jobs

You’ll never believe the tool I found to prepare for an interview 0

One of the keys to success in the job market is to research the companies you are interested in. This has been made almost child’s play with Google Alerts.

If you have not set up an alert for each company you are seeking a job with, then you are missing out on an easy to use tool. You can search just the company, you can add the names of individuals you will be interviewing with or the CEO  of the company. Another search might be the industry you are in.

Google alerts can be sent to your email as they happen, so you have up to the minute information. Or if your inbox is very crowded, they can be sent daily.

Don’t skip the research step in your job search. Information is power. The more information you have, the better you will feel during the interview.  Try this out and let me know what you think.

 

Do you make these four mistakes that cost you the job interview? 6

Has this every happened to you? You have applied to 17 companies over the past 3 weeks. You know some of the companies have gotten your resume because you have gotten a couple of form letter post cards thanking you for applying and informing you they are reviewing all applications. Then the phone rings!

When you answer, it is company number 7, which is similar to companies 6 and 12. So you are not sure which company is calling you. To make things worse, you answered the phone while driving and now you are distracted because you are trying to pull over as you just saw a cop and you are still trying to figure out which company this is because the few notes you do have are at home.

If you do not handle the telephone interview correctly, you will never get to sit down face to face with an employer . You need a plan to make sure you aren’t missing key details that will help you get hired.  You need a way to keep track of each job listing and be able to put your fingers on the information when  the phone rings.

Here are four mistakes people make during the phone interview and simple ways to avoid them:

  1. Not answering the phone in a positive manner- Each time your phone rings, smile before answering it. You will be surprised how positive and engaging you will sound.
  2. Sounding nervous during the phone interview - Stand up as you speak. This will allow you to breathe deeper and will help calm your nerves . Remember, it’s ok to be nervous and to have butterflies, you just need to get the butterflies to fly in formation.
  3.  Not being organized – Invest in a small binder or accordion file and put all the information you have gathered about each company in one place. This would include the research you have done about the company, the information detailing the job they are advertising and a copy of your  cover letter  for that company.
  4. Not  being prepared- This is the hardest mistake to recover from.  Carry the information with you or have access to it at all times. You never know when the phone will ring and you will need to flip to company 7.

Have a plan to correct these mistakes and you will significantly improve your chances of getting the face to face interview and ultimately, the job.

If you have things that are working for you and want to share them with my readers, please leave a comment. Your success just might land someone else a job, too!

The most dangerous threat to your job search 2

What are you telling yourself?

You probably guessed it before you began reading. The most dangerous threat to your job search isn’t the competition, the out of the blue interview questions or even the lack of jobs in your field. The most dangerous threat to your job search is you. This threat shows up in many ways, but negative self-talk can keep you on the sidelines. Alleydog defines Self Talk as:

Self Talk: Self Talk refers to the ongoing internal conversation with ourselves, which influences how we feel and behave.

For example, you find yourself in a traffic jam while rushing to work one morning. You self-talk could be pessimistic and you might think, “My whole day is ruined. If I don’t get to work on time, I’ll never hear the end of it. My boss will think that I’m no good and will surely pass me up for that promotion I’ve been working all year for.” You will then start your day in a bad mood and feel demotivated thinking that there’s no point in working hard since you already ruined your chances for a promotion.

On the other hand, you could have a more positive self-talk and think, “I’ll probably be no more than ten minutes late. I guess I’ll just have to take a quick lunch instead of going out to eat. If I can turn in my report before the end of the day and make sure that it’s error-free, I might still have a chance to get that promotion.”

I know it is hard to be objective when you are focusing on yourself, but that’s when you must.  Self talk can either work in your favor  and fuel your success or it can undermine your actions and keep you from landing your dream job. As you go through the job seeking process, you almost need to think of yourself as the job coach for yourself.

If you were advising a sibling, a close friend or your own children about a job, what advice would you give them? As you think of your own situation, is the advice you are giving yourself what you would tell them? If not, then you are not thinking clearly about the job prospect or yourself.

And don’t over think. The interview today may lead to a job offer, but you must remain focused. Talking yourself out of continuing the job search because you have a possible opportunity that sounds promising sets yourself up for disappointment.

