Thursday, March 18, 2010

Winning the Job Interview

Learn how to stand out from the competition

It has often been said that “your resume can get you an interview,” but in reality it’s your interview that can get you the job. In today’s challenging and competitive job market, employer’s have many candidates to choose from and therefore have become more discerning then ever before, which is why developing your interviewing skills is so important.

The person interviewing you is not only looking at your qualifications, but they are looking at what differentiates you from every other candidate. Answering the question, “what is it that you bring to this company and to this position that no one else can?” is what helps you stand out in a crowd.

As a professional interviewing coach with We Place People, this is one of the most important topics we discuss when preparing our candidates for interviews. With almost every question you answer, there must be something that you share that will make you stand out differently from everyone else and will ultimately make the company want to hire you! Remember, an interview is not just about what you have done, it’s about what you can do for that company. It’s what you can offer that your competition can not that will help make you the “candidate of choice.”

Determining who to move forward in the interviewing process is not always as cut and dry as one would think. The front line interviewers themselves are evaluated by the company on the caliber of the candidates they move forward in the process and if that person ultimately gets hired. They must ensure the candidates are qualified and they will be a “fit” for the organization, the position and the hiring decision maker. This is where you must “help” by sharing those skills, experiences, training, or qualifications that you bring to the organization that other candidates may not. It’s also the time to demonstrate your critical thinking process and how you approach and complete tasks, responsibilities, or projects. These are the same elements that you should prepare for when interviewing with the decision maker.

Here are some tips on how you can differentiate yourself:

1. Create a list of 5 interview questions that you are certain you will be asked in your interview

2. Carefully review the job description and learn about the company and position

3. When answering the interview questions and reviewing the elements of the job description you need to be able to describe:

a. What roles or responsibilities you had in your previous positions as they relate specifically to the position you are applying for and will resonate with the interviewer

b.How you specifically completed each function or responsibility

c.What the results were

d.What you have to offer that makes you stand out amongst others with similar backgrounds

In this job market, differentiating and separating yourself from others can help you standout in your next interview and get the job you want.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Layoff Secrets for Job Seekers

Whether in a flourishing or downturn economy, layoffs happen. Regardless of the reason, the emotional roller coaster is the same. You can expect to experience feelings from disappointment to anger. Those types of feelings can make you react in ways that you wouldn’t when you are in an unemotional state. To avoid embarrassing moments, please keep the following points in mind.

* Twenty-five percent of individuals who are laid off are rehired by their former employers within a year. For this reason, it’s wise to remain calm and not ruffle any feathers when you are served with a pink slip. Lashing out will diminish your chances of getting called back. In a sluggish economy, you should keep all your career options open.

* During the separation meeting, you may be encouraged to apply for internal positions. Many individuals refuse because they are too upset about getting downsized. But know this: animosity will get you nowhere fast. Put aside your negative reaction to the layoff, and submit your resume for internal opportunities. There is a good chance that management has another job for you but cannot offer it outright, as doing so could open up lawsuits from displaced employees who were not offered a chance to stay. When laying off employees, management needs to consider all avenues, including doing their best to avoid grievances. So suspend a too-severe judgment and give the organization the benefit of the doubt.

* In all likelihood the management representative imparting the news is not the one who made the decision to downsize. They probably weren’t even part of the decision-making process. Therefore, lashing out at the messenger may make you feel better in the moment, but will put you in a negative light.

* Regardless of whether you were mistreated or not, do not bad-mouth management to peers. When others spread your word, your meaning morphs into something else. Save your negative thoughts for the ears of trusted individuals who do not know management personally. This will ensure that your comments remain confidential.

After a layoff, do not allow animosity to set in. Stay calm and begin to search for a job right away. Putting it off out of vengeance will only affect you in the end. Unemployment benefits do run out and you do not want to spend your last month on benefits desperate for a position. Desperation will show during interviews and impede your chances of finding a job.

How to Find a Job 65% Faster

How to use Guerrilla job hunting tactics to find work 65% faster?

