Throughout your career search, you will (hopefully) have the opportunity to showcase your candidacy in multiple job interviews. Considering it takes an average of seven interviews to win one job offer, it’s imperative that your performance is exceptional enough to propel you to the next level. How can you best present your strengths during an interview to earn a call-back?
Let’s concentrate on three key ways you can present your strengths effectively during an interview.
1. Begin the interview with a stellar “Tell me about yourself” reply:
Even if you’re never asked this question directly, you will find an opportunity to introduce your background to the interviewer early in the discussion. The ideal way to do so is with a one- to two-minute summary of your:
- Scope of experience: Give the interviewer a succinct overview of the breadth and depth of your work history.
- Career brand: Describe your career brand in a few sentences. The key is to focus attention on the elements of your background that make your candidacy stand out.
- Leadership style: If you are applying for management or executive roles, make sure you briefly describe your leadership style. If you are not, focus on your communication style instead. In either case, give the interviewer the opportunity to see you through the eyes of those you’ve worked with in the past.
- Personality: Select 1 to 2 exceedingly well-though-out adjectives to describe your personality.
- Pedigree credentials: Have you worked for industry-leading firms or completed sought-after specializations? Have you earned a degree from a well-respected institution? These kinds of credentials are part of your brand and deserve to be highlighted early in the interview.
- History of impacts: A critical part of your brand is the sum total of the impacts you’ve had on employers you’ve worked with throughout your career. If you’re in sales, for example, it might be the total amount of sales you’ve generated career-long. If you’re in an executive role, it may be the total revenue you’ve influenced and/or the total cost savings you’ve generated career-long.
- Complimentary template: Take a look at this “Tell me about yourself” template I recently published on my blog. You might want to bookmark it for future use.
Sharing these kinds of big picture details early in the interview helps make sure that you have conveyed the most important elements of your candidacy early on. It also helps “seed” the interview with things you would like the interviewer to ask you more about, which in essence allows you to gently guide them toward key facets of your brand.
2. Prove your value via behavior-based success stories:
The most popular form of questions asked by recruiters and employers these days call for a storytelling response. Known as behavior-based interviewing, this style of questioning asks you to prove your capabilities by describing past examples.
When writing resumes and other career communications tools, career management professionals refer to these stories by an acronym such as PAR/CAR, which stands for problem, situation or challenge | actions | results. The idea is simple: Prove your skill by telling your listeners about a problem you faced on the job, describing how you resolved it, and noting the specific quantifiable results you achieved.
The smart job seeker will prepare six to eight success stories in this format and practice relating each one to different questions. For example, a success story about your turnaround of a team could be used to document your leadership, change management, and strategic planning strengths by emphasizing different aspects of your actions or results.
If you invested in getting your resume written by a professional, then you already have some success stories defined. This means you can use your resume as an “agenda” for the interview:
- Comb through each phrase and sentence of your resume to ensure you are prepared to answer any and all questions raised by interviews.
- Expand on the bulleted achievements noted in your resume by crafting verbal versions of them to share in your job interview.
- Include journalistic details in your interview success stories by telling your listener what you did, how you did it, why it was necessary, when you did it, and who you did it for/with.
3. Use visuals to demonstrate the match between the company’s needs and your strengths:
A great way to showcase your strengths in an interview is to share a PowerPoint or other slideshow that highlights your experience, brand, and value in eight to ten slides. By leveraging charts, graphs, diagrams, and succinct facts you can prove your prospective value to the interviewer in ways that will set your candidacy apart from other job seekers.
- Prove the match between you and the job at hand by summarizing their needs and the qualifications they seek with your strengths and experience.
- Keep your bullets and text crisp and to-the-point. Say more with fewer words.
- Use color to highlight your message rather than detract from it.
If you’re interviewing with a group of people, see if you can arrange to present your slideshow during your interview. If that’s not possible or you’re being interviewed by one person, it’s fine to offer slide handouts instead – just make sure you still present your slides verbally so you can stress the points you think are most critical to drive home.
As you can see, there are myriad ways a job seeker can highlight their strengths during an interview. With a little reflection and a bit of preparation time, you can sell your strengths via polish, proof, and practice.
By A 15-time, award-winning resume writer, Cheryl Lynch Simpson serves mid-career to senior executives as a credentialed resume writer (ACRW), LinkedIn strategist (COPNS), and Get Clear, Get Found, Get Hired (G3) coach. Like her advice? Check out her website,ExecutiveResumeRescue.com for a complimentary copy of her popular Polish Your Profile LinkedIn presentation, or follow her on Twitter!
Many candidates find writing a personal statement hard. Employers often ask for a personal statement because they want more insight into who you are and why they should hire you. A personal statement gives you a chance to highlight anything in your background that is helpful for the employer to know but not immediately obvious from looking at your CV.
Here are a few tips on how to write a good personal statement:
Think about your audience- who they are and what they might be looking for. Review the company’s vision, read about their culture and tailor your answers accordingly.
Write down a list of achievements and explain why they’d benefit this particular employer. Get clear on the skills you have – both job related skills like experience in a particular area or advanced knowledge of a particular computer programme, but also soft skills like communication skills.
Think of why you want the job. What in your life has been unique and has prepared you for this job? If you’ve had any professional or volunteer experience, which is particularly relevant to this job, mention it.
