What Readers Say Some feedback from readers… * * * * * Two months ago, I was about as low as I could get. I was working terrible temp jobs that I hated and had even started to negatively affect my personal relationships. I literally gave up. I quit the temp thing and moved back in with my parents. It was awful. I spent the next month applying to a few jobs a week. There wasn’t very much I could find to apply to. Most of them were just filling out the silly useless forms on websites. I never heard anything back about any of them. Then I found two jobs I really wanted a shot at and they actually requested a cover letter. I had very little experience at writing them, so I went looking for internet advice. I found your site and read every single thing you had to say about them. I reworked my resume (based on your advice as well) and wrote the greatest cover letter I’ve ever written. I applied to the two jobs. Within three days, both of them had called me for interviews. I had had exactly one interview in the previous year. Both loved me, proving my idea that I just needed to get past the resume that didn’t show anything about my strengths and talents. But my cover letter sure did. Long story short, I wanted one of the two way more, they needed to move quickly, and 26 days after deciding to take your advice, I’m relaxing after my first day at the job I’d spent the last three years looking for. * * * * * I became a manager 1.5 years ago, and had no idea what in the hell I was doing. I had no management experience. I’ve come to your blog almost every day since then and searched through your past posts for questions I’ve had, and it’s been a lifesaver more than once. I love that your posts tell you exactly what to say in a situation, in addition to how to handle it. You’re hard pressed to find such detail anywhere else. Today my team went out to dinner, and one person mentioned that I was the best manager they’ve ever had. Nearly everyone nodded in agreement and began praising my management style — that I’m fair and understanding, but still take care of business. It was hard to absorb that they were talking about me! It was wonderful to hear but I definitely have some high expectations to live up to now! My overarching thought was that it’s all thanks to you. So thank you! * * * * * I just wanted to say how incredibly helpful your blog has been to me. I’m a new (and voracious) reader of your site. Nine months ago I began working at a university after 17 years of being self-employed, and it’s been a big, emotional transition. Whenever I’m faced with a challenge, I hear your calm, rational approach in my head and it helps so much! I think it’s actually been transformational. Yesterday I had to sit down a temp worker and go over feedback of their work (not good work). My colleagues begged me to have the meeting out of their earshot because it all sounded so stressful to them, but I was really centered in the “my job is to manage, this person just needs feedback” space that you so actively promote. I was barely stressed. My colleagues complimented me on how I handled it. I believe that’s really thanks to you! * * * * * Earlier this year, I decided that I wanted to change my job, leave my city and somehow make my career take off. I sent out about 30 resumes (with no cover letters), just aiming to get as many of them out there as possible, sometimes even applying to multiple openings at the same company without thinking about the ‘why this job/why me/what will I bring to the table’ etc. I think most of us find ourselves in this predicament when all you want is something or anything that is better than the present. After about a week, I hadn’t heard back from anyone and although I know that’s nothing in the timeline, my process just didn’t feel right to me. I took to the internet and found your website, which had me hooked for an entire day. The next 2-3 days were spent by me tailoring my resume, self-assessing my interests and looking for suitable openings. I constitutionalized your advice on tailoring cover letters with diligent research on every application I sent. About 24 hours after sending out 6 of these applications with my blood, sweat and tears, I received a response requesting an interview. I prepped for the interview with your help, and two days later I had an offer for my dream job; they wanted me to start within a week! Today I’m about to finish my first month of work. The last two months are hard to describe in a word. My life has completely changed and I feel like I owe you something, something more than just a small thank you. Thank you should’ve probably been my first words in this letter but I felt the need to outline my journey since you hand-held me most of the way. Every blog post of yours was helpful, your frankness even more so and your mantra ‘tailor your cover letter and resume’ are the key. Thank you so much. I wish I could meet you in person and thank you. * * * * * I recently purchased your e-book. After nine months of trial and error attempting to get promoted within my current company, I was having more error than I care to admit. I found your book and I utilized your advice to the letter. It worked like a charm! I’m happy to say that, just today, I accepted a position with my company that DOUBLED my salary. You kick ass. I couldn’t have done it without you. * * * * * I don’t remember how I found your blog, but it transformed my job search. I’ve been unemployed since January and job hunting since July (long story but there were reasons for the 6-month sabbatical), trying to transition from nonprofit to the private sector. My job hunt was becoming very discouraging, but when I found your blog I started reading it religiously, and it gave me more confidence than any other job-hunting resource I could find. Your posts told me how to write cover letters and how to follow up on jobs I applied for, helped me prepare for interviews, and helped me not freak out (too much) over rejections. (And you replied personally to one of my questions about non-compete agreements, which was