Tuesday, September 17, 2019

How to Explain Gaps in Employment

Pamela Skillings

This article is about how to explain a resume gap in a job interview. This is a common challenge for anyone who has taken time away from work for any reason, whether professional or personal.

Recruiters and hiring managers are trained to look for gaps in candidates’ resumes and ask questions about them. After all, gaps can sometimes indicate a candidate could be a risky hire.

However, there are often good reasons for gaps. People commonly need to take some time away from the workforce to take care of other pressing matters — for example, caring for family members or recovering from health issues.
If you have taken some time away or otherwise followed an unorthodox career path, your gaps will likely come up in your interviews.

Do not fear! We’re here to help you address these gaps in a neutral or positive way that will explain your decision and experience without raising red flags.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons for having gaps in your work history and how to address them.

Parenthood Employment Gaps

Raising young kids takes a lot of time and energy. If you’ve taken time out of your career to care for children, you may have a significant gap in your resume.

If you’re currently trying to return to full-time work after time away to focus on parenting, here is some guidance on how to answer questions about your time away from work in your interviews.
 

1. Project Confidence

This is a very common situation. Be confident in the decision you’ve made to make your family a priority.
However, you must also show you are confident in your readiness and ability to return to work and excel in the position at hand.

Do not go in to your interview apologetic or take a timid stance on the issue. Boldly but politely explain your thoughtful and calculated decision to take time off for your children.

Then, make it clear you are ready to return and enthusiastic about getting back to work.
Your interviewer will likely appreciate your candor and your solid stance.
 

2. Don’t Be Defensive

While you do want to project confidence, you don’t want to be defensive. Understand that it is reasonable for the interviewer to wonder about your gap and don’t assume they are biased against you.

The key is to be confident and straightforward without over-explaining or falling into self-deprecating language.
Defensiveness can make interviewers wonder if you’re hiding something — or if you’re truly confident in your abilities.
 

3. Brush Up on Technology

If it’s been some time since you’ve been in the workplace (5-10 years or more), technology has likely advanced past what you were used to.

Brush up on workplace essentials, such as Google Drive, Google Calendars, Microsoft Office, and any other software specific to your industry.

Your technological competencies will likely be asked about in your interview and you don’t want to be caught off guard.

You can analyze the job description for specifics on what technical skills are most important in the role you’re interviewing for.

You can also tap into your network and/or research industry trends to learn more about technical skills that could come up.
 

4. Keep Up with Your Industry

Much like technology, industries are changing all of the time. Hopefully you’ve kept tabs on major developments while you’ve been out of the workforce, but if you haven’t, take some time to do some research before your interview.
You want to make sure you can keep up with the conversation during your interview, as well as be able to speak knowledgeably about the current challenges and triumphs facing your industry.

Even if you’ve kept up on changes, you may have to counter mistaken perceptions that you’re “out of touch.” Be aware that interviewers may have concerns about your ability to jump back in.

Prepare to talk about how you’ve kept your skills and knowledge fresh.

You can discuss any part-time work, volunteer experience, classes, or other relevant activities.
If you don’t have a lot to talk about, consider signing up for a job-related class or online training course. Even if you won’t have time to complete it before your next interview, your decision to enroll can reinforce your commitment to returning to work and show you have some current knowledge.

Read the full article to see how to discuss other types of gaps 

Thursday, September 12, 2019

I Keep Getting Rejected for Jobs I’m Perfect For!



Dear Boss,

I know there’s no point in taking it personally when you’re rejected for a job. When I do get rejected, I can usually come up with a reason why I wasn’t a good fit, even if I’d been excited about it previously. For example, one time I realized that the interviewer sounded like they really wanted someone with a particular skill that I don’t have. Another time I was pretty sure they had an internal candidate on the team who they wanted to promote. 

But I’m not sure how to deal with rejection when I genuinely thought the job would be an amazing fit for me, and yet I didn’t get an offer. This has happened a few times lately. In one case, I was a perfect match for the qualifications listed in the ad and the interviewer seemed enthusiastic about working together … and then I didn’t even make it to the final round of interviews.

