Tuesday, April 30, 2013

3 Stupid Questions To Ask In An Interview

I’m sure at this point you saw the news from this weekend – Reese Witherspoon’s husband got arrested for DUI and she did what any drunk celebrity wife should do – threatened a police officer with the best question ever asked by celebrities – “Do you know who I am!?”   Yep – Mrs. Legally Blonde herself asked the one question celebrities are trained to never ask, under any circumstances.  She broke Rule #1 of being celebrity – and it was glorious!

This got me to thinking, from a candidate perspective, what are the questions who could ask that would ensure your interview went from Fab to Drab in about 3 seconds!?  My Catfish Friend, Kathy Rapp, over at Fistful of Talent had a great post this past week – 3 Questions Freakin’ Awesome Candidates Ask - which gave candidates three absolute home-run questions to ask at the end of the interview to show you’re a Rock Star candidate.  My list does the opposite!

The cool part of my list – is that each of these questions are from actual candidates asked during interviews that I’ve been apart of:

1.  Do you drug test?   Nope!  But we do now!  I’m pretty sure the person who asks this question has already made up their mind they don’t want to work for your company and they use this to ensure you won’t hire them.  Believe me there are plenty of people who interview, to get their parents, spouse, etc. off their back, but they don’t really want to work – so they sabotage themselves.  Asking dumb questions at the end is one of the best ways to sabotage an interview! Other question on this path – Do you do background checks? Do you do credit checks? Do you hire felons?

2. How long before I get to use sick time?  Never!  Because you wont’ be working here!  Again, the person who asks this question asks it for a reason – that reason is they ‘plan’ on being sick.  Quick HR Pro Rule of Thumb – if someone plans on being sick – you aren’t going to be happy with that hire.  Other questions on this same path:  When would I get a raise? How soon can I use my health insurance?  What happens if I’m late to work?

Question #3 and the rest of the article

Monday, April 29, 2013

3 Questions Freakin’ Awesome Candidates Ask


I read and essentially disagreed with a post over at Recruiter.com about “7 Questions Great Candidates Ask“, so figured I better pony up with some of my favorite questions.  It wasn’t that ALL 7 sucked, but they were predictable,  like “Why did the previous job holder leave?”  And, “job holder”?  Really??!  Who says “job holder”?

I did like #7 – “How do your employees wind down?”, but the suggested response blew. Candidates don’t want to hear about your commitment to work-life balance, because guess what – they won’t (and shouldn’t) believe you.  I’ve said before there’s no such thing as work-life “balance” as balance implies equality.  There can be work-life trade-offs.  Some weeks you kill yourself on a project.  The trade-off being when you need to get to your kid’s basketball game at 4pm you’re court-side by 3:45pm and not checking email.

Here are my 3 and why only freakin’ AWESOME candidates ask these questions:

#1.  Why should I leave a job I love to come over here?  This question says, I’m an extremely passive candidate and you’re going to have to really convince me to even continue in the interview process.  It is also asking for transparency.  What’s the real story about your org and this role?

#2.  What would my priorities be for the first 6-12 months?  Your candidate is intrigued.  He/She is now looking for detail about what their 1st year would look like.  It’s also a question to test if you (hiring manager) have really thought through your priorities and expectations of the role.  You better be able to answer this one – and with more than “I want you to build relationships”.  Duh.

Friday, April 26, 2013

5 Standout Things To Bring To Your Next Interview


It may seem obvious. You were invited to an interview with the hiring manager or recruiter. They beckoned you because they like your resume and believe you are qualified for the job. At this point, it’s all about the dialogue, and you are a fantastic interviewer, so what else do you need but yourself and your confidence – right?

Wrong. Sometimes less is not more. And, interviews offer an opportunity to strategically slide in a value-add here and there, depending upon the course the conversation takes.
Following are five ideas of value-add items to bring to the interview to help enhance your personal marketing message, compelling your interview forward:

1. Tweaked Resume: Even if you recently updated your resume, assess if a tweaked headline or modified achievement would more perfectly align your message with this specific interview.

Then, print off five to 10 copies of your resume from a quality printer using good, 24 lb. paper. Use a neutral, earthy tone: off-white, tan, light brown, gray or something similar. Show attention to detail, ensuring the watermark prints in an upright position. With a stack of freshly printed resumes in hand, you are equipped to distribute them to additional hiring decision makers who may unexpectedly arrive, empty-handed, at your meeting.

2. Toot-Your-Own-Horn Book: If you are in sales, this is an especially valuable tool. However, brag books needn’t be limited to sales-oriented interviews. Consider what visual representations of your value you could provide. Buy about a dozen 3-hole-punched sheet protectors in which to display your horn-tooting items. Examples include a thank-you note, a printout of a sales graph, an email from a happy client and a project milestone chart showcasing results of a mammoth project. What this book may consist of is only limited by your imagination and creativity. Think colorful and glimpse-able.