Answer any questions the employer asks you to address in your personal statement. Make sure your answers are specific – mention numbers and specific results.
Start writing the first draft of your personal statement and incorporate the achievements you have identified, your career goals and your answers to the employer’s questions. Make sure each paragraph focuses on one point and is backed by supporting evidence.
Revise your personal statement. Ask someone to edit it and provide feedback. Analyze the essay to make sure it is easy to read and understand. It is also important you keep it relevant. Anything you say on your personal statement should be suited to the job you’re applying for. Avoid clichés as well – don’t say you’re a team player unless you can give specific examples.
Hope you’ve found these tips useful.
Showing an employer you’re the best fit for the job may be one of the most vital resume writing strategies to your job search success. I hear from job seekers every day who express their concern about whether their resumes may be lacking something—or they know it’s too general. The truth is they’re right. Companies aren’t looking for generalists; they’re looking for specialists! Think about the last time you hired someone to provide a service for you. Did you hire someone who knew nothing about accounting and tax law to prepare your tax return? Or did you hire a tax preparation expert? Employers are searching for the perfect fit—and knowing you’re the best person for the job isn’t enough. You have to show the employer.
So How Do I Do That?
You can use multiple means to validate fit on your resume—from how you craft your branding statement, to which accomplishments you choose to share and the way you write them. Here are four different ways that you can prove that you’re the perfect fit for the role.
Find The Right Company
Start by finding the right company for you. You’ll have to know who you want to work for if you’re going to research how you fit into the company. This comes naturally for some; those people already know the exact company they want to work for, or at least the size of the company or industry. Some of you need to take some time and do some soul searching, giving it considerable thought. Once you have your short list, start doing your research.
Okay, so you have a list of companies you’re interested in, so let’s dive in. The ideas in the article will help you to discover if a company and its culture are the best fit for you. Once you have your answer, and your research, you’ll know how you fit into the company and what you can offer it.
Great, our research is done; we know who we want to work for and why. By now, you should also know the company’s bleeding need or biggest pain point—and you’ve probably already figured out how you’re the solution! Craft a personal branding statement around this information, using examples of how you’ve resolved the same problems for another company and how you positively impacted your client or employer. You can do this multiple times in your resume using different examples with different positions in your career history.
Give Them Proof
We know you need to give examples of your fit on your resume—and another great way to prove you’re the best fit is by using visually engaging images. Create charts, graphs, or flow charts that support what you’re telling the employer—and then use them on your resume. (You could even create and utilize an infographic resume—one of 2016’s top resume trends!) Images are a powerful means of communicating information; they’re more easily recalled than content, they elicit emotions, and tend to stick with us much longer. You could even incorporate the company’s colors in your visuals depending on how creative you want to be.
A successful resume (and cover letter for that matter) will prove you’re the best fit for the company and the position. Show the employer that you’re the right person for their culture, the department, and the position—and that YOU are the solution to their biggest problem.
Struggling to write your own resume? Let’s chat! Visit my website, call my office at 1.800.991.5187, or connect with me on LinkedIn and let’s discuss how I can help you to create an interview-winning resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile that show the employer you’re the perfect fit for the position.
By Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. Want to work with the best resume writer?If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rates—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at GreatResumesFast.com or contact us for more information
My first outplacement client uttered a phrase I heard over and over as I helped clients transition from a layoff to a new position: “I’ve never actually looked for a job. They’ve always come to me.”
Remember back to the days when you were invited to apply for positions and the interviews were a sham? You waltzed into them with a smug smile on your face. The offer came before you could write a thank you note. Now, you’re wondering about this whole LinkedIn deal and as far as Applicant Tracking Systems – who thought up that particular form of torture?
It’s not as bad as it seems. With a few adjustments, you can shift gears from the admittedly good old days to this new realm of automation and scarcity.
Put An Ironic Twist On Looking Forward
Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, said, “My generation’s parents told their children, ‘Become an accountant, a lawyer, or an engineer; that will give you a solid foothold in the middle class.’ But these jobs are now being sent overseas. So in order to make it today, you have to do work that’s hard to outsource, hard to automate.”
Pink outlines the six abilities that will be financially rewarded in the coming years, and ironically, they have nothing to do with efficiency and everything to do with human connection. Your communication skills will serve you now more than ever. The trick is to bypass the applicant tracking systems because if you’re competing in a pool of hundreds of candidates, you’re playing the odds, and that’s not a fun game to play.
Instead, seek to be in conversation, seek to engage, seek to build connections before your resume enters the picture.
Round Out The Picture That Assessments Paint
You absolutely need to brand yourself as you develop your marketing materials (your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile), but if your brand is rooted solely in metrics and data, it’s flat and two-dimensional. Sure, your numbers speak loudly, and they stand out, but the essence of who you are needs to be represented, too.
You can take tests and fill out assessments to get a picture of your personality, and those are useful starting points, but what looks good on paper needs to have substance and depth. Your lived experience informs your brand more than anything else.
I worked with a music teacher in a public elementary school who was miserable in her job. In fact, she was taking anti-anxiety medication because she couldn’t manage the stress of her position. Everything in her past pointed her to teaching music as the optimal profession for her, so she thought she was just doing her job wrong. She wasn’t. It just wasn’t the right fit for her. She ended up getting retrained as a paralegal, and she eventually weaned herself off of the anxiety medication.
