Tag Archives: Job Seeker

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.

Bring Your Power to Your Job Search

Quote-LauTzuYou are job searching, there is power in that. This is the opportunity to polish yourself and be the person you want. Develop your skills, refine your resume and grow your network. Here are some tips to find your power on the road to job search success.

Get your resume out there to be seen, but don’t spam it.

Applying for every job that you see may feel productive, but quality over quantity is very important in a job search. With CareerBum.com you can set up job alerts that notify you when a job matching your keywords has been posted, and then you can easily apply. Of course, we do recommend frequently reviewing the site as well.

Utilize your online resources to research the companies you are interested in working for and positions that you are qualified for. However, do not apply for multiple positions within a single company, keep your search focused.

Keep your resume fresh.

When job searching, it is an absolute must to have your resume online to easily send off in the digital world. With CareerBum.com we offer an easy resume upload, or you can enter your information for your profile. Either method makes it convenient to apply for multiple positions.

Include keywords in your resume that match the job description you are applying for. Make it easy for hiring managers to connect the dots between the position and your ability to excel in it. In addition to keywords, add your job skills and accomplishments that are being sought in the position you are applying for.

Be an online presence.

Hiring companies expect established professionals to have an online presence that is easy to find. If you have a history in the industry, but your online presence is not there, more than likely companies won’t be interested.

LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly important site to be an active member of.  Keep your profile updated with relevant industrial accomplishments, organizational involvement and portfolio pieces.

Keep your online image clean

Do a search on yourself and see what comes up, because more than likely that is what a hiring manager will do. Look at the images that show and if any of them are questionable or embarrassing, work to get rid of them. Change your Facebook privacy, untag yourself from questionable images or try burying it with positive content.

Keep these tips in mind when conducting a job search. In today’s world your online presences is vital to landing that dream job!

Hope for the Passive Job Seeker

You are ready to look for work, but don’t want to leave your current job in a poor manner.  Where do you start?  Are there rules?  Well, there is definitely a wrong way to do it.  To be discreet and professional in your job search, here are some tips:

Perform your job search on your off hours.  Don’t use work time or equipment to look for other opportunities. Make necessary calls over your lunch hour or after work.  Don’t go to interviews when you should be at work, schedule them during your off hours when possible.

Use your personal email address for communication; do not use your work email address.  Also, use your cell number instead of any work numbers.  Set up a voicemail appropriate for job hunting and do not answer it at work.

Be careful where you post your resume. When using CareerBum.com you can set your resume to confidential so that your information will not be displayed when companies look at you.  By doing this you will reduce the chance of your current employer seeing your profile.

When you land an interview, do not wear your interview clothes to work.  If you normally dress business casual and show up in a suit, people are going to wonder why.  Keep your jacket in the car, or change at a neutral location before the interview.

Do not discuss job hunting on social networking sites.  Your employers reach most likely goes far beyond you are aware.  It is best to not mention a job hunt or change your about section until after you have spoken to your boss.

By following these simple steps you will retain a good relationship with your employer and hopefully a future reference.

Interview Tips for Recent College Graduates

by Andy Chan

  We teach college students how to interview all the time. I was recently asked for the unique things that today’s college student must know and do to succeed in interviews. What I realized is that because students have almost no job interview experience, students don’t know what they don’t know. With help from our career counselors, here’s my list of Top 10 interview tips for college students.

1. Do your homework on the job, the organization, the competition and the industry. Reading the website is the minimum. Tap your college and/or high school alumni network and your parents’ network to get the inside scoop. Most students don’t read business magazines, newspapers or trade journals, so when you do, you’ll stand out from the crowd. Doing this homework will prevent you from asking really obvious — and naïve — questions.

2. Anticipate and prepare for the typical questions with strong personal answers. “Tell me about yourself.” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” “Tell me about your greatest accomplishments.” “Share a time you failed and how you responded to the situation.” “Why do you want this job?” “Why this organization?” Have your answers and examples so well rehearsed that it’s natural.

3. Develop 5-7 adaptable stories from your resume related to the job you’re seeking. Start with the situation by describing the context and problem. Then explain what you did to improve the situation and describe the results in quantifiable terms. This demonstrates that you understand the importance and the impact of your personal contributions. With these stories prepared in advance, you can adapt them to various questions.

4. Frame your answers to show how you will add value to the organization. Many students too often focus on why they want the job, what they will get out of it, and why it will be good for them. Turn the tables and explain how and why you can and will benefit the organization. Find ways to tactfully mention what they’d gain if they hired you (or how much they’d miss out on if they didn’t).