It’s one thing when I can see the reason I might have been rejected, but if an employer decides I’m not “good enough” for a job that matches me perfectly, how will I ever get hired anywhere?

You’re falling into the very common trap of trying to read too much meaning into the results of your job applications. Hiring processes tend to be frustratingly opaque to candidates, and when you combine that with how high the stakes feel if you’re really interested in the job, it’s natural to try to read into whatever the outcome is — and to draw conclusions about yourself along the way.

It sounds like you’re thinking of getting hired as pass/fail: If you’re good enough, you’ll get the job. And if you don’t get the job, you’re not good enough … and possibly a horrible failure in general.

But that’s not how hiring works. You could be someone who the hiring manager would be delighted to hire, but another candidate just ended up being stronger. That doesn’t mean you suck — in fact, if that person hadn’t been in the applicant pool, the job might have gone to you. (That’s frustrating in a different way, of course — but it’s not a referendum on you in the way you’re currently thinking.)

Frankly, it’s impossible to know from the outside what’s going on behind the scenes in a hiring process.

For one thing, hiring isn’t always as strictly merit-based as you might think it is. There are the obvious exceptions ....  Read the rest of the article


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Your Resume Is a Waste of Time: 8 Better Ways to Get Hired for the Job You Want

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

7 Ways To Find Job Openings Without Using Job Boards

by Lisa Rangel

Spending most of your job-search time on job boards is an addictive, time suck spiral. And this is how it starts: The enticing idea of sending your credentials online to instantly receive an interview appeals to your sense of wanting immediate gratification, and comes with a low risk of direct rejection. But what ends up happening for most people is a slow, draining process of rejection-less rejection. Instead of being told "no,” you're told nothing. Or you receive "thanks but no thanks” emails that come seconds after you submit your applications and that a human didn't write. Typically, anything that's “Insta-Easy” to apply to is going to have hundreds, if not thousands, of people applying, and these days you may not even get human eyeballs on your application.
 
That’s why it’s important to look for open jobs outside job boards. And jobs outside job boards they do exist ... in abundance. So if you're willing to do the work that almost no one else wants to do to find these openings, here is what you need to do.

4. Explore business news stories.
Where there's smoke, there's fire. If a company launches a new business, there's often hiring happening to support it. If a company downsizes, believe it or not, that creates opportunities. Position yourself as a solution and reach out.

5. Research industry conferences and conventions.
Whether you attend or not, conferences and conventions are nuggets of opportunities to capitalize on here. Get familiar with the major ones in your industry and do your due diligence to make connections.

6. Look up educational and career/professional development events.
People who grow and stick together help each other. Do your research to find these but also reach out to others in your industry to get ideas. Simply ask them which events they plan on attending in the near future.

See all 7 ways and the complete Vault.com article

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Job interview tips for older workers

Dawn Papandrea

Older workers, you have solid advantages when it comes time to find a job (years of amazing experience), but it can also be a challenge—especially if you haven’t had to interview for a job in a very long time.

“It is a very different landscape than it was even 10 years ago, and for many in that demographic, it has been longer than 10 years,” says Regina Rear-Connor, a New York–based talent acquisition leader and consultant. “The key is to make sure that you are presenting yourself for today's market. There are those who think finding a job is the same as it was in the 1980s.”

With 55% of workers saying they plan to work past age 65, according to a recent Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies survey, that’s all the more reason to keep your job interviews fresh so you can keep striving for new career goals in your 50s and beyond.


Here’s what you need to know:


Stay on point

In a behavioral interview format, older workers likely have many experiences to discuss. “The key is to answer these questions in a very tight and clear STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) format,” says Rear-Connor. What you don’t want to do is bore your interviewer. “You must remember that the human attention span is much shorter these days. When you go down that rabbit hole, you lose the attention of your interviewer.”


