How To Write Effective Interview Questions

interview questions and answers info graphic

How to write interview questions

You could use the same list of interview questions that everyone uses, or you could create a strategy to ferret out candidates that aren’t a good and specific fit for the role and your company. Having more specific questions will make you more informed in your hiring decisions, and hopefully, more successful in hiring the right candidate. Here are the steps you should take when writing interview questions that promote quality answers:

1. Establish your needs and wants

Each job is different and every company has its own culture. Knowing what your company wants and needs from its employees will help you write more effective questions. Start conceptualizing just this by asking yourself the following questions:

2. Assess the job opening

Though company culture may remain more consistent, employee roles have a more dynamic nature. Take time to assess what the job entails: its needs, functions and goals. A good way to approach this is to list the job tasks and qualifications needed to make this role successful.

*Qualifications: Associate degree or equivalent, communication skills, ability to multitask, organization skills, customer service experience, basic knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel*

3. Consider the potential employee

Now you know what you want, consider who you want. Each position requires a certain level of skill and understanding, so finding an employee who meets or exceeds your expectations is important. It is important to avoid relying solely on an applicant’s qualifications when writing your interview questions. You should also consider the type of employee you want for this position. Ask yourself questions similar to the following:

4. Write your interview questions

As the interviewer, you set the tone for your interview. If you are more laid-back, the interviewee is more likely to be laid-back. The same goes for a more serious tone. With this in mind, structure your questions to mirror your work environment, language and company culture. You may work at a law firm and structure your questions to heavily focus on education and experience. If you work in a customer service call center, you may focus more on attitude and behavior.

Start with the basics

Getting the small things out of the way, in the beginning, helps with introductions between you and your interviewee. Whether you adopt a serious or laid-back position, consider starting with some of the following:

Inquire about interests

Learning why candidates are interested in the job opening, your particular field or the company can help reveal their motives, attitude and intentions. This can either be surface-level or may involve a bit more questioning. Here are good interest-based questions to consider using:

Ask qualifying questions

Once you’ve become acquainted with one another, it’s time to discuss qualifications, skills and experience. These questions should be specific to the job description and the candidate’s background.

Ask questions of character

Again, candidates who meet your qualifications are great, but you also need to know what kind of worker they are. Choosing situation- or circumstance-based questions to transition into can help give you an idea of your candidate’s potential assets or set-backs.

Goal-based questions

Asking questions about your interviewee’s future career plans and goals can help you determine if they will be the right fit for the position. Here are some ways you could ask these questions:

Closing questions

No matter the tone of the interview, it’s important to close things on a positive note. The below example displays just a few ways you can approach this before ending your interview:

5. Reflect on your questions

Once you have written your interview questions, take a moment to analyze each one, the reasoning behind it and the way it may be received by your interviewee. Here are some other things to consider during this process:

Assume your interviewee is an intelligent person

This person has acquired an interview with you, so they are already on the right track. Use language that illustrates you think highly of them and remember to remain interested when it comes time for the actual interview.

Consider your time

Respect your interviewee

It takes courage to interview for a job. From the preparation to the actual meeting, the best candidates put effort into making a good first impression during their interview. With this in mind, do the same and come to your interview prepared. This helps solidify your integrity, as well as the integrity of your organization.

Have a back-up plan

Even with preparation, not all things go as planned. Your interview may be running behind schedule, or perhaps the interviewee reveals relevant information that pushes you to ask a different set of questions. Having more than one plan for how you can approach your interview can help you remain on track and in control of the process.

How to Answer 14 Most Common Interview Questions [+ Sample Answers]

In this section, we’re going to go through 14 of the most common job interview questions and answers. We’re going to explain what the HR manager wants to see in you, as well as give you sample answers you could use.

1) Tell me something about yourself.

However, recruitment managers are not looking for your whole life story, your third-grade achievements, or what you had for dinner last night. Instead, they are looking for a pitch.

This is usually the first question asked in an interview, so it acts as your introduction. Make sure your answer is relevant to the position you are applying for. What you should be aiming for here is to present yourself as the ideal candidate for the job.

For example, at Company X, I led a project for migrating all operations data to a new data warehousing system to cut down on costs. The new solution was a much better fit for our business, which eventually led to savings of up to $200,000 annually.

I have just graduated with honors in Biochemistry. I know my way around a lab and have had multiple opportunities to put my knowledge into practice as a chemistry research assistant.

The lab felt like home, which is why I’d love to work as a lab assistant. I am passionate, hard-working, and extremely responsible. I am also looking forward to putting to practice all the things I learned during my time at university.

2) How did you hear about this position?

Even if you haven’t been continuously refreshing the company’s website for job listings, make it seem like you have (in a professional way, of course). Show excitement and curiosity.

So, mention his/her name and his/her position inside the company and give their reasoning for inviting or recommending you to apply for the position. Tell the hiring managers what excites you about the job opportunity or what exactly caught your eye.

“I heard from Jim Doe, my old colleague and college friend, that [Company X] was looking for a new sales director. He encouraged me to apply, saying that my experience managing a sales team at [Some Software Company] would be helpful for [Company X].

3) Why did you decide to apply for this position?

What the interviewer is looking for here is to see how passionate you are about the job or the company. After all, job performance is directly linked to job satisfaction. The happier you are about your position at the company, the more productive you’ll be.

When you’re talking to a person that’s passionate about something, you can pretty much feel them glow as they talk. And if you’re an HR manager who’s interviewed hundreds of people, this is a very good sign to hire the candidate.

Keep in mind, though, that if you don’t know much about the company or the position – that’s OK too. Just be honest and show your passion for the job. However, it’s always better to do your homework before going to an interview..

4) What are your biggest strengths?

There are two answers you could go for here: what your actual strengths are, and what you think the hiring manager or HR representative wants to hear. We would most certainly suggest you go with the first answer.

For this question, you would want to narrow your answer down to at most three strengths. Pick 1 or 2 skills that would help you really excel at the job, and 1 or 2 personal (more or less unrelated) skills.

top strengths for different fields

My biggest strength is that I’m good at picking up new skills. I’ve worked a variety of different odd jobs – things like working as a waiter, house-keeper, cook, and a lot more (as you’ve probably seen on my resume).

As an event manager at Company X, we were organizing an IT conference for a client. There were a ton of last-minute hiccups – some speakers canceled and the catering company said they’d be late for the lunch break. On top of that, we were understaffed because 2 of our volunteer organizers got sick and couldn’t show up.

At that point, things looked so bleak that we were considering canceling the event or postponing it. Instead, I took the initiative in my hands and sorted through the problems one by one.

5) What is your biggest weakness?

And NO: fake humble-brag weaknesses don’t count as weaknesses. You can’t just say that your biggest weakness is that you work too hard, or that you’re a perfectionist.

The key here is to mention a weakness that’s real, but not something that would get in the way of you doing your job. You wouldn’t want to say you’re bad at math if you’re applying for an accountant position, would you

What is your experience with social media?

Writing is a form of communicating, and many writers are expected to know the major social media platforms so they can get their work out into the world and make it accessible to different audiences. Highlight all the platforms you know, big and small, and if you have any particular insights to share, go for it.

“I know all the basic platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I’m well versed in writing for a specific platform, ensuring Instagram posts are image-focused, Twitter posts are succinct, and LinkedIn posts are purely professional. At my last internship, I used HootSuite to preschedule my posts to ensure consistency and quality.”