3. Testimonials Page. While you may not be ready to hand off contact information of your valuable references during the initial interview, you could create a ‘testimonials’ page with a list of three to five key people (names only, without phone numbers and email addresses), who are wowed by the value you provide.

Diversify the references to include a client, a vendor, a senior executive, a colleague, a direct report and so forth. Then, organize the page to include three columns: 1. Name of person and their company affiliation; 2. Your relationship to that person; e.g., you and s/he collaborated on a specific project; you provided sales consultation to that person; or, you trained them in their new role, for example; and, 3. What they have said in the past about you or would say if approached today about your contribution to individual or team goals in relationship to saving time, trimming costs or adding to profits.

Things 4,5, and the complete article

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Top Five Personality Traits Employers Hire Most

Meghan Casserly

I know you: You’ve made looking for your next job, well… your job. You’ve scoured your resume of clichéd buzzwords, brushed up on body language and even gotten a handle on the dreaded video interview.

But all that might be for naught if you just don’t have the personality your dream employer is looking for. New research shows that the vast majority of employers (88%) are looking for a “cultural fit” over skills in their next hire as more and more companies focus on attrition rates. Lucky for you, we’ve drilled down into data from 1,200 of the world’s leading employers (think General Electric, P&G and Accenture) to find precisely the personalities big business is looking for.

Universum, the Stockholm-based employer branding firm that annually surveys over 400,000 students and professionals worldwide on jobs-related issues, has culled their data to the top five personality traits employers are looking for in job candidates in 2012. How’s that for a leg up on the competition?

“We surveyed employers to get a handle on the challenges that face them in hiring,” says Joao Araujo of Universum. “What are they looking for in employees and what are they not finding?” By identifying both traits, he says, aspiring job applicants can both identify the most sought after traits—and brush up resumes and interview tactics to best position themselves.

Professionalism (86%), high-energy (78%) and confidence (61%) are the top three traits employers say they are looking for in new hires. Kathy Harris, managing director of Manhattan-based executive search firm Harris Allied says these first-impression traits are the most critical for employers to prepare for as they all can be evaluated by a recruiter or hiring manager within the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate.

“A manager can read you the moment you walk in the door,” she says; from the clothes you wear to the way you stand to the grip of your first hand-shake, presenting yourself as a confident, energetic professional is about as basic as career advice gets. But don’t be off-put by this commonplace advice. Harris, who specialized in high-level executive placement says even the most seasoned of CEOs can get tripped up by the basics. Universum clients agree: confidence ranks highest on the list of skills companies think employees are missing most.

“We remind every candidate of the most granular advice,” she says. The most successful applicant is the one who walks into every interview with her hand outstretched for a handshake, has done her homework on the interviewer and company and is dressed to fit effortlessly into the culture of the workplace.

Traits 4,5 and the complete Forbes article

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

8 New Ways To Look For A Job

By Marty Nemko

Sometimes it feels that job searching hasn't changed in eons: Write a resume, network, answer ads, interview. And you've been using just those to land a job without success. So you're craving something new.

Even in our highly-digitized era, I don't believe the cloud can replace coffee -- that is, sitting down over a cup of coffee with a potential job lead. That said, the internet continues to yield new tools, job search strategies, and factors to consider. Here's the latest crop:

Employers will Google you. If there's something you've posted that you don't want prospective employers to see, take it down. If someone else has written something unfairly negative about you, see if you can get them to take it down. Be sure your LinkedIn profile is complete, including an engaging headshot.

Try CareerSonar. It ranks all jobs available online by the strength of your connections on Facebook and LinkedIn. That makes it easy for you to know when to try to get a connection to try to help you.

Check out Glassdoor.com. The site makes it easy to dig up the straight scoop on what it's like to interview with and work for a specific employer.

You might try posting a Twesume: a 140-character resume on Twitter. Employers like to screen fast and many are looking for social-media-friendly applicants. Sample: Tech PR pro. 16+ years experience both in-house & agency. Looking in LA.

Tips 5-8 and the complete article

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

7 Ways Your Resume Is Just As Boring As Everyone Else’s


The economy seems to be picking up a little, and more and more job seekers are coming to us and letting us know about internal opportunities within their organization they would like to apply to. But even as more opportunities open up, the competition is as strong—or stronger than ever before. That’s why your resume has to be perfect.

7 Ways Your Resume Is Boring

Here are seven ways your resume isn’t quite cutting it. So, take it out, brush it off, and let’s kick it up a notch.

1. It’s Still Sporting That Outdated Objective

If your resume is utilizing an objective, you really should trash it and start all over with a fresh, powerful introduction that incorporates a personal branding statement. A tailored career summary and polished personal branding statement will catch the employer’s attention and give him or her the best information up front—the information he or she needs to make a decision to call you to schedule an interview.

