Category Archives: Job Seekers

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.

It’s Not You, It’s Me…

By: James Caan, originally published on LinkedIn

Have you recently left an interview feeling demotivated? Disappointed you didn’t get the job, or unhappy with your interview performance?

As an investor, I’ve had to learn that not every deal succeeds. The same is true of interviews. I would love to guarantee you 100% success, but not every interview will end with you getting the job, because some things aren’t meant to be, and for whatever reason, you’re not the right candidate for that role.

The important thing is not to dwell on your misfortune, it’s okay to fail, failure doesn’t mean you need to give up, it’s just another experience to learn from.

Instead of wallowing and losing hope, immediately look for what you can learn from the experience and come away stronger.

Make sure you ask for feedback

If you fail to get selected, assess why you weren’t chosen and be prepared to deal with any issues you can identify.

Let’s say you receive an email that says “Thank you for coming in, but unfortunately you haven’t been selected”.

The first thing you should be thinking about is finding out why. Nine out of ten interviewers won’t give you a reason in the email, and most people accept that.

This is where they go wrong. If you don’t know why, how are you going to improve?

Find out what went wrong

Don’t be afraid to call your interviewer directly and pose the question. The trick is to handle this conversation carefully to ensure you get an answer you can work with, and not a bland, generic ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ response.

Be polite, yet forward. Show your appreciation, thank them for their time, trigger their memory by referring to something specific you discussed – something that will help the interviewer put a face to your name.

Then it’s time to make your move…

Ask: “I interviewed for the marketing role recently. I fully understand you found a better suited candidate, but just out of curiosity, could I ask what did you think made me unsuitable for the job? What do I need to work on?”

Initially, the interviewer will be taken aback by your question, and will probably try and give you a generic “you didn’t have the right experience” approach.

That’s the time to push harder.

“What area in particular did you feel I lacked experience?”

When you have an answer you can work with, you can either take this opportunity to push back and pitch yourself again, or thank them for the feedback and ensure you take this particular point into consideration next time you’re interviewing.

Constructive feedback can highlight weaknesses you weren’t aware of. Don’t see this as a bad thing, understanding your strengths and weaknesses is vital for future success, and it’s a skill many of us lack.

Take it from me, as an employer and businessman, this approach is guaranteed to leave a good impression.

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 Secret to Success

What is it that makes people successful and I mean really successful compared to you or me? Are they smarter or do they work harder? Are they risk takers or have powerful and influential friends?

The financial newspaper Investors Business Daily (IBD) asked these same questions a few years ago and started a multi-year search for the answer. They studied industry leaders, investors and entrepreneurs to understand the traits they all had in common that contributed to their success.

1. How You Think is Everything. Always be positive. Think success, not failure. Beware of a negative environment.

This trait has to be one of the most important in the entire list. Your belief that you can accomplish your goals has to be unwavering. The moment you say to yourself “I can’t…”, then you won’t.

2. Decide upon Your True Dreams and Goals. Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.

Goals are those concrete, measurable stepping stones of achievement that track your progress towards your dreams.

3. Take Action. Goals are nothing without action.

Be like Nike and “Just do it”.  Every day try to take some action towards your goals. It may be small, but it’s still an action.

4. Never Stop Learning: Go back to school or read books. Get training & acquire skills.

Becoming a life long learner would benefit us all and is something we should instill in our kids. It’s funny that once you’re out of school you realize how enjoyable learning can be.

5. Be Persistent and Work Hard: Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.

There is no getting around this and there is no free lunch. But, if you’re working towards something that you’re passionate about, something you love – then is it really work?

6. Learn to Analyze Details: Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.

You have to strike a balance between getting all the facts and making a decision with incomplete data – both are traits of successful people. Spend time gathering details, but don’t catch ‘analysis paralysis’.

7. Focus Your Time And Money: Don’t let other people or things distract you.

Remain laser focused on your goals and surround yourself with positive people that believe in you. Don’t be distracted by the naysayer’s or tasks that are not helping you achieve your goals.

8. Don’t Be Afraid To Innovate: Be different. Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.

Follow through on that break-out idea you have. Ask yourself “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?”

9. Deal And Communicate With People Effectively: No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others.

Successful people develop and nurture a network and they only do that by treating people openly, fairly and many times firmly. There is nothing wrong about being firm.

10. Be Honest And Dependable: Take responsibility, otherwise numbers 1 – 9 won’t matter.

Source: Pick the Brain and Grow Yourself; 10 Secrets to Success by Victor Stachura

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