Three Steps to Land Your Dream Job 0

Landing the job takes enthusiasmThere are many steps to landing your dream job. Some are hard and some are easy.

Step 1 involves hard work. Preparation includes formulating a plan. You know the saying, if you don’t know where you are going… I offer free reviews of resumes at Job Fairs. People show me their resume and tell me they “will take any job.” And that’s what their resume looks like.

The hard work is narrowing down what specific job in what specific industry, then what specific company offers that position. In the end, you are solving the employer’s problem by offering what they need, in a way they recognize it.

Step 2 is easy. Be enthusiastic when speaking. Recruiters and HR managers surveyed said 48% of applicants were not enthusiastic or personable. They came across as negative during phone conversations and during interviews.

This is great news! You can put yourself ahead of almost ½ of the applicants just by smiling and being enthusiastic.

Step 3 is fun. After reading the job posting, list all of the things you have done for each bullet point. Then turn these into stories showing how you have; identified problems, taken action, and then share how it turned out. It’s fun to talk about your successes. And the employer will have an easier time remembering you.

Take these three steps now and soon you will hear those wonderful words “you’re hired.”

Tell a Story to Land the Job 0

Job Interview landed by telling success story  Employers hire to solve their problems. They advertise job postings and list a series of requirements they expect candidates to possess. Companies reduce the pile of applicants to those who exhibit the closest fit to their posted job description. Those that remain are interviewed to see how they would fit in.

So how do you stand out and be remembered?  The answer is, you tell a story.

For example, most positions have some interaction with customers, or clients, or guests. The question then is “how do you handle customers?”

You could say “I’m a people person!” Now my dog is a people person, but I wouldn’t hire him for a customer service position. But what if I told a story that showed; a problem a customer had, what I did to solve the problem, and how it turned out? Would you remember me? Let’s see.

I was the store manager for Best Products in a small rural town south of Richmond, Virginia. I was at home about 8:30 PM on Christmas Eve. The phone rings and it is a customer who had been in the store that afternoon to purchase a battery operated ride on car for his seven-year old son for Christmas. He is calling because as he is putting it together, he sees that the battery is missing from the package.

Now he’s almost frantic asking me what am I going to do about it? Well, first, I don’t know how he got my number and I’m thinking it might be a setup, but it is Christmas Eve. So what I did was tell him I would meet him at the store and we would find the battery. Then I called my assistant manager, just in case it was a setup.

I arrived at the store and we met the customer. We opened another box and got the battery he needed. Several days later, he came into the store and thanked me for ‘saving his son’s Christmas.”

Now if you had just interviewed two candidates and one told you he was a “people person” and the other told the Christmas Eve story, which one would you remember? When your Boss asked who you will pick for the job, which candidate would you be able to justify hiring, the people person or the Christmas Eve manager?

Remember, stand out by telling stories and land the job of your dreams.

Never say “hard working, motivated, or team player” during the interview 0

Team PlayerWhat Job Candidate says - “Hard working, Motivated, Team Player Seeking Dream Job with Big Salary”

What Hiring Manager hears - “Limited skills, brown-nosing, seeking a paycheck working as little as possible”

It still amazes me that job candidate’s think the way to get a job is to say things about themselves. Hiring Managers aren’t interested in you telling them you are a “hard worker”, they are interested in you showing them. What situation did you face in the past, what action did you take to correct the situation and what was the outcome?

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior

Demonstrating through a specific example, a story, lets the future employer see how you worked in the past. They can take that specific story and visualize you solving their problem, their reason for wanting to hire you. They will also use it to remember you.  Here’s a true Customer Service example I gave during an interview:

I was the Store Manager for Best Products in Hopewell Virginia. It was 8 PM on Christmas Eve when I got a phone call from a customer who had bought a ride-on car for his 8-year-old son. The father was putting the car together after his son went to bed when he found the battery for the car was missing from the package. The father had called me to ask what I was going to do about it.

I told the man I would meet him at the store. I called my Assistant Manager  just in case it was a set-up (it wasn’t) and we drove to the store. We found the battery the man was missing and his 8 year-old son’s Christmas was saved.

Now I could have said “I’m a people person” when asked about my customer service skills or I could have said “I love people.” As Jay Block famously said “My dog’s a people person, but I would never hire her.” The story, specific to the job, was a key to landing the job.

By setting up situations similar to the ones you will face with the new company, your specific examples will demonstrate that you are “hard working, motivated, and a team player” without ever saying it.

This often leads to the employer saying “you’re hired.”