2. The Design/Format Is Generic

There is a strategy behind resume formatting and design. If you are an executive, yet you are using an entry-level resume format, you will look unprofessional and under-qualified.

3. It’s Missing Important Keywords

Omit keywords and the software system scanning your resume can’t find you. The recruiter giving your resume a quick once-over is looking for specific keywords as well. Leave them out and you’ll be left out of the interview process.

4. It Has Generic And/Or Vague Statements

Avoid using the same old terminology that everyone else uses in their resumes. Yes, we know you can problem solve. But instead of telling me you’re a problem solver, show me the result of a problem you solved.

Ways 5-7 and the complete Careerealism article

Monday, April 22, 2013

7 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Your Job Search

Jacquelyn Smith

As a job seeker, you’re most likely spending all your time scouring the Web for employment opportunities. But did you know a majority of openings are never advertised online? Probably not.

I’d also bet you’ve no clue how long most interviews last; how many other candidates are vying for your dream job; or how much money you lose over the course of your career if you never negotiate pay.

The job search process is tricky and trying, and there’s a lot you probably don’t know. However, if you do your research and have the proper information on your side, the outcome should be favorable.

Interview Success Formula, a program that helps job seekers to deliver powerful interview answers, compiled information from various sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor.com, CNN, TheUnderCoverRecruiter.com, and The Wall Street Journal, among others, to uncover facts and figures that may be useful to job seekers.

“Many job seekers want to know, Is what I am experiencing normal?” says Alan Carniol, founder of InterviewSuccessFormula.com. “I think this information can help them to answer that question and feel better about their job search experience. These statistics can also help them to create a job search plan, formulate their interview story, and navigate through the post-interview process more efficiently.”

Here are 7 things InterviewSuccessFomula.com found out about the job search process that you probably didn’t know:

1. There were 3.6 million job openings at the end of 2012. About 80% of available jobs are never advertised.

2. The average number of people who apply for any given job: 118. Twenty-percent of those applicants get an interview.

3. Many companies use talent-management software to screen resumes, weeding out up to 50% of applications before anyone ever looks at a resume or cover letter.

4. On average, interviews last 40 minutes. After that, it usually takes 24 hours to two weeks to hear from the company with their decision.

5. What do employees look for before making an offer? About 36% look for multitasking skills; 31% look for initiative; 21% look for creative thinking; and 12% look for something else in the candidate.

6. In the U.S., 42% of professionals are uncomfortable negotiating salary. By not negotiating, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by the time they reach 60.
7. More than half (56%) of all employers reported that a candidate rejected their job offer in 2012.

Why are these statistics and facts so useful and important? - Find out the answers and the complete Forbes article

Friday, April 19, 2013

The 9 Best Job-Seeking Tips from Staffing Leaders


What is the most effective way to get a job?

Talent acquisition leaders from greater Boston health care organizations and recruiting agencies recently came together with career counselors, résumé writers and job hunter coaches at a forum hosted by the Association of Career Professionals-New England. They provided a potpourri of valuable insights and tips for you to consider:

1. Respect yourself. "I don't want to hire you unless you are proud of who you are," advises Bobby Tugbiyele, the talent management specialist at the Lowell Community Health Center.

If you appear to be hiding key facts about your background, including your age, you show yourself to be evasive. For example, if you have a gap in employment, are older than age 50 or have other special circumstances, don't try to cover it up. Rather than make a staffing person guess what is going on, convey your own story in the best possible terms. Otherwise, you can easily disqualify yourself.

2. Embrace LinkedIn. LinkedIn is crucial to the staffing efforts of independent recruiters like Robert McInturff, president of McInturff & Associates and Kathy Provost, managing director of Biomedical Search Consultants, as well as for Tugbiyele and Michael Cawley, senior manager of talent acquisition and organizational development at Tufts Health Plan. While each use social media in different ways and to varying degrees, all agreed that so far as the eye can see, LinkedIn is "the wave of the future" for sourcing strong candidates. They all use it to review candidate profiles at one point or another in the hiring process.

3. In-person networking never gets old. Employee referrals remain a primary source for good hires, and employees are compensated when they refer others who are then hired.

This has obvious implications for job seekers. Panelists all encouraged job seekers to find people whom they know in their target company through LinkedIn or other means, and network themselves into consideration.

4. Recruiters work for employers, not candidates. "No one needs [to pay a fee to] me to find just 'a person,'" says McInturff. "They look to me to find people in the top 15 percent of whatever, who they don't already have in their database."

While recruiters can make an impact on a person's career trajectory, they place only a small portion of people who are hired. Unless there is something stellar in your background, chances are you are not great recruiter bait.

