Tag Archives: Interview

Tips to Land the Job

It is imperative to stand out from the job seeking pack when you are applying for work. Each step is important; the application, resume and particularly the interview!  We suggest doing your homework on the company to be prepared and remember these helpful interview tips.

Providing References: If you plan to provide work and character references at the time of your interview, be sure to contact your references ahead of time.  Not everyone you respect and value will feel the exact same way about you. Be sure you discuss listing them as a reference before actually doing so. Discuss what they plan to say about you and update them on your current information and the position you are applying for.

Cell Phones: We all have cell phones and use them as a lifeline to our outside world. However, the interview is not the time for a surprising ringtone to go off. Always turn your phone OFF!  An interrupting phone call or text can ruin the positive energy of an interview.  Not even carrying your phone in would be even better.

Give the Gift of Time: Make sure you have the address of your interview destination before leaving.  If possible, drive by ahead of time so that you know how long it will take you, where you will park and any complications you will encounter on your way. If you will need money for parking, be sure to have that ready as well.

No Entourage: Leave your children at home.  Even when you are picking up an application, if at all possible, find a place for your kids to be during that time so that you can focus and show your professionalism. Applying for jobs can already be a high stress situation, don’t increase it by adding more to your plate. Focus on the task at hand, landing your dream job.

Run-through: Prepare responses to common interview questions ahead of time.  There are all sorts of resources available for this online.  Rehearse your responses in front of a mirror or with a friend, but make sure to practice, practice, practice!

With a bit of planning you can greatly reduce the possibility of surprises that will distract you from the task at hand, proving that you are the best fit for the position and company.

Tips for a Better Interview

Are you ready to wow hiring managers during your next job interview? If you aren’t sure, you better keep reading. Here are some excellent interview tips:

Have an outstanding resume.

Impressive qualifications are a must on any resume, but a list of key accomplishments may not be enough. Your resume appearance is important, as well as your attention to detail. An error free resume is absolutely necessary.

Gaps? Get rid of them.

Life happens, but you don’t have to broadcast it on your resume. If you went through a time that you did not have a full time position, fill the void with volunteer work, projects related to your field that you worked on or even unrelated work. Hiring managers are looking to hire a productive person.

Be honest

Most people have worked in a position that they don’t wish to highlight, or a company they are less than proud of, but have to include the information for resume continuity. If an employer asks you about this position, even if was less than positive, be honest. The worst thing you can do in an interview is to be caught telling an untruth.

Prepare for interview questions.

There are many questions you know you will be asked. You will be asked to tell the interviewer about yourself, you will be asked about your work history, your greatest accomplishments, your weaknesses and so on…be prepared. There will also be questions that take you by surprise, making it that much more important to prepare yourself for the standard interview questions.

Show who you are.

It may not be a good idea to enter with a joke right away, but a little personality will go a long way in an interview. Employers are working to determine if you will be a good cultural fit with the current team. Don’t be too rigid that you aren’t showing who you are. Find common interest points to discuss.

Follow up, follow up, follow up!

Always take the time to send a thank you note or email (determine which is best during the interview process, some companies don’t use a lot of technology) within 24 hours. Missing this step could make all of your effort thus far a waste. During the interview be sure to ask for an appropriate timeline to call to follow up about the position.

Acquiring New Skills

TryYou are ready to make a change in your career, but you are currently at a fork in the road.  Do you stay within the same role in a new company, or are you ready for substantial change?  Depending on the answer, you may have to go back to school to learn a new skill set.  However, before taking on the financial burden, do research.

Call a hiring manager who has experience hiring for positions like the one you are interested in, ask what qualifications they are looking for and what would set someone apart from the pack in their pile of applications.  Call someone who is in the current position you are seeking, ask what credentials they had at the time of hire.  How they landed their job? What organizations they are involved in?  What is their education level?

From these conversations decide if going back to school is for you and necessary to land your dream job, or if you could perhaps pick up these skills by volunteering or by taking a similar position that you are more qualified for.  Write your plan on paper, develop a timeline, develop a budget and then go for it!

Make a Great First Impression at the Job Interview

When you are ready to look for work, really ready, take the time to put your best self forward.  There are many opportunities for error on a resume and in an interview, so here are a few tips to help you stand out in a positive manner.

Ensure the individuals you recruit as references for your resume:  a) know that you are using them as a reference, b) know what position you are applying for and what your expectations are of them as a reference c) think highly of you as a professional.  Too often job seekers list references without first checking with them.  Put a lot of thought into the people you put down.  Make sure they are articulate, think highly of you, and are professional on the phone.