Your lived experience, more than any other dimension, is the foundation for shaping your brand and your direction.
Swim With The Technology Tide
You know what else that first outplacement client said to me? “I think I have a LinkedIn profile, but I’m not sure.”
Find out. Then, make sure it’s updated. Learn how to use it.
Technology doesn’t need to be the hub of your job search, but don’t let it hinder your search either. Your ticket in the door may be a good old-fashioned, face-to-face conversation, but you can bet that you’ll be checked out online.
You’re being assessed to see if you’re behind in tech terms. You don’t have to be on the cutting edge, but leave the snark about tech behind and be prepared to talk about your favorite apps.
Ideas to get your tech on:
- Most public libraries offer free subscriptions to Lynda, a tech training platform. See if you can access it through your library and wander around there.
- Get a “reverse mentor” (a teen or someone in their 20s or 30s who catches you up and tips you off to emerging apps, sites, and platforms) and find out what’s trending in the world of automation and social media. Get curious and explore.
- Vow to learn at least one new tool or shortcut every day. You don’t have to a PhD at Hootsuite University (that site actually exists!), but keep yourself malleable and swimming with the mainstream.
Back to my first outplacement client. He ended up with two sweet offers at the same time. He had his choice about which one to seize. Those days of people competing for you? They’re not yet over.
MAGGIE GRAHAM | COACH
Career coach Maggie Graham banishes Credential Gremlins in her forthcoming book Skip the Next Degree: Career Change without Debt and Despair. She points mid-career professionals in the direction of their next steps and defines a road map to take them there. Job seekers will find an ally when they seek support for landing their next positions.
Want to be happier at work today? A brilliant person named Anonymous once said, “Attitude determines altitude.” In today’s workplace environment, it’s more important than ever to stay positive.
We work in offices without walls and doors. We send and receive dozens, sometimes hundreds, of quick messages all day. Everyone knows everything about our work patterns, schedule, and mood. We are literally working in a workplace without boundaries, and we need to do everything we can to maintain the veneer of civility.
Feeling genuinely happy helps. Bosses and co-workers can read our feelings like an open book, so it’s helpful to do what we can to project a positive outlook.
Being happy on the job improves our reputation. Optimism makes us more resilient, able to adapt to new situations, and even more capable of solving problems faster. Happy employees receive better feedback from bosses and peers and enjoy more job satisfaction because work doesn’t feel boring, difficult, or unpleasant.
Ways To Be Happier At Work
Here are seven ways to smile all the way to your next raise:
1. Don Your “Rose Colored Glasses”
For every disappointment, find some aspect that makes it palatable. For example, maybe you didn’t snag the flashy assignment, but your fabulous pitch raised your profile with some people who matter.
2. Use Upbeat Language
Your words – on the phone, in e-mail, and in person – have a powerful, subliminal effect on others’ moods and impressions. Make yours pleasant and positive by jazzing up routine exchanges. For example, “I’d be delighted to!” is much better than “Sure,” and a thousand times better than the surly “Whatever.”
3. Cheer Yourself On
Write down ten statements that you’d tell your best friend if she suffered a career setback, such as, “You did the best you could, and you’ll do even better next time.” At any point in the day when you feel discouraged, pull out that list and give yourself a daily pep talk.
4. If A Complaint’s Coming On, Zip It
Complaining is contagious. It makes you feel worse, and it makes others around you feel significantly worse, too. If you can’t figure out a way to say something constructive about a problem or challenge, then keep mum. Acting cheerful in the face of challenges will boost your career and professional reputation.
5. Use “Secret” Mood Boosters
If you have a daunting workday ahead, listen to an anthem on your way to the office that puts you in a great mood and recharges your emotional batteries. Or use a good luck charm or accessory. Or wear one. Anything from a lucky suit to a lucky pen will work its magic, if it makes you feel more confident.
6. Take A “Play” Break
If you’re in a bad mood at the office, take a five-minute break to play a lighthearted game that you’re really good at, such as ken-ken, a crossword puzzle, or Wordogram on your iPhone. This will temporarily distract you from your negative mood, and enable you to experience a small win. The trick here is to get back to your work before the bad mood has a chance to resurface.
7. Be “Complimentary”
When you notice a co-worker doing something well, tell her. Sincere compliments and praise have a way of boomeranging back to you. Soon you’ll be getting positive feedback, too.
By Vicky Oliver
Vicky Oliver ‘s books include 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions and the bestselling 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions . She givesseminars on job hunting and networking and is a recognized experton careers and the office environment. Vicky lives in NewYork City.
Scoring a full time job with a decent salary is no longer the ultimate career dream. These days, more and more people want flexibility, autonomy and better work-life balance. They want to be their own boss, manage their own schedules and buck the 9-5 trend.
It’s not all that surprising that so many people are opting for the freelancer life, considering how lucrativea consultative career can be compared to permanent employment. When you team the promise of monetary gains with the freedom of working for yourself, it is not hard to see why so many people are turning to temporary work. This shift in the way we work is referred to as the gig economy. It’s a new world where people offer their skills and services to organisations for short term projects.
Is contracting for you? Here are the factors you need to consider:
One of the huge allures of contracting is the level of control you will have over your career. As you are constantly picking and choosing what work you will or won’t apply for or get involved in, you will rarely be stuck with menial tasks you didn’t sign up for. Contractors are hired to complete very specific briefs, so you can be sure of what you’re getting yourself into most of the time.