1. Start smart

The Coffee Cup Caper -- a paper Starbucks cup, full-color Guerrilla Resume, and a cover letter (asking to meet for coffee), shipped in a box -- gets extraordinary results. By contrast, ordinary resumes and cover letters, sent by email, get ordinary results.

2. Follow up with style

Delivering a Halloween treat with her thank-you note was correct seasonally, if not politically. Use good judgment before sending items that might be perceived as bribes by employers sensitive to such things, such as universities or public-sector organizations.

And, leaving out the gift, think of the impact a hand-delivered thank-you note can have on an employer, versus standard Mail or email. Could you arrange to have your thank-you note delivered by a courier, or a friend acting as one? Of course.

3. Give employers another reason to hire you

A 30-60-90 day plan is a way of proving you can do the work -- before you’re even on the payroll -- by describing how you would learn the job, build rapport with employees/customers, and contribute to the bottom line.

4. Score style points with your delivery

Do you not see a pattern? Email should NOT be the delivery method for your career documents. Because you can’t delete a courier, and a FedEx envelope can’t get caught in a spam filter.

Bottom line: This smart Guerrilla had failed to get even one job interview in 20 weeks of job hunting with conventional tactics.

Monday, March 16, 2009

5 Most Recession-Proof Jobs

1. Nursing
$35,000 to $45,000
The aging baby boomer population has increased demand for nurses. Add to that the shrinking number of people who go into the profession, and there's a real shortage.

2.Software Design and Development
$85,000 to $95,000
Software designers write the programs to meet business needs. Computer software engineers are expected to be among the fastest-growing occupations through 2016.

3.Sales Representative
$65,000 to $75,000
In tough economic times, a talented sales force is needed to get new customers and grow business opportunities.

4.Accounting Executive
Median salary: $65,000 to $75,000
These managers are in high demand; accounting continues no matter what the economy looks like. These executives manage the growing number of accounting staffers.

5. Accounting Staff
$45,000 to $55,000
Tougher accounting and auditing regulations are largely responsible for the growth of the profession. Also, in a downturn many companies turn to their accountants to figure out how they can operate more leanly.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Coping with Unemployment

On a daily basis you check your email to see if your sixteen different job search agents returned that dream job. You send your resume to at least five positions a day. Heck, you even look in the Sunday newspaper! The media tells us that the economic recovery has begun. Companies are hiring. People are optimistic. Yet you are still unemployed.

If you’re out of work, particularly if you’ve been looking for a job for quite some time, it's easy to get discouraged. After all we define ourselves so much by what we do. How many minutes after you meet someone for the first time, do you ask him or her, "so what do you do for a living?"

Even those that support you, family and friends, can unintentionally create problems. How many times as a job seeker have you heard, "so, have you found anything yet?" If you’ve been unemployed a while, it’s easy to take that the wrong way.

The purpose of this article is to give ideas on how to create a great attitude that can help you cope with being unemployed and set the stage for job search success.

Now that may sound fairly obvious, but you need to understand what your expenses are and how you can control them. Do you really need two ISP’s? Can you really watch all those channels on premium cable? Or how about that daily double decaf soy latte down at Starbucks? You need to prioritize where you are spending your money.

There are certain expenses you may not be able to control such as rent or a house note. But for expenses like credit card debt, examine your statement to see if you ever automatically signed up for a payment protection plan. Chances are your credit card company may have enrolled you, if your balance has been over a certain amount. Take advantage of that, many of those plans will allow you to suspend payments temporarily.

The key to a budget is to put it on paper. Whether you create an Excel spreadsheet or scribble it on a note pad, having something that you can look at and change is a great help in developing a budget that will last.

What does being employed really do for us? Besides a paycheck, it gives us a schedule. Being unemployed should not be different. You should stick to the same pattern you had when you were working. Resist the nightly temptation to watch Leno and get plenty of sleep instead.

During the week, actually set your alarm clock. Pick a time to get up and get ready as if you were going to work. Does that mean you need to put on business professional clothes? Not necessarily, but hey, if it helps keep you focused then why not.