To Ace The Interview, Blow-up The Job Description 0

Successful job seekers spend time rehearsing interview questions. I’ve written about ways to make that fun and productive (think and speak on your feet)  and (think and speak on your feet, part 2). Recently, I discovered a new way to prepare answers to key interview questions.

As I was researching a job posting looking for key words, I spread the list of core competencies apart so I could see them better. As I put white space between each line, it hit me.

Before "Blow-up"

Before “Blow-up”

Job Description "Blown-Up"

Job Description “Blown-Up”

Blowing-up the space between the lines can be used to write accomplishments with specific examples (STARS); situations; the action you took, and the result.

Use the space to make notes for yourself to use during the interview.

Now you have a “cheat-sheet” for all the major questions you will be asked.

Blow-up each bullet point in the job description and you will be that much closer to sitting in your new hire orientation

Are you making your own weather? 0

A fire crew works on a back-fire to prevent the wildfire from crossing Ferretti Rd. on Thursday August 22, 2013, as the Rim Fire has grown to over 36,000 acres in Groveland, Calif. Photo: Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle

A fire crew works on a back-fire to prevent the wildfire from crossing Ferretti Rd. on Thursday August 22, 2013, as the Rim Fire has grown to over 36,000 acres in Groveland, Calif. Photo: Michael Macor, San Francisco Chronicle

After speaking with a client this morning, I was reading a news article about the Yosemite wildfire. The TV interviewer was asking about the latest conditions. Lee Bentley of the US Forest Service said “This fire is making its own weather.”

This struck a nerve for me. In speaking with my client, she was concerned that her total employment history wasn’t long enough to justify the position she was applying for. Yet, as I reviewed her resume, she had progressed exactly the way others had done who held that position. The fact that she had done it sooner was a stumbling block for her, not an achievement. She was “making her own weather.”

As a Certified Employment Interview Professional, my job is to help my clients to believe in themselves and their value to a future (or current) employer. The first job is always to get the client to make “positive weather.” If they don’t believe in their value, it’s hard to get someone else to take a chance.

Luckily, we control how we think about things and can change our attitude. I’m sure the US Forest Service wishes they could do that.

Three reasons not to “wing it” during the interview 0

Don't wing it instead of preparing for a job interviewDespite the well-known fact that a résumé’s purpose is to land the interview and the interview’s purpose is to land the job, many people focus almost entirely on the résumé. Then when the call comes in for an interview, they wing it. Here are three reasons this is not the best approach:

  1. Sticking points – If there is something in your work history that you are uncomfortable about, it is natural to be apprehensive when it comes up. If you haven’t scripted and practiced your response, you may stumble over your words and not say what you want to say.
  2. Why should I hire you? – Knowing your strengths and skills is not enough. Without practice and rehearsal, getting the answer to come out during the interview is tough. Understanding what the answer should be requires research and preparation about the company, its challenges and the specific position.
  3. It’s about you is not the answer – Focusing on you and your skills alone is not what an employer wants to hear. Focusing on how your skills will solve their problem is the answer. Most people who wing it aren’t prepared to demonstrate this during the interview.

Take the time to prepare before the phone rings for the interview. Commit to doing the research, practicing answers and scripting your responses to the questions you are uncomfortable with. Know what the company needs so you can demonstrate that when asked why they should hire you.

Investment in your future by doing the work now so you don’t wing it during the interview. The payoff  is  you will find yourself in your new hire orientation much sooner!

Three job seeker truths you may not want to hear 0

Pick-MeTradition has it that getting a job is about “me getting a job.” The fact that it involves an employer, someone who will give me a job, is secondary.

Here are three truths you must understand or you will not land the job:

  1. It’s not about you – In reality, the job search is about solving the problem an employer has. It doesn’t matter that you want the job, it matters if they want you. Qualified is different from desirable. The employer must see you as part of their team, as one of them. Unless you understand the culture, they will not see you fitting in.
  2. You are saying too much – Listing job titles and descriptions is a sure way to land your resume in the circular file cabinet. Starting with a career objective statement will produce yawns. Responsible for, duties included and managed… fill the page without saying anything to capture the imagination of the reader.
  3. You are not saying enough - Not having an attention grabbing, brand/value proposition at the top of your resume gives no reason to go on. Not giving specific, measurable examples of success leave the reader wondering what you actually do. Not knowing the employers needs and not tying the solution to you makes the interviewer say “next.”