As a freelancer, you’re also less likely to be weighed down by office politics and micromanagement. The temporary nature of your work will likely reduce the impact of colleagues you don’t like or get along with – they’ll soon be a thing of the past anyway!
Contracting jobs are generally less secure than permanent ones. People who have great skills will get rehired through recommendations and referrals. However, regardless of how good you are at what you do, contractors are subject to high levels of risk. When companies need to reduce outgoings, temporary workers are the ones who often get the chop, all in the name of cost cutting.
Notice periods and redundancy packages don’t apply to contractors. A gentleman’s handshake between you and your boss to say that you’ll be looked after is sometimes as good as your job security gets.
A lot of people will see their pay packet increase as soon as they switch to contracting. The amount of cash you take home each month can be much bigger for freelancers, thanks to hefty day rates that dwarf permanent salaries, different (more favourable) tax codes and less immediate deductions. However, the pay increase is not ALWAYS as substantial as hoped, so check what you’re worth before you take your walk on the wildside.
Sales pitches are part and parcel of a career as a contractor. Do you enjoy job interviews? It doesn’t matter – freelancers have to attend them regularly. With career control and working for yourself comes great responsibility, in the form of pressure to seek out and secure new contracts. Some people love the thrill of pitching to clients and showcasing their skills, and view this element as a huge plus in their career. If the thought makes you nervous, you can team up with a recruiter who can help you to pipeline projects through their extensive contact networks.
Permanent employees can lean on sophisticated functions that exist to support them in the workplace. Contractors operate as one-man bands and don’t have the luxury of an HR department or finance team to sort out their employment affairs for them. They also aren’t given the same professional development opportunities as full time staff, as they are not as worthwhile an investment. There are trade associations and professional bodies to support you in your career though, so you’re not completely alone. Also, seeing as there are so many freelancers out there, you can easily join networks to mingle with likeminded professionals!
Permanent employees are offered excellent perks to keep them happy in their jobs. Contractors might be paid more, but they don’t get the same level of TLC. Sick days, pensions, holiday leave, health insurance and bonuses are not part of a freelancer’s contract.
It’s important to consider ALL of the factors before making your debut in the gig economy. Do your research and talk to people in your network who’ve already made the move. If you want to chase independence and dollar signs, weigh up your risks first… Maybe it’s time to give it a go! It could be the start of a whole new ‘you’.
By Phoebe Spinks
Phoebe is the editor of Undercover Recruiter & Senior Account Executive at Link Humans.
It is easy to have a casual attitude towards interviews, particularly if you have attended many in the past. However, you may find this isn’t working anymore. Why?
The jobs market has changed drastically since the recession forcing recruitment to take a new form. Of course, CVs are still the backbone of any job application, but there are also ways in which to stand out amongst other candidates when it comes to your interview. First impressions count and you will get a very small window to show off what you can offer.
This is why it’s important now more than ever to learn how to ‘sell yourself’ as effectively as you can. Think of it as if you were selling a product to a customer in a store. Remember to keep in mind what you are selling, who you are selling to, and what the unique selling point is.
What are you selling?
Remember that in this situation it is yourself that is the product up for grabs. You want to highlight your strengths to maximise the conversion rate, like you would do if you were selling an item on eBay.
So, how do you make yourself look as good as possible? Firstly ensure that you have the correct qualifications needed for the position. It is true that more employers are looking for people with experience, but for many academic careers, a minimum educational level is a must. If you don’t have the formal qualifications to argue that you’re knowledgeable on a topic, why do you think you’d be good for this position? Make sure you have adequate experience to make up for this.
Alternatively, turn to the internet. There is a wealth of free information online, so although you may not have the means to attend an education establishment, it doesn’t mean you can’t advance your knowledge.
In terms of experience, get out there and get some! It’s important to bear in mind that employers will consider your past performances as an indication of your potential future accomplishments.
Phil McCabe of the Forum of Private Business lobby group has stated that the education system doesn’t produce the right level of work-ready young people.
More than one million 16-24 year olds are now unemployed in Britain and study after study has shown that employers would rather hire someone with some work experience under their belts, than a degree.
If you’re new to the jobs market, try some unpaid work experience. The fact that you have sacrificed your time and money to advance your career prospects speaks volumes to an employer. They don’t always want the finished package. They want someone who will develop and grow within a company. If this is you, state it explicitly in an interview. The employer will be impressed at your straightforward approach and willingness to progress.
What’s most important to a company is proven results. Whether you get this from a previous job or from an unpaid internship, it doesn’t matter. Better yourself, not just for the interview, but for you career in the long term.
Who are you selling to in an interview?
Make sure you research the market you are looking to enter. The majority of interviews fails due to a lack of preparation or because of nerves. Kill two birds with one stone here by over-preparing. If you are well researched, you will come across as more confident.
Also think about how you match up against their criteria? Is it a small business? If so, they may want someone who can multi-task and take on more responsibilities from the beginning.
If there is a minimum requirement for the position, then it would be necessary to make sure you pay attention. Recruiters prefer when their instructions are followed. Saying this, if you feel you have ways to make up for a lack of experience, for example, make this clear in your covering letter, and it’s worth a shot.