5. Always maintain contact with key recruiters. "Whenever you are approached by a recruiter, take the call," Provost advises. Even when you aren't looking, it is wise to keep your network active.
Provost also says it's a big mistake to say "I'm always looking" or "I'm always open to new opportunities," even if you are open to being recruited. Rather than conveying that you're receptive to hearing about a new possibility, it gives the sense that you're open to being a job hopper, and are only looking at this present opportunity as a stepping-stone to the next one.

Tips 6-9 and the complete US News Article

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Elevate Your Thinking: 10 Strategies for Job Search Success

by Kadena Tate

Have you ever wondered why some college graduates seem to effortlessly capture a “good job with great pay” while others struggle to find a minimum wage job?

The answer is so simple it may shock you…

Those who succeed are willing to grow so they can render a higher level of service.

Allow me to share with you ten strategies that will help you elevate your thinking… and land the job of your dreams:

Seek to Serve

You deserve to be rich because you add value to other people’s lives. People will gladly compensate you when you help them live life fully on their terms. Seek to serve, instead of just seeking a paycheck.

Be a Value Add

Add value to your potential employer by expanding your paradigm of possibility. How? By reading a book a week. Experience teaches that not every reader is a leader, however, every leader is a reader.

Desire Development

Embrace personal and professional development. Then share your knowledge. Ensure your input in the life of another brings them more joy, money, self-confidence, fulfillment and satisfaction.

Lead from the Heart

Develop heart-centered leadership acumen. Improve your communication skills and style of relating to people so that they WANT to be around you. People can energize you or become a drain. Don’t be a drain. Be a walking example of joy, passion, productivity, and profitability.

Take Pride in Your Appearance

The late Zig Ziglar is quoted as saying “You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.” You do not have to dress for others; however, please know that how you dress leaves an impression that words cannot.

Tips 6- 10 and the complete article

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How To Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

The goals of a cover letter are to 1) affirm the connection you have (hopefully) already made with the addressee and 2) to get you noticed. If that is the case, why do all the cover letters I see look the same? All short one paragraph, maybe with a few bullets about why this candidate is applying for the job.

What do you think the reaction is from recruiters and hiring managers when they see this type of cover letter? I say “SNOOZE – BORING.” Ignore! Is it effective to just talk about yourself the same way everyone else does?

No. You need to do it differently if you are going to get a different result.

Here’s how to make your cover letter stand out of the crowd:

Build A Connection

Your cover letter must show 1) that you resonate with this company and 2) there’s a story behind your interest. We all have our reasons for interest in the company we are approaching. Ask yourself, why do I want to work here? (Answering “because I need a job” is not allowed here.) Be real to yourself and to the company. You don’t want to waste your time or the company’s time if there isn’t a sincere interest in working at this firm.

Let’s assume there’s a a sincere interest in what this company is doing, producing, achieving. Why does it resonate with you? Now, tell your reader just that.

“The first time I served in our local soup kitchen, my heart broke and cheered at the same time. I fell in love with the people I was serving. The glimpse of hope they shared with me, though I had a nice warm apartment to go to, a job, clean food and clothes. They seemed to have no hope, homeless, on the street, begging for food. I vowed to continue to serve and be generous to those in need. That is why Mr. Non-Profit, your work at XYZ resonates with me. Your…..”

Do you see the difference of a good story that connects with them verses a boring list of one’s skills?

Realize It’s Not About You

How counter-intuitive right? Not really. Yes, YOU are applying for a job at company XYZ, but it’s not about YOU. It’s about THEM. The hiring team wants to know what’s in it for them. How can you help them, make money, save money, add clients, keep clients, build brand awareness, streamline processes, and so on?

Jobs are created because there’s a need to help the bottom-line – yup, money. I apologize to my fellow personal development friends, but a job is really about running a business – no matter where you are. Even in non-profit, how can you help the clients, raise funds, and bring more exposure to the organization?

Think of it this way: If you were a business owner and needed to hire help. How would you make the determination to do so? Behind it all is a financial piece to it. For instance in hiring a virtual assistant I need to know that the money I am paying her to take over certain aspects of my business is worth it to me. That her help will help me focus on the areas that I can generate the most money to grow my business. Agreed? The same holds true for any organization. Think like a business owner and you’ll get this part.

More Tips and the Complete Careerealism Article

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tips for a Twitter Job Search

Hunting for a job on Twitter can be tricky, particularly because the social network combines a person's personal and professional identities. Here are some tips, gathered from recruiters, job-seekers and career experts, on how to best leverage the social network.
  • Follow companies – and if possible, individual hiring managers and employees -- you'd like to work with.
  • Re-tweet and converse with hiring managers and employees at companies of interest. If you're currently employed, you can directly message employers once you have established a rapport.
  • Use your profile to indicate you're looking for a job. Nothing says social-media novice more than a Twitter account with the default picture, but make sure your photo shows you in a professional, positive light.
  • Don't shy away from personal tweets or humor, as hiring managers want to know what you'd be like among colleagues. But keep posts clean.