Whether you’re seeking to write the next great American novel or the next viral social media post, getting a writing internship is a key first step in your writing career. If you research the company and have strong answers for these 10 questions—and know your way around an Oxford comma—you’ll be well on your way.


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How to Make a Hard Decision

pros and cons list selection of the optimal solutions, weighing the facts clipboard and pencil flat design

How To Make a Hard Decision in the Workplace

Making decisions in the workplace can sometimes be challenging, but developing the ability to make good decisions in any situation can help you in your career. The greater the impact of your decisions, the harder they can be to make. It’s important to learn how to make decisions, feel confident in your decisions and stand by them. When you do, you can more easily demonstrate your leadership abilities to others on your team. In this article, we explore proactive strategies to help you make hard decisions confidently and efficiently.

There are plenty of choices that you will have to make in the workplace every day but luckily there are also many different methods for making those decisions. Here are some ways you can make hard decisions more easily and be happier with the outcomes:

How to make hard decisions

1. First, set aside time to think

Tough decisions can seem even more difficult when they are time-sensitive. In fact, oftentimes a hard decision can feel urgent, regardless of the presence of time constraints. This can all add up to feeling like you lack the time necessary to truly weigh all of the options. However, making decisions is a task that deserves your dedicated attention.

It can be helpful to schedule a time in your day or week that is devoted to making the hard decision. Depending on the magnitude of the problem, you may need more time. For example, a small decision may only require 30 minutes to an hour of your day, while a larger decision could necessitate a few hours of dedicated time each week for two or three weeks. Regardless of the attention required, block the time off in your calendar and regularly add it to your to-do list.

2. Second, define the issue and the decision

Before you can make a truly informed decision, you’ll first want to view the situation comprehensively. It’s important to take some time to fully grasp the choice that you are making. A helpful way to do this is to list out the key factors that are involved or will be affected by the decision you are making. By detailing all aspects of your choice, you will be equipped with a better understanding of the problem, which could provide you with the clarity that you need to make a decision.

3. Third, consider all of your options

Though there are some decisions that require a simple yes or no answer, there are often alternative options that are possibly less obvious at first. In fact, there are some situations that can resolve themselves without requiring you to make an actual decision. Spend some time brainstorming all of the solutions, including compromises and letting the choice pass, before reaching a final decision.

4. Fourth, rely on your values

When faced with a difficult choice, it can be easy to forget about the values and guidelines that should lead all decisions for yourself and/or your company. Take some time to think about whether a decision will infringe on these predetermined values. It’s possible that your values have already made the choice for you before you could realize it.

5. Fifth, talk through the issue

If you tend to process information verbally, it may be helpful to adopt the strategy of discussion. By talking through the decision and all of the elements involved, you may be able to reach a decision much faster than if you contemplated it silently on your own.

To use this strategy, you just need to find a good listener who will allow you the space and time to hear your monologue. In fact, finding someone who is knowledgeable about the topic is unnecessary. You really just need someone who will listen and occasionally help you reflect on the thoughts you have shared. By the end of the exercise, you will likely come to a conclusion or, at the very least, have a much clearer idea of the issue you have been presented with.

6. Sixth, ask for another perspective

Though having someone who will listen can be helpful, sometimes you need a little more than that. Asking someone for their opinion about a decision can be beneficial if you are contemplating doing something for the first time and you know someone who has relevant experience to the situation you are facing. Asking for wise counsel can help you to make a more informed decision much quicker.

Though getting advice from others can be beneficial, avoid accepting their suggestions without careful consideration. Even if you decide that their proposed plan is undesirable for you, it could help you to realize the decision that you need and want to make.

7. Seventh, view the issue by using cause and effect

Along with considering all of the factors involved in a decision, it can be helpful to view the problem in terms of cause and effect. Take some time going through every solution and weigh the possible outcomes. If there are some decisions that result in more favorable consequences, that will help you eliminate and choose the best possible option.

A helpful way to approach this strategy for decision-making is to use a technique that allows you to think about the situation in if/then terms. For example, ‘If we cut this budget, then we will lose X and gain Y.’ Another strategy for using this technique is to create a pro/con list to consider all of the effects, both positive and negative, that each choice will carry.

8. Finally, use a timer

If you have thought through all of your options, solicited additional opinions, collected data and considered all possible outcomes but are still faced with uncertainty, it may be time to realize that the choice will remain unclear. In these situations, it can be the best practice to just commit and make a decision.

If you are able, you may want to minimize the decision, allowing you to test the choice without significant commitment or investment. However, it will be beneficial to make a decisive choice regardless. The time that you will save by finally reaching a decision will aid your productivity as well as your clarity.

Email a friend.

It’s not a lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, so yeah, you could text said friend or even meet up in person for a (socially distanced) coffee or walk. But when you’re choosing to, say, end a relationship—or make any decision that involves multiple people—it may be best to utilize human capital for help, Richardson says. Just be sure to ask someone who knows you and the other person well, is someone you trust to be honest, and who is completely neutral about the situation. Not only will that friend be able to think objectively, but they can also give you feedback based solely on the facts. (To really create an unbiased effect, Richardson says you could also email instead of talking face-to-face, as most people are more likely to give honest input that way.)

That said, keep your convos to just one or two confidantes, as Seide says too many opinions can add to your confusion. “When random people are weighing in on your deliberations—like your cousin, Uber driver, and the neighbor you never talked to before—you may be speaking to people who don’t truly know the inner workings of your life but won’t hesitate to offer an opinion anyway,” she explains. “These people just might be putting their fears and limiting beliefs onto you,” and could ultimately cause you to make a decision that isn’t necessarily the best.

Throw a dress rehearsal.

For more visual learners, Seide says it may be helpful to take a day to inhabit the results of a choice you’re thinking about making. Visualize how you would spend your day, considering who you would be interacting with, what you would wear, and where you would go. If you can, it may even be helpful to actually do all of those things.

“Try that life on as much as you possibly can and see what feelings come up,” she says. “Then, spend the next day in the other option, and tune into the emotions associated with that.” Doing so can reveal how you feel about your decision, which is just as important as the tangible details. Capitalizing on the opportunity to re-enact and sit with those feelings can help make your choice more clear.


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How to Educate Yourself and Be an Effective Self-Learner

How To Get To Know Yourself Better! 7 Steps To Self Awareness

How to Educate Yourself and Be an Effective Self-Learner

How to Educate Yourself and Be an Effective Self-Learner

Innovation and automation are everywhere in the many industries of the world. It’s a wonder watching it but, with it stems some problems with more and more people being replaced with robots and having to re-train or enter another field.

In order for people to do those things, most people often turn to go back to school rather than considering other options. While going back to school could be helpful, you can always consider learning how to educate yourself instead.

Maybe a long time ago that option wasn’t a reality, but with good quality information and other factors, educating yourself now is well worth considering. Even if you’re not in the market for a new job.

Can You Self-Educate without Going to College?

1. Stay Current on Industry News

The only thing to keep in mind with this is there are many ways to stay caught up in the industry. You don’t need to pay for subscriptions to several papers or magazines to stay caught up. Turn to social media and search for relevant hashtags or keywords, or sign up to news outlets mailing lists. There are plenty of free options.