One way to stand out in your interview is through questions. Look through the job description and other company literature to find relevant questions you could ask.
This shows enthusiasm and confidence. If you ask about the company’s plans, it shows you are thinking about long term plans. Furthermore, asking questions in reference to their website, or business strategy, or press they have received, is evidence that you’ve done your home, and makes a fantastic first impression. You’d be amazed how many people don’t research prior to interviews. Make sure you’re not one of them.
What’s the USP?
Put yourself in the position of the interviewee. What is it that you offer that someone else can’t? They might see a large number of candidates in one day, so find a way to be memorable, whilst professional.
When discussing experience, you don’t always have to reference an employment example. Perhaps an unusual hobby of yours has given you some desirable skills for the job.
There are three Ps to think about when it comes to your USP: Performance (what have you achieved so far in your career?), Potential (what are you capable of in the future?), and Perseverance (enthusiasm can speak volumes).
Go through these prior to the interview and think of evidence where you have shown these traits. If you have any documentation or a portfolio to back it up, always bring it with you.
But most of all, relax and be yourself. Just because the situation is formal, doesn’t mean you can’t be cheerful. Most people are so nervous, showing your smiley bubbly side could be the easy solutions to stand out amongst the crowds.
By Bev James from The Coaching Academy
This ice-breaking yet important question has a way of making candidates blurt out their stories. But is that what potential employers want to hear?
It’s one of the most frequently asked interview questions: Tell me about yourself. Your response to this request will set the tone for the rest of the interview. For some, this is the most challenging question to answer, as they wonder what the interviewer really wants to know and what information they should include.
When an interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself,” the interviewer wants information that is pertinent to the job you’re interviewing for.
Eleanor dreaded this question. When it was the first one asked at her interview, she fumbled her way through a vague answer, not focusing on what she could bring to the job.
“I’m happily married and originally from Denver,” she began. “My husband was transferred here three months ago, and I’ve been getting us settled in our new home. I’m now ready to go back to work. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs, usually customer service-related. I’m looking for a company that offers growth opportunities.”
The interview went downhill after that. She had started with personal information and gave the interviewer reason to doubt whether she was an employee who would stay for very long.
- She’s married, and when her husband gets transferred that means she has to leave; she did it once and can do it again.
- She has some work experience with customers but didn’t emphasize what she did.
- She is looking to grow. What about the job she is applying for? Will she stay content for long?
The secret to responding to this free-form request successfully is to focus, script and practice. You cannot afford to wing this answer, as it will affect the rest of the interview. Begin to think about what you want the interviewer to know about you.
List five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job (experiences, traits, skills, etc.). What do you want the interviewer to know about you when you leave?
Eleanor is strong in communications and connecting with people. She has a strong background and proven success with customer relationships. Her real strength is her follow-through. She prides herself on her reputation for meeting deadlines.
Follow your script
Prepare a script that includes the information you want to convey. Begin by talking about past experiences and proven success:
“I have been in the customer service industry for the past five years. My most recent experience has been handling incoming calls in the high tech industry. One reason I particularly enjoy this business, and the challenges that go along with it, is the opportunity to connect with people. In my last job, I formed some significant customer relationships resulting in a 30 percent increase in sales in a matter of months.”
Next, mention your strengths and abilities:
“My real strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something, I make sure it gets done, and on time.”
Conclude with a statement about your current situation:
“What I am looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales.”
Practice with your script until you feel confident about what you want to emphasize in your statement. Your script should help you stay on track, but you shouldn’t memorize it—you don’t want to sound stiff and rehearsed. It should sound natural and conversational.
Even if you are not asked this type of question to begin the interview, this preparation will help you focus on what you have to offer. You will also find that you can use the information in this exercise to assist you in answering other questions. The more you can talk about your product—you—the better chance you will have at selling it.
By Carole Martin
Most job fairs run between January and May. When Spring rolls around, things usually ramp up because most employers want job openings filled before Summer kicks off. If you are among the job seekers attending job fairs, then take down these tips to preparing for it and making the most of your time there.
Many employers have a presence at job fairs to increase brand awareness, but also to save time in the screening process. Job fairs offer an opportunity for employers to conduct initial screenings on potential candidates on the spot. Employers have an idea of what they are looking for in a candidate for each job opening, so anyone who appears to make the cut can be interviewed to advance the process along right then and there.
Things You MUST Do Before Attending A Job Fair
Job seekers who come prepared will strike up opportunities quickly, so here are five things you MUST do before attending a job fair:
Research ahead of time.
There can be hundreds of companies to talk to at each job fair, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have the time to reach out to all of them. Research ahead of time which ones you want to get to so you make the most of your time there. When you know your targets, you can also start to customize your materials. It’ll help to look at the company’s website so you see what job openings they have and the requirements for each position. This information can help you tailor your materials and what you communicate when you meet with the individuals at the job fair.
Plan to approach the employer even if they aren’t recruiting for the job you want.
Job fairs are great for networking – it’s not about simply dropping off the resume. You want to start conversation with the right contacts. If there is an employer you desire to work with, but they are not recruiting for the job you want, it’s important to still go over and talk to them. You never know when things may suddenly open up. The contacts there may also direct you to information in regards to who’s leading the department you want to work in so that you can make follow-up with that individual directly.