Monday, April 15, 2013

How to Ace the 50 Most Common Interview Questions

Jacquelyn Smith

I recently laid out the year’s most oddball interview questions. The Glassdoor list included queries from companies like Google, Bain & Co., and Amazon, which are notorious for their perplexing and unusual job interview questions.

In 2012, the search giant asked a candidate, “How many cows are in Canada?” while Bain challenged an interviewee to estimate the number of windows in New York. Amazon asked a candidate, “If Jeff Bezos walked into your office and offered you a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea, what would it be?”

The moral of the story was that job seekers need to anticipate less conventional interview questions, and that they should think of oddball queries as an opportunity to demonstrate their thought process, to communicate their values and character, and to show the prospective employer how they perform under pressure.

But as it turns out, most companies will ask more common interview questions like “What are your strengths?” and “What are your weaknesses?”—and it’s important that you prepare well for those, too.
Glassdoor sifted through tens of thousands of interview reviews to find the 50 most common questions.

The 50 Most Common Interview Questions:
  1. What are your strengths?
  2. What are your weaknesses?
  3. Why are you interested in working for [insert company name here]?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
  5. Why do you want to leave your current company?
  6. Why was there a gap in your employment between [insert date] and [insert date]?
  7. What can you offer us that someone else can not?
  8. What are three things your former manager would like you to improve on?
  9. Are you willing to relocate?
  10. Are you willing to travel?
  11. Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.
  12. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
  13. What is your dream job?
  14. How did you hear about this position?
  15. What would you look to accomplish in the first 30 days/60 days/90 days on the job?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Are You Being Too Aggressive in Your Job Search?


In today's job market, it's easy to feel like you need to be aggressive to stand out in a crowded field of applicants and make sure employers notice you. But with most employers, being too aggressive will backfire and lead to more rejections than interviews.

You might wonder why—after all, employers like persistence and enthusiasm, right? But when those things cross the line into annoying employers, making you seem desperate, or making you appear not to understand and follow normal business conventions, you'll harm your chances.

So what does it mean to be too aggressive? Here are some of the most common overly aggressive tactics that employers see:

Applying for every position a company has open. When you're feeling anxious for a job, it can be tempting to apply for every opening you see. But if you apply for every opening a company has, even if you're only somewhat qualified, you'll start to look desperate and employers will doubt your judgment. (To be clear, it's fine to apply for two or three openings if you're truly qualified for all of them. The problem is when you apply for every opening, no matter how dissimilar.)

Calling to follow up on your application, especially more than once. Candidates sometimes think that calling to follow up on a job application will show persistence and enthusiasm, but most employers will tell you that these calls don't help and sometimes hurt. These days, with more than 200 applicants for every opening, if every applicant called to follow up, employers would spend all day fielding these calls. It can be hard to accept when you want to feel a sense of control in your job search, but once you apply, the ball is in the employer's court.

Showing up in person without an interview appointment. With the exception of industries like retail and food service, you should not apply in person unless an employer specifically directs you to. It's annoying, it's disrespectful of other people's time, and it displays a lack of understanding of how hiring works (because candidates can't decide on their own that they're getting an interview; the employer needs to make that call). Plus, many companies these days only accept resumes electronically because they're put into an electronic screening system, so you'll simply be told to go home and apply online.

More Tips and Complete USNews Article

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The New Resume: It's 140 Characters

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

14 Common Job Hunting Blunders

Whether you are just starting your professional life or are a seasoned pro looking to make a savvy career move, whether you are between jobs or simply feeling the need to move on, the quality of your job hunt will determine your level of success.

If you're a serious job hunter, you've probably read plenty of books and articles on job seeking steps that will give you the leading edge.

But do you know what actions might put the kibosh on your quest? This article explores 14 job hunting mistakes to avoid.

         1. Relying on the job classifieds, want ads, or online job postings

The majority of jobs are snatched up before they make it to these mediums. If you sit back and wait for the right job to materialize in the Sunday paper, you’ll miss the best opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Labor claims that 70 percent of jobs are found through networking, so dust off your contacts, reach out in person, by phone, or by email, and let everyone in your personal and professional spheres know you’re on the hunt.

         2. Having unclear job or career goals

Not quite sure what you want to do? Think you'll know the right job when you see it? Would you travel a long distance without a map?

Figure out what you want to do before beginning your search, and hone in on a particular job, organization, or industry. Job search focus will allow you to target ideal organizations and industries, craft a more powerful resume, and better prepare for interviews.

        3. Looking for any old job

A recent job loss or layoff may make you feel desperate, especially in this economic climate. It's rarely necessary to settle right away. Instead, give yourself a particular timeframe in which you can look for ideal positions. Give yourself as much time as possible to find the right fit.

