Dos and Don’ts: When Yankee Swap Goes Bad

December 18th, 2015 No comments

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / AleutieMy mother once related to me a story of a Yankee swap gone awry: having gone first and at the mercy of her coworkers, she ended up with a first aid kit from the Ted, the weird guy in accounting.

Whether you’re stressing about the company party’s Yankee swap or still searching for a job, Christmas gifts are always a challenge to select. Never fear, for StartWire and friends have some ideas to help stoke the holiday cheer!

Jobs2Careers recently published a list of 25 sure-fire hits for when you’re stumped. You may even be tempted to get yourself a little something off this list!

If you’re of a more surreal bent, check out CareerBuilder’s list of some of the weirdest gifts exchanged at the workplace. Ceramic dress-up sheep for everyone!

Above all, a Christmas gift should be memorable. ThinkGeek is a great place for gifts to capture your nerdy fancy. A deep delve into the recesses of Amazon can also reveal some truly unusual Secret Santa presents.

A happy holidays from all here at StartWire, and don’t be like Ted (unless it’s hilarious)!

Happy Thanksgiving from StartWire!

November 25th, 2015 No comments

Turkey - ThanksgivingWith Thanksgiving approaching and heralding the holiday season, many job seekers grow discouraged and put their search on hold until the New Year. It makes sense at first–with people getting ready for the holidays, job seekers conclude that it’s nigh impossible to get in front of a hiring manager.

What if instead of putting your search on hold, you changed your tactics a bit?

The holidays are a fabulous time to network. With food and cheer aplenty, take advantage of the good feeling and tap into your personal and extended networks. Relatives, friends, and friends of friends can all be good sources of leads in this time. Who knows, a casual chat at Thanksgiving could blossom into a referral.

The relaxing of businesses’ schedules can also be used to your advantage. Now is a great time to set up an informal meeting or tour around a workplace. A recruiter’s slower inbox can mean your follow-up email is more likely to stick–and get a response. Even reaching out with a season’s greeting is a great move!

Above all, have a great Thanksgiving–eat some good food, spend some time with the family, and don’t go too crazy on Black Friday.

Application Black Hole – How to Start Hearing Back

September 7th, 2015 No comments

8214124711_a9f6738627_nThe Application Black Hole

If you’re like most job seekers, as soon as you hit the apply button on a job, your brain is flooded with questions. “Did they get my resume?” “Where do I stand?” “Am I still in the running?”

This is the Application Black Hole – the bane of online job search.

Happily, StartWire can help.

We connect with the recruiting systems used by more than 12,000 companies we can let you know if they got your resume, if you are still in the running, or even if they want to chat about an interview.. We are adding more ‘supported’ companies every day.

Here’s how it works

Tell us where you have applied. If you’ve applied to company that is in our ‘blackhole’ network, we will let you know.  Just follow the online instructions and we’ll provide you with updates via email or text message.

All your information is safely organized at your StartWire account where you can also track applications on your own, and quickly print out your Job Search History Report with just a few clicks.

If you need help, reach out to us by clicking on Feedback and Support.

It’s time for you to conquer the Application Black Hole so get tracking!

If you don’t already have an account, head over to StartWire for your free account.

StartWire Launches Job Search Video Series

July 25th, 2015 No comments


Wondering where we have been?

At StartWire we have been hard at work bringing you the tools you need for a successful job search and to get hired fast. While we have the blog, we wanted to offer our job seekers something more. We wanted to give everyone the knowledge of what is happening behind the scenes during the recruiting and hiring process.

So we came up with a set of Videos that are now live on the StartWire site – Unlike other sites that charge you for this information, we thought the best way to help someone during one of the most stressful time in their lives would be to let them know we are truly here to help.

In the upcoming blogs, I’m going to discuss some of the topics found in the videos around your resume, networking, search tips and interviewing.

We tried to pack as much information in the videos as possible but we know that there is so much more. So we’ll use the blog to expand on some of these topics.

Look for videos on interviewing and networking to go live later this summer.

Do you have any questions or thoughts on these strategies? What’s worked for you? Let us know!

4 Tips for Email Best Practices

February 10th, 2014 No comments



Are you following the best practices for email?

Email is a popular way to correspond in a business setting, but it can also be the most flexible form of communication with rules that differ from company-to-company and person-to-person. For example, do you wonder, should I be responding via email or by phone? What should I include in the subject line of my emails?


4 Tips to Improve your Emailing:


1) Short subject lines vs. detailed

Keep your subject lines short and to the point if you have an email with detailed content to share. If your recipient is busy, a brief subject line might increase chances that your email gets clicked and read. Whereas a longer and more detailed subject line might encourage your recipient to put off the email to when they’re less occupied.

However, if you have a quick and short message to share, it pays to be a little more detailed in the subject line. Type your message in the subject line and close it with an EOM (end of message) instead.