The key is to engage in conversation – ask insightful questions. Be someone they will remember at the end of the day or use it as an opportunity to open the door to more conversation.
Have your elevator pitch ready.
Employers are looking to hear what you can do for them, so come prepared with a quick pitch on your skills and experience, as well as how it can help solve their problems.
Dress like you’re going for an interview.
On-the-spot interviews happen at job fairs, so come dressed the part and be ready with copies of your resume in hand. As you introduce yourself, be mindful of your body language, including your handshake, eye contact, facial expression, and voice.
Employers take notice of job candidates who exhibit a smile and enthusiasm. They want to see a candidate with a strong desire to work with them, not someone who’s simply swinging by randomly. Some may also screen your interest level by asking typical interview questions like: “What do you know about us?” and “Why do you want to work for us?” – so be prepared!
Plan to follow up.
Like a job interview, you should plan to send a follow-up note to the contacts you meet. It’s a chance to help keep you top of mind and it gives you a chance to reiterate why you have what they are looking for. Before ending each conversation, be sure to collect business cards from the people you speak with and take good notes so you know how best to personalize the follow-up note.
Approached the right way, job fairs can open many conversations and doors to job opportunities.
By Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call him at 800.909.0109 for more information.
The phone interview is a gating process that attempts to weed out as many job seekers as possible so that the company only needs to spend time and effort interviewing the best of the best. Because of this, it’s incredibly important that you ace every phone interview so that you get invited to interview in person.
Below are four common phone interview questions, along with what you should be including in answers that will move you forward to the next interview and the job offer:
1. “Tell me about yourself.”
Many job seekers fail this question because they take it as an icebreaker, and answer it with personal information such as family or hobbies. Do yourself a big favor and give an answer that focuses on the qualities or traits or experiences you have that will help you be successful in this role. For example: “I’ve worked in this field for 7 years, and I have experience doing X, Y, and Z. I’ve been recognized for A, B, and C.”
2. “Why are you interested in this job?”
Use your research on the company to give a specific answer to this question. Use this opportunity to tell them first that you’re interested because your skills are a great fit (point out 2-3 skills that are especially relevant and would benefit them) and then list about three reasons why working at this company would benefit you personally and professionally.
3. “Why are you leaving your current job?” or “Why did you leave your last job?”
Even though you probably didn’t leave your last job for positive reasons, it’s important that you answer this question in a positive way. Try to answer this question by telling them why this job appeals to you (“I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity”), rather than why you don’t want your previous job. If you must give a reason that you left, try to give them a reason that was a factor in your old job that won’t be in this one. Good choices would focus on the location or commute, travel time, or on something else that’s really a neutral answer rather than a negative one.
4. “What salary are you looking for?”
If HR interviews you, they may very well ask you about your salary requirements. They want to know if they can afford you before they introduce you to the hiring manager. Of course, try to avoid answering. If you must answer, say something along the lines of: “I’m sure that you’re offering an appropriate range for this position, and it won’t be a problem.” Then, turn the question back on them: “What range have you budgeted for this position?” They may tell you, and you can make a decision from there.
Hint: As you prepare to answer phone interview questions, write down key points you want to make in your phone interview. This is a great phone interview cheat sheet for you that will make sure you are saying everything you need to in order to move forward.
Get more information and help for your phone interviews in my ebook, How to Ace Your Phone Interview, available on Amazon.
By Career Coach – Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.
With the estimated number of job seeking graduates increasing, it’s important that graduates show off the skills that employers really want to see. It’s not just about the skills you were taught at university – it’s the knowledge you’ve built up along the way, and the type of person that this experience has moulded you into. So what things are employers really looking for?
1) A positive attitude:
There’s nothing worse than working with someone who’s negative. The type of person that always has something to moan about and is never upbeat, excited or positive. A positive attitude can turn your world around, you’ll even notice people communicating with you differently.
Employers are looking for the perfect employee that’s confident but not arrogant. It can be a hard balance to find but having a confident stride, handshake and interview are all good signs.
3) Squeaky clean social media:
There’s nothing professional about being tagged in a photo on Facebook that shows you chugging vodka in a club on Saturday night. You should make sure your social media platforms are as PG as possible. A good tip is to question whether or not you would show your grandma an update…if not, get it off! Being professional doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your online personality however – an employer might even giggle at your stupid jokes.
4) Good communication skills:
Communication is an all important decider in whether a candidate is suitable for a certain job. The most important thing with communication is being clear, whether that’s in person, in writing or on the phone.
5) Creative and outside thinker:
Employers are not looking for robots who fit the job spec. They are looking for candidates who can bring something new, exciting and innovative to the team. Show them that you can solve problems creatively.
6) People person:
Showing employers that you can work well in a team is very important for graduate recruiters. So show them that you’re good with people, it will make a real difference.
If you’re a new graduate and currently looking for a job, I think you may be able to relate to the video below. Check out “Hello from the graduate” – the job seekers take on Adele’s number one hit!
By Ruby Lowe
Ruby is a Senior Account Executive at Link Humans in London.
Employees leave companies for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they butt-heads with their immediate supervisor, or maybe the company is in a constant state of reorganization.
Whatever your reasons are for leaving, job searching while employed requires secret agent-like discretion and stealth.
