1. How do you feel about job hunting? Do you love the thrill of the hunt, or do you simply dread the whole idea?
2. How did you feel in the past when you didn't get a job you really wanted? How did you feel when you turned down a job offer? (Jean Chatzky's take: The rejection involved in a job hunt can be devastating. And sometimes getting a job offer that's not right for you and having the courage to turn it down can be just as excruciating. Try not to let past experiences cloud your outlook for the future. That was then and this is a whole new you.)
3. If you're not currently employed, how long have you been out of the workforce? What skills and talents can you bring to your search from the nonwork activities you've been doing?
4. What's your definition of a dream job? (Jean's take: For me, it's a position that pushes me to stretch to be my best while still offering enough flexibility to spend time with my kids. Sure, that sounds impossible. But you'll never know what you can get unless you ask. When I was hired for a staff position on a large personal finance magazine, my kids were young and there was no way I could stick around the office for late-night closes. But my bosses set me up with a computer at home so I could close pages after the kids went to bed. I never would have gotten that deal if I hadn't asked.)
5. What skills do you have to offer? What weaknesses do you have to work on?
6. Have you ever been fired? How will that experience affect this job search?
7. What special challenges do you think women face when looking for a position? (Jean's take: Competing for jobs in male-dominated fields can be intimidating at best—even in this day and age. I remember when I was applying for security analyst positions on Wall Street, I rarely interviewed with other women and it took me some time to get comfortable with the idea that I'd be working mostly with men.)
8. What's your biggest fear/anxiety about re-entering the workforce/getting a new job? What strategies can you use to overcome these fears?
9. What type of new job will best help you achieve your financial goals?
10. Who might be able to help you with your search? What's the best way for you to expand your job-hunting network?