2. Sign Up for Online Courses

Information has become so abundant that there are all kinds of courses available. Online learning is also a really effective way to learn these days. Some options you can turn to are sites like Udemy or Skillshare which have thousands of courses available. Here’re more sites for self-learning: 25 Killer Sites For Online Education

Some universities have even opened up courses online for free. One example of a site providing that is edX which has courses from MIT, Harvard, Berkeley University and others. And at Lifehack, we offer some free classes too.

3. Get a Mentor

Every industry has skilled individuals who are willing to teach others. Backed by years of experience in the field, they can pass down valuable lessons that no other classroom could teach you.

This is another strong method because a mentor is likely to stay ahead of the curve. Their years of experience and understanding of the industry can lead to more specific advice. After all, traditional colleges and universities tend to focus on widespread information rather than what you really need to know.

4. Take Up an Arts Class

  • You can do this solo. Done by yourself and taught by yourself has perks to it.
  • It is cheap to do. Want to be a better writer? Open up a document on your computer and start typing. You can do the same with any other device as well. Even if you’re looking to draw or paint art supplies aren’t that costly and you can pace yourself as much as you’d like.
  • You could meet other people. There are other writers, artists, singers and more in your town. It’s a matter of looking around for them.
  • You will learn new skills. All of these mediums provide various skills when you look at them. Not only that but you can also learn about yourself through this medium too.

5. Start Journalling

This doesn’t mean you have to journal about your day, but rather focus on the information that you learned that day — personal or otherwise. This is important because information only stays as relevant to us as long as we recall it and retain that information.

With this in mind, you can use the journal to jot down big lessons that day, quotes, or other little tidbits of information you want to remember. After that, be sure to check that journal once a week to go over what you’ve learned.

6. Always Be Looking Stuff Up

One other alternative to look at is bringing a dictionary or encyclopedia with you. The idea with this is to look up a new word and try to make a reference of it over the course of the day.

The Importance Of Self Awareness

As noted at the outset, increased self-awareness has wide-ranging positive ramifications. However, one of its most important consequences is increased emotional intelligence. When you’re more emotionally intelligent, you’re better able to identify and manage your feelings as they come up, neither repressing them nor being lost in them.

Emotionally intelligent people are also more at peace with who they really are, focusing more on meeting their own standards than the standards set by others. Self-awareness and high emotional intelligence are also correlated with greater levels of success. For example, recent psychological studies indicate that many top business leaders have both of these traits, and that plays a key role in their continued achievements.

So, whether you want to excel in your job, are looking to improve the most important relationships in your life or just want to feel more at peace with your own company, you have a lot to gain from working on self-awareness.

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About This Article

This article was co-authored by Alan Fang, a trusted member of wikiHow’s volunteer community. Alan Fang swam competitively for over 7 years, through high school and into college. He specialized in breaststroke events, and participated in events such as the Speedo Championship Series, the IHSA (Illinois High School Association) state championships, and Illinois Senior and Age Group state championships. This article has been viewed 4,957,466 times.

To learn to swim, first understand safety before you get in the water. You should never try to learn to swim on your own. Always make sure an adult, instructor or lifeguard is watching you or helping you learn. Next, get comfortable by learning how to hold your breath. To hold your breath, take a long inhale and wait to exhale. Once you learn to hold your breath, you can try to float. Start by making your body parallel with the surface of the water while lying on your back. Ask an adult to spot you as you find your balance in the water. Try to maintain your parallel posture on your back for a few moments unassisted without submerging your face. Always practice in the shallow end, so you can stand up when you need to. When you’re comfortable floating, grab onto the edge of the pool and practice gently kicking your legs up and down in the water. Try keeping your head face-down in the water for a few seconds while holding your breath, but always come up for air when you feel that you need it. To learn how to swim the freestyle, breast, butterfly, and back strokes, try working with a qualified instructor.


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15 Fun Jobs that Pay Well Without a Degree (Online and In Person)

Instacart driver

15+ Fun Jobs that Pay Well Without a Degree (Online and In Person)

Finding a job is an essential part of making a living. Without one, there is no means to survive in a world that requires money for the necessities. So why not find fun jobs that pay well and make your work life as fulfilling as your free time?

The average person will spend approximately one-third of their life working. Putting in hundreds of thousands of hours to make money is pretty substantial. It’s only logical to think of ways to make work fun since you’ll spend a huge part of your life doing it.

The question most people ask often is whether they can find these fun jobs without a degree. As a current work-from-home mom, I can tell you first hand there are many opportunities to land enjoyable jobs without a degree.

2. LEGO model builder

If you’ve ever been to LEGOLAND then you will bear witness to how impressive the models are. There’s no bachelor’s degree specific for being a LEGO model builder, but a degree in a design-related field will make things easy for you.

LEGO model builders invent, model, and create the different characters you see in a LEGOLAND. A master model builder will not only clean, repair, and maintain existing LEGO installations, but also take part in marketing and PR, which include participating in media interviews, creating instructional videos for social media, and leading virtual building classes.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for LEGO designers in the U.S. is $50,751. The highest-paid can earn as high as $105,000 a year, making this one of the best fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

5. Choreographers

The mean annual wage of choreographers in the U.S. is $52,000 while the highest earners enjoy salaries of more than $101,250 a year, making it one of the best fun jobs that pay well without a degree.

Did you know that the first commercially available gum hit the market in 1848? Since then, the chewing gum industry has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry. This means there are many gum-related jobs you can do, some needing a bachelor’s degree and others not.

One such job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree is being a gum taster. Gum tasters work alongside gum scientists, called gumologists, where they spend countless hours trying to perfect the taste of every single flavor before they are released into the market.

Gum tasters earn between $67,000 and $103,500 a year. Such wages mean it’s one of the best fun jobs that pay well without a degree. The best-paying companies include the likes of Cadbury’s, Wrigley’s, Trident, and Dentyne.

Apply for and get jobs that pay well without a degree

Have the right mindset

First, have a healthy mindset. If you’re looking for a job to replace your current one, be patient in your search. On the other hand, if you need a new job immediately, know that it’s alright to take a job that pays the bills while you search for the job of your dreams.

Also, be open to furthering your education through courses and certifications. Even if you don’t want to get a degree, the job you want may require or recommend that you know some new information. Get ready to learn!

Where to find jobs that pay well without a degree

Where should you look for new jobs? Start off with job boards like Indeed and see what’s available. If you feel that you’ve exhausted those options, try networking through LinkedIn, or talking to acquaintances and friends about opportunities.

Interview tips to get jobs that pay well without a degree

Have a plan for your income

Hopefully, finding a career in a new field that you enjoy will also come with a salary increase. (Especially if you choose one of the high-paying jobs we’ve mentioned in our list.) And you should be prepared with a financial plan for your increased income.


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Interviewing tips

Let’s take Ronnie’s case. The country manager of a resorts firm, Ronnie was a go-getter in every sense of the word. He loved achieving goals and exceeding targets. Aggressive, energetic, and exceedingly ambitious, he looked for the same qualities in the people he interviewed. So even if he was interviewing for positions of office staff or store assistants, Ronnie sought dynamism and drive in candidates. He summarily rejected qualified and suitable applicants if they could not meet his standards of assertiveness and ambition. It took a lot of cajoling by company HR to make him accept people different from him, for what they were worth.

Employer reading resume with applicant

Numbers 1-7 Know Your Audience

Get a sense of “who” the company is and how to embody a similar personality during your interview. Start by reading the company’s blog and Facebook page—the tone of the company’s content on these sites will speak volumes. Or, try reading individual employees’ blogs to figure out what type of people work (and excel) there.