Being ready for work every day means that you can respond to an interview request quickly. Also, by keeping a schedule, you will have an easier time transitioning back to the work world. And you won’t scare your new co-workers by looking like a sleep-deprived zombie your first week on the job.

If you’ve been unemployed for any length of time, you’ve probably become use to wearing your sweats or some other sort of casual clothes. Funny, when you go to that interview, your suit feels a little tight. Although you wish you could blame your dry cleaner for shrinking your best interview suit, you know you can’t.

You don’t have to join a gym. You can exercise by taking a walk in a nearby park or dusting off that old Richard Simmons tape. In addition to exercise, watching what you eat can help as well.

Regular exercise and consistently eating right can help make sure that interview suit fits a little better. But it’s the added bonus of staying healthy during a stressful period in your life, that’s most important.

4.Keep informed
Watching the latest Jerry Springer or keeping up with All My Children is not something that will keep you informed on the world around you. Staying up to date on current events in the real world is what keeps you connected.

Whether you read the paper, surf the Internet, or frequent your local library, challenge yourself to learn about what is going on in the world. At the very least make sure you keep current on business trends. Being unemployed means that you need to be keenly aware of factors that are affecting the marketplace, especially in your industry.

Doing research can give you ideas on what industries are growing and what companies are hiring. And you will also be able to engage in the “small talk” that often precedes an interview. Whether it’s the recent landing on Mars or discussing the 11 Oscar Nominations that Return of the King received, chitchat like that can help ease the tension when you’re meeting a recruiter or hiring manager.

When you’re working, you always say to yourself, "I think this organization or cause is worthwhile and I should really help out." Perhaps while you were working you helped with your money, now you can help with your time.

Becoming a volunteer should be a commitment that will last beyond your unemployment. So examine it seriously, before you decide to do it. Most organizations that rely on volunteer help will welcome anyone, no matter how much time he or she donates. But again, explore carefully how you can contribute during your unemployment and then what you can do after you start to work again.

Besides being a wonderful networking opportunity, it is great to have that sense of accomplishment. Try this site to help find that right volunteer opportunity:

6.Support Groups

No matter how well meaning your wife, husband, parents, in-laws, or friends are, if they aren’t unemployed, they will find it hard to understand what it’s like to be out of work. That’s not to suggest that their support is not needed or welcomed, but sometimes you need to seek out others who are also unemployed.

This idea may seem overly dramatic and some folks may not need it and that’s okay. For those that do just remember to start simple. If there were other people that were laid off from your company, call them first. Check in on them. Find out how they’re doing. If you think it would be worthwhile to get together, then do it.

Some people you encounter will be negative, frustrated by their lack of success in finding work, they will likely try and infect you with their bad attitude. The long-term value outweighs the risk since this can be another networking opportunity. After all a job that might not be a fit for them, may be for you and vice-a-versa. And it is reassuring to know that there’s another person or group of people going through what you’re going through.

Yes that’s right, entertainment! You need to find a way to have fun. Whether it’s reading a book, playing a game, or watching TV, you need to work at making sure that some form of entertainment is part of your week.

You need to figure out a way to include entertainment in your budget. Even if it means clipping coupons, going to Happy Hour and eating bar appetizers at half-price, or waiting until that first-run movie hits the cheap theaters, you need give yourself permission to relax and enjoy life.

Looking for work is a full-time job. Like any job, you need to have a break. So don’t short change yourself and feel guilty about goofing off every once in a while.

Whether it’s managing your budget or planning something fun, the goal is to keep you focused. Without that focus it is easy to get discouraged.

The bottom line in keeping a positive attitude while you’re unemployed is to remember the bigger picture. People get interviews because their skills match the job requirements. People get jobs because they have great attitudes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Smart People Need To Fail

In the book "When Smart People Fail" author Carol Hyatt offers advice on how to deal with career setbacks.
In her view, one word describes what you must do when you fail at a task or lose your job. DECIDE.