How can employed white-collar workers channel James Bond or Jason Bourne in the job search? Consider the following covert moves:
9 Tips for Job Searching While Employed
1. Keep Your Job Search And Work Separate
It’s sometimes OK to search for new jobs at work if your employer is actively downsizing, and you’ve been told your job isn’t secure and you’re welcome to use the company time for your search. For all other times, keep your job search and work separate. Never search for jobs using your company’s computer, and never use your work email to touch base with potential employers. Just as they do for social media usage, many employers monitor computers and email.
Likewise, don’t use company resources to print resumes or work samples, and don’t use the shared company mailroom to send direct mail to potential employers.
Still feel like searching for a job while on the clock? Here’s what to say if you’ve been caught red-handed.
2. Be Very Careful Who You Tell
Just because you trust your cubicle partner not to steal your stapler, doesn’t mean you should trust her to keep mum about your future career prospects. The water cooler may be retired in many offices, but the chatter that occurred there lives on.
Keep your job leads and interviews as private as possible while still harnessing the power of your network. Entrust your search only to those you know won’t spill the beans, and ask them to keep your search quiet.
3. Schedule Interviews Strategically
Since you can’t suddenly have doctors’ appointments every morning one week without raising suspicion, get creative with scheduling interviews. Try to schedule your interviews before or after work or during lunchtime. If your interviewer isn’t flexible with scheduling, use vacation or personal days for interviews.
4. Be Wary Of Your Wardrobe
Do you work in a casual office? Be very wary of how you dress on days you have an interview. Interview dress is crucial to landing a job, but you can’t wear polo shirts and khakis every day of the week, then suddenly don a tailored suit and tie on a Friday. To avoid suspicion, quick changes in public bathrooms (or your home, if it’s close enough) may be in order.
5. Your Boss May See Notice As A Threat
It may seem ideal to give your boss a “heads up” that you’re pursuing new ventures, especially if he or she knows there isn’t opportunity for you to grow within the company. But be very careful: Some employers may see your friendly “heads up” as a threat for salary or benefits negotiating power. Your employer may begin to see you as a temporary employee and remove you from important projects or, worse, immediately begin the search for your replacement.
6. Use Former Employers As References
As much as you may like your current boss, it should be obvious to use former employers to be as references in your job search. Prospective employers will understand that you want to keep your job search confidential. (The exception is if your company is actively downsizing, as noted above.)
7. Be Honest With Potential Employers
If a potential employer asks if your current employer knows about your job search, be honest and tell him, “No.” Potential employers can easily discover if you’re lying through a reference check, which will certainly remove you from the pool of potential candidates.
8. Don’t Forget About Your Current Job
Just because you believe the relationship you have with your current company is over doesn’t mean your boss does. Within your work hours, stay focused on your current responsibilities. You owe it to your employer to remain a productive employee for the time you have left. (This includes time after you’ve submitted your letter of resignation.)
9. You Don’t Have The Job Yet
It’s natural to feel optimistic about a new position after a stellar interview (or two or three), but remember, that position isn’t yours until it’s offered to you. Don’t submit your letter of resignation to your boss until you have an offer in writing.
Job searching while employed is rough. After all, who wants to do more work after work? But the process has its benefits, too. Employed job searchers are in a better position to negotiate salary and won’t be tempted to accept the first offer that comes along.
Are you employed and searching for new ventures? How are you handling the process of job searching while employed?
By Sudy Bharadwaj is a co-founder and the CEO of JackalopeJobs.com, a job seeker focused platform, making the job search social, fast and easy. Learn how Sudy and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on Twitter.
In almost every office, there are ‘lucky’ employees given formidable projects like setting up a new department or coming up with strategies for re-branding the company. Then, of course, there are those assigned to do the so-calledgrunt work such as alphabetizing clients’ files, updating suppliers’ contact details, and organizing meetings.
There’s nothing wrong with doing grunt work, as these tasks are necessary for the business to operate efficiently. However, there comes a point when you want to move on to do more meaningful and challenging work.
After all, doing the same thing over and over again isn’t exactly going to do anything for your career growth. That’s why you should have the courage to ask for bigger responsibilities.
Don’t wait for your boss to hand that exciting project to you, you must be proactive. Fight for it if you have to.
Show Everyone You’re Ready To Move Up In The World
1. Get The Tasks Nobody Wants To Do
Do the grunt work with enthusiasm. If necessary, over-deliver. For instance, if you’re tasked with alphabetizing clients’ files, you can also make backup copies of the said files. If nobody wants to face a particularly difficult client, volunteer for the task. Doing so would prove that you’re willing to do even the most difficult things to make your mark. This also establishes your reputation as a reliable member of the team.
2. Help Overworked And Stressed Co-workers
Once you’re done with the tasks assigned to you, you can help out any co-worker who’s overwhelmed with their tasks. Don’t be pushy, though. Let your co-worker tell you what to do — and then give it your best shot.
Make sure you have your co-workers permission before you tell your boss and other officemates about the collaboration. Otherwise, people might think you’re to take credit for their work.
3. Take Stock Of Your Skills And Learn New Ones
Make an inventory of what you can do. Find a way to highlight these skills. If you’re good with words, you can offer to help your co-workers write their reports. You can also acquire more skills that will help you snag your target projects. For example, if your company has an office in Paris and you’d like to be assigned there, then learn French.