Stay positive.  When an interviewer asks you about a past employer, or why you are looking to leave your current position, it is important to not state the negatives about the job.  It is easy to say that you don’t like the supervisor, or you have a co-worker that always calls in sick, or perhaps that you keep getting skipped over for a raise.  But DON’T.  Instead say that you have always been interested in the company you are applying to, or that you have been working toward this position.  Refrain from saying anything negative about your past/current employer and turn the tables to where you are seeking out this position because it is the perfect fit for you and you are the perfect fit for the company.

One more piece of advice, when you arrive, shake your interviewers hand, firmly, while looking him or her in the eyes and smiling.  Do not give the limp fish handshake.  A firm handshake exudes confidence and power.  That is the goal of the whole interview, to show that you are confident that you are the perfect fit for the company and position.

The interview is your ticket to the position.  Research the company, know your stuff and be prepared and confident.  Your future just started.

The Most Needed Job Seeker Survival Skills

Finding a new job is a massive undertaking that can consume a lot of time and effort for job seekers. The job search process itself is like a project with a beginning and an end that has many phases and tasks to complete such as finding available job openings, updating resumes and cover letters, interviewing, performing follow-up, and more. With all the work to be done to find their next career opportunity, job seekers need the right set of job hunt skills to survive during the multifaceted job search process.

Courage: Mental strength to persevere and withstand fear or difficulty

Courage allows job seekers to step outside of their comfort zone to accomplish what they set out to accomplish. Some job seekers are afraid of asking for help from people while other job seekers are afraid of networking with strangers. Many other fears emerge during the job search and the ability to face them straight on takes great courage. Envisioning what you hope to accomplish and envisioning the feeling of success that comes from facing your fears can serve as motivation.

Focus: Dedicated attention to an interest or an activity

The job search can take the form of a full-time job which can be overwhelming. With so many tasks to take on, job seekers need stay focused on what’s important. They need to understand their career goals and if an activity doesn’t assist them in the right direction, then a change might need to take place. Also, dedicating a set amount of uninterrupted time can sometimes lead to better results than spurts of job search activities scattered throughout the day.

Organization: Arrangements in a coherent, systematized form

The devils are in the details and this holds true even during the job search. Imagine as a job seeker you’ve applied for twenty jobs over the last two weeks. Then you receive a phone call that XYZ company wants to schedule an interview for XYZ position. That’s great, but unfortunately you don’t remember what the position entails and the job posting is no longer online. This is key information that could help you better prepare for your upcoming interview. Keeping track of the details is essential and this can include what jobs you’ve applied for, who you have made contact with, and other information that matter now and possibly later on.

Instincts: A natural or intuitive way of acting or thinking

Instincts are within all of us, but how many job seekers use it during the job search process? During the job search, people might be faced with a decision whether they should apply for a job, whether they should custom tailor their resume, and other decisions. The answer might be in trusting your gut. Most of us have heard stories of people getting jobs that they might not have been qualified on paper but they still applied. The result, they got the job because they were one of the best candidate overall because they were able to successfully communicate and demonstrate their value. Instincts are an invaluable trait that sometimes gets overlooked.

Kindness: The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate

A little act of kindness can go a long ways. Remember how you felt when someone said something nice to you? A good impression is one thing but a lasting impression is another. Being sincere and caring might be the difference that makes you stand out from the crowd of other candidates for a position. Say thank you to an interviewer by sending an email or handwritten note. Compliment the receptionist on how helpful she was. And perform other kind gestures when you see the opportunity. So be kind to whoever you meet not only during your job search but during the lifetime of your career.

Source:   Simply Hired Blog

Put Your Best Self Forward

photo_32260_20140621When you are ready to look for work, really ready, take the time to put your best self forward.  There are many opportunities for error on a resume and in an interview, so here are a few tips to help you stand out in a positive manner.

Ensure the individuals you recruit as references for your resume:  a) know that you are using them as a reference, b) know what position you are applying for and what your expectations are of them as a reference c) think highly of you as a professional.  Too often job seekers list references without first checking with them.  Put a lot of thought into the people you put down.  Make sure they are articulate, think highly of you, and are professional on the phone.

Stay positive.  When an interviewer asks you about a past employer, or why you are looking to leave your current position, it is important to not state the negatives about the job.  It is easy to say that you don’t like the supervisor, or you have a co-worker that always calls in sick, or perhaps that you keep getting skipped over for a raise.  But DON’T.  Instead say that you have always been interested in the company you are applying to, or that you have been working toward this position.  Refrain from saying anything negative about your past/current employer and turn the tables to where you are seeking out this position because it is the perfect fit for you and you are the perfect fit for the company.