So talk to yourself about how you are talking to yourself. It may just be what you need to  change negative thought into positive energy. The end result will be that warm fuzzy feeling that comes when you are sitting in your new hire orientation!

Job hunting is a delicate balance – Here are three ways to cope 1

Are You Stressing Over Your Job Search?

“Job hunting is a delicate balance between pride, desperation and humiliation.”        Amy Crabtree

Here are three ways to cope:

  1. Don’t stop- You may have found a lead to the best job on the planet and you’re sure after the telephone interview that next week will be it because they scheduled an interview. Now you have six days to kill until the interview, so you start thinking why should I keep looking, this job is in the bag. Instead of stopping your job search, pause for a few minutes, write down everything you remember from the phone interview, especially things that got a positive response and then keep searching. It  doesn’t matter if this job works out,  you have many more coming. Don’t stop until you are in a new hire orientation
  2. Don’t marry the company - I’ve said many times before, you can end up on an emotional roller coaster if you play the “I’ve got to have this job, it’s perfect” game. All jobs have perks, benefits and all jobs have drawbacks. Make sure you are painting a realistic picture of the company;  you may decide after the first interview that you don’t like their culture. Be open about the company and realistic about what they are offering and your stress will be less.
  3. Don’t think traditional – With all of the competition for jobs today, standing out is imperative. In the end, it’s about getting the attention of the company you want to work for. Within the corporate culture of the industry and workplace you are targeting, you need to tell your story. Share your personal brand with specific stories that give the interviewer a reason to remember you.

Amy caught the spirit of the problem. “Job hunting is a delicate balance between pride, desperation and humiliation.” Don’t be so proud that you stop searching because “they would be nut’s not to hire you”. Don’t be so desperate that you take the first thing that comes along, without making sure it is a good fit for you. And don’t worry about being embarrassed when you market yourself in a memorable way. It may end up being the talk of your first company picnic.

 

1.3 Million Jobs created last year – Five reasons why you didn’t get one 16

1.3 million new jobs created last year

The radio announcer was excited to report that in the past year there have been over 1.3 million new jobs created. With that many new jobs out there, I got to thinking why someone might not get one of those jobs. Those of you who have not landed a job should review the list and see what you might want to brush up on before your next interview.

Here are my top five reasons you didn’t get the job:

  1. You didn’t research the company – If one of the first questions you ask is “what exactly do you do?”, then you are wasting the interviewer’s time. Learn as much as you can about the company, including a recent headline that you can drop into the opening conversation
  2. You didn’t show how you increased sales - You need to demonstrate that you can contribute to the bottom line. Even if your job does not have the word sales in its title, you have ways you can increase revenue. Think of at least three specific examples and be ready to share them
  3. You didn’t show how you decreased expenses – There must be hundreds of little things you have done over the years to save companies that you have worked for money. Think of three examples tailored to the company you are applying to and then relate the story of how you saved the dollars and the impact that had to the company’s bottom line
  4. You didn’t show how you provided excellent customer service – There are times in everyone’s job where they interact with customers. Being able to give specific  examples instead of saying “I’m a people person” will give the interviewer a story he or she can remember when the final hiring decision is made. Be sure to include the problem, your solution and what the final outcome was.
  5. You never gave yourself permission to be successful – Napoleon Hill noted almost 100 years ago that most people need to be made “success conscious” before they can achieve their dreams. You need to be comfortable about the salary and the position. If deep down (maybe sub-consciously) you do not feel you deserve the job, then something will get in the way of your achieving it.

The good news is there are still jobs being created. Review my list and adjust as needed. Then enthusiastically go after that next job. I’m sure you will end up in a New Hire Orientation before you know it.

Dear Sir or Madam 2

Dear Sir or Madam:
I thought this greeting was out of style, but I received a LinkedIn message from a prominent Internet Marketer yesterday and it began:

ATTN: Calling All Company/Business Owners

Dear Sir/Madam;

If you are interested in:

I began to wonder if people still use this generic greeting on a resume cover letter? I’ve created a poll to answer the question Would you ever use this salutation for a resume cover letter?
Let me know your thoughts

“Meat In The Tube” or How to stand out in an interview 0

In order to get hired, you need to give the interviewer a reason to remember you. Having specific, memorable stories related to your work experience is a must. And I mean specific, not a general “I’m a good structural engineer”. Instead it’s; “I’m a great structural engineer, I  recently  created the XXX, to solve problem YYY and the result was ZZZ, saving my employer millions in start-up costs.