If you reach a point where you have to consider jobs you wouldn't have considered in more robust times -- and these days there's a good chance you will -- look for a job that will make you happy, and will allow you to learn something new.  

         4. Being unprepared for interviews

Nothing will close a door faster than a lackluster interview. Start by learning everything you can about the organization. Second, use resources such as books and online job websites to familiarize yourself with common interview questions.
Prepare your answers until you can recite them in your sleep. Have a friend videotape you -- your smart phone video camera will do just fine -- so you can see what you sound and look like and make any necessary adjustments.
Not all that interested in the job? Prepare anyway. It's good practice, and the more you practice, the better you'll get at the interview process.

         5. Going ape with guerilla tactics

You want to be proactive in your job search, but you don't want to come across as pushy, aggressive, or overbearing.
It's fine to reach out once in a while to keep in touch, to network, and to ensure potential employers don't forget about you or your interest in their organization, but in-your-face ploys like monopolizing phone and email inboxes, not taking "no" for an answer, or approaching potential employers on their way in or out of the office or in other places they hang out just creates bad feelings . . . and is a little creepy.

Mistakes 6-14 and The Complete Salary.com Article

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Drive Your C.A.R. to Success: Job Interview Preparation

Proper preparation is critical for a strong performance in any job interview. In today’s competitive job market, it is crucial to create a strategy for communicating your accomplishments to your interviewer in a succinct and memorable fashion. The C.A.R. method will allow you to do just that by providing a straightforward method for sharing examples of your past successes.

What is C.A.R.?
C.A.R. stands for the three components that will form the basis of a five to six sentence story that exemplifies your accomplishments: challenge, action and result. By sharing a story about a challenge you have faced in the past, you provide an opportunity to showcase the action that you took to overcome it and can demonstrate to your interviewer that you achieved the desired result.
C.A.R. stories should be succinct and limited only to relevant details. They need to be easily recalled both by you and your interviewer. You should prepare these stories in advance of your interview.

Building Your C.A.R.
When constructing your C.A.R. story, emphasize important aspects of each component while keeping in mind what the company you are interviewing with is likely to value.

When selecting a challenge to talk about, ask yourself how this challenge was out of the ordinary and what types of stresses and difficulties this placed on you. A challenge that could arise again in your potential position at the new company may be a good choice to demonstrate your skills and strengths.
Next, describe your action to overcome the challenge or rectify the problem. Discuss your creative and innovative approach and why you chose to act as you did. Be sure to be clear about your goals when you undertook the action. Include how you managed employees under your supervision and how you worked with your own management to accomplish the task at hand as a team.

Finally, relate the results of your action. Be specific in explaining what you achieved for the company and why this was valuable. Quantify your results if possible and use concrete examples as much as possible. Also discuss any other parties, such as your manager or the employees you supervise, that benefited from the results that you achieved.

Driving Your C.A.R.
The C.A.R. method is most effective when applied at the right time. C.A.R. should be used to provide memorable examples in lieu of standard positive or neutral responses to interviewer questions. When asked questions about your strengths or weaknesses, you can implement a C.A.R. story to help emphasize your value to your potential employer. Effective use of the C.A.R. strategy will give your interviewer a fuller picture of your skills and abilities.

Maintaining Your C.A.R. - Read how to maintain your C.A.R. and the Complete Article

Monday, April 8, 2013

15 Ways to Describe Yourself in an Interview


In just about every interview, the interviewer asks the question, “How would you describe yourself?” While this is something that should be anticipated and practiced, many job seekers overlook the importance of this question and fail to take the time to formulate the right answers.

Moreover, when describing ourselves, we should approach our answers in an honest, candid manner. Even though some answers are laid out below, always ensure that you phrase these in our own words; authenticity is important.

To better give you some guidance, here are 15 ways to describe yourself for your next interview:

“I would say I’m…”

1. “Someone who has high expectations for my results. I am confident in my ability to produce, and while I prepare for the worst, I do the work necessary to tilt the odds so that the best will happen.”

2. “Someone who wants to be judged by individual performance and rewarded for my efforts based on my ability to execute.”

3. “Someone who wants to work for a successful company with strong leadership and vision, one that recognizes and rewards performers.”

4. “Someone who is consistently growing and takes the time to continue learning even though it’s not a direct requirement of the job. I find that many times, my professional growth is based on what I study, both directly and indirectly related to work.”

5. “Someone who is modest, hard-working and consistently sets firm goals for myself. Then, once I’ve defined my benchmarks, I take the necessary steps to achieve those milestones.”

6. “Someone who aims to keep lines of communication open and is concerned with clients’ needs—consistently asking questions to uncover the what the client truly wants and then making sure I’m able to meet those requirements.”

7. “Someone who thinks positively and can execute difficult tasks. I’m not an individual who needs to be micromanaged. Rather, when given a specific task, I can figure out the best ways to solve the problem in an autonomous manner.”