2) Keep email recipients in mind.

Take note of the Reply and Reply all options. If you don’t want everybody in the email thread to get your response, opt to hit “Reply” instead.

3) Informative Signature.

Your signature should include all methods of contact that you’d like to be reached at. This includes, phone number, email address, website and title.

4) Know when to opt for other forms of communication.

If your message requires a quick response or a back and forth exchange.. it might be better to opt for a phone call or face-to-face meeting. Email is a great tool to get a message across, but is a medium that takes away tone of voice and emotion.


For more resources, here is a great article that lists 10 musts to make people love your emails.

Read on for 10 tips on how to get people to love your emails!

Categories: Networking & Social Tags:

Dress For Success At Any Professional Setting

October 17th, 2013 No comments

It’s October and the weather sure is getting colder, but interviews, first days of work, and networking events still loom around the corner. How do you dress to achieve success in these professional settings?

Your attire can speak numbers of your professionalism. Wearing the right attire can improve the impressions you make during an interview or in the office with your boss and coworkers. Furthermore, the right attire can help boost your own self-perception and confidence, allowing you to be at the top of your game.

Let’s take a look at how we can dress for success and be prepared for any professional occasion.


How to Dress to Impress During a Job Interview

During an interview, first impressions can make or break the interview.  A well-dressed candidate immediately gets placed into higher consideration compared to the candidate who overlooks this area.

Men’s Interview Attire

  • Wear a solid two-piece suit. Think neutral colors, such as black, navy, grey, or cream.
  • Pair it with a long sleeve dress shirt in either white, solid light blue, or conservative stripes.
  • Color coordinate with a solid or neutral colored tie. Some designs are acceptable, but keep them minimal.
  • Wear dark socks that are mid-calf length to prevent skin from showing when sitting down.
  • Wear comfortable business shoes, preferably black (Tip: Invest in a quality pair because good shoes can be worn for years.).
  • Double check that your nails are neat and trimmed.
  • Carry a portfolio or briefcase with paper and pen prepared to jot down notes.
  • Pay attention to any strong scents, such as aftershave or cologne. Overpowering scents can make a negative impression.

Women’s Interview Attire

  • Wear a solid two-piece suit. Think neutral colors, such as black, navy, grey, or cream.
  • Pair it with a blouse in either white, solid light blue, or conservative stripes.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, preferably those that have been worn for a couple of times so you’re not distracted by pain some new shoes cause.
  • If wearing a skirt, always make sure to wear tan or light stocking.
  • Avoid flashy jewelry and instead opt for conservative ones. You don’t want your jewelry to distract the employer from what you’re saying.
  • Don’t over do any fragrances because everyone has different tastes and what smells pleasant to you may be overwhelming for the interviewer.
  • Double check that your nails are neatly trimmed or manicured.
  • Pair your outfit with a conservative bag or portfolio and make sure to slip in a pen and paper for any note-taking!
business attire

Examples of proper interview attire for men and women.

How to Dress to Impress During Your First Day of Work

If you can’t ask ahead for the right dress code, try to recall how your coworkers and interviewers were dressed during the interview. For the first day, it’s always better to be overdressed rather than underdressed. So a safe bet for men is wearing a two piece suit in neutral colors, such as black, navy or grey and pairing it off with a long sleeved dress shirt. Match your outfit with a conservative tie. If you feel overdressed, you can always lose the suit and tie. For women, wear a neutral colored two-piece suit with a dress shirt and some comfortable shoes. You never know how many people you might meet on the first day, so looking well-dressed and wearing comfortable shoes are both important elements to a first day.

How to Dress to Impress During a Networking Event

The great thing about networking events is that they usually have a dress code you can find out in advance. These can range from business formal, business casual, and smart casual.

Business Formal

For men:

  • two-piece suit
  • dress shirt
  • conservative tie
  • leather shoes and dark socks

For women:

  • two-piece suit with dress shirt or business-style dress with a suit jacket
  • heels or conservative flats
  • stockings when wearing a dress

Business Casual

For men:

  • seasonal sport coat or blazer
  • dress shirt, casual button-down shirt, or polo shirt
  • slacks or khakis
  • loafers or loafer-style shoes and socks
  • ties are optional

For women:

  • open-collar shirt, dress shirt, sweater, or knit shirt
  • skirt, khakis or pants
  • casual-style dress
  • heels or conservative flats

Smart Casual

For men:

  • seasonal sport coat or blazer
  • button-down shirt or polo
  • slacks
  • ties are optional

For women:

  • dressy top with skirt
  • dressy top with nice jeans or pants
  • flats or heels

Happy July 4th: 3 Ways to Successfully Approach your Job Search

July 3rd, 2013 No comments



It’s easy for employers to get distracted this week and month. The country is gearing up to celebrate as July 4 rounds the corner, and as the weather is getting warmer, employers are off to take their summer vacations.