really helpful.) A month and a half ago I found a posting for a job at my dream company. Inspired by your “Here’s an example of a great cover letter” post, I wrote what I’d like to think is the best cover letter I have ever written, and I’m happy to say that after a grueling interview process (including an afternoon with 7 interviews in 5 hours!), I got the job, with a 20% salary increase over my old one. I start on Monday, and I don’t think I’d be here if it weren’t for your blog. * * * * * I found your website about one year ago, and you must know that your blog truly has changed my life and my family’s since then. For example, my husband got a job offer that was a few thousand dollars per year less than what he was expecting. He was terrified to negotiate for fear the offer would be pulled, so we combed through your blog posts to find how to phrase requests for more money, and the company gave him what he asked for in the end! More recently, I was promoted to a senior management position! I applied for the same position one year ago and was told that I was basically too immature for the role. It was one week later that I found your blog. I bought your book on management and started to interview at other places. While I wasn’t landing the jobs yet, managers were calling to tell me that even though I wasn’t selected, I gave an awesome interview and there’s nothing I could have done differently (while everyone else was apparently getting standard rejection emails). When this new position became vacant again a few weeks ago, senior management came to me and said they had seen so much growth in me within the last year that they had no doubts I would excel in the role now, that I was their first and only choice within the organization this time, and offered me a $13,000 increase! I start my new job Monday, and it is literally a role I have dreamed of having since I was in college. I owe it all to your expertise, and I can’t believe that one person whom I’ve never met was able to coach me to such success. Thank you. * * * * * I want to thank you for creating such a helpful and informative site. I was laid off earlier this year and went months without a single response from potential employers. I was getting very discouraged and then a friend told me about your site. I read post after post and absorbed as much information as I could. When my phone finally started ringing, I knew that I was on the right track. I spent hours preparing myself for interviews, writing down answers to questions, and practicing aloud. The effort really paid off. I aced both of my interviews and received a job offer at a great company shortly thereafter. Your site has done wonders for my confidence and I have you to thank for my recent success. * * * * * I. Finally. Got. A. Job! And I thank you up and down and to the moon! Like many other people, I’ve always been awkward in interviews. An “interview” has always been, to me, something that you must sit and endure in order to start getting paid for showing and up and doing what they tell you to do — although hopefully within a company that is actually interesting to you. It’s never occurred to me that an interview could be an honest assessment, from both parties, as to how beneficial the relationship will be – until I found your blog. I’ve completely redesigned my resume and cover letter and I’ve been getting noticeably more interview requests than ever before. The icing on the cake? The first thing out of the HR manager’s mouth in my first interview was, “So tell me – who did your resume?” When I said I did it myself, he went on to tell me that he’s seen thousands of resumes, and that mine is the best one he can ever remember seeing. And thanks to your interviewing advice, I remained cool and collected and completely honest, to the point of the HR manager saying (again) in the second interview, “I’ve interviewed hundreds of people . . . . ” and yep, he said that he feels most potential employees say whatever they think he wants to hear, but that I stood out as a very honest and confident person who knew what I wanted and who I wanted to work with. That would have NEVER happened even a year ago! So thank you again for doing what you do, helping the untold thousands that admire your candor but don’t take the time to write, and taking the scary and uncomfortable out of the job search process. * * * * * I recently started a position where I manage 8-12 part-time employees. Their positions are extremely visible and vital to the success of the company, so I am expected to manage them at a high level. I had supervisory experience and thought management would not be too different. Wrong! About 6 months in, I was struggling with bad hires, bullying employees, and general frustration about not understanding how to get through to my team and feel in-the-loop with what was going on. I found your blog and started reading it for a couple hours every day (I know that’s a lot, but it was for the sake of professional development!). I have found your advice not just helpful, but clarifying — it has brought all of my victories and struggles into clear focus and I have turned so many things around as a result. In the past two weeks, the changes I’ve made have completely flipped my team around, and I no longer feel disconnected or out of control. I am managing well and it shows — my team is happy, my boss is happy, and most importantly, I’m happy! I’m sleeping better at night and feeling the satisfaction of running a happy, effective team – something I always knew I could do, and with a few simple adjustments I’m there. Thank you. * * * * * I wanted to thank you for your invaluable advice and responsiveness. Reading your blog and ebook inside and out greatly enhanced my odds at landing a job in this market. I noticed a dramatic difference in the amount of interviews I received and how far I went in the interview process once I stumbled upon your blog. Not only did your advice equip me all the skills and knowledge to write awesome cover letters, perfect my resume, and KILL my interviews, but