Posts Tagged “resume”

Has this ever happened to you? You hear about a job and review the posting. The job description reads just like your resume. You have done everything that the company is looking for. Your references and your on-line presence confirm you are that person. You apply and get a call for an interview. The job seems destined to be yours! But something goes a little sideways during the actual interview and two weeks later you learn they hired someone else. What happened?

Employers really are only looking for three things. The first two are what get you into their office for the interview. The third is what actually gets you the job.

The Three C’s of Interviews are:
First, they want to know if you can do the job. Some major employers now use keyword software to sift through on-line applications looking for specific skills. Make sure you read the posting completely and include references to the exact skills being advertised.

1.Capability
2.Character
3.Compatibility

Second, employers want someone they can trust. Be sure to coach your references so they know what position you are applying for. Remind them of specific projects that you were involved in so they have a positive story to tell about your abilities. And review your on-line presence. Know what an employer will see when they Google your name.

The third C is the hardest to measure. Before the interview make sure you have done your homework about the company, the industry and the major players in the organization. As you enter the building, the office or the conference room, you must be observant. Look at the posters and pictures on the walls. How are the employees interacting? Are there clues you can pick up about the culture?

Years ago I had an interview for a management position. The Executive I was to speak with was seated at his desk. Behind him was a huge photo of a sailboat. I was the Commodore of our sailing team in college and had lived on a sailboat for a year between high school and college. It was very easy to find a mutual interest that showed the interviewer I was compatible. Conversely, at another company the poster behind the interviewer said “we are going to have a sales contest, the winner gets to keep their job”. That was a very different kind of interview.

In the end, you can feel pretty confident that you have gotten past the first two C’s when they call you for an interview. Your job during the interview is to make them “C” you fitting in. Do that and you will be sitting in a new hire orientation for your new job.

According to Hire Right, a firm that specializes in employee back ground checks:

80% of all resumes are misleading
20% state fraudulent degrees
30% show altered employment dates
40% have inflated salary claims
30% have inaccurate job descriptions
27% give falsified references

These are sobering statistics. The playing field is not level. Those that chose the path of un-truths or who stretch the truth run the very real risk of being found out. Most employers have a clause on the application making you verify that what you are saying is the truth. And when you’re information is found to be untrue, they will fire you.

Make the most out of what you have done, but don’t feel you need to embellish to the point of lying. No job is worth that.

Can you think on your feet?

Posted by | February 8, 2012 | Interview Tools

The ability to “think and speak on your feet” is an important skill that often determines your success in job interviews. And once you land the job, many kinds of careers and occupations require this skill. To practice for your upcoming interviews try this exercise.

Print out this list of questions before you read through them. Cut them apart and put them in a jar. When you are ready to practice “thinking on your feet”, stand in front of a mirror, pull out a topic at random and talk to the mirror for two minutes about whatever is on the paper.

  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go first and why?
  • If you could have only 3 electrical appliances in your house, what would they be and why?
  • Why does glue not stick to the bottle?
  • What nocturnal animal would you be if you had to choose and why?
  • If Abe Lincoln and George Washington got into a fight who’d win?
  • If you had a snail that could magically grant wishes, what would you name it?
  • If you had the chance to go back in time for 24 hours, where and when would you go?
  • What’s your worst/best memory of high school and why?
  • What was your favorite pet you had as a child and why?
  • What is the most rewarding experience you have had and what made it so?
  • Who or what inspires you and why?
  • If you could travel back in time and meet yourself as a 10 year old kid what advice would you want to give him/her?
  • Who is your favorite super hero?
  • Which is your favorite cartoon character?

Now that you have practiced thinking on your feet, you are ready to answer specific interview questions. Check back soon, I will post a list of interview practice questions that you can do the same exercise with.

Have an Attitude?

Posted by | February 8, 2012 | Interview Tools

I was talking with my dentist recently, which is hard to do when he has his fingers in your mouth. We were discussing his office staff and I was remarking how well the office flowed. He said that it wasn’t always that way.

When he first began his practice, he hired based mainly on qualifications, degrees achieved and schools attended. He hired a very qualified staff. But he realized later that he didn’t hire employees who understood his customer service philosophy. This created tension between himself, his patients and the staff. Once he realized he needed to find employees who shared his ideas on office etiquette, thinks began to click. Ten years later, he has virtually no turn over and business is better than ever. It seems odd to say but it’s almost a pleasure to go to the dentist

When  looking for a position, attitude is key. The right attitude can get you hired.  So let your positive attitude shine and land the job you’ve been searching for.