You must decide to pull yourself free from the morass of blaming others.This will start you on the path that will allow you to deal with failure, which often results because of a lack of people skills.
As a first step :

# Look for a pattern.
It's natural to blame someone else when you fail but most failure follows a pattern. For example there was the man that was fired 22 times. Each time he blamed others.His boss was too young, too old or woman.But the real reason for his failure - the pattern - he couldn't accept criticism. "Once you see the pattern," says Hyatt, "You can act to correct it if you want to get out of the failure rut."

# Pick the right spot.
Many smart people fail because they're the proverbial square peg in the round hole. Sensitive people who care more about people than the bottom line do not fit many corporate environments. Their values clash with the firm's and that boosts the chance of failure.
According to Hyatt, "That person would fare better with a group that shares the same values, such as a non-profit service organization.

# Don't label yourself.
Hyatt describes two network producers fired at the same time :
"One saw himself only as a producer. When he couldn't find a similiar job, he stayed stuck in failure.
"The second dissected his title and said, 'I can write, research and put people together.' By looking at each skill, he realized he could succeed at other jobs such as an agent or headhunter."

# Develop your social I.O.
Most smart people fail because of poor interpersonal skills.
"Smart people fail because the lack sensitivity.They don't know how to listen. They have a low social IQ", says Hyatt.
"Mediocre people keep their jobs because they have a high social IQ. The smart people who fail admit they don't have the patience to listen.
Her advice is to develop your social IQ - your people skills. Learn to listen and react to the subtext of what people say.
The better your interpersonal skills, the less chance you will fail.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

How to Find Freelance Administrative Work

If you have good office management and computer skills, you might consider looking for freelance administrative work. As a general category, this includes word processing, data entry, calendar or appointment planning, basic billing and other administrative support tasks. If you have administrative experience, then all the better for showing prospective employers that you are knowledgeable and reliable.

Your first step to finding freelance administrative work is to craft a list of services. Write something up yourself, then research online and in newspaper classified ads to get ideas about services to add to your list or other ways to word your offerings. The goal is to present a comprehensive list of services that leaves no questions in the reader's mind.

Once you have this list, you can add your hourly fees. If you're unsure what your rates should be, call several local temp agencies to learn what they charge their clients. You can also use the salaries advertised in the newspaper as a guide -- simply divide the annual salary into an hourly rate.

You'll also need a current resume. Even if you go through temp agencies or Web sites to find work, having both a resume and a list of services will help you look professional and easily fill out all the forms and paperwork.

Where to Look for Work

There are many sources for finding work. You may want to target one source at a time, or make up lists of companies from all sources and start with a few from each. Either way, you will be making lots of phone calls and visiting lots of local businesses to make your pitch.

# Past and current employers: Talk to any previous employers and let them know you are freelancing. Contact the human resources department, since they are the ones who arrange for freelancers or temp workers. If you are working now, consider starting your freelance business on the side and working slowly toward independence. You may even be able to get freelance work from your company.

# Local businesses: Do some research at your local library, the Chamber of Commerce and through the local paper to target small businesses that might need occasional or ongoing part-time work. Small operations such as landscaping, construction, food or catering and painting are sometimes too small to pay for a full-time office helper and too busy to do the work themselves. These companies could use someone in the office for a few hours a week or a monthly billing session.

# Temp agencies: Register with local temp agencies. Even if they won't arrange to pay you by 1099, you will be getting work from companies that use temp workers, and you can ask them to keep you in mind for possible future work.

# Web-based services: There are many Web sites, including Monster and the Monster Talent Market, where you can look for work -- either office-based or remote freelance work. Just beware of anything that costs money up front, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

# Newspapers: Don't forget the traditional newspaper job search. Especially check the local newspaper, since local small businesses are more likely to advertise there for part-time help. Even if you see a part-time office-based position, don't rule it out. You may be able to persuade the company to let you work some hours at home.

No matter where you get your work, remember that your performance will impact whether a company wants to hire you again and recommend you to other people. Word-of-mouth is an important resource for getting work, so make the best of any work and networking opportunities.