it also provided me with great insight to look at every job posting and interview experience critically to determine whether or not it would be a good fit (I actually had the guts to turn down second interviews, something I never would’ve done before). Your blog empowered me and really put me in the mindset that this is a two-way process, doing wonders for my confidence. In the end, I had made it to the final interview stage of 2 positions and my first choice made the offer. I told my boyfriend that I wouldn’t have made it through this process without the two of you and even joked you should be at our celebratory dinner :) * * * * * You have been such a huge help during my job search. I found out in November that the nonprofit I work for would be closing. So I started my job search but I did not find the Askamanager blog until the beginning of December. With help from your blog, I started writing better cover letters, preparing for interviews correctly and asking the right questions. Yesterday I received two job offers from two amazing companies and it is thanks to you! I even negotiated for a higher salary for the one that I wanted and GOT IT. You taught me everything that college didn’t. * * * * * I’m a recent graduate/avid follower of your blog. I don’t know if you remember me, but you answered a question I had concerning an entry-level job for low pay and long hours. You also took a long, hard look at my resume and cover letter. I am confident your advice made a significant impact on my job search. After your thoughtful words, I started receiving calls back for interviews, which I hadn’t had before your consultation. My resume hadn’t changed a bit – thank you for taking the time to help me get noticed. I just accepted an offer for a position with an organization that I adore – three months after graduating. Thank you again – you’ve been of amazing assistance, both personally and with the witty, insightful commentary on your blog. You should be mandatory reading for any recent graduate trying to navigate the often treacherous waters of the workforce. * * * * * I wanted to send you a quick thank you note. I have been unhappily working at a company for the past three years and have desperately wanted a change in career for some time now. With the economy the way it currently is, I thought there was no way I would find something I liked, let alone get an interview, and let’s just forget an actual job offer. I stumbled on your blog about six months ago and you gave me the fire I needed to just start trying. I re-vamped my resume and my cover letter using all of your suggestions. Just under four weeks ago I began applying. I got calls from one out of every four applications I sent in! Last week I landed my dream job after two stellar interviews (which I felt very prepared for and not at all nervous about thanks to your guide!) and my salary will be increasing by 20% with room for advancement within the next year! Thank you thank you thank you for inspiring me and guiding me. I can not stress enough, if you guys follow what Alison recommends, you WILL stand out from the crowd. It’s possible. Again, THANK YOU! * * * * * Thank you. I just wanted to say thanks. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog during the past year. I have learned so much from you. Your humor and frankness have been so welcome and so appreciated and I have looked forward to each and every one of your posts. In a way, your blog (and your humor) has literally helped me get through the last 11 months of the absolute worst job in my entire 25 years of working life (phones cut off several times when bill wasn’t paid, paychecks bouncing or un-cashable (bank that the check was drawn on wouldn’t cash it due to lack of funds), boss embezzling money, boss with serious case of ADD, boss acting like a six year old girl when he didn’t get his way with another business person and engaging in an e-mail rant the likes of which I have never seen, boss spending money like a drunken sailor on his family at the expense of paying his employees, not getting to do the job I thought I was hired to do, boss who won’t actually DO his work (so that I can do my job) causing me to continuously “fib” to clients for months on end), and on and on. Thankfully, my last day is next Friday. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Seriously — just thanks. * * * * * THANK YOU. No, seriously. Thank you so much for what you do through your blog. As a hapless, semi-recent college grad, the content of your blog has been a gold mine for me in my job search. After about 3 months of relatively fruitless searching, I had my very first Real Job Interview today, and I totally think those gold star interview questions you posted helped me a ton. I had jotted a few of them down in a notebook and then FORGOT to bring it with me…fortunately, I had the presence of mind to remember some of them. When I asked “How would you define a successful first year in this position?” my interviewer paused, nodded her head, and exclaimed, “Wow, that’s a great question!” From her lips to your ears (or eyes, in this case)! At any rate, I’m not putting a ton of stock into getting this position (who actually gets the first job they interview for, entry-level wise?!), but it was good practice and my interview felt really positive to me today, mostly because I had some awesome questions to pull out of my back pocket for my interviewer. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for sharing your passion with the world. You are worth about a thousand college career centers and more. * * * * * I just wanted to say thanks for helping me get a pay raise. It seems to be something that you’ve spoken a bit about lately, and your information really helped me … I would not have asked for this raise without your blog. I am so happy, I just want to give you a big hug!!! Consider this a hug across the continents and across the internet. * * * * * First of all I would like to say I’ve been a long time reader of your blog. When you released your ebook, I was hesitant about buying it since I was unemployed and I thought there wasn’t anything else I could imagine that could be worth paying for. However I since I found your blog so helpful in the past, it would be a way of showing your blog some support so I bought it. I’ve been job hunting for 6 months and long story short, I now have a job! The best tip for me was to see the interview as a two way conversation, as you suggested. In my past interview I just answered any questions they had, not really engaging them back in response. Having your book kept me focused on what was important and helped calm my nerves in waiting for any call backs post interview. Anyway, thanks so much for creating your blog and the book. It’s really has given the job hunter, such as myself, peace of mind when going through such a tough period in life! * * * * * I am an avid fan of your blog! I discovered it four months ago and can’t keep myself away from it! And who knew, it also came in super handy. Recently, I was afforded the opportunity to apply for a full-time position at my current job (which was part-time) and through your blog, advice and etiquette tips, I was able to land it! I was told after the fact, that my cover letter, interview questions and thank you notes put me well over any other applicant they interviewed. So, thank you! I’m now gainfully employed (with benefits AND vacation/sick time) for the first time in over four years! * * * * * I originally found your blog when I was interviewing for jobs after I college and I googled some of those hard to answer questions (because “Hogwarts” is not an acceptable answer to “where would you like to be in five years?”) Then I stayed because not only did I find help with those questions, I also found a well-organized archive (LOVE that,) and a blogger who was able to give helpful and practical advice, and if there’s one thing I love, it’s a little bit of practicality. Seriously. Not enough people seem to have both feet planted firmly on the ground (myself included,) and I am a little bit in awe of anyone who can approach problems on an even keel. I’m sure maintaining your blog requires a lot of dedication to hundreds of people you can’t see; I really can’t imagine the amount of time it takes to update as often as you do. So thanks again, I hope you know that I really appreciate it. * * * * * I am writing this to thank you, along with so many others, for helping to carry me through these very difficult 2-plus years. Your blog helped inspire me, and gave me strength to keep going when things looked bleakest in my life, and helped counteract that little devil in my head telling me that everything – all the rejections, all the grueling part-time jobs, all the disrespect – was all my fault and I was worthless and a failure as a human being. It also taught me new approaches and techniques to keep my job search on track, to identify areas where I needed improvement, and to keep my attitude in check. * * * * * I just wanted to say thanks again for answering my question about references a few months ago, and to give you an update on my job search. I found a temporary position for a few months, and now I’m back to searching for a full-time job again. Your advice has been so helpful with this. Now I read ads looking for signs of hiring practices that would indicate a company that might not be a good fit, instead of just trying to find something, anything, where I can send an application. I started targeting very specific types of positions. I had my resume professionally rewritten to reflect the skills I can bring to these specific positions. I downloaded your interview guide, and I have so much more confidence now. I still don’t have a job, but the process of searching is much less painful. It’s actually kind of fun – I NEVER thought I’d say that! Thanks for all your help. Your blog has made a real difference for me. * * * * * As an avid reader of your blog for a couple months now, I wanted to thank you for all the good advice that I have received. Your blog is a delight to read and generally one of the highlights of my day. As a young professional, sometimes it can be challenge to successfully navigate this thing called “work” and it is helpful to read how to become a strong advocate for your career from more experienced individuals … Yesterday, I found out that my promotion has been officially approved and I can’t thank you enough for providing advice on how to ask professionally for a promotion. Your advice is invaluable! * * * * * Before I found your blog and your book, I was relying on my college’s career handbook to apply for jobs. I was going nowhere and feeling like a failure. I’ve always been one to arm myself with knowledge, resources and tons of reference material when I feel inadequate or misguided. Luckily, I found your blog and book, which I consider my job-hunting bible of sorts. Thanks to your rational, professional and very tangible advice on cover letters, resumes and interviews, I started get more callbacks and scheduled interviews. Your advice WORKED. Yesterday, I got a job offer at a firm I applied to on a whim. I accepted today. Not bad for a recent college grad with an English degree in the talent-flooded and highly competitive Bay Area. I owe my success in part to you for being an approachable and wise resource. * * * * * I just wanted to say thank you- I’m a recent grad and while completing my practicum over the summer, I sent out hundreds of resumes and got 0 interviews. I knew that I was doing something wrong but didn’t know what. I read your website and it inspired me to learn how to write a decent cover letter, and to really take my time on applications. I started applying to five a week instead of 50, and really tried to focus on jobs that I felt I could do well. I finally started getting calls for interviews… and after blowing my first interview, I realized that again, I needed some help! I used your job preparation guide, and did practice interviews with my fiance. I also contacted my friends/ family in the HR field to ask for advice and practice