When are you providing too much detail?

April 23, 2010 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

Specificity and attention to detail are usually viewed as favorable traits in a job setting, and the same is true in a job hunt. Prospective employers typically give points for detailed responses in interviews and other communications, and specificity is important in one’s cover letter and resume. This is good news for journalists and public policy types who tend to excel in this area.

Yet, sometimes less is more — and too much detail can sink one’s chances at snaring a good job. A hiring manager may worry that as an employee you’d waste their time by going on and on about fairly insignificant matters, or that you won’t be able to focus on the broader outline of the job. This is especially true of management candidates, who need to look at the big picture and need to be able to juggle a million details, rather than getting caught up in only a few of them.

Here are some tips for providing just the right amount of detail while job hunting:

*Pare your resume and keep it focused. I’ve said it before but will say it again — for most professional jobs, your resume should be NO MORE than two pages. And if you haven’t been working (post college or graduate school) for five to 10 years, you should try to work with a one-page resume. A big mistake some job hunters make is to treat their resume like an umbrella document for every accomplishment they’ve ever had, no matter how minor, and this can be a big turnoff to a busy hiring manager — frankly, you’ll never know how big a turnoff as they’ll likely just chuck an overly long resume in the recycling bin before finishing it. (See Dec. 18 post, “What to avoid on your resume” and Feb. 7 post, “Repairing your resume.”)

*Even with a CV, which is usually a longer document used when applying for academic and international positions (see April 14 post, “When you need a C.V. rather than a resume”) you will want to keep it focused on your key accomplishments — though you’ll be listing papers and more academic achievements than you would on a typical resume. An in-the-know reader recently wrote in to say that a C.V. should only be a few pages as well. This reader points out that the first and most important section on a C.V. is the personal profile, which should be a four-line paragraph summarizing one’s key skills and strengths targeted for this position and should be atop the CV underneath contact information. Stay on point!

*Avoid “TMI” (too much information) in interviews. Don’t ask, don’t tell is actually a good approach for most  job interview situations. Listen to what the hiring manager is asking and respond accordingly, with enough detail so that you have answered their question but not so much that you end up rambling or going off on tangents. Some job candidates feel a need to fill up every silence in a job interview — that’s not your role there. You want to make a clear, focused pitch on why you are a good fit for this particular job and you want to showcase your knowledge about the company. But less is definitely often more in job interviews. If you find yourself rambling (and you can often tell if you have lost the interviewer’s attention if they look at their watch, shift uncomfortably in their chair or worse,  check their BlackBerry or look at other papers on their desk) stop, apologize and tell the interviewer that you are so interested in this job that you got a bit carried away. Then provided focused answers going forward. The same is true of the questions you ask at the end of the interview — you want them to show you’ve done some research on the organization, but they should be targeted and brief. Listen to the answers. And never interrupt your interviewer.

*Be careful what you share through social networking. This is a situation where TMI can get you in big TROUBLE. (“with a capital T!) Most job hunters know not to display party pictures on these sites (especially when job hunting) but sometimes even your words can come back to haunt you. If you are job hunting, it’s not the time for big political or other rants on Facebook or to go off on extended tangents (especially political ones) in LinkedIn discussion groups. Recruiters often, especially in the late stages of the hiring process, will go to these sites (where you’ve often pointed them to get their attention earlier in the process!) to check out your activity. Some smartly worded Tweets or postings on subjects connected to the job you’re seeking can help your case, but be careful about other information on these sites. Details matter — and prospective employers will be checking out what you’re saying in the public sphere.

*An event for job hunters and an update on an event….the Maryland Professional Outplacement Assistance Center’s networking event has been rescheduled for Tuesday, May 18:

Maryland Professional Outplacement Assistance Center (POAC) Newsletter



Good Afternoon,
Due to inclement weather, the Twilight Networking Event has been rescheduled to Tuesday, May 18, 2010 from 6 PM to 8 PM.
If you have further questions and or unable to attend, please email me, smorgan@dllr.state.md.us or call me at 410-290-2630.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
Sierra Morgan
Career Services Specialist

*And Northwestern University’s Alumni Association has several upcoming Webinar topics of interest to job hunters and those wanting to move forward in their careers:

Register now for spring networking webinars:

LinkedIn Level 2: Beyond the Basics
May 13, 2010

Do you know the basics of LinkedIn, but wonder how to meet your specific online networking goals? Do you want to use LinkedIn to make new contacts or promote your business?

