Job Interview Strategy: Tell Me About Yourself…Solved.

jobinterview-70292-largeThis is NOT a trick question…

…many candidates appear bewildered and befuddled because silently they are thinking, “Well, what do you want to know?” or “Where do I begin?” or “Why don’t you just ask me specifically what you want to hear?” so let’s review what this question really reveals…

#1. Your Communication Style. If you are unable to clearly communicate about who you are, where you have been and your key skills and abilities in an effective manner; how can the interviewer expect you to clearly communicate about their products or services effectively once you are hired?

#2. Organized Communication. When you can communicate in an organized, easy to follow manner, then this demonstrates your ability to communicate in that same capacity once you are hired.

#3. Confidence. An individual that can exhibit a confident demeanor while expressing their work history will make a more significant first impression.

#4. Extended Conversation. It allows for the interview to take on a greater depth, and allows you to expand on accomplishments that correspond with the job posting. In other words, you get to sell yourself.

Most candidates self-sabotage their ability for success in this all important area by saying too much or saying too little or providing information that is of little value.

One of the most asked questions during the job interview is “Tell me about yourself…”, and it is the single greatest question posed when looking for a job, networking, and when meeting new people.

Maintain a chronological format and keep your reply under two minutes, practice, practice, practice, and continually evolve shorter versions for career fairs and networking events (also known as a 30-second commercial or sometimes called the “elevator pitch”).

Step 1: Start with your most recent position/role, state company name, your title, and job responsibility overview (one or two sentences) and a key accomplishment. Be brief.  Your goal is to generate interest and you can expand further as the job interview progresses.

Step 2: Next, take the job interviewer back to the beginning of your career history (How I began my career…) and walk them forward (chronologically) back to your current position/role; (dates in this statement are not required) stating company name, position and job responsibility overviews, add a key accomplishment, here and there, that applies to directly to the job posting.  Tip:  Bring a copy of the job posting with you to the job interview and use it for reference.

Make  Connections For The Interviewer.  “I accomplished…..and saw that you were looking for someone with this particular skill, expertise, etc., in the job posting…” or “This is where I gained the experience noted in your job posting.”

Step 3: Speak with confidence, enthusiasm, and practice so that you sound as though you actually did the work; avoid sounding as though you are uncertain as this will create a “red flag” for the hiring manager, recruiter, or job interviewer.

Avoid talking about hobbies, family matters, where you were in kindergarten etc., keep it professional. If you left the workplace for personal reasons (stay at home mom, caregiver, health, etc.) state something like; “I made a personal decision to leave the workplace to attend to family matters ( to further my education, care for my mother, etc.) .” Keep it simple.  Focus on your skill and abilities and the job role.  If you are confident about your choice; they will remain confident.

Good luck!

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Job Search Tips: Email and Your Job Search.

jobsIt is important to recognize that today’s job search REQUIRES being comfortable with technology. For many individuals, it may have been 10, 15 or 20 years since embarking on a job search; what worked in the past has changed. We all know that the Sunday job classifieds in the local paper have disappeared and most companies and hiring managers use  job boards or social sites when looking for candidates to hire.

Create an email address that is solely utilized for your job search.

This will allow you to filter and track your job search submissions, alerts and research all in one place while avoiding any SPAM or unsolicited communications from clogging your personal email. Many job seekers create a Google or Yahoo email account they can easily access and use for their job search.

Your Email Address.

Be sure to use your name or some portion of your name in the email address you create for your job search. For example: John.Smith@gmail.com or JSmith@yahoo.com, or JSmith123@gmail.com, etc. Avoid emails that do not identify you in a professional manner. For example: Harleyman@gmail.com, Kitten4you@yahoo.com, grandma1@gmail.com, etc. as they may not be taken seriously and are difficult to weed out among the communications with the hiring manager.

Ready to Send Your Resume?

Due to the strong SPAM filters at many companies you may want to consider building your cover letter and resume into the body of the email versus sending an attachment or PDF file. Why? If it is a job you really desire it may get filtered out of their system, companies rarely communicate receipt unless they are interested in your submission, therefore, if it was filtered…you would never know.  By copy and pasting documents into the body of the email, you ensure that it is submitted.

These are just a few tips to consider when taking on the next steps in the job search process! Happy Hunting!

Career Transition: Where do I go from here?

 

Map Location Direction Location Remote Relax Concept

Mapping out Your Future.

Are you ready to move out of your current job or industry and not sure how to start?  Have you been a victim of a job layoff or recent graduate frustrated while looking for a job?  Are you struggling with a recent disability diagnosis and can no longer do the work you have been doing? 

There are several steps you can take to transition yourself in the jobs marketplace.

First, begin by creating a list of all connections, contacts and previous colleagues;  LinkedIn the world’s largest professional networking site, is a good place to find people you may want to contact and reconnect and outreach to schedule a brief phone call or meet over a coffee to discuss options, possibilities and to gather information for job potential opportunities or referrals. Note: This is strictly to gather information and for no other purpose, do not ask to provide your resume at this point, unless it is requested.

“Someone you know; knows someone; looking for someone; just like you.”Denise Anne Taylor, Career Coach

Next, tell everyone and anyone you are looking for work or moving in a different direction; they will be your extended “eyes and ears”. This will keep you top of mind. 

Additionally, create eye-catching and  affordable business cards for your job search to use at job interviews, networking events, and when meeting new people.

Also, your resume will reflect your specialized field, however, in the cover letter you can separate your transferable skills and abilities, that apply across industries, and that  can transition to another role utilizing the job posting as a guide.

Remember, do not hesitate to outreach through networking events and engagements in your area through a local chamber of commerce or trade association. Research shows 80% of your success will be due in part to your circle of influence also known as your network.