Twitter can also be an excellent resource because you can see what the company and its employees are talking about. Are they sarcastically bantering with each other? Feel free to throw a few jokes in as you’re meeting with people. Are they tweeting up a storm about an event or product launch? Use it as a conversation starter.

No matter what role you’re interviewing for—engineering, sales, marketing—you should always use the product before your first interview (and ideally, a few times). If hired, your goal will be to create value for the people who use that product, and being a user yourself is the first step.

Before your interview, get a list of the people you’re meeting with from the company. Then learn more about them—including what type of behavior might intrigue them or turn them off. Finally, prep some questions that are specific to each interviewer: Ask for details about her focus at the firm, discuss current events on his specialty, or bring up a common interest you know he or she has outside the office.

Different companies use different types of interviews, so ask what you’ll be faced with. For example, some companies will ask case questions or brain teasers while others will give a standard set of typical interview and leadership questions. Asking the recruiter or HR contact about the interview format ahead of time is totally fair game. And once you know, investing time to become familiar with this style can make a huge difference.

Interviewing techniques tip 2: Develop a compelling story

We tend to conclude that our lives are pretty much the same as other people’s, that they’re average and boring. As a result, many people don’t tell their own story well. But your story is so much better than you think. The way your life has evolved; the things you’ve learned; your achievements, failings, and dreams—these things are unique to you and much more interesting than you realize. Sharing your well thought-out story is a powerful interviewing technique.

Your story is what helps people understand who you are and where you are going. So learn to tell your story and tell it well, especially for interviewing and networking purposes. Putting together your story takes a lot of work and practice. However, the benefits to you and to your career are enormous. Your stories:

Developing your story for job interviews

  • Take a comprehensive inventory of the chapters of your life. Think about major events, memories, and turning points that shaped who you are. Make notes about your feelings, expectations, and frustrations, or what you learned, accomplished, and experienced. Organize your chapters by time periods or jobs.
  • Focus on memorable “aha” moments. These stories need to have vivid dimensions so people will experience that moment with you. It may have been a moment with your mom on the porch, or a trip you took to a faraway place, or what a boss or mentor told you. The stories don’t have to be dramatic, just meaningful to you.
  • Uncover the themes in your story. What emerges as your passion? Mentoring others, doing research, helping a specific type of client, advancing knowledge in your field? What gives you joy? Are you a teacher, a leader, an entrepreneur, a risk taker?
  • Reflect on your career path. How have you arrived where you are today? Why did you make certain choices? Who helped you along the way? What motivated you then and now? Have your career goals remained the same or have they changed? Are you someone who likes new projects? Or executes the details of someone else’s vision?

Practice makes perfect

Once you’ve developed your story, the next step is to practice telling it—saying it out loud, ideally to others. Don’t wait until the interview to tell it for the first time. Try reciting it into a tape recorder or sharing it with a confidante for feedback. Get over your feelings of story inadequacy or thinking that a job well done speaks for itself.

As you become more comfortable in how to tell your story, you will see that your life has not just been a string of random events. Your story has a past and it has a future and the road ahead becomes clearer when you understand where you have been. The ultimate test will be the next time someone says, “Tell me about yourself.”

Interviewing techniques tip 3: Tailor your story to the job

Applying your story to a specific employer or job is the next step. Lining up the stories that apply to the opportunity at hand is critical. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and pose the questions you would ask. Which stories are relevant to this job interview? Think about personal stories that show how you handled change, made choices under pressure, or learned lessons from mistakes and failures. You should also think about stories you can tell in the interview that reveal your skill set.

Learning and appreciating your story is a prerequisite to any interview process. Don’t rely on your ability to think on your feet. Anticipate the questions and have answers at the ready. In the end, this is about making a great and memorable impression that demonstrates competency and ability.

You may want to start by developing your stories around these areas:

If you’re having trouble developing a good interviewing story, ask your friends or family members for their own success stories. Notice the elements that make them work, such as specific details and a smooth flow. Notice elements that don’t work, such as vagueness or rambling. Then think about your own experience and try to uncover the moments when you really excelled or when you rose to meet a challenge. After you identify several, practice them until they flow easy and work on adapting them to different types of questions.

Interviewing tips

The modern job interview, as old as it is, hasn’t changed much considering modern technological advances. Some actionable interviewing tips for interviewers are just the thing to bring your process up to date.

Two women at a job interview

Best Techniques for a Successful Job Interview

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts and has counseled both students and corporations on hiring practices. She has given hundreds of interviews on the topic for outlets including The New York Times, BBC News, and LinkedIn. Alison founded and has been an expert in the field for more than 20 years.

When you’re interviewing for a job, the little things can make a big difference. Even a small mistake can cost you a job offer. Take the time to prepare so you can make the best possible impression at every job interview you go on.

These interview techniques cover all the basics you need to know polish up your interview technique and ace a job interview. From checking out the company to sending an interview thank you note, make your meeting with the hiring manager a success from beginning to end.

20 Tips for Great Job Interviews

1. Research the industry and company.
An interviewer may ask how you perceive his company’s position in its industry, who the firm’s competitors are, what its competitive advantages are, and how it should best go forward. For this reason, avoid trying to thoroughly research a dozen different industries. Focus your job search on just a few industries instead.

2. Clarify your "selling points" and the reasons you want the job.
Prepare to go into every interview with three to five key selling points in mind, such as what makes you the best candidate for the position. Have an example of each selling point prepared ("I have good communication skills. For example, I persuaded an entire group to . "). And be prepared to tell the interviewer why you want that job – including what interests you about it, what rewards it offers that you find valuable, and what abilities it requires that you possess. If an interviewer doesn’t think you’re really, really interested in the job, he or she won’t give you an offer – no matter how good you are!

3. Anticipate the interviewer’s concerns and reservations.
There are always more candidates for positions than there are openings. So interviewers look for ways to screen people out. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself why they might not want to hire you (“I don’t have this,” “I’m not that,” etc.). Then prepare your defense: “I know you may be thinking that I might not be the best fit for this position because [their reservation]. But you should know that [reason the interviewer shouldn’t be overly concerned]."

4. Prepare for common interview questions.
Every "how to interview" book has a list of a hundred or more "common interview questions." (You might wonder just how long those interviews are if there are that many common questions!) So how do you prepare? Pick any list and think about which questions you’re most likely to encounter, given your age and status (about to graduate, looking for a summer internship). Then prepare your answers so you won’t have to fumble for them during the actual interview.

5. Line up your questions for the interviewer.
Come to the interview with some intelligent questions for the interviewer that demonstrate your knowledge of the company as well as your serious intent. Interviewers always ask if you have any questions, and no matter what, you should have one or two ready. If you say, "No, not really," he or she may conclude that you’re not all that interested in the job or the company. A good all-purpose question is, "If you could design the ideal candidate for this position from the ground up, what would he or she be like?"

If you’re having a series of interviews with the same company, you can use some of your prepared questions with each person you meet (for example, "What do you think is the best thing about working here?" and "What kind of person would you most like to see fill this position?") Then, try to think of one or two others during each interview itself.

