Thank You Notes Are Not Optional (And Other Advice for Job Follow Up)

Path Forward is frequently asked about interview follow up — usually something along the lines of “How often is too often to check in?” or “How long can I / should I wait before following up on a job application?” Mostly, candidates seem concerned about being too aggressive in contacting recruiters or hiring managers. But my conversations with recruiters and hiring managers, including my own experiences, that a lack of…

How to Network without feeling icky.

How To Network Without Feeling ‘Icky’

I recently presented a webinar for the American Geological Union on restarting a career in the sciences. We included a poll asking the attendees which part of the job search process they most dreaded — networking, resumes, interviews or “all of it.” The winner, by a pretty wide margin, was networking. I’m not surprised. To most people networking feels smarmy and, well, icky. I think it’s because we fundamentally misunderstand…

Master Behavioral Interview Questions with the STAR Method

During an interview, you’ll likely be asked a few questions that start with “tell me about a time when…” or “give me an example of…” These are called behavioral interview questions, and their aim is to show the interviewer how you handle common challenges and situations on the job. They often touch on topics like leadership, teamwork, project management, problem solving, and conflict resolution. How you choose to answer these…

Finding Your Why

Finding Your Why

When women come to me for advice on restarting their careers I always start with same question: “Why do you want to go back to work?” There are a lot of ways to return to work. The path (pun intended) you choose may well depend on what your primary motivation is for returning. Having talked to hundreds of women looking to restart their careers I can say that there are…

Conducing an Interview Post Mortem

The Importance of Doing an Interview Post-Mortem

When it comes to job interviews, there are a lot of reasons why you might be out of practice. Some people are fortunate enough to have held a job for years, and haven’t had a need to interview. But for many of our readers, taking a career break to care for loved ones might mean it’s been awhile since you’ve have an interview. Regardless of the circumstances around why you’ve…

How to Find Professional References Without Work Experience

How to Find Professional References If You Don’t Have Recent Work Experience

You’ve embarked on job hunt armed with a personal arsenal of job application resources, like an updated resume, tailored cover letter, and stellar interview tactics, but there’s one crucial component of the job search process that’s often overlooked: professional references. Companies rely on professional references to verify your skill set and to get an outsider’s opinion of how you perform in a workplace environment. These recommendations can also create an…

Interviewing Tips

Successful Interviews: What to Do Before, After, and During an Interview

Job interviews are tough for most people, and it can feel especially daunting to go on an interview after you’ve taken a break from the workforce. Depending on the length of your career break, and how long you were working before you stepped away, it has probably been a long time since you’ve been the subject of a job interview.   The good news is there are specific steps you…

Translating Non-work Experience into Business Language

It’s commonly mentioned that the work that women do outside the paid workforce when they’ve taken a pause for caregiving gains them skills and experiences that are valuable in the professional environment as well. But it’s less common to find good advice on how to translate those experiences in a way that recruiters and hiring managers will understand. The better you are able to articulate how your experiences have gained…

Three Things to Do Now If You Want to Return to Work This Fall

In my house, the “Back to School” checklist for fall starts before my kids have even finished the current school year.  When I notice the sneakers are worn out, the sweaters have all gotten too small, and that backpack strap has finally given out on us, I know it’s time to start planning for September.  And with a fall game plan ready to go in June, I can enjoy the…

Does Anyone Bother With Cover Letters Anymore? (Yes, And Here’s How to Write a Good One)

One question that I’m frequently asked is “Does anyone read cover letters? And, if not, do I need to bother with one?” The short answers are it depends and yes. Talk to a bunch of recruiters and pretty soon you will hear the same thing: they don’t read cover letters. But you still need one, and it needs to be customized for each job. The reason is simple: A great…