How to handle the fact that you have been Laid Off in an interview

What does it mean about you if you were laid off? Does it mean that you are not employable or that there is something wrong with you? Absolutely NOT! People who have been laid off are getting hired all the time. The lay off is not what matters. What matters is how you handle your explanation of being laid off in the interview.

I meet with hundreds, if not thousands of job seekers every year. In the past 2 years, a large number of these job seekers have been people who were laid off. Many of them ask me what are they doing wrong that is not having them land the job. I share with them that they are not doing anything wrong, it is just that they are not being effective in their explanation of why they left their last position.

Often times, when I ask someone why they left their last position they will give me an incredulous look that says “duh!,”and then they will say some version of the following “I was laid off,” “My company closed,” “My position was eliminated,” etc.. DO NOT FOCUS ON THE LAY OFF! The problem is that everyone is saying the same thing and that is NOT memorable. What I coach my clients to do is to focus on what they liked about their last job, rather than focusing on the lay off, and then to follow up with how excited they are to find a great new position they can stay at long term. For example, if Betty was at her company 5 years and she loved her job, I would have Betty start by telling the employer why she stayed at her job for 5 years and how much she enjoyed her job. Then I would coach Betty to lightly mention the lay off, and finish by focusing on what she gets to create in her next position.

There is a little mantra that I teach people that helps them to remember this for their interview. I call it the GOOD-BAD-GOOD method. Next time you get stuck on a tricky question that could come across as negative in an interview, always try to start with a positive, lightly touch on the negative aspect, and then finish by bringing it back to a positive.

Good luck!

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5 things that are the Kiss of Death in an interview

1) Not showing enthusiasm for the position and/or the company and why you want to work for them
2) Answering your phone and/or having your phone ring during the interview
3) Not have a good reason why they should want to hire you
4) Putting “see attached resume” on your application instead of filling it out completely
5) Not bringing a copy of your resume to the interview

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The top 10 things that differentiates those who get hired from those who do not

What has one person get hired over another? Do you get theinterviews, but never get the offers? There are people getting hired in thistough economy, so the question becomes, how do you make yourself stand out from the millions of other people who are also looking for a job? Below is a list ofthe top 10 things that differentiates those who get hired from those who do not. 

People who get hired…

1) Research a firm thoroughly before their interview, andcreate a persuasive case for why they should be the one chosen for theposition.

2) Exhibit self-confidence and can provide at least 10 examplesof where they will increase the company’s productivity, effectiveness orperformance.

3) Have a minimum of 10 talking points prepared that supportthe case for why they should be hired and consistently utilize these pointsthroughout the interview to solidify their position.

4) Drive by the location of the interview in advance so thatthey will not get lost the day of the interview.

5) Give themselves an extra 30 minutes or more to account fortraffic, arrive early and review their notes before they go in.

6) Keep in touch with good contacts at old companies so it iseasy to provide outstanding references when requested.

7) Fill out their application thoroughly and completely andnever put “see attached resume” on their application.

8) Practice their interview questions and answers with aprofessional coach or a friend who is willing to be brutally honest regardingtheir response.

9) Prepare and give a great “Tell me about yourself” that addressesthe company’s problem and how they intend to solve it.

10) Never put the interviewer on the defensive, includingexhibiting a flexible attitude throughout the entire interview.

AND THEY ALWAYS DRESS TO IMPRESS!

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What do recruiters look for in your Linkedin profile?

As a recruiter, the primary tool I use to help me fill positions is Linkedin. I am consistently amazed by the quality and caliber of candidates who are now posting their profiles on Linkedin.  I would venture to say that Linkedin is soon going to replace websites such as Monster and CareerBuilder for company’s recruiting needs. If you want your profile to be found on Linkedin and you want to be the one called for opportunities, then there are a few key things you need to know about what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for:

1)   Do you have a profile picture? This is important because if you don’t have a picture it could make the hiring manager wonder what you are trying to hide. I get people who often ask me, “What if the company will use that picture to discriminate against me?” This is a valid concern. What I explain to job seekers is that if a company is going to discriminate against you based on a picture, they are going to be just as likely to discriminate against you when they meet you in person. Personally, I would not want to work for that type of company to begin with. Also, please be sure to post a PROFESSIONAL PICTURE.

2)   Do you have your email address clearly visible in your Linkedin profile? The ideal place to list your email address is in the same section as your name. Make it as easy as possible for me to find you! You can add your email address to ANY section of your Linkedin profile. Just make sure it is clearly visible.

3)   Do you have any recommendations? If you do not have any recommendations, I might be concerned about whether or not I should work with you. People who have recommendations linked to their Linkedin profile are much more likely to be approached about opportunities then those who do not.

4)   Do you have your Summary completely filled out, including the type of position you are looking for? Often times, I come across a Linkedin profile that does not have anything but the basics, ie. company, position & title. Not having your profile completely filled out makes it hard for a recruiter to ascertain whether or not you would be a fit for their position. Less is more does NOT apply to your Linkedin profile.

5)   Do you have your resume attached as a Box.net file? If you are not familiar with Box.net, it is a great application that Linkedin offers which allows you to upload Word documents or PDFs. You can use Box.net to upload your resume or letters of recommendation. Just be careful about listing too much personal information on your resume if you link it to Linkedin. At the very least, you should have your email address and a phone number.

If you follow these 5 simple tips, you will be 5x more likely to be approached by a recruiter or potential employer!

BONUS TIP: JOIN THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF GROUP THAT YOU ARE ALLOWED TO JOIN! You can join up to 50 groups, and joining groups is a great way to increase your visibility and find out about jobs in areas that interest you. Also, you DO NOT need to be connected with someone in a group to be able to email them You can send a FREE message to ANYONE who is a part of a group that you are also a part of.

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