6. Practice, practice, practice.
It’s one thing to come prepared with a mental answer to a question like, "Why should we hire you?" It’s another challenge entirely to say it out loud in a confident and convincing way. The first time you try it, you’ll sound garbled and confused, no matter how clear your thoughts are in your own mind! Do it another 10 times, and you’ll sound a lot smoother and more articulate.

But you shouldn’t do your practicing when you’re "on stage" with a recruiter; rehearse before you go to the interview. The best way to rehearse? Get two friends and practice interviewing each other in a "round robin": one person acts as the observer and the "interviewee" gets feedback from both the observer and the "interviewer." Go for four or five rounds, switching roles as you go. Another idea (but definitely second-best) is to tape record your answer and then play it back to see where you need to improve. Whatever you do, make sure your practice consists of speaking aloud. Rehearsing your answer in your mind won’t cut it.

7. Score a success in the first five minutes.
Some studies indicate that interviewers make up their minds about candidates in the first five minutes of the interview – and then spend the rest of the interview looking for things to confirm that decision! So what can you do in those five minutes to get through the gate? Come in with energy and enthusiasm, and express your appreciation for the interviewer’s time. (Remember: She may be seeing a lot of other candidates that day and may be tired from the flight in. So bring in that energy!)

Also, start off with a positive comment about the company – something like, "I’ve really been looking forward to this meeting [not "interview"]. I think [the company] is doing great work in [a particular field or project], and I’m really excited by the prospect of being able to contribute."

Interviewing tip #14 – Exchange information

Once you’ve got your interview method down pat, it can be easy to fall into a routine and give each interview a ‘cookie cutter’ kind of feeling. This, obviously, is not a good thing. Be sure that each and every interview, you’re exchanging information by informing the candidate about the position, and learning more about your applicant. Don’t simply ask questions for the sake of asking them.

From time to time, try rewriting questions in a different manner. Try asking a behavioral based question, and then in the next interview, rephrase that question. For example, in one interview ask ‘Describe how you would prioritize, organize and track your work’. In the next interview for the same position, ask a simplified version, ‘How do you manage your workload?’.

This is essentially the same question, just written in a different way, but both answers need a clear and concise answer. One question implies that a detailed answer is needed and the other doesn’t. Asking questions in a manner like this can help see if your candidate can show initiative.

Interviewing tip #17 – Tell them what to expect next

At the onset and conclusion of your interview, explain the recruitment process to the candidate. No matter how simple or complex your interview process is, it’s important that your candidate knows how your recruitment ecosystem functions. At the end of the interview, tell your candidate when they’ll hear from you again. The next step is simple but overlooked all too often.

Whether you’re a seasoned recruiter or just starting your career, this handful of interviewing tips can help improve your recruitment process. In summary, you’ll never go wrong if you’re open, easy-going, and give your candidate the stage to talk about themselves. Most of them are common sense but overlooked as we’re too laser-focused on the finer points of creating a recruitment process.

Interviewing tips

Hand and arm movements shouldn’t be too large. Don’t fiddle, shake your leg or tap your fingers. This is unprofessional and may distract your potential employer. Your posture should be relaxed, but alert. Don’t slouch; if you look bored the interviewer will assume you’d be bored in the job, too.

Job Interview Tips

After you’ve built your résumé, written a great cover letter and scheduled the interview, it’s time to meet the interviewer and get the position you’ve applied for. This guide can help you prepare for your important interview day.

Companies like candidates who know what they want from a job. They are also impressed with someone who has done research before arriving at the interview. Make the effort to look into the organization you’re interested in, and you’ll find yourself ahead of the competition.

To get a sense of how the organization you’re interested in sees itself, go to their corporate website and read about the company’s history and plans for the future. Company websites, along with their official social media pages, often have employee photos or posts about the business, both of which will give you some idea of the company culture. You can also read the company’s brochures and annual reports if they’ve been made publicly available. No matter the size of the company, you can do a web search for the organization’s name and read any articles that may have mentioned the company. For example, you may discover that the organization was recently involved in a charitable event—or a lawsuit.

You may also be interested to find out what other people think about the organization you’re interested in. These days, most organizations are rated and reviewed by online users in some way. Just be wary about what you’re reading, because anyone can post an opinion, whether it’s an accurate representation or not. Additionally, the Better Business Bureau is an organization that helps people find trustworthy businesses and charities, and may be able to tell you if the organization you’re interested in is a member or not.

Six tips for interviewers

Having the ability to conduct a great interview is an advantage for any company, working within any sector. Professionals with the ability to properly interview and ask questions are always in demand from companies. Every interview is different from the last, so it’s important that you know how to conduct yourself properly and find the information that you need through targeted questions. There are lots of different ways that you can learn the skills to do this and these tips can help you to become a better interviewer. Here are six tips for interviewers:

1. Learn about your candidate

Before you enter your interview, learn as much as you can about the candidate you’re interviewing. This gives you the ability to ask the right type of questions that might reveal the most about the candidate in the areas you want to hear about. Learning about key points of interest about the candidate, such as their achievements and skills, can help you ask questions that might reveal further qualities and skills the candidate possesses. This might be the type of information that can help you make a recruitment decision later, so it’s important to make the effort before the interview.

There are lots of different ways you can research information about your candidate. Not only can you examine the information they have sent you, such as their CV, you can also phone their references and learn about them through their past employers. You might also examine their social media presence, which can help to give you a better idea of their personality and hobbies. Your best source of information is the candidate themself, but learning about how other people think about them can help you to refine your questions and find the information you need for making a decision.

2. Schedule efficiently

Something that’s extremely important but also easily overlooked is ensuring that you schedule your interviews efficiently. Managing a large group of interviews within a short period can be stressful, so make sure to plan what times you want these interviews to take place as soon as you can. Remember that a candidate may be taking time off of their own work to attend this interview, so try to inform everyone as early as you can. Properly scheduling your interviews allows you to avoid the stress and pressure of a rushed interview and helps them to run smoothly and efficiently.

3. Follow a plan

By following a structured plan, you can help to manage the length of your interviews while also ensuring that you address the key points and questions that you wanted to ask the candidate. Nearly all interviews follow a simple structure. Start with introductions and a general overview of the position that your company is offering. You can then progress into some basic questions about the candidate, which get increasingly harder or more complex as the interview goes on. Remember to leave time for the candidate to ask their own questions. Always include some extra time as a buffer.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, an interview may run over time. This is why it’s important to include enough buffer time within every interview so that you don’t keep other candidates waiting. As an interviewer, you represent your company to the potential candidates. Arriving late to an interview or keeping candidates waiting reflects badly on both you and your company, which can leave a negative lasting impression. By having a buffer, you can ensure that no one waits longer than they are expecting and as a benefit, you appear professional and courteous. Imparting a good impression is very important.

4. Create a comfortable atmosphere

By creating a comfortable atmosphere, you create an environment where you are most likely to get the information you want from your candidate. You can create a comfortable environment in a variety of different ways. Offer the candidate a refreshment when they enter the interview and, if you have the time, try to conduct some quick small talk before you officially begin the interview. This can help both you and the candidate to feel more comfortable with each other, making for a much easier interview. You can also do this by asking simple questions at the start of the interview.

When you ask easy or simple questions at the beginning of an interview, you allow the candidate’s confidence to build as they relax into the interview. A relaxed candidate is far more likely to reveal information that accurately portrays how they actually work. You may ask questions to learn where a person is from or about their hobbies. These simple questions may even reveal information that you may want to follow up on or lead to more questions in the area.