With more than 35 million users, LinkedIn has become the premier professional online networking site, and it can make a powerful impact on your career. Featured speaker David J.P. Fisher (WCAS98) from RockStar Consulting will show you how LinkedIn can support and reinforce your current networking activities.

This course focuses on:
– Leveraging introductions, profiles and applications on LinkedIn
– Exploring the people, company and job search function
– Using the answers and groups to develop an online reputation

To get the most out of this webinar, you will want to have a LinkedIn profile and some familiarity with the site.

Choose from one of two sessions on Thursday, May 13, 2010:

12:00pm – 1:30pm Central Time  Register Here

6:00pm – 7:30pm Central Time  Register Here

Unavailable to view the live webinar? Register here to receive a full webinar recording.  The recording link will be sent 1-3 business days after the webinar.

All registrants for the live webinars will receive a link to the recording 1-3 business days after the webinar.

$15 for alumni and friends
$5 for current Northwestern students

Webinar Information
A webinar is an online event requiring a computer, Internet access and functional speakers or headphones.  The audio is not available via phone, so no phone access is needed.

Space for the live webinars is limited!

Questions? Contact careers@alumni.northwestern.edu or 847-491-5648.

If you need to cancel your webinar registration, the deadline to cancel and receive a full refund is Monday, May 10.

Networking Naturally Program Spring 2010
May 4, 11 & 18, 2010

Join fellow Northwestern alumni in going beyond the basics of networking to mastering the principles, strategies and tools that will help you succeed now and far into the future.

In Networking Naturally, a three-part webinar series presented by Carol Ross (McC83, 87), experienced career coach, social entrepreneur and founder of My Alumni Link, you will learn to create and nurture the connections needed to thrive in hard times.

Session topics include:
. May 4:   Avoid Common Traps in Networking
. May 11: Create Meaningful Conversations and  Develop Lasting Connections
. May 18: In-Person + Online Networking – Put it All Together

Choose one of two session times:

Midday Sessions:
1pm ET/12noon CT/11am MT/10am PT
Register Here

Evening Sessions: 7pm ET/6pm CT/5pm MT/4pm PT  Register Here

Each session is 75 minutes, with time for questions.

All sessions will be recorded, and the link will be sent after the webinars. If you sign up for one session but are unable to attend one of the webinars, you may attend the other webinar offered that same day.

Registration closes on May 2, 2010.

For Northwestern alumni and friends, My Alumni Link is offering a special rate of $35 for the three-part program.

Visit us online for information, testimonials from past participants, and to register.

Questions? Please contact careers@alumni.northwestern.edu or 847-491-5648

*And now for some good leads to wrap up this work week:

*Westat in Rockville has an opening for a proposal editor/coordinator:

Proposal Editor/Coordinator
Westat – Rockville, MD
Proposal Editor/Coordinator Department Code JE Job Status Full-Time Job Description A Proposal Editor… proposals. A Proposal Editor must have a bachelor’s…
From washingtonpost.com

*Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security office in Arlington has two communications positions open:


*A professional society in Arlington is looking for a Web communications manager:
In our new world of virtual communication, many associations are developing web-based research portals for members to access real-time data. This national professional society based in Arlington, VA is answering the clarion call from their 50,000+ members to provide a clearinghouse of information that will answer their daily business questions. In response, the association has created a new position whose goal is to develop an online resource library.

The library will be fashioned by researching member needs (primarily by phone and in-person), resource compilation, categorizing, writing, tracking analytics and keeping the material fresh and current. Once created, this online resource library will be marketed to members by this person.

The successful candidate will exhibit vigorous research abilities – a hunter of data – along with an effervescent, winning personality eager to engage members by phone and in-person at their annual conference. The ability to dig for details and easily strike up conversations should be accompanied by strong skills in writing, summarizing, project tracking and organizing information in a user-friendly manner.


*   Conduct member surveys/polls by phone, in person and online where needed, to key member segments to learn what types of sample documents should be solicited and maintained on the association’s online library.
*   Liaise with internal departments and affiliates to learn of resources that may be appropriate for the library.
*   Develop procedures for the acquisition, evaluation and management of the online models and samples library.
*   Review, edit, prepare and upload member contributed samples.
*   Write summaries of resources, including longer documents when needed such as white papers.
*   Coordinate with Web editor to categorize, tag and organize library content.
*   Utilize search engine optimization techniques to effectively tag articles for site search.
*   Ensure that library content is updated regularly with content that is timely, fresh and relevant.
*   Track usage analytics.  Prepare and distribute report to key staff for review.
*   Serve as trainer, advocate, and educator for other staff, leaders and members on use of online tools.
*   Post magazine articles and other newsletters to Web site archives.
*   Provide guidance and assistance to Web site users regarding general and specific information about the library and its resources.
*   Develop and implement a marketing plan to solicit sample documents from member companies.