Be confident, but humble

The age and experience of older workers bring insight and a new perspective, and you need to draw confidence from that, says Rear-Connor. However, humility can go a long way, too. “Acknowledge that while you bring a lot to the table, you are sure there are things you can learn,” she says. Doing so will help ensure that you’re not looking to come in and step on anyone’s toes.

Prepare for the virtual interview - Read the rest of the Monster.com article

 

Monday, June 10, 2019

You’re probably answering these 5 common interview questions wrong

By Judith Humphrey

Some of the simplest interview questions are the trickiest. 

No matter what sorts of jobs you applied for, you can expect certain interview questions to pop up again and again. But just because you’ve answered these questions before doesn’t mean you should skip the prep work. In fact, some of these super-common questions are the hardest ones to get right.
So get your pen out, and don’t even think about heading in for an interview until you’ve written out talking points for the following questions:

1. Can you tell me about yourself?

This question is often answered with a meandering narrative, instead of using the opportunity to present a clear, impactful story about yourself.

Such an open-ended question makes it easy to go on too long and fill in a lot of details about your education, previous jobs, like and dislikes, or interests. But no one wants to hear a dissertation on your life. It makes you sound unfocused and aimless.

Instead, think of one clear message you want to deliver about yourself, and then pitch that idea in your answer. For example, you might say “I’m a person who has performed well in a series of communications roles,” or “If there’s one thing that defines me it’s my passion for leading people.” And make sure the one idea you’re putting forward about yourself fits with what the interviewer is looking for in a candidate. Once you have the key descriptor, expand upon it. You’ll sound focused and career-savvy.

2. What interests you about this job?

This question is tricky because it’s easy to give an answer that has little to do with the job itself. For example, you may say you’ve applied for this job in retail because you’ve always wanted to be in fashion, or you are a designer and you want to be in advertising. Or perhaps you have a friend who told you about the job, so you’ve applied because your friend likes that company. Or you may be interested simply because you’re ready to move on from your current gig. These are all true answers, but they’re hardly inspiring.

Instead, use this answer to show you know what is expected, what the challenges of the job are, and why you believe your talents will allow you to achieve what is expected. Dig deep and explain why exactly you feel you can deliver in the role.

Read all 5 questions and the complete Fast Company article

 

 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Why Personal Branding Is Essential For Getting A Job

This post was written by Pamela Paterson

What’s A Personal Brand?

According to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”  They are the words that are invoked when people think of you—your skills, values, and talents. Your brand is what people can expect from you.

For example, I gave a lecture recently about personal brands to college students. I asked them to give me words that described their professors. Some said hardworking, quality, and committed. Others said disengaged, unprofessional, and unfriendly. I pointed out that all of their professors were qualified on paper, but some of them didn’t spend any effort to create a positive brand. If you lack tenure and are just entering the job market, you need to create a strong brand that tells employers why to hire you.

Developing Your Brand

Your brand will tell employers why you are a perfect fit for the job and their company: how you meet their needs. Your brand must be evident in your resume and cover letter, as well as your online presence (when you Google yourself, what do you find?). Your brand must match the requirements in the company’s job posting, as well as the company values that you find on their website. As an aside, matching the job posting will also help you get through the company’s applicant tracking system, which is designed to screen out poor keyword matches.

Through the job posting and website, and any other online searching you do (for example, of staff LinkedIn profiles), you’ll learn some general characteristics the company looks for in its employees.  It could be people who can work in an aggressive, multiple-priority environment, or people who function best in a process-driven government organization. You’ll learn about the “personality” of the company. The closer your brand is to their personality, the better your chances of joining that company.

Know that even companies in the same industry may have different personalities. For example, two accounting firms will not necessarily embrace the same values. A small, local accounting firm that helps clients file their taxes will have a stronger requirement for customer service than an auditor in a global accounting firm who doesn’t have any direct customer contact.

Strengthening Your Brand - Read the rest of the WorkItDaily article