5. Ask follow-up questions

Some candidate responses might be unclear or the response might have inspired a related question that you feel could reveal more about the candidate. Ask these questions as needed throughout the interview. When doing so, clarify that the question relates to something you or the candidate previously said. For example, if the candidate mentions that they taught themselves how to code but doesn’t go into more detail, wait until they complete their response before saying, "You mentioned you taught yourself coding. Can you tell me more about that?"

Use These Tips for How to Pass an Interview and Get More Job Offers

Don’t forget: Motivation, interest, and how you explain yourself and the reason you’re interviewing are just as important as your actual resume/skillset. I can’t stress this enough in terms of important job interview tips to remember!

By using the interview tips and strategies above, you can beat out somebody with more experience and a more impressive resume because job interviewing is a separate skill… a skill that you’ve spent time mastering.

Hold Up! Before you go on an interview.

Get our free PDF with the top 30 interview questions and answers. Join 10,000+ job seekers in our email newsletter and we’ll send you the 30 must-know questions, plus our best insider tips for turning interviews into job offers.


Business inspiration

There will be days when things don’t go as planned. You may feel defeated and let down. But that’s a part of life. It’s about how you deal with the failures in life that makes you who you are. Here’s a list of our favorite quotes about overcoming failure, that will motivate you to stay strong in the face of failure.

Best Business Quotes of All Time

Larry Page - Business Quotes

3. “Don’t take too much advice. Most people who have a lot of advice to give — with a few exceptions — generalize whatever they did. Don’t over-analyze everything. I myself have been guilty of over-thinking problems. Just build things and find out if they work.” — Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest ( Click to tweet )

Anthony Volodkin - Business Quotes

12. “The stars will never align, and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. ‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.” — Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week (Click to tweet)

14. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs, co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Apple Inc. ( Click to tweet )

Bill Gates - Business Quotes

Tony Hsieh - Business Quotes

32. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” — Helen Keller, American author, political activist and lecturer ( Click to tweet )

Wayne Huizenga - Business Quotes

Biz Stone - Business Quotes

Estee Lauder - Business Quotes

Henry Ford - Business Quotes

62. “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” — Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft (Click to tweet)

67. “Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else.” — Sara Blakely, founder of SPANX (Click to tweet)

Howard Schultz - Business Quotes

Inspirational Quotes About Life

Let’s continue our list with some of the top inspirational quotes about life that are out there. Every now and then, everyone’s in need to hear about the positive side of life, and the potential it has to offer. These inspirational quotes about life will help empower you to succeed.

Success doesn’t happen overnight. You have to take each day as an opportunity to meet your potential and to improve. Here’s a list of our favorite inspirational quotes about success to get your day started.

88. “People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” — Tony Robbins, life and business strategist, and author

90. “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” — Thomas J. Watson, 2nd President of IBM, political figure, and philanthropist

Inspirational Quotes About Life

Let’s continue our list with some of the top inspirational quotes about life that are out there. Every now and then, everyone’s in need to hear about the positive side of life, and the potential it has to offer. These inspirational quotes about life will help empower you to succeed.

Success doesn’t happen overnight. You have to take each day as an opportunity to meet your potential and to improve. Here’s a list of our favorite inspirational quotes about success to get your day started.

88. “People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” — Tony Robbins, life and business strategist, and author

90. “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” — Thomas J. Watson, 2nd President of IBM, political figure, and philanthropist

Quotes About Not Giving Up

107. “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” — Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

131. “Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.” — Arianna Huffington, president of The Huffington Post Media Group

132. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt, known as “First Lady of the World” for her human rights advocacy

136. “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” — Michael Jordan, former professional basketball player

139. “The Ultimate Measure Of A Man Is Not Where He Stands In Moments Of Comfort And Convenience, But Where He Stands At Times Of Challenge And Controversy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of the civil rights movement

142. “When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.” – Paulo Coelho, Brazilian lyricist and novelist

143. “There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” — Ray Goforth, director of strategy and partnerships at Spredfast

Business Inspiration

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What Is a Freelance Writer?

If you know how to structure a contract, how long it takes for them to approve isn’t a problem, Susie. You might want to check out my Freelance Business Bootcamp ebook up on the books tab here on the blog — it goes into a lot of detail on that.

What is Freelance Writing? The Ultimate Guide

You’re not the only one. The definition of freelance writing can vary dramatically depending on who you’re talking to. Freelance writers can do tons of different jobs, find work differently, and work with different clients.

Freelance writing is the act of getting paid to write, without being on a company’s official payroll. Freelance writers can work with several companies at once on a self-employer or subcontractor basis.

    Per word: The writer and client agree on a set rate per word for an article. Freelance writers being hired to write blog posts, for example, usually start with a per-word rate of

    What does a freelance writer do?

    Wondering what a freelance writer does in their day-to-day role? It depends on the type of content you’re writing. But as a general guide, here’s what a freelance writer does (alongside the obvious one–writing content):

    You can choose who to work with

    The beauty of freelancing is that you’re in complete control of who you do (and don’t) work with. It’s unlike a standard, 9-to-5 job where you’re forced to work for one employer, and you don’t get to choose your co-workers.

    Whilst freelance writers don’t have co-workers as such, they’re in complete control of who they work with. They can choose to turn down clients who don’t have a budget to pay them, or they just aren’t interested in writing for. That’s not possible with a full-time job.

    Your routine is flexible

    Since a freelance writer is in complete control of who they work for, their routine is flexible. Clients don’t pay them to sit at their desk from 9am till 5pm, with half an hour for dinner, every day of the working week.

    It’s why freelance writing is a superb career choice for tons of people–especially those who drop the kids off at school, and want to be able to attend midday appointments without that awkward conversation with your boss. (Let’s face it: having to explain to your boss why you need the morning off for a doctor’s appointment is awkward.)

    You can make lots of money

    We all want to earn more money, right? Article writing is a superb way to do that. The entire industry is very lucrative: get in with the ideal clients, and you can out-earn what you would in your day job by a long shot.

    But it’s worth remembering that not all of the money you make as a freelance writer is take-home pay. You’ll need to fork out for expenses (like a computer), tax, and insurance. Either way, there’s still a good chance you can beat what you were earning in a full-time job by becoming a freelance writer.

    .10. This can go as high as

    The downsides of freelance writing

    It takes time

    Not only that, but it’s easy for new freelance writers to fall into the trap of thinking their new freelance writing job will only consist of writing. Reality is: you’ll spend time doing other admin tasks–like finding new work, creating a freelance website, and dealing with accounting. All of those things eat into your schedule, but you don’t get paid to do them.

    It can be unpredictable

    Even if you’re on top of your freelance writing career from day one, finding reliable work can be tough. It can be difficult to reach your audience as a freelancer, especially when you have a small marketing budget. And it doesn’t help that you’re up against freelance content mills like Upwork and

    Similarly, freelancers can fall into the feast and famine mindset. If you’re working job-to-job without any contracts or monthly agreements in place, you don’t always know where your next paycheck is coming from.

    disadvantages of freelance writing

    .75+ for experienced, in-demand freelance writers.

5 common types of freelance writers

1. Freelance blog writers

This is arguably the most popular example of freelance writing. Freelance content writers can offer blog writing services to their clients. They’re usually given a topic to write about, and asked to return a draft.

