Saturday, February 21, 2015

Potholes in your road

This time of year in New England is "pothole" season. The salt, water,  and snowplows can find  weaknesses in the black top and create large craters in the street. Sometimes as you drive down the road you can see them in advance, and can easily avoid them. As you drive the same route daily, you know exactly where the potholes are and you react in advance to avoid them.
Actual Pothole
But, sometimes you can't avoid those nasty potholes. You may be in an area that you don't drive frequently and you hit an unexpected pothole. Likewise, a new pothole may emerge along your daily route  and without advance warning you hit the pothole. Sometimes, the pothole may be so large and so deep that you hit the pothole and bang! The jolt was so violent that you bend your rim and pop a tire. You are now in the break-down lane with a flat tire.
A very similar thing can happen to you during a job interview. Here are 3 "potholes" that may be in your road to job interview success:
1.) Your nerves. You are so nervous that you can't articulate. Your heart is beating so loud that you think the person on the other side of the desk can hear it. You are unable to relax and really give this interview your best effort.
This pothole is totally avoidable. The greater your preparation, the lesser the nerves. The ability to be calm and confident comes only after you have become supremely prepared. Mock interviews are a great way to judge your level of preparation. 
2.) Your lack of research. Most likely, if you are in a competitive interview process, the hiring manager will ask you the following question:
What do you know about us?
If you didn't do your homework, it will be obvious. You will hit the pothole, flatten a tire, and be in the break-down lane as the other candidates speed by you in the fast lane.
Do some research about the company you are interviewing with. Know who their leaders are, know about any recent news, know about their products and services.
Cover -Hole
(pothole at manhole cover)
3.) Your inability to sell.  Sadly, the candidate that gets the job may not be the most qualified, but the one who has the greatest ability to sell. They have a great resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile page.They have crafted a "you statement", they sell to the position, explain why they are the best candidate, and show passion and enthusiasm for the position. 
Do you want to learn more about how to avoid the potholes on your road to success?
Interview Tutor
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Sell to the position.

The majority of the interview process is about you selling yourself.
Your cover letter and resume got you invited to the interview, but to get invited back for a second interview or a job offer, you must sell yourself.
What do I mean?
As you are interviewing, sell yourself to the position.
If you are interviewing for a position as a veterinary technician, sprinkle in ways in your past that you have loved, helped and studied about animals. If you are interviewing for a position as a nutritionist, as you speak about yourself and answer questions, weave in ways that you have always studied food and nutrition.

If you truly have a lifelong ambition for the position that you are interviewing for (you should), let the interrogator know of this passion! Hiring managers want to hire people with a passion for the position. Hiring manager really want to hire people that eat, breath, and sleep for the open position. 
Now you should sell


Some examples:

A candidate interviewing for a position as a Financial Planner could say: “From an early age I have always loved personal finance. When I was in middle school I made my own budget.”

A candidate interviewing for a position as a Welder might say: “I have always loved to build things. My dad encouraged me to weld as soon as I could hold the torch.”

A candidate interviewing for an entry level sales position could say: “I have always loved to sell. I was always a top achiever when my school did its yearly fund raising drives.”

The above examples are good statements to use in your “You Statement” but you should also insert other examples of your passion into the answers of other questions as appropriate.

For example; You are interviewing for an entry level nutrition job and you are asked: What was your favorite class in college? DO NOT SAY “my favorite class was ancient history 101” If you sell to the position, you could reply: “I really enjoyed all of my nutrition classes but food science was by far my favorite.”

 Another example; You are interviewing for an entry level tax accountant position. The hiring manager asks you; What is your greatest weakness? DO NOT SAY “I hate public speaking.” If you sell to the position you could say: “My greatest weakness is my over attention to small details. It really annoys my wife sometimes but I feel it makes me a better accountant to pay such close attention to details.”

As you can see, this can take some practice and forethought- but it pays dividends. The hiring manager wants to know that you have a passion for the position. Selling to the position reinforces to the hiring manager that you are a candidate for serious consideration.
Are you selling to the position?
Interview Tutor
Professional Career Services

Sunday, February 8, 2015

"Deep Freeze" chores

Snow Phone

Snow days.

White outs.

Snow blowers.

Brown snow.

Fender bergs.

Two hour delays.

10" to 12".

Ice dams.

Snow shovels.

Right now in New England we are in the middle of what I call the "Deep Freeze". Its early February and the local news channels report that we have had the snowiest 10 days on record with more snow on the way. Also, it has been bitterly cold forcing most of us to spend more time indoors than we normally would.
As so much of our time is spent inside, this can be a great time of year to tweak your job search tools.
Cover letters, resumes, business cards, and your LinkedIn page are the specific tools I am referring to. Here are a few things you can do during the "deep freeze" to improve some of your job search tools.
1.) Update your LinkedIn photo.
Maybe your LinkedIn photo is dated, taken with the family pet, taken with you in your Tom Brady jersey, or just a poor quality picture. Take a critical look at your photo. Is this how you want to represent yourself to the world wide web? If you are not pleased, upgrade.
Some profiles I view have no picture at all. Remember, LinkedIn is NOT Facebook. Save the goofy pictures for your Facebook page. On LinkedIn, the "first impression" is your photograph. Make sure your photo sends a professional message.
2.) Update your resume.
Another year has passed and you have accomplished many things. Update your resume to include of few of your accomplishments from last year. This may require some research and thought. "What did I accomplish last year?"
You never know when things can take a turn for the worse with your current situation. By updating your resume annually, you give yourself a leg up if you find yourself out of work on short notice.
3. Reconnect with an old colleague.
You never know where your next opportunity will come from. Most new positions are the result of networking, not by answering on-line or newspaper adds. Make some time this week to call an old college roommate, co-worker, or supervisor. You will most likely enjoy getting caught up and you just never know what opportunities may arise.
Interview Tutor
Professional Career Services

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Do you know how to get hired?

Richard Lathrop wrote in his classic book Who’s Hiring Who? that he or she who gets hired is not necessarily the one who can do the job best; but, the one who knows the most about how to get hired. Getting yourself hired is not easy, especially in a weak economy. Therefore, the more time and energy you spend on knowing how to get hired, the better. Your success or failure in the interview process can determine your future over the next several months, years, or even a lifetime!
Great Cover
Your career is really a chain of events. One job typically leads to the next better job. The job after that one should be even better. As you advance, your jobs get better-along with your satisfaction and pay. For most career minded people, your first job is the first of many along the road to career success and satisfaction. When taken in that context, you can see just how critical an interview can be to your future.
So, given the typical career path, the job you DON’T get now can affect you for years!
A typical hiring manager interviews 6 to 10 candidates for every open position. Why do they interview so many people? A good interview should take at least an hour! Why would they spend so much time interviewing candidates? One reason is that most interviewees are not prepared for their interview! Its very difficult to hire a candidate that just can’t interview well, regardless of the qualifications of the candidate.
A great book that has a boring, uninspiring cover is often left on the shelf. More often than not, a great cover helps sell the book. Think of your resume and interview as your "cover". Does your "cover" represent the real you? Does it represent a candidate that the hiring manager can't live without?
 If the answer is no, you owe it to yourself to learn more about how to get yourself hired.
 Interview Tutor
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