I’m always interested in stories people are using as they interview, and I was thinking about a client I had worked with recently. She was asking about how to be remembered after the interview and I related this story to her:

As I traveled Interstate 64 towards Hampton Virginia, I was listening to the morning traffic report. The on-air personality was describing the traffic conditions in Chesapeake, Smithfield and up in James City County. Then he turned his attention to the tunnel that connects Hampton with Norfolk. That’s when he said “watch for back-ups at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, there’s a lot of meat in the tube“.

I can honestly say I had never heard that expression before. And even though it has been 3 years since I heard it, I still remember it! And I’m willing to bet that some of you decided to read this post just because you wondered what in the world “meat in the tube” had to do with the interview process.

To get hired you must get noticed. To get noticed you must stand out. To stand out, you need specific, memorable stories. I am sure each of  you have many great stories about your work successes. Think about them, practice them and  have them ready for your next interview and you will surely stand out, just as that radio announcer did.

think and speak on your feet – part two 3

In part one I said that the ability to “think and speak on your feet” is an important skill that often determines your success in job interviews. And once you land the job, many kinds of careers and occupations require this skill. To practice for your upcoming interviews try this exercise.

The exercise had you: print out a list of questions before you read through them. Cut them apart and put them in a jar. When you are ready to practice “thinking on your feet”, stand in front of a mirror, pull out a topic at random and talk to the mirror for two minutes about whatever is on the paper.

Now I want you to do the same exercise, but this time with real interview questions. It’s ok to look at them before you cut them up and put them in the jar. In fact, I would suggest you write notes  for yourself about each question before you begin the exercise. When you actually practice your responses out loud, do not use the notes, as you won’t be able to do that in the actual interview.

Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • Can you give me an example from a previous job where you have shown initiative?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Are you a team player?
  • What qualities do you find important in a coworker?
  • Can you think of a time when you dealt with a customer problem? What was it, what did you do to resolve it and how did it turn out?
  • How does your previous experience relate to this position?
  • When can you start?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

 

If you have been on interviews and were asked questions that you had trouble with, be sure to add them to your list so you will be better prepared the next time. And feel free to post those questions in a comment so I can share them with other job seekers.

The more you practice, the easier the next interview will be. Let me know when you hear those wonderful words, “you’re hired!”

How’s Business? How do you answer? 1

I ask this question as often as I can. Generally I get three types of answers.

  1. “It could always be better” – This type of person is never satisfied with what he or she has. They are always striving for more. But they are avoiding the question, the actual question of how is your business doing today? Based on the response and body language associated with this answer, I think they are telling me that  business is not that great
  2. “It’s a little quiet right now” – This is followed by a because… because of the weather, because people are thinking about the Super Bowl, because of the Greek debt Crisis. This group is waiting for something to happen that will cause their business to grow again.  However  they got into the business and grew it to its current state, they are now resigned to waiting for improvement.
  3. “It’s damn fine, thanks for asking” – Now this person (and I met one at the Toms River Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours Event last night)  has a plan. They are succeeding because they know where their business is going. They know their target market. They know what their current customers need. They know how to ask for referrals. They know the importance of giving great customer service. They are aware of the big picture, the State of the US economy, etc., but they focus instead on things they can control. Their response to the problems facing their customers makes the difference in the success of their business.

I urge you to think about how you answer the question “how’s business?” If you aren’t saying “damn fine, thanks for asking”, then it may be time to re-think your plan.

Don’t Do it! Don’t Lie on your Resume 2

According to Hire Right, a firm that specializes in employee back ground checks:

80% of all resumes are misleading
20% state fraudulent degrees
30% show altered employment dates
40% have inflated salary claims
30% have inaccurate job descriptions
27% give falsified references

These are sobering statistics. The playing field is not level. Those that chose the path of un-truths or who stretch the truth run the very real risk of being found out. Most employers have a clause on the application making you verify that what you are saying is the truth. And when you’re information is found to be untrue, they will fire you.

Make the most out of what you have done, but don’t feel you need to embellish to the point of lying. No job is worth that.