In addition, have you considered going back to school to brush up on skills and bring them current for the jobs marketplace?  For example, do you want to master and explore new skills in coding, design, marketing, technology, and data — online or at their campuses around the world?  If so, try General Assembly.  There many possibilities for acquiring and learning new skills and many can be from the comfort of your home and online.

If you graduated from a local university, community college or trade school, contact or visit their career services department and they will have available resources to guide and assist you in your transition.  Campus career services departments are a valuable resource to current students and alumni.  Many alumni fail to use their connections and support that can be found through their alma mater, and it does not matter when you graduated; it just matters that you need help and support, now.  Career service representatives are employed and paid to service their student populations and alumni on all facets of their career pathway.

Finally, as you move forward, be sure to send a letter of thanks to those that have supported your efforts during your transition and update them on your successful landing of a new job opportunity.

Begin with these steps and good luck with your search! 

Updated 02/11/17.

How Rude! Managing Workplace Conflict.

So you think that your co-worker has it in for you; or that a particular colleague specifically wakes up each morning determining how to make your life more difficult? Well, fortunately… they are not that smart. The real issue boils down to communication (or lack of communication) and putting yourself in the shoes of the other person. 

conflict2

75% of most conflict is petty and small. Someone forgot to replace copy paper in the copy machine, or talking too loud on the phone in the next cubicle, interrupting during meetings, gossip, taking the last cup of coffee from the coffee maker and not replenishing, eating a smelly lunch in a common area and the list goes on and on…..

The Issue.  Most people confuse personalities with issues, the conflict is not dealt with early on, and that most people do not stay to the facts when addressing the conflict.

Avoid addressing the personality and stay focused on the issue. “Sally didn’t put more copy paper in the copier, she’s stupid.” The fact is she failed to refill the copier. When personality comes into the framework of conflict it breeds more conflict. It will force the person to get defensive and justify they are “right” or “should” or disregard the actual offense.

FOCUS ON THE ISSUE!

Deal with the situation, immediately. Avoid letting the irritation or conflict build and build until you finally explode! Be sure to take the person aside, privately. Ask for a specific time and location to meet and indicate what you want to address, collect all the FACTS, and be prepared to control the meeting.

The biggest failure in addressing conflict is the ability to stay with the facts versus opinions: 

Step 1: State the facts of the situation. (“insert name of person, I went to use the copier, and I noticed you were the last person to make copies, and the copy paper tray was empty.”)

Step 2: State the impact it had on you and only you, not everyone in the office. Avoid generalities. (“When copy paper is not in the machine it disrupts my productivity and is frustrating.”)

Step 3: Respect their decision. ( “insert name of person, I can appreciate you are busy and may have overlooked using the last of the copy paper.”)

Step 4: Request an action. (“However, in the future would you please double check the supply before leaving the copy machine?”)

The above formula is useful in addressing conflict that is big or small it allows you to stay with the facts and avoids bringing personality issues into the conversation.

It is true, that some conflict may never be resolved but it can be managed. However, it is important to address the situation immediately to ensure the ability to move forward.  Avoid falling into the “passive aggressive”, trap.

The pitfalls of not dealing with conflict is costly! Lack of trust, lack of respect, impact on productivity, not feeling valued are just a few of the affects of poorly managed conflict in the workplace.  You can gain greater control and the ability to express yourself, honestly and respectfully, will lessen stress and anxiety when dealing with coworkers.  Good luck!

Career Transition Success-Agility.

Personal agility in a time of adversity is the key to unlocking the paralyzing affect of change.

Agility (u-jil-i-tee): The power of moving quickly and easily; nimbleness.

Health.Cycle.Pic.The loss of a job can create an identity crisis; especially when demand for an occupation is limited or non-existent.

This is a time to re-evaluate, re-invent, and re-direct.

Is re-education an option?  Learning new skills is an excellent way to increase marketability, reinvigorate career direction, network and expand the circle of influence.

Are existing skills and abilities transferable to other industries?  Hard skills/technical skills developed in previous work history may transfer regardless of industry.  Use a cover letter to distinguish a change in industry and highlight the transferable hard skills.

Is a startup or entrepreneurship on the horizon?  Translate a hobby or interest into a viable business opportunity.  Visit a local college or Small Business Administration (SBA) location to get details on programs to assist with business planning and development.

The key to success is in agility; what is your agility factor?

Remember, if nothing changes; nothing changes.  Onward ever; backward never!

Job Search Tips: Business Cards.

Business Cards and YOUR Job Search.

Create business cards to utilize in your job search and beyond.  A business card is a great tool that will have you standing above your competition. Raise your job search to the next level, avoid writing contact information on a scrap piece of paper or random cocktail napkin, be the professional you claim to be by generating a business card with key detail such as; name, phone number, email, and  job title or industry (optional:  Add job title only if you determine to remain in same industry or job role, otherwise avoid this step).  Avoid including mailing address if your are concerned about safety and security (optional:  Only include city, state, zip)

You can us business cards at job fairs, interviews and at networking events.  Don’t get caught using your old or existing company business card in your job search as it is unprofessional and inappropriate.

Over 80% of those looking for a new career opportunity will find it through someone they know, therefore, a business card will assist your efforts to be remembered.

Sites are easy to use and cards ship within days!  No need to pay for expedited shipping as they deliver quickly, and many offer free or discounted pricing on your first order, provided you do not mind their website address on back of card, or for a nominal charge purchase without advertising.  Either way, they provide card stock with integrity, many easy-to-use templates for design, and additional matching merchandise (sticky notes, note pads, magnets, pens, etc.) to support your search.