Job search success today is more than “spray and pray.” Getting the right information with the right specifics to the right people can take weeks or months off a job search. Simply addressing these three truths will set you apart from the cookie cutter, on-line free resume template crowd.

Not facing these truths will make it hard to hear “you’re hired.”

Can you create a Brand in only four words ? Charlie did. 0

Joel Quass, Professional Speaker and Author talks about Branding

Traveling north or south near Saluda on Route 17 in rural Virginia, you can’t miss the sign in the yard. Measuring a generous eight feet tall by 20 feet long, a white plywood background with blue 3-d lettering, it’s just four words:  Charlie Carter Cleans Chimneys.

As a former chimney sweep I have kept track of Charlie over the years. Charlie’s sign has been in his front yard (you’ve got to love the local zoning laws) for over 30 years. Charlie Carter was a brand before branding was cool. There is no phone number. Everything you need is there. At 55 mph (you can’t really go faster in front of his house because the road makes a sweeping bend as you pass the driveway) you know who he is and what he does.

Curious if Charlie has kept up with the times, I Goggled “Charlie Carter Cleans Chimneys.” Guess what I found?

  1. Charlie Carter Cleans Chimneys | Saluda, VA 23149 | Angies List

www.angieslist.com › Local Reviews › Saluda

Reviews you can trust on Charlie Carter Cleans Chimneys from Angie’s List members | 12180 Tidewater Trl Saluda, VA.

 

  1. Charlie Carter Cleans Chimneys, Saluda, VA – Manta

www.manta.com/c/mm60wbd/charlie-carter-cleans-chimneys

12180 Tidewater Trail, Saluda, VA, 23149-2539. Phone: (804) 435-3600. Category:Chimney Builders & Repairers. View detailed profile, contacts, maps, reports 

 

Charlie comes up as 1 – 10 on the first page. All with just four words.

Think about what you can do for your company in four words. Is your marketing this precise? Is your business this focused? Most people cannot describe what they do in four minutes, yet Charlie has done it in four words.

The same holds true in a job search. Can you share your Brand, your Value Statement (the answer to why should I hire you) in the equivalent of six tweets or less? Six 140 character sentences is about the length of an elevator pitch. If you can’t get someone’s attention during the elevator ride up, you should stay in the lobby.

Charlie has inspired me to once examine my brand, to challenge myself to say more with less. I encourage you to do the same. It has certainly paid off for Charlie.

Students should plan, so they never waste a summer 0

Joel Quass worked for VIMS on the Chesapeake BaySchool can be a stressful. Even the most motivated and inspired students face academic deadlines, family commitments, roommate distractions,  and other stressors. The thought of spending even part of the summer working just adds  additional pressure. Students view summer as spring break on steroids.

For me, summers were all about making money to pay for school. That was my plan. Summers involved long hours doing construction, pumping gas and being the Assistant Manager of a movie theatre.

But what if, with a plan,  you could use that time to forge a relationship with a multi-national corporation? Or work with marine biologists planting sea grass on sand dunes? Summer jobs in your field of interest stand out on a résumé and develop valuable contacts for future positions.

My best summer during college involved 18′ Thunderbird motor boats with giant Mercury outboard engines. My job was to chase the incoming tides up rivers that fed the Chesapeake Bay. Starting at the mouth of  the river at slack water, I would take a water sample. After logging the time and temperature, I would race upriver a specific time and collect another sample. All summer long I said to myself, “I can’t believe they are paying me to do this.”

As a  Political Science major, I never thought about leveraging that summer job into a career. That wasn’t my plan. Yet it happened in spite of myself.

I made some strong contacts at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and more importantly, at the marina where we fueled the boats. One of the Senior VP’s of the retail chain Best Products kept his boat there, and we had many of the same interests. Networking with Mr. Riley landed me an interview and a management position with Best Products after graduation.

My summer job helped me land a full-time management position after graduation by sheer luck. Imagine what a student could do during the summer if they had a plan.

Goal Setting – small ones count too 0

Joel QUass uses FoursquareFoursquare is an excellent tool for tracking my visits to the  gym. Plus the App gives me little encouragements, such as “3 times this week, your abs thank you!”

Six weeks ago on Foursquare, Jon H. became the Mayor of Supergym. For 8 weeks before that, I was the Mayor. The week I lost the Mayorship I had an out-of-town meeting and only went once. My goal ever since that day was to recapture my spot as Mayor.

Today it happened! The news flashed across my smart phone as I checked in at Supergym this morning. I could feel the positive endorphins surging as I walked from the parking lot into the gym.

However small, victories should be celebrated!