some more! I just got a call from one of the places I interviewed last week- they offered me a job! … I just wanted to say thank you! You also answered a question for me back in August, and I appreciated it so much. * * * * * I wanted to thank you for all your advice. I’ve been reading you for literally years, which seems strange, but true. When I was laid off in ’09 I decided to go to school and finish my degree. I’ll be graduating in June with an accounting degree and I just received a job offer that I am ecstatic to take. A lot of my ability to be calm and poised in interviews came from advice I got from you and also some of my terriffic interview questions. In auditing (the field I’ll be entering) being inquisitive is vital and so asking poignant and relevant questions in the interview is mandatory. Also, I wanted to do a quick plug for following up with interviewers! I had my interview for this position two weeks ago and decided this morning to email the hiring manager. This is exactly what I wrote: “I wanted to follow-up on my interview from [date]. Can you tell me where you are in the hiring process? If you can give me a timeline of what, if anything, remains until I hear about the position I would greatly appreciate it.” Less than an hour later she called me to offer the job. Now I can go through my final term of classes in peace knowing that I have a great job with an organization I love waiting for me. There’s a lot of thanks to go around, but you certainly deserve some of it. * * * * * Your interview tips are dynamite. Especially the questions. I knocked the manager’s socks off with the question about what separated his good hires from his truly excellent ones. The interview itself was really light on typical HR stuff, it was mostly a walk through my CV and recent school projects. He seemed really impressed, and told me he had no reservations about hiring me, but that he wanted to interview a few more people to find the best candidate. He promised to call me back within two weeks and lo and behold Tuesday night I got an offer. Colour me impressed. Thank you so much for what you do. I treated this interview like I didn’t need the job (I don’t), just kept it cool and professional and asked really good questions and it was a slam dunk. Please keep up the good work. * * * * * I just wanted to say thank you for your blog, Ask A Manager. I graduated from college this past May, and I started hunting for my first paid job two months ago. I did a lot of volunteering/interning while in college, so I have experience, but this was the first time I had to really worry about my resume, or craft a cover letter, or follow “job hunt etiquette.” And your blog has been an absolutely fantastic resource. In particular, I’m very, very grateful for your post on what a good cover letter looks like. I don’t have a concrete offer yet, but a hiring manager has told HR to extend the offer to me ASAP–and this is only the fourth application I’ve sent out and the second place I’ve interviewed at. I sincerely believe it was my cover letter that got me this far, because during my interview, the hiring manager specifically mentioned that I had an impressive cover letter. Even better, I had the feeling that the hiring manager already had “YES” in his mind, so all I had to do during my interview was not ruin that YES. In short: My cover letter did almost all my selling for me. The interview was mainly to make sure I was personable and that my letter was authentic. So thank you! I couldn’t have gotten this far without you. * * * * * I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that i have recently discovered your blog, and it has (if you don’t mind me sounding overly effusive) been a transformative experience for me. I stumbled upon it a few days ago; since then i have read every single post. Every one! I am job hunting in the world of non-profit fundraising, and I feel a gazillion times more prepared for an upcoming second interview because of the time and insight you have shared with us all online. * * * * * Just wanted to say I’m a manager and have been reading your blog since it started. It’s an amazing resource – it’s really generous what you’ve done for people by providing this incredibly valuable info and insight. I find myself in complete agreement with everything you say – your advice is rock solid. * * * * * I wanted to thank you for the excellent blog you run. As someone who is fairly new to the corporate world, I realize how different it is from my previous professional life of Retail or small Owned and Operated Businesses. Your blog has helped me gain invaluable insight into this culture as I try to turn my contract job (9 months and still a ‘temp’) into a permanent position (Call me crazy, but I love the idea of health insurance!). Most of my close friends have never and will never work in a corporate environment, and so your blog is like having a trusted friend to help give me advice. I’ve already dealt with issues of sexual harassment, rumors about how I “got the job”, a difficult manager (to say the least), and fears about continued lay-offs. I love work and take my job very seriously (some might say too seriously), and I want to make a good impression, take on new responsibilities and move up in the company. Your blog has really helped me measure whether I am on the right path and the same wavelength as my management. 9 months in, I feel confident and on more solid footing, and your blog helps me measure how well I am staying the course. Additionally, as my fiance still struggles to find a job, some of the advice you have given, as well as some of the links you have provided have been incredibly helpful. One I read today linked me to information about job coaching and a site devoted to internships. He still hasn’t found a job, but just when I think we have exhausted all our known resources, you help me discover a new one. I don’t have a question, but I just really wanted to reach out and tell you how much I appreciate what you’re doing, and how well you’re doing it. Thank you so much!