Descriptions 8-15 and the complete Brazen Careerist article

Friday, April 5, 2013

4 Tips for Designing a Resume That Will Get You Hired


You’ve read all the advice for writing a stellar resume and applied all the tips for great content. You’ve spent hours reviewing and perfecting it line by line. Friends have checked and double checked your spelling and grammar.

But you’re still not getting callbacks. Is there anything else you can possibly do to improve your resume so your chances at landing a job are better?

It could be time to leave the content alone. Instead, focus your energy on the design. Yes, I said design.

Consider that hiring recruiters only look at an individual resume for between six seconds (according to a study conducted by The Ladders) and 15 seconds (according to Chameleon Resumes). A well-organized and visually pleasing resume is important to make a strong first impression.
These four tips will help draw the eye to important information and create visual order:

1. Use the most readable fonts

Fonts fall into two main groups: serif fonts and sans-serif fonts. Times New Roman and Cambria are serif fonts, meaning each letter has a tiny edge. Arial and Calibri are rounder, sans-serif fonts. (Wikipedia’s article on serifs gives a quick explanation of the difference.)

The difference is important because serif fonts look great at larger point sizes, but the further you reduce them, the less legible they are. The serifs create clutter and strain the eyes, especially in large blocks. They are not good to use in the main body of your resume.

Instead, use a serif for section headers and a sans-serif for the body. The change in font creates clear visual separation that attracts the eye to important information.

For example, use Cambria for job titles and the dates you were employed, then switch to Calibri for the content describing the position. The Ladders reports that company titles and employment dates are two of the most reviewed parts of your resume. Changing the font will guide the eye naturally to these sections.

If you prefer to stick to one font for consistency, use a sans-serif. Sans-serifs look fine in larger text and are still easy to read in smaller sizes.

2. Create separation with visual space

Spacing is an important visual cue to the brain, as well as a resting space for the eyes. Two common mistakes on resumes are:
  • Bolded text, underlines or italics to separate sections, as in this example. Instead, use white space to create visual separation.
  • Uniform spacing between a section header, its content and different sections, as in this example. Instead, create visual hierarchy by separating sections with more space.
I can’t say it enough: spacing is important. The visual cue it sends to our brains can’t be replaced by bold text. Nothing says “this section is ending and the next is beginning” like a nice double space in your document.

It’s equally important to keep the header and its associated content grouped together. Section headers should not be stranded out in the middle of no man’s land. Remember, a recruiter spends less than 15 seconds scanning your resume. Anyone should be able to glance at a section header and automatically understand it belongs with the bullets below.

If you like a cleaner look with lots of white space, use half the amount of space between section title and content in relation to the space used between sections. Your resume will still have white space, but you won’t sacrifice visual organization.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

10 things you can do to help your jobsearch

Most jobseekers start their jobsearch full of hope and excitement, but as time progresses the excitement turns to despair and frustration. Listed below are 10 steps you can implement to help your jobsearch. 
  1. Value your resume: Your resume is without doubt your most important career document. Make sure your resume is selling your worth to employers. It should be achievement driven, aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. The cornerstone of every jobsearch is an effective, results-focused resume. Interviews will be won or lost on the basis of your resume alone so it has to pack a punch to get you noticed. Find out more about Professional Resume Writers here.
  2. Embrace social media: It’s easy to sign up for LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If you only want to use one then LinkedIn would be my recommendation. Whether you choose one or more, dedicate time every day to being ‘seen and heard’. Don’t just sign up and follow or link to people – you need to engage people, start conversations — it’s networking, only online.
  3. Network: Yep, I know you probably hate that word and are sick of hearing about it in your jobsearch, but there is a reason careerists continue to talk about it — because it works. Go where the jobs can be found. If you’re not networking you are adding time to your search. Learn more about networking here.
  4. Personalise all your job search materials: Every resume, every cover letter, every email should be tailored specifically to the job you are applying for. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all resume. The quicker you understand that, the quicker you will find work.
  5. Have a plan and stick to it: Having a plan helps to keep you focused, as well as assists you to follow up, track activity and results, all of which allow you to fine tune along the way.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

4 Ways to Address your Shortcomings at an Interview


A shortcoming is an imperfection or a failure to meet a certain standard.

When applying for a job, it is very unlikely that the candidate would meet all the requirements and expectations in terms of skills or experience. Almost all applicants for a certain job will have some degree of shortcoming varying from lack of experience, education, previous terminations or frequent job hopping.

There is a large possibility that the employer might need clarification on certain shortcomings at your next interview. The better prepared you are to answer such questions tactfully and honestly the better the chances of being hired.

The key is preparedness. As you read these tips, be prepared to write down what you would say pertaining to your situation – stay honest to your experiences.