One more piece of advice, when you arrive, shake your interviewers hand, firmly, while looking him or her in the eyes and smiling.  Do not give the limp fish handshake.  A firm handshake exudes confidence and power.  That is the goal of the whole interview, to show that you are confident that you are the perfect fit for the company and position.

The interview is your ticket to the position.  Research the company, know your stuff and be prepared and confident.  Your future just started.

Your Resume is a Hiring Manager’s First Look at You

Your resume is the first representation of yourself a hiring manager will see. This simple piece of paper with words written to describe who you are at work and the skills you can bring to the company is your first step to a new job. With this paper, you have only a few seconds to grab the attention of the reader and make him/her want to learn more about you and how you could contribute to their team.

Before sending out your resume, ask yourself: Is this compelling? Have I properly highlighted my skills and accomplishments? How will I differentiate myself from other applicants? Can the hiring manager understand how I will add value to the team?

Study the job posting and identify the skills the company is seeking as well as possible skills inferred from the listing. Make it simple for the hiring manager to see how your skill set would be a perfect fit for this position. If you don’t have the exact skills they are seeking, look at transferable skills obtained from previous work that could relate to the job you are applying for.

Every employer wants to hire an accomplished problem-solver. Be sure to emphasize your past accomplishments, both team and individual, and highlight the positive outcomes. Use words that show initiative and value add. Examples include: exceeded, increased, decreased, eliminated, developed, launched, and spearheaded.

Stay away from vague claims about attitude and personal strength. Examples of this: reliable, responsible, self-starter. Use the interview time to show your motivation and discuss your tenacity for timeliness.

The most important resume tip is to review your resume and proofread, proofread, proofread!  This is the first impression a hiring manager will have, don’t waste it!

Dressing Appropriately for an Interview in Winter

by Darlene Peer, Demand Media

A first impression can make or break an interview. That’s why it’s important to think ahead before you step out into that blustery, snowy winter weather. A winter job interview outfit needs to be warm and has to be able to make it to the interview still looking professional, no matter how slushy it is outside.

The Coat

When you arrive for your interview, your topcoat may make that vital first impression. That’s why it’s essential to invest in a professional-looking coat that fits well. Mid-thigh or longer is the way to go so the coat covers the bottom of your blazer or suit jacket. A nicely styled trench coat is a classic look. If you live in a colder climate, try to find a lined or woolen trench coat.

Footwear

There are two ways to approach interview footwear. You may choose to purchase a nice, professional-looking pair of boots. Pick a neutral tone or classic black so the boots will match most outfits. White boots may be tempting, but salt stains and muck will not make a good impression. The other option is to wear boots or overshoes, carry business-style shoes, and change your footwear when you reach the interview. Just tuck your boots by the closet or the door. Either way, wear boots that will allow you to reach your interview safely. High heeled options may be appealing but you don’t want to show up for your interview covered with snow from a fall. No matter what the season, flip flops and sandals are not appropriate footwear for an interview.

Layers

If your favorite interview clothes feel a little too light for a winter interview, consider layering. Cover a sleeveless shirt with a sweater or add a shawl to a light blouse. Layering shouldn’t mean choosing baggy clothes that don’t fit well. Choose clothes that are suited to your figure and avoid seasonal sweaters with characters or landscapes on them. If the interview is for a company that prefers business casual, men may be able to get away with leaving the suit at home and wearing a blazer over a dress shirt.

Details

Carefully consider the weather before setting out. Although you may not be a fan of hats and scarves, wearing them is better than showing up at the interview snow-covered and wet. You want the interviewer to pay attention to your answers, not distracted by watching the snow in your hair melt. If it’s windy, choose slacks over a skirt. Women should remember to apply waterproof makeup. If wearing a skirt, you may want to stick to nude or sheer black pantyhose, but an even better choice is opaque tights. Tights can make the transition from boots to pumps without losing their style.

Sell Your Transferable Skills

Oftentimes during an interview, the interviewee is asked to describe his or her skill set.  This can be a daunting request to respond to, due having a multitude of skills and abilities to offer.  At CareerBum.com we recommend that you focus on the skills that are useful for the job you are interviewing for; your transferable skills.

Use your interview opportunity to really highlight your strengths and skills that would benefit the company and were directly sought after in the job ad.  Explain your aptitude with each skill set as well as a possible timeline in achieving it (ex:  I learned Microsoft Excel in high school, I took two classes on it in college and used it on a daily basis in my last position).

If you have other skills that were not directly asked for in the job ad, but you can clearly see would benefit the company, take the time to explain how and why you are the perfect person because of your experience and expertise.