5. Use the right vocabulary. Surprise an employer by actually being able to translate how your academic or extracurricular experiences have helped to prepare you for the role you’re interviewing for — using words in the job description. Very few students can do this. For example, if you’re a theatre major, describe how you managed and promoted a play or musical production using your project management, creativity and sales skills.

6. Prepare two or three ‘go-to’ questions that demonstrate you prepared in advance and your strategic thinking. There’s a difference between “Tell me about the culture” and “Tell me about how major decisions are made here and provide an example of a recent decision and the process used.” Or, “I read that the organization is changing its strategic direction. How will that affect this business unit?” Avoid questions where answers are on the website.

7. Practice interviewing out loud with mentors, adult fans or even in the mirror. Most students have not done many (if any) job interviews – and definitely not when under pressure. It’s important to hear the words you intend to speak, including the tone, emphasis, inflections and facial impressions, so that you don’t blow it when it really counts. It’s rare to get a second chance.

8. Demeanor, humble self-confidence, personality and enthusiasm really matter. Smile! Allow your voice tone, words and body language to communicate your genuine excitement about the opportunity. It will be a significant decision factor for your interviewer. If you don’t, your interviewer will question if you really want the job or if you’re going to be committed to the organization. This is one of the top reasons why people do not get job offers.

9. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Many students have difficulty getting excited about entry-level jobs because they feel overqualified or discouraged that the work will not be fulfilling. In each interview, your primary objective is to get invited back for another interview and to eventually secure an offer. As you progress through the process, many find that the job and organization are much more interesting than they originally thought.

10. Finish strong and follow up. Always close with a final statement that makes it crystal clear that you are genuinely excited and interested in the opportunity, including why you’d be a great hire and fit for the job and organization. Clarify next steps and the timeline. Email a thank you note less than 24 hours after the interview while it is still fresh on your mind. Articulate your fit and why they should hire you specific to the interview conversations. Every interviewer expects a thank you note from each candidate, so no note is a sign of no interest and no professionalism. To really stand out, also send a neatly hand-written thank you note soon after the interview.

Source: Huffington Post College: Top 10 Interview Tips for New College Graduates, by Andy Chan

Interview Tips to Land the Job

TravelYour resume is polished and out there, you have been making networking connections like it is your full time job and you now you have landed an interview! After you congratulate yourself, panic sets in. Relax; proper preparation is all you need to ace this!

The more you prepare for the interview, the more comfortable and effective you will be interviewing.

1. Practice
Practice for your interview by preparing responses to typical job interview questions. Practice in front of a mirror so you can check your body language or with a family member or friend so you can receive performance feedback.

2. Prepare
Prepare to use specific examples to highlight your skill set. Provide evidence of your work successes to promote yourself as the best job applicant.

It is also important to have prepared questions to ask the employer when the interviewer asks.

3. Study
Research the employer and their industry to prepare yourself when/if you are asked, “What can you tell me about our company?”  Try to relate what you have learned about the company when answering your interview questions.

Remember the interviewer’s name and use it during the job interview.

4. Dress for the Job
When preparing for your interview, ensure you are dressed appropriately and that your appearance is neat and tidy.  If you are bringing a portfolio of your work, prepare it so that it looks professionally done and not something thrown together at the last minute.

5. Be Early
To be on time for an interview is to be ten minutes early. Prepare for this by driving the route you will take at the same time of day, prior to the interview. Know exactly where you are going in the building and who to ask for when you arrive.

6. Stay Composed
Before and during the job interview it is important to try to stay as calm possible. Your body language says as much about you as your answers to the questions you will be asked. If you prepare properly, you will naturally be more confident and comfortable in your responses.

Pay close attention to the questions being asked, listen to the full question. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer to show that you are taking the interview seriously and are focused. If you get thrown off your game, take a second to regroup. The interview isn’t a race.

7. Demonstrate Your Knowledge
When you answer the interview questions, relate what you know about the company and industry into your answers.  Work to match your career achievements to what the company is looking for in the position you are interested in.

8. Follow Up!
Always follow-up with a thank you note that restates your interest in the position. This is a perfect time to include details you did not have a chance to mention at the time of the interview. If you had multiple interviewers, send a personalized note to each of them. Electronic thank you notes are also acceptable if this is a form of communication your interviewer(s) is comfortable with.