What does this mean for your job search?


If you’ve been in a long job search, I say take a little break on July 4 weekend.

Treat yourself to something nice and get your mind off of the job search. Sometimes it helps to step away from a project, and then come back when your mind is refreshed – This will help you see things in a newer perspective. Just as college students are advised to take a day away from their papers before coming back to proofread, your job search can also benefit from a new pair of eyes.

If you’re committed to working throughout the holidays, I suggest: Apply to the job as soon as you see it.

Once the job is posted, this is a clear sign to you that this employer is active, even when everyone else is on vacation. This can signal a need to fill a position as soon as possible.

Also, since this is the time of year where many people are taking a break, this means that there are less applicants to compete with, and you’re more likely to capture the attention of the recruiter.

If you’re going to any July 4 social gatherings, take this time to network.

The holidays always encourage people to throw parties and social gatherings for their friends. Treat these as a good time to meet new faces, and also as networking opportunities. You might not like to share that you’re unemployed, but you can frame it in a way that shows you are productively spending this time to explore a new opportunity, such as a career change.

Many jobs aren’t posted online, so the best way to hear about some opportunities is through word of mouth. Referrals are also a smart way to get your resume to the top of the pile, as employers are more likely to trust a candidate suggested by a current successful employer.

Regardless of how you approach your job search, make sure to enjoy the fireworks and warm weather!

5 Action Strategies for Your Job Search (Or Love Life)

February 12th, 2013 No comments

Today’s post is a nod to Valentine’s Day, a day that may be the most emotionally charged holiday on the American calendar. If you’re in Photo of two swans with necks touching as they swim on lake, courtesy of photophilde on Flickrlove and you are loved, Valentine’s Day can feel like the most wonderful day of the year. If you’re single and would prefer not to be, Valentine’s Day can feel lonely and isolating. You may feel the same way about Monday: If you like what you do, you may look forward to Monday. If you don’t, you may dread it!

We see strong parallels between job search and dating: Both are fundamentally awkward processes in which you can make big decisions in a short amount of time – based on first impressions and the answers to a handful of questions.

Many employers make hiring decisions for full-time positions after spending less than two hours with a candidate. Can you imagine deciding to spend 40 hours or more with a person every week – after one date? It’s like deciding to move in with someone you just met!

We created StartWire to help you have an easier experience in your job search. Here are five strategies you can use in your work life – borrow as you see fit if you’d like to adapt for your love life.

  1. Remember that who you choose to spend your time with is a mutually selective process: You get to choose whether to accept job offers, just as employers get to choose if they want to work with you! As you interview for jobs, take a minute to observe others and assess your environment: Are the people you meet people you can see yourself working with on a daily basis? Do people who work together appear to like each other and get along?  Can you see yourself feeling happy doing the type of work they would like you to do?
  2. When you like someone, it’s okay to tell them. Just as people often respond positively to compliments when dating, saying why you like a company may help you land a job offer. Have you purchased and enjoyed one of the company’s products? Do you admire programs and initiatives they sponsor or the community work they do as volunteers? If you see something, say something – on your cover letter, in a thank you note, or on their Facebook page. Sincere compliments often build good feelings.
  3. Let your friends know what you’re looking for – and ask for help when you need it. Do you have a skill that comes easily to you – and a strong idea of the type of work environment you’d like to work in? Give people you know a sense of what you’re looking for so that they can help you – especially if you’ve already applied. Getting props from others – and a referral into a job – is a faster way to get hired than doing it alone.
  4. Until you decide to be exclusive, play the field. Just as employers typically look at more than one candidate for a position, it’s okay for you to look at more than one job. Focusing on only one opportunity at a time can leave you feeling like a swooning seventh grader in the throes of unrequited love. Do you find yourself staring at your phone, checking your email every 15 minutes, and wondering when someone will have the decency to follow-up as days turn into weeks? Sign-up for StartWire’s free service that enables you to get updates on your application status. The service is now available for over 8,200 employers. Then use our Express Apply feature to identify other positions of interest – and apply.
  5. Get out of the house. Many job seekers find that the simple act of adding a volunteer position to their resume results in more callbacks from potential employers. Attend events related to your field – or areas of interest. The more activities you participate in, the more you’ll meet people who can help you achieve your goals.

These are five strategies that we find useful. Do you have any observations or tips that have worked for you? Share.



Turning Lemons Into Lemonade: How to Sweeten a Sour Experience in Your Job Search

January 15th, 2013 No comments

Looking for a new job without a perfect work history? You’re not alone…Even legendary leaders Lou Holtz, Steve Jobs, and Michael Bloomberg have been fired! And as for the widely-quoted statistic that most Americans can expect to work in at least 11 jobs over the course lemonade_smallof a lifetime…it’s also been said that most people can expect to be fired or laid-off once or twice.

