‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: Where can I go to get a good-quality, affordable mock interview? (I am no longer in school.) — Breddy J.T.: Let's start with FREE resources. Start by checking out your local staffing agencies. Oftentimes, they offer free services to help job seekers prepare for interviews. Also, check your newspaper and its Web site — there are lots of great seminars and training being offered for free right now. Dale: There may be an option that's better than free — the chance to gain interviewing skills while networking. Let me back up and say that many job seekers are frustrated and even resentful that they don't get more help from the people they know. They say, "I contacted 50 friends, relatives and former co-workers, and I haven't gotten a single job lead!" It isn't that your contacts don't want to help; they just don't know the right job openings. In fact, many of them aren't even sure what type of job or company would suit you. So, if you go to your executive contacts and ask for assistance in preparing for interviews, not only will it enable them to come through for you, but a mock interview will educate them as to the type of position you're seeking. J.T.: Beyond that, you can hire a career coach. It's more affordable than most people realize, and can give you a real advantage in this job market. This is especially true for people just out of college or early in their career. As we say at the Web site I founded, CAREEREALISM.com, "College teaches you everything EXCEPT how to get the job." That's why I have assembled a list of approved experts who can offer help with interview skills. (Go to CAREEREALISM.com, click on "Career Experts" and select the "Interview Prep Experts" section. You'll find people who specialize in mock interviews, either in person or over the phone.) Dale: Interviewing is a special skill. In this market, there are plenty of applicants with appropriate job skills, so how does a hiring manager break the tie? The offer often goes to the applicant with the best interviewing skills. Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten's latest book is "(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success" (John Wiley & Sons). Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
January 02, 2010