Think about that for a moment. Anyone can make a list of job titles they have held, committees they have been on, even positions on local boards or volunteer agencies. But the biggest question to a future employer is what did you actually accomplish?

If you can’t get that across, it doesn’t matter how important the positions were you held. In order to make a lasting impression on an interviewer, they need to understand that you get things done. That you get things done in an efficient manner. That you get things done on schedule or even ahead of schedule.

And after you say that, then you must give a specific example of a problem at your last job, what action you took and most importantly, how the outcome was far better than your Boss had ever expected. The interviewer will remember that specific example and remember you.

As an example, when asked about your customer service skills you could say, “I’m a people person”. Or you could say:

As the Store Manager for Best Products in Hopewell, Va., I received a call one Christmas Eve from a customer about a ride-on toy he had purchased for his 6 year old son for Christmas. It was 8 PM when he noticed that the specialized battery for the car was not in the box. So I told him I would meet him at the store and we would get him the battery. I called my Assistant Manager (just in case this was a set-up) and I headed down to the store. We found the battery in another box and I sent him home, relieved that Christmas wasn’t ruined for his little boy.

Now that is a true story and it sticks much better than “I’m a people person”.

So as you prepare or review your resume, think about what you have specifically accomplished and the results you have produced. Then write that and be sure to share that in the interview. The results will amaze you.

One of my Twitter followers is looking for a new job and lives in Arizona. Cathy wanted to know about  Career Centers.

The question is a great one. Career Centers can be a valuable resource when job hunting. Finding an agency that has the experience and connections is essential. And this applies if you are job searching in Arizona or any other state in the Union. Since Cathy wants to stay in Arizona (I live in NJ so I can’t  blame her for wanting to stay where its warm) she is searching for someone who knows the local economy, the local business and their needs. She is looking beyond just posting her resume on LinkedIn,  “spraying, then praying” as she sends out hundreds of resumes via online job offers, then praying she’ll hear from them.

My thanks to Cathy for getting me thinking about how people find jobs. Once you find out that most of the major newspapers now partner with Monster, you see that many people are looking at the same jobs on-line. Finding a local source with up-to-the minute listings gives anyone an edge.

In Arizona, I know that Valerie and staff at Accurate Placement offers such a service. Cathy can submit her resume to hundreds of job opportunities in Arizona via their website http://www.accurateplacement.com/ Although much of what Accurate Placement does is on-line, there are real people behind the website interested in helping people find jobs.

Once you find a good source for reviewing all open jobs, then the work really begins. There’s researching the companies, preparing for interviews and picking out what to wear. Then thank you cards to send, second interviews to prepare for and finally salary negotiations.

Remember, finding a job is a job! So use all the resources at your disposal to find the job of your dreams. Cathy is!

There are days when everything just seems to fall into place and others days where I just can’t seem to catch a break. What makes the difference? I get up from the same bed, eat the same breakfast, shower, shave and dress in the same manner. I drive to work along the same route and listen to the same news radio station. I park in the same parking spot at work and enter through the same door. Yet some days things go exceptionally well and other days it seem like I should have stayed in bed.

The same thing happens when  you are job hunting. What seems to work one day seems to be out of kilter the next. Why that happens may be summed up in two words; preparation and opportunity.

As an employee and manager, I find the next day goes best if I have made the time to organize myself the day before. When I have reviewed my day planner and noted what I have accomplished and what I need to do the next day, I am more prepared.

Doing this before I go to bed allows my sub-conscious mind to work on it overnight, developing answers to questions and getting everything in order. When I wake up, it’s all in place. I’ve done the preparation and all that is left is to put myself in the way of the opportunity.

The same holds true with a job search. Doing what is necessary each day, that is the preparation, will put you in the path of opportunity. Preparation means doing the research about the companies you are applying for. Preparation means having compelling, true, specific stories about how you have; increased profits, saved expenses or improved customer service at your current or previous jobs. Preparation includes rehearsing the interview, knowing what types of questions will be answered and practicing the answers. Preparation means tailoring each resume or application to the specific job, not just “spraying and praying”.

Doing what is necessary each day will put you in the place where your preparation intersects with your opportunity. And the result will be everything falling into place as you hear those magic words “you’re hired”.

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