Now say it out loud – for confidence. Confidence is directly linked to sincerity. Addressing your shortcomings is not adding a twist to honest stories, link them the right way to reinforce value and clarity to your explanation. And since this is not an easy task, the emphasis is on preparedness.
Here are 4 common shortcomings and some tips on how to address these at your next interview:

Lack of Experience

You may lack experience in the area you are applying for the job, the point is to focus on what you bring to the table than what you don’t. Use stories of previous experiences and accomplishments in other areas to leverage on your career achievements and strengths. Write down a few success stories from your previous job, charity work or volunteering experience.  Now relate how these stories or results can be applicable to this position.

If you can point out some references who can offer evidence of your quality work, the employer might as well hire a trusted efficient candidate who’s low on experience as compared to one with the required one but not much to look back on ethics and reliability.

When asked that your experience doesn’t exactly match our job requirements; Dummies.com suggests:
“Don’t agree. Instead, say that you see your fit with the job through a rosier lens. Your skills are cross-functional. Speak the language of transferable skills and focus on how you can easily transfer your experience in other areas to learning this new job.”

Frequent Job Changes

Changing careers and jobs was perhaps your idea to find the ideal one that is best suited to your interest. Often, our education directs our first job or placement but it is through experience that we get to explore our real passion or repath based on new acquired skills. How can you weave a story on your past experience and how each experience has led you to a better opportunity? Perhaps, it is not a lack of decision that led you on the job hopping path but the explorer within you who has always wanted to find better pastures for intellectual growth.

Whatever be your explanation, make sure that it ties in closely with your previous jobs / work experience listed on your resume.

Tips 3,4, and The Complete CareerBright Article

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

8 Red Flags Employers See on Your Resume


Hiring managers spend only seconds skimming your resume before making a quick decision about whether to reject you or consider you further, so it's essential that your resume doesn't contain the red flags that will turn them off during that short initial scan. Here are eight red flags that will often put you straight into the "no" pile without further consideration.

1. A history of job-hopping. If you have a history of moving quickly from one job to the next without staying very long, employers will wonder whether you get bored easily or can't keep a job. If you do have good reasons for the job changes (such as having a spouse in the military), make sure to fill in employers upfront so they don't draw wrong conclusions.

2. Grammatical or spelling mistakes. Mistakes can get your resume immediately tossed, because they convey to an employer that you don't pay attention to detail. Employers assume that you've polished your resume more than you will most documents, so if you have mistakes in it, they assume your work will have even more errors.

3. Bad writing. Even for jobs that don't require flawless writing, employers still want to see evidence that you can communicate well. If you don't write clearly and concisely, they'll worry about how you'll communicate once on the job—and many will take your resume-writing quality as a shortcut to drawing conclusions about your intelligence.

4. Overly aggrandized self-descriptions. Hiring managers generally frown on language like "visionary thinker," "creative innovator" or "respected leader" because these are the sorts of things that others can say about you, but you can't say credibly about yourself. Putting them on your resume signals that you're either naive, arrogant or both. Stick to objective experience and accomplishments only.

Red Flags 5 - 8 and The Complete USNews Article

Monday, April 1, 2013

Google+ for Job Search: Your Profile Makes it Matter

Clearly, social media is an essential tool for  finding a new job or extending ourpro fessional networks.

When you think social media and careers, LinkedIn may be the first place that comes to mind.

However, it may be time to expand your online reach… and Google+ may just be your next step.

Why Google+?

Donna Svei of AvidCareerist.com answers that, “if you have a profile on Google Plus, and it contains the key words a recruiter is looking for, your profile will pop for them from their Google Search. IT’S THAT EASY. No building a network. No levels of connection. No spendy premium plans. Just simplicity.”

In addition, a post from Mashable proclaims “you will be Googled,” so why not take action to fine tune the part of your digital footprint already associated with Google?

Finally, given their influence, chances are very good that you are already using Google, whether it’s the popular search engine, Gmail, or one of many Google Apps.

So, let’s jump in… and create a profile that helps recruiters find you…

The Winning Profile

With career development and the job search process in mind, here are the Google+ profile sections you should consider completing as a form of social resume:
  • Story: This is the primary information that will appear under the “About” tab of your profile (see the screenshot below). This includes Tagline, Introduction, and Bragging Rights (i.e., achievements).
What is your story? Use key words relevant to your industry and interests to help your profile appear in recruiters’ searches. Note that while the brief Tagline is public, you can modify the settings for the Introduction and Bragging Rights.
  • Work: In this section of your profile, add your Occupation, a list of Skills, and details about your Employment history (i.e., company name, job title, start and end dates, job description.) As in the Story section, you can decide which items will be public or private.
  • Education: Create a list of your education and training achievements. The entries are similar in format to what you might include in a traditional resume or job application, such as institution name, field of study, and year of graduation.