The biggest advantage of writing this type of content, though, is that it’s consistent. Companies want regular content posted to their blog. They can use freelance bloggers to do that–which means you’ll get consistent income, and ongoing work, if you sign contracts with clients who want X blog posts each month.

2. Freelance copywriters

In the freelance writing world, there are copywriters who focus on creating written copy for a client. This type of work is varied. You might see yourself doing these types of copywriting on a daily basis:

3. Freelance email copywriters

Companies make millions through their email. It’s a huge channel for them to engage with potential customers, and convince them to buy their products. That’s why freelance email copywriters are in high demand.

4. Freelance editors

Not every freelance writing job has to involve writing a piece from scratch! You can make a living as a freelance writer by editing other people’s content. It’s a great way for clients with lower budgets to polish the drafts they’ve created themselves.

5. Freelance ghostwriters

It’s a type of writer usually hired by industry experts, or people who want to position themselves as experts in their own industry. They use freelance ghostwriters to create content they’d be proud to add their name to–like whitepapers, eBooks, or long-form blog posts.

The biggest downside of being a freelance ghostwriter is the obvious one: you don’t get public credit for your work. It’s rare that you’ll be able to reference that work in your writing portfolio, and you won’t get a link to your website when the piece was published. Your name won’t appear anywhere.

Wondering what the benefit is of being a freelance ghostwriter? The first is that it’s usually higher paid than other types of freelance writing gigs. You don’t get the benefit of having your name attached to the work. Clients will pay a higher fee to compensate writers for that.

Plus, ghostwriting is a service most used by authoritative, influential people who just don’t have the time (or skill) to write their own content. That means freelance ghostwriters can work with great business leaders who actually have budget.

How Freelance Writing Works

Freelance writers typically work for a company or individual on a contractual basis. These contractual positions don’t necessarily need to have a formal contract in place (although that’s probably in your best interest as a writer). Occasionally, you may be able to land a large contract with one client—writing a marketing campaign full-time for three months for one company, for instance. More often, though, freelancers will work with many clients or publications at once.

What these positions (often called gigs) do have in common is that they are project-based work. The assignment is for a piece (or batch of pieces) of writing that must be completed by a previously set time and an assignment that has a clearly set goal. Once the project is complete, the freelance operative either moves on to the next project in the queue or has to wait for their next assignment.

As a self-employed writer, you also have to become adept at running your business. That means tracking your work (whether in hours or on a project basis), billing clients, collecting payments, tracking expenses, and setting aside money to pay taxes.

Types of Freelance Writers

  • Business writing: HR documents, company memos, training manuals, stories for trade publications, etc.
  • Technical writing: Detailed instructions, operations manuals, user manuals, assembly instructions, etc.
  • Academic writing: Articles, essays, or reports for academic journals, textbooks, or class materials
  • Marketing and sales copywriting: Email campaigns, social media posts, product pages, sales sheets, ad scripts, etc.
  • News writing: Articles for print or online, scripts for news broadcasts, feature stories for magazines, etc.
  • Social commentary or op-ed writing: Essays, opinion pieces, analysis of social issues and trends
  • Public relations writing: Press releases, speeches, public statements, etc.
  • Writing for the websites: Blog articles, product pages, company about pages, etc.
  • Ghostwriting: Writing for another person under their name (this can apply to many of the above types of writing)

If you like the digital landscape, you can become proficient at creating copy for websites because most web designers are not good writers. On the other hand, some freelancers focus solely on writing for magazines, anthologies, or newspapers, while others write grants and proposals for nonprofits.

Once you dive into the world of freelance writing, you’ll begin to get a good sense of your strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Knowing where your skills and interests intersect will enable you to target the jobs that best showcase your abilities and offer you the most opportunities.

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I have a question: How do you get clients to pay you high rates, if you aren’t an expert on the topic? I was wondering about this, since I love your advice on how even beginners should charge higher rates, but how would you justify the high rates if you aren’t an expert on the topic? Like even if you pick a specific niche, if you don’t have a background in it, why would a client pay you a lot?

Like for an example, say I have excellent writing skills and clips, in a financial niche. Well, even if they love my writing, how would a client guarantee my research was a 100% on point? If I’m just googling, I could make a mistake and not find out the correct or updated information about finances or the laws…How could they guarantee that wouldn’t happen, if I’m not an expert?

Or for another example: Like if you research about SEO (which is for ranking webpages in Google so you can get lots of traffic, and the guidelines change frequently), you can find old articles very easily on how to do it. So, if I had never heard of it before, and found an article from 2012 and thought it was OK to reference…I would be giving them the wrong information!

Good pay doesn’t come from…’just Googling.’ People who come out of the content-mill world often don’t understand that better paying gigs usually involve interviewing and finding new information that isn’t already floating around the Internet. Often, a lot of interviewing.

For instance, I’m currently doing a $3,000 corporate research project. I have made over 100 interview requests on it so far, looking to find hopefully at least a half-dozen people willing to share their insights on an executive’s management style. Good pay comes from harder projects, that not every writer could execute on.

Yes it did, thanks! How long can interviews take, like from the first time contacting people (for things like magazine articles) to having the finished and ready to send to the editor version? Like how does that factor into your working hours?

I could tell you how long it takes ME, but that would have nothing to do with how long it will take YOU. You’ll find out how long it takes you…but doing it, and tracking your time. There really isn’t another way. And every interview and assignment will vary. As I say in the post, you’re looking for ‘this is the way it works’ answers, but there is no ONE way things work, in freelancing.

Those articles look like they’d be really useful, thanks! yes…the times would vary definitely, I just thought you may have a general range/estimate, like for just magazine articles, like local ones a newbie freelancer would do.

Among the topics I’ve earned large amounts writing about that I am NOT an expert in are surety bonds, insurance, lawsuits, franchising, home improvement topics like trends in shower-curtain styles, advanced washing machine technology, real estate…I could go on and on.

But what really makes the difference in charging more is knowing how to identify and successfully market yourself to better-paying clients — generally, bigger and more successful magazines and businesses.

Once you have a basic portfolio of first clips, you want to move in that direction as fast as you can — but few new writers have any idea what makes a good client. If you’re interested in how you identify those, check out my Get Great Clients e-book. 😉

Oh…I thought interviewing was mostly for magazine articles, although I do remember now people do them for case studies too! I had thought interviews were for only certain things. I was thinking more like, what if I was writing for a company on their blog?

Again, your expertise is WRITING. Writing in the tone and style they want. Weaving the information they want out there into a compelling story. That’s what you offer. You ask a lot of questions, and find out the info you need to put in their copy.

One last question, what do you think about freelancers working for content agencies? Like the agencies hire freelancers to produce content for their clients. They say the work can be really steady, and that they pay more than content mills.

Yes, agencies CAN be a source of steady work, usually at pretty low rates compared to what you can get prospecting and finding your own clients directly. There are good agencies, and there are sleazy ones. They’re not all the same, in how they operate, or pay. But yes, probably better than a content mill (unless that mill is ClearVoice or Contently, sometimes).

But…agencies tend to hire experienced writers, particularly with agency staff experience. Is that you? I personally applied to agency gigs over and over and never got anywhere, despite 12 years as a staff journalist and many awards. I didn’t have the right type of experience for them, I believe.

Or specialize in the forms of writing that are tedious or difficult for your client to do in-house, but for which they supply most or all of the data, such as white papers, case studies, and annual reports?


