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Interview and Resume Tips

Careers In Motion Brochure - Overview of MTA NYC Transit Employment Opportunities

The Job Postings or Advertisement — What’s Required?

These are the results of your job search. You will learn what the job requires and see if your education and experience meet those requirements. Before you write your cover letter and resume, study the job description carefully. Do your skills reflect the requirements outlined in the posting? Do you have skills that will transfer well to that new position?

Cover Letters — Getting Your Foot in the Door

Often overlooked by job seekers as an important part of the application process, the cover letter can make—or break—your chances of getting an interview. Even before they review your resume, recruiters look at the cover letter to see how you express yourself and describe your achievements. This is your chance to highlight what you bring to the table; brag a little, but not too much. Cover letters should be about three paragraphs, but no longer than a half page.

Dos and Don’ts

DO

DO NOT:

Resumes — Getting to the “Yes” Pile

You have written an effective cover letter. Now you are ready for the “meat” of your application: your resume. Most recruiters use a poorly written resume to “weed out” undesirable applicants. Each line in your resume should push you one step closer to the “Yes” pile and make a prospective employer want to meet you.

Contact Information — Keep it Professional

It is important to include a current phone number and a professional e-mail address in your resume, since this is how employers will get in touch with you. Voicemail greetings should not have music or humor. E-mail addresses with jazzy names – Rockstar77@ilovemusic.com or personal information – Jasonsmommy@coolmoms.net are for social networking sites.

Before the Interview — Do Your Homework

Arm yourself with background information about the company to make the interview less intimidating. Read the ad or job description again to re-familiarize yourself with the requirements. Research the company by visiting its website and getting a sense of its culture. Find out:

Dressing for the Interview — Look the Part

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” For both men and
women, it is safest and best to dress conservatively. Wear minimal body piercing and understated jewelry, including a simple, but professional wristwatch. If you have tattoos, make sure to cover them.

Men: Wear a dark suit, white shirt, tie, dark dress socks and dark shoes. Keep your hair neat and facial hair neatly groomed. Avoid using cologne.

Women: Wear a dark suit, collared shirt or shell (no cleavage), stockings, dress shoes, and small earrings. Avoid wearing hoops, or anything that dangles or makes noise. Keep your hair neat, and do not wear perfume. Light makeup is acceptable, but you should avoid trendy colors.

What to take with you

The Interview — Your Time to Shine

Now that your cover letter and resume have pushed you past the “Yes” pile into the candidate pool, you have done your homework, and you are dressed for success, you are ready for the interview. Put your best foot forward by maintaining positive body language:

Typical Interview Questions

What NOT to Say in an Interview

Employers will almost surely ask if you have any questions for them and will judge you based on the questions you do or do not ask. You should always have questions for them, but don’t ruin a perfectly good interview by asking any of the following:

After the Interview — Maintain Their Interest

Show interviewers that you appreciate their considering you for a position by sending a “thank you” note, preferably within 24 hours after your interview. However, also use the “thank you” note as an opportunity to refresh their memory about important details you discussed during the interview.

For example, you can say something like,

Dear Ms. Jones:

Thank you for considering me for the customer service specialist position. I enjoyed learning about what my job responsibilities would be, and how I would be part of the MTA organization. What I found particularly interesting was the training which management provides staff to ensure that they continue to meet goals and resolve issues in a timely, efficient manner. I recognize the importance of having a strong customer service team, and hope to combine my enthusiasm and communication skills to make a valuable contribution. If I am chosen for this position, I feel I would maintain the standard of excellence set by management.

Again, thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Sign your name, and then
type it underneath your signature.

If you have Outlook, or a similar e-mail program on your computer, you can use a business letter format to write your note, and add your address, phone number, and the name and address of the organization.

Now that you are on your way...

Stay positive, and do not be discouraged. However, remember an old saying: “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step.” Keep in mind that, although you have taken the first step, finding work is a job in itself. You may have to send out many resumes to get an interview and go on a number of interviews before you find the right position. However, you will gain experience communicating with potential employers and this, along with persistence, should help you get the job for which you are suited and the career you have chosen. Good luck!

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