As with many things in life, it’s not how you fall down — but how you get back up on your feet that ultimately matters most. We scoured the web for different perspectives on how to get back up if you’ve run into an awkward situation with a former boss or employer. Here are five different strategies on how you can turn your own career lemon into lemonade:

1. Get distance and the perspective of time. Then preserve relationships if you can.

Rough work experience can leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Give yourself time to process it — and when you do speak of it, avoid making a face!

“Don’t do anything rash or bitter. As satisfying as it might be to send former co-workers or client lists an email about everything that’s wrong with that company, don’t do it. You need to protect your reputation now more than ever, and a bitter, hostile exit will make that impossible…

…Think about who you want to keep in touch with from your last job—not just co-workers, but clients and vendors too. Reach out to them. A good way to mitigate awkwardness with former co-workers who might be unsure how to handle your firing: Tell them what you liked about working with them and why they are good at what they do. People will be impressed by your classiness.”

– Alison Green, U.S. News.  Ten Things You Should Do Immediately After Getting Fired

2. You should hear (and see) how they’ll talk about you.

“If you have been fired or terminated, check with your former employer and ask what information they will give out when they get a call to verify your work history. If they do give out more information than the basics, what they say may be negotiable and it can’t hurt to ask. When you left under difficult circumstances, you could ask someone you know to call and check your references; that way you’ll know what information is going to come out. Or, you can also use a reference checking service to check on what will be disclosed to future employers.”

– Alison Doyle, What Can Employers Say About Former Employees?

3. Don’t say why you left on your resume.

“The general rule when discussing having lost a job is to be honest but brief. Note that there’s no need to list how you left a job on a resume, but be prepared for the question to occur in an interview. It really helps to have a standard answer available so you can comfortably answer the question, and then move on to other more positive topics.”

– WiseGEEKShould I Tell a Potential Employer that I was Fired from a Job?

Focus on the what instead of the when and where.

Have a long gap between jobs? Create “a resume that highlights qualifications rather than work history.”

– Elisabeth Sanders-Park, author of No One is Unemployable and The Six Reasons You’ll Get the Job.

4. When asked about your career lemon, be brief and objective.

“The economy has pushed many talented professionals into the workforce, so don’t be ashamed to simply explain that you were a part of a downsizing. If you were fired for performance issues, it’s best to merely say you “parted ways” and refocus the discussion on how your skill set matches the current position.”

– Tony Lee, CareerCast, The Ten Toughest Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

5. Hold your head up high.

“People who are laid off and people who get fired should follow the same rules as people who quit. You should just act like you quit. The world does not need to hear what the terms of departure are. People just want to know what you are doing with your life and how you fit in with them.”

– Penelope Trunk, The Best Way to Deal with Getting Fired

Do you have other suggestions and strategies for avoiding negative pitfalls with past employers?







How to Find Community in Your Job Search

December 18th, 2012 No comments

This week, we drive the dark away.1156018_burning_candles

On the calendar, we mark the longest day of the year — the Winter Solstice. Here in New England, we have only nine hours of daylight a day; in Alaska there’s an average of 5.5 hours. As a majority of us wake in the dark and eat supper in the dark, it’s instinctive to seek out opportunities to gather together.

As Susan Cooper says in this poem:


And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.

This year, many of the gatherings held during this darkest week of the year are also to grieve and honor those who lost their lives in Newtown, CT. Many friends, neighbors, and previous strangers will stand side-by-side to support one another and foster community.

Are there lessons in these holiday gatherings and candlelight vigils for your job search? I say yes; they demonstrate the power of community – a force you can make work for you throughout the year. Here’s how to create it – even if you don’t have it now.

Join a Job Club!

Dick Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute? says job clubs have an up to 84% success rate for members seeking work.  Here are three reasons why a good job club can be helpful.

    1. They raise the spirits.If you find the psychological process of looking for a job to be as challenging as applying for jobs – and many people do – job clubs can help you feel that you are not alone.  Many who join job clubs say they provide a greater sense of connection, community, and support.
    2. Networking.Think networking with others who are out-of-work or actively looking won’t be helpful? Think again. Most often, your fellow job club members will be looking for different kinds of jobs than you are. These individuals aren’t the competition; they are teammates – who can help you with the application process and refer you to opportunities they hear about that are a fit for you.
    3. They can help you keep your game up.Want to make sure you optimize your job applications and your LinkedIn profile? Job search club organizers provide programming that can help you stay on top of the latest trends and get you noticed.

Want to get started? You can find a directory of job clubs here. You can also search for “Careers & Business” groups on or use these additional suggestions.

Try it out, and let us know how it works for you!

Networking & Social