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How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? The Ideal Length in 2022

This drift has changed the way employers look at resumes and cover letters. They now prefer shorter, more concise documents that get straight to the point.

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

Even before recruiters review your CV, they read your cover letter to get a sense of who you are and if you appear to be a good fit for the position. Employers spend a limited amount of time reading a cover letter, so it’s important to be concise and to list your most relevant qualifications. A well-crafted cover letter can make a potential employer excited to read your CV and learn more about you. In this article, we discuss what makes a great cover letter in terms of length and quality.

A cover letter is your thesis statement regarding why you are a perfect candidate. This means discussing qualities you possess and why they will be beneficial to the company, previous job experience that can help you excel in this new position and ideas about how you will grow within this position. Even if a cover letter is not required

Many hiring managers also rely on cover letters to gauge your personality, attention to detail and communication skills. This means ensuring that your letter has all of the necessary elements:

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

A good cover letter contains 3 to 4 concise paragraphs and no more than 400 words in total. For entry-level candidates, 200 words is the sweet spot. Ideally, your cover letter contents should take up slightly more than half a page.

Why so short?, you might ask. Think about the main purpose of a cover letter: your cover letter introduces you to the recruiter and it’s supposed to get them interested in you as a candidate. As such, it has to be brief and to-the-point—it must strike the right balance between the length and the message.

Recruiters receive dozens of job applications for each position. If instead of the information they’re looking for, they come across a story of your life, they’ll skip it without batting an eyelash.

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

So you’ve checked the job posting and they’ve requested a cover letter, but haven’t given any guidelines for how long it should be. Or maybe they’ve stated that a cover letter is optional. Should you still send one? Emphatically, yes, you should. As for how long you should make it, follow our guidelines below.

Page count. In all circumstances, your cover letter should never exceed one page. Ideally, you should shoot for between half a page and a page, always aiming for the lower end of that spectrum. About 70% of employers want a half-page cover letter or feel that the shorter the better.

Word count. Considering that preferred page count leaves us with about 200-400 words with 10 or 12-point font, single-spaced, with spaces between paragraphs.

The shorter the better approach continues here; if you can say everything you need to in a 200-word cover letter, great! Stop right there and don’t worry that you’re being lazy or not including enough information.

Paragraph count. The standard advice is to aim for between 3-6 paragraphs. Three is the absolute minimum to do the following: introduce yourself, state your qualifications, and express interest in the specific company. However, it may be a good idea to give yourself four paragraphs, so you have more time to tout your credentials.

We don’t recommend going over 4 paragraphs in most scenarios, because otherwise, each paragraph is going to look super short if you’re working with ~300 words. Additionally, it shouldn’t take multiple paragraphs to introduce yourself, express interest in the company, or thank the reader for their consideration.

6 Things NOT to do in a cover letter:

  1. Never repeat your resume in your cover letter. It’s not necessary, and it makes the document more difficult to read.
  2. Don’t use a fake name or different email address when applying for jobs than you do in real life — this is, of course, unless you’re applying for an online job with an online company!
  3. Don’t write about how great your last boss was and how much you loved the job. It’s important to know that you will be a good fit for the company, but it’s just as important to know that you’ll be a good fit with your boss.
  4. Don’t make promises on behalf of your boss. You might think you have this great idea that will save the company money, but it’s not your place to suggest this idea to them.
  5. Don’t use clichés, buzzwords or nonsense phrases like “innovative,” “hardworking” and the like.
  6. Don’t write someone else’s cover letter. If you have a friend or a colleague who wrote a similar cover letter, you can ask them for advice on how to change it to make it unique. But do not write the same cover letter twice!

Sarah Samson is a professional career advisor and resume expert. She specializes in helping recent college graduates and mid-career professionals improve their resumes and format them for the modern job market. In addition, she has also been a contributor to several online publications.

Final Word

A cover letter or pitch is your chance to shine and show potential employers why you’re the best candidate for the job. By following the tips and examples in this article, you can write a cover letter or pitch that will grab attention and land you interviews.

Cassie Riley has a passion for all things marketing and social media. She is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, language, music, writing, and unicorns. Cassie is a lifetime learner, and loves to spend time attending classes, webinars, and summits.


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fifth grade in uk

fifth grade in uk

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Fifth grade in uk
Trying to determine which school grade your child should attend in their new school system is often one of the most challenging aspects of moving into a foreign school system. France, the UK and the US all have their own school grade structures.
Here is a list of school grade equivalents in France vs. the UK and vs. the US for your reference. Please keep in mind though that each child has its own ability and capacity, and a mere school grade equivalent is not always the best deciding factor in where a child will best be suited.

Fifth grade in uk
Core subjects such as Mathematics, Chinese, History, Geography are taught from Primary 1.
Thus, a Chinese student applying for Year 9 entry in UK the following year would normally be in Junior High School 1 (Form 7) or a student applying for Year 12 would be in Senior High School 1 (Form 10).


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Tactics on How to Write a Perfect Paper About a Poem


Literature is a broad field that consists of different braches with different approach methods. This has proven to be the most demanding field in a student’s life. You must have a set of skills that can help you deliver realistic content. This way, it will be easy to hook the reader, which can help in elevating your grades.

In this case, poetry is part of literature that requires your imagination for you to generate emotional content. It can be direct or twisted, depending on what the reader has instructed. Furthermore, a good poem must have a rhyme for it to qualify. Here are tactics on how to write a perfect paper about a poem:

  • Understand your Goal

Writing is a sensitive field that requires critical thinking. This helps you plan your ideas to come up with sensible content. You also get a chance to explore your imagination so that you can be more creative. In poetry writing, understanding your goal is one of the most important steps. For instance, the topic that you want to write should always be relevant to the title given by the writer. This way, it will be easy for them to connect when reading. If you are writing about your experience in life, ensure that you dig in deep so that you can express your emotions.

  • Create a Structure

Any piece of writing requires you to have a clear structure that you can follow to ensure that your work is well organized. This also helps the reader to connect to the main keywords in an essay.

In this case, poetry requires you to research on the topic given. This can be personal or environmental. Sometimes I wonder – who will write my research paper for me, and I often end up seeking help from professional writers through different sources. Structure in a poem is important since it changes the meaning. For instance, you can use a free verse poem to elaborate on your stories. You should also check the rhyme to ensure that your poem corresponds with the rules. Stanzas in a poem can help you determine your fluency.

  • Involve the Reader

The reader is essentially important when you are writing your essay. This is because they determine if you are a good writer or not. In poetry, emotional attachments are important since they help the reader see the bigger picture. If you are describing a person, you should give the qualities that the person has. This way, the reader can form an image in his or her mind so that they can understand what you are describing. Using such a tactic makes your essay to be interesting, which can help you to get good grades in literature.

  • Revise

To become a good essayist, ascertain that you have clean content that cannot contradict the main title. This way, it will be easy to be imaginative, which is what the reader looks for in a poem. However, mistakes can always occur in a poem, some of which are avoidable. The best approach method that you can have in a poem is to ensure that you revise your essay. This can be demanding despite your poem being short. Here you can organize your structure and eliminate unrealistic keywords. One of the most important areas is the number of words required in an essay.


Poems are one of the most interesting pieces that you can write. They grant you the freedom to attach your feelings to your content, which can help you to formulate quality work. Reading different sources can help have bold ideas that can hook the reader. Following these tactics, it will be easy to achieve your academic goals.

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