*   Bachelor’s degree required. Journalism, Communication, or Library Science majors preferred.
*   Minimum five (5) years experience in a related role required.
*   Strong writing and editing skills.
*   Outgoing personality and strong communication skills to interact with key stakeholders.
*   Experience with research and project management.
*   Must be organized and detail-oriented.
*   Computer proficient, including Microsoft Work, Excel, and basic HTML.
*   Must be capable of working independently in a demanding, priority-driven department.
*   Customer service oriented.

Salary is commensurate with approximately 5-7 years of working experience after college. Solid benefits include 401(k) match up to 5%, paid parking or metro subsidy, and tuition reimbursement.

Email resume, cover letter including salary requirements to Shira Harrington, Managing Director, Association & HR Practice, Armstrong Franklin, at shira@armstrongfranklin.net<mailto:shira@armstrongfranklin.net> with subject line: “Web Communications Manager.” NOTE: official internal position title is “Online Resource Manager.”

*With a hat tip to journalismjobs.com (for these final two leads), FDAnews in Falls Church has an opening for an editor and proofreader for books and management reports. This sounds like a good opportunity for someone starting out and trying to build their editorial experience:

Company: FDAnews
Books Associate Editor
Falls Church, Virginia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: $30,000 to $35,000
Ad Expires:
May 26, 2010
Job ID: 1164975
Website: http://fdanews.com

Healthcare B2B publisher is seeking an experienced editor and proofreader for our books and management reports. Other duties include proofreading marketing copy, research, fact-checking of editorial content. The ideal candidate will be familiar with B2B publishing in the healthcare space, and experienced in editing. We use a combination of AP and house style. Part-time hours are possible. Benefits include health insurance, dental, 401k, vacation, etc. To apply, please send cover letter, resume and salary requirements via e-mail to kharrington@fdanews.com. No phone calls, please. FDAnews is the premier provider of domestic and international regulatory, legislative and business news and information for executives in industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Commission’s European Medicines Agency.

*And today’s final lead — National Defense magazine has an opening in its Arlington office for a staff writer/editor:

Company: National Defense Magazine
Staff Reporter
DC Metro Area, Virginia
Job Status: Full-time
Salary: $45,000 to $50,000
Ad Expires:
May 26, 2010
Job ID: 1164924
Website: http://www.NationalDefenseMagazine.org

Before you read this ad, one word of caution: This is not a conventional reporting job. We are a specialized publication (both print and web) that covers defense industry, technology, policy, military programs and homeland security.

It is a job that requires a dedicated, highly motivated journalist who is willing to learn about complex topics and is able to turn arcane information into well-organized and cleanly written news stories.

The position opening is for a full-time staff writer/editor. Schedule is 40 hours a week. Candidates will be evaluated based on their reporting/writing skills and their demonstrated ability to produce clean copy that needs minimal editing. The job requires a self-motivated candidate who can act as self-editor and fact-checker. Candidates must be able to take direction and work collaboratively in a small staff. Ability to multitask is critical. Knowledge of military/defense issues is a plus but not required. Assignments range from weekly news features about military and homeland security programs/trends/technologies to short news briefs and web posts. Candidates should be prepared to hit the ground running.

Occasional long-distance travel is required, as well as use of personal automobile (mileage is reimbursed) for local travel.

Salary is based on experience and qualifications. Benefits include health plan, paid vacation and 401k. Convenient location by Courthouse Metro, in Arlington, VA

National Defense has 50,000 subscribers and 65,000 online readers. It provides authoritative, non-partisan coverage of business and technology trends in U.S. defense. National Defense is published by the National Defense Industrial Association, a non- profit educational organization.

Please send cover letter, resume, published clips, and professional references to Editor@NationalDefenseMagazine.org All candidates must complete a job application. NDIA is an equal opportunity employer.

Happy hunting and have a relaxing weekend!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

What job hunters can learn from house hunters How to network with the well-networked

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