4. Ask Your Boss For A New Project
Get to know everything about your company. Immerse yourself in all sorts of information about the industry that you’re in. Know the trends and other factors affecting your line of work. This information can help you suggest new projects and tasks to your boss.
When you pitch a project, it helps if you present your skill set, as well so your boss knows what you can do.
You Control Your Career’s Direction
You don’t have to wait that long to get the project or position you want. If you have the drive and will to succeed, then you can move forward in your profession at a much faster pace. The trick is to do everything that you’re assigned to do extraordinarily well and to keep improving your skill set. This way, you’re always ready to take advantage of an opportunity for career advancement.
Author: Michelle gained extensive HR leadership experience at Fortune 500 companies such as Sony Entertainment and John Wiley & Sons. With a combined 20 years of in-house corporate and targeted consulting experience, Michelle currently services large corporations, small businesses, and individuals in all aspects of Human Resources and Career Management.
Being interviewed for a position can be an intimidating experience, but the increasing trend for video recruitment means there’s a whole new set of factors to take into account.
If you’re not used to being on camera, giving a video interview may be nerve-wracking, but it has a number of benefits for both you and your potential employer. Easier to arrange and more convenient for all parties to attend, particularly if they live some distance apart, video interviews are growing in popularity.
Although many of the golden rules remain unchanged, there’s a new set of challenges and potential problems which need to be considered. Here are just 5 of the things that you should always consider when you’re being interviewed by video.
1) Using headsets In Video Interview
Regardless of whether the role you are being interviewed for involves public speaking, your voice is a powerful tool in persuading the individual to hire you. Clear, concise diction, with an agreeable tone will be a pleasure to listen to and can help the interviewer to pay close attention to what you are saying.
Unfortunately the microphone on your computer may make you sound tinny, quiet and add a strange timbre to your tone. This is less than ideal and could influence your interviewer’s desire to listen to your answers.
The other problem with computer microphones is that they pick up every other noise in the room, adding a soundtrack that you would rather not include. Whether it’s other people moving around, pets, noise pollution or other sounds, it can be a real distraction during the interview.
The best way to get round this is to eschew the computer microphone and instead use a headset. This will eliminate all other noises and ensure that your answers are conveyed clearly and that your voice has the opportunity to influence the interviewer as you hoped.
The other benefit to using headsets is that you will instantly appear more composed, professional and organised, rather than giving the impression that everything was put together in a rush.
2) Your user name
When you’re applying for jobs, you might think nothing about handing about your email address and user name, happy to rely on more modern means to secure a position.
But if your accounts were set up originally for non-professional purposes, don’t forget to consider the type of reaction that your name could provoke.
Ideally you’ll want a user name or address which is your regular name, but this might not always be possible. However, having something which is rude, offensive or just unprofessional will create an instant opinion which isn’t favourable.
If your existing account isn’t suitable for use with a prospective employer, consider either changing the name or setting up a brand new one for the purposes of recruitment.
3) Screen sharing
A lot depends on the job that you’re applying for but there may be the opportunity for you and the interviewer to screen share, so that you can demonstrate some practical skills.
This can be the perfect opportunity to showcase what you really know but make sure you’re aware of everything that they can see. This means that if you’ve been googling to check facts that you claimed to already know, you could blow your chances of getting a job.
Having other chat windows open is also an extremely bad idea, even if you haven’t been using them during the interview. There’s always the chance that a friend or acquaintance could pop up and make a derogatory comment or remark during the interview.
4) Transmission delay
There’s nothing worse than mistiming your comments and either sat listening to a stony silence or constantly talking over the person who is trying to interview you.
It’s especially important to demonstrate an ease with technology if the role could potentially involve the use of computers or modern methods of communication, such as video conferencing or Skype.
There’s a real art to conversing over video, and it’s not as easy as having a physical face to face discussion. You’ll need to take account of the lags or delays that the transmission might cause and ensure that you match the rhythm of your conversation to this.
5) Picture quality and position
Unlike a physical interview, you’ll have to put much more work into creating the right position when you’re being videoed.
Rather than simply pulling up a chair at an interview table, over video it’s up to you to create the right position which is neither too close nor too far.
Don’t forget to check the results before you go live, so you can see the view that the other party will see. You shouldn’t be higher than them, looking down can make you appear arrogant and superior. By direct contrast, position your chair too low and you’ll give the impression of being meek, mild and subservient.
Once you’re sure that you’ve got the position right, do a final check for any blurs, smudges or marks on the lens. This can be very distracting for the interviewer and may mean that you come across as less than professional as a result.
By Nick Williams
Nick Williams works for Acuity Training in the UK and helps on their communication and assertiveness training courses.
In today’s society, your resume is the most important document you have to get yourself an interview.
Including power resume words will increase your chance of getting hired by 80%!
When a hiring manager is seeing the same old resume time and time again (which includes the cliché words and phrases such as “highly dedicated individual” or “great team player”) you are guaranteeing yourself your resume will be deleted.
Poorly chosen words and clichéd phrases can destroy the interest of the reader. Power words when chosen correctly can have the opposite effect of motivating and inspiring the reader.
Power Resume Words will make help you stand out from your competition and increase your chances of getting hired!
Best 100 Power Resume Words
RedStarResume has written hundreds of resumes for candidates across the globe. Their resume writing service generates unique job searches to satisfy their clients.