozens of potential candidates walked in the door and became immediately overwhelmed. I saw at least 10 people turn around and walk right back out the door with fear on their face.

9) Dozens of potential candidates walked in the door, spent 5 minutes and then left, apparently not sure what to do once they got into the room, or unwilling to spend the time & energy.

10) Some people brought their young children with them. I understand that day care is an issue, but I wonder if it’s appropriate to bring you children to an interview? (Note – some brought their teen-age kids)

Now, not all that I observed was negative. I did notice some positive actions and positive people within the candidate pool:

1) A few people walked in and asked for business XYZ or for directions to specific types of businesses. They appeared to be on a defined mission

2) I noticed many people with portfolios of resume copies – they came prepared (if they surfed the web and looked at the businesses beforehand, they were even more prepared)

3) I watched a few people strategize about the path they would take around the room (efficiency is a good employee skill)

4) I noticed a few people networking with other candidates in the room as well as with some of the volunteers (I participated in this myself) They exchanged business cards and words of encouragement and even a few recently discovered job opportunities.

By far the most exciting thing I observed occurred with one person:

A young man who had his A Game on from the very beginning.

He walked in the room wearing shiny black polished shoes, crisp clean and creased black pants, a bright white ironed shirt and a solid pattern tie. Better than his look and attire, he had a small clear folder that appeared to hold dozens of resumes, a pen and business cards.

And, better then all of this – He walked into the room, up right, shoulders back, with a big smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye. This guy was ready to work the room and find a job.

I watched him stand patiently in lines and then interact with the recruiters. He shook their hand when introducing himself, took the applications they provided him and then he offered his resume before shaking their hand goodbye.

Each encounter with another recruiter went pretty much the same way. I got distracted with my volunteer role and did not see him leave the building. I would love to have met him and awarded him with at least the acknowledgement of my observation. To me, he was the classic example of how a young man should prepare, dress and act going into a Job Fair.

I hope he gets a good job soon. He deserves to be honored in this way.

To close – I recommend that when you attend a Job Fair

A) Be prepared (Have resumes and know who the businesses are that you want to see)

B) Be dressed for success (If you do not know what this means – ask someone)

C) Be ready to encounter the fast pace and chaos of a room full of people (It is hectic – but if you come about half way thru the event, it clears out a lot and is less hectic)

D) Have a plan of who you want to talk to and get thru your list before you talk to any other businesses there.

E) Have the Desire, Attitude & Passion to put the efforts into the task (You need to have these traits to be successful at anything)