In today’s technology driven market it is easier than ever to be prepared for an interview, and key to thorough preparation is research. Prior to your interview, research your potential new employer to assist you in formulating 5 answers to the common interview question, “Why would you like to work at this company (in this position)?” Many job seekers reply with simple answers such as, “Your building is close to my home, so I’d have a better commute,” or “This company seems stable and I really need that right now.” Those answers, while truthful, are not going to impress your interviewer. Remember, in most cases right now, it is you and many other applicants all applying for the same position. Why not go a step further by researching not only the company, but also your interviewer?
Expand your research after you read the company’s website by looking your interviewer up on a site like www.linkedin.com prior to your interview. Many organizations are encouraging their executives and human resources professionals to post their profiles on professional sites like Linkedin, and more people are registering every day. Imagine the advantage you will have over your competitors if you take the time to discover specific information about the person you’ll be meeting with, things like how long they’ve been with the company and any common interests you may have! Use the information you gather from your research to formulate your 5 answers to the question of why you would want to work at that company, and don’t forget to cite specific examples of what you read on the company’s website (don’t forget to read their press releases which are generally on a separate page of the website).
Going the extra mile means you will stand out from your competition and will be remembered after your interview!
Social Media is taking off and is going in a variety of different directions. There are new Twitter affiliate sites and other Social Media related sites popping up all the time. So how do you differentiate which ones to pay attention to? You could spend hours upon hours researching them for yourself or you rely on someone else to look through all the information for you, and give you some recommendations like I am about to do.
In the last 10 months, I have been inundated with Social Media information, as I am sure many of you have as well. It has now become part of my job to help disseminate what information you need to know. Below are a list of my top 3 favorite Social Media Related Sites that I would recommend you familiarize yourself with:
1) www.mashable.com This is the “How To” guide for using Social Media. In my opinion, I think it may be one of the most valuable sites out there for any Social Media questions you may have
2) www.hootsuite.com This site is a “Twitter Dashboard.” It allows you to see who is Tweeting both about you and to you. It helps you organize your Tweets by scheduling them in advance, and keeping track of who is re-tweeting your messages. You can also use this to help shrink your URLs so that you can get more bang for your buck.
3) www.ping.fm.com This site allows you to “ping” your 140 character status update to as many affiliated Social Media Websites that you would like. Rather than taking the time to update your status on Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin and Twitter individually you could simply link up to your Ping account and send out your status update to all 4 at once. You can also use it to ping out your blog.
To set up a private Social Media training or class email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org
For a full list of Top Social Media Websites go to: http://www.prelovac.com/vladimir/top-list-of-social-media-sites
Giving a Great Elevator Speech
How to effectively answer: “Tell me about yourself.
“When a job seeker is asked “Tell me about yourself” in an interview or in networking situation asked: “What do you do?”, he or she can often freeze up. In other circumstances the job seeker may not know how to convey what they do in a way that will have them be memorable. Today, we are going to discuss how to succinctly present what you do and highlights of what you have to offer in an effective manner.
WHAT IS AN ELEVATOR SPEECH?
Essentially, an Elevator Speech is a 30-60 second sound bite that highlights what you do, as well as what makes you stand out from others in your position. If an Elevator Speech is done well, it will not only make you memorable, but will also spotlight your uniqueness in an effective way. One of the best introductions to an Elevator Speech I have heard of was an IRS man who, when asked what he did, simply replied “I am a government fundraiser.”
Using humor can be very effective at making you memorable in a networking situation, however, should be used cautiously in an interview until you have a better understanding of the individual you are interviewing with.
There are 4 main components to a great Elevator Speech:
1) Catch their attention
2) Tell them what you offer or can contribute
3) Give an example which illustrates the benefit of what you offer
4) Leave them wanting to learn more
You are not going to stand out or be memorable if you just state your name and what you do or even worse, launch into your life story. People are interested in what you can provide for them, ie. what benefits can you offer to the organization your are interviewing with or the person you are networking with. One of the ways to illustrate the deliverables you can provide would be to give examples of where you have increased productivity, efficiency or performance in your most recent position. This is what I call PEP. Employers want to hire people with PEP. They want to know what is in it for them if they hire you.
A great Elevator Speech will begin with a catchy first sentence that will capture your audience’s attention such as the example of the IRS man I provided earlier. If I were to introduce myself by simply stating “I am a career counselor” you are not going to be mesmerized or even remotely interested for the most part, however, if instead I say “You know how millions of Americans are struggling because they cannot find a job, well what I do, is I help them land the perfect 6 figure job in less then 3 months,” that might catch your attention.
From there you want to site specific results that you have produced in the past which correlate to what you are offering. In other words, if I were to begin telling you what a great artist I am, that has nothing to do with what I can offer you as a career coach. Rather I would go into more depth as to the specific services my company offers such as one-on-one coaching, teleconferences and workshops.
Next, you would give an example of where you were successful in one of those areas. An example I would give is:
“I recently gave a workshop where one of the participants was an animator who had been looking for a job for over a year. Less then 2 weeks after completing my workshop he landed his dream job teaching animation at a University thanks to the information he learned in my workshop.”
You can see that sharing an example of where you have been effective can have an enormous impact.
Finally, you want to close by leaving your audience hungry and interested to learn more about you and/or your services your provide.
An example of how I would close would be:
“Over the past 6 years that I have been in career counseling and recruiting, I have had the pleasure of being a contribution to thousands of job seekers through coaching each individual on increasing their effectiveness and confidence which led to hundreds landing their dream jobs.”
If you are in a networking situation you would want to follow up with what a great referral for you would be, however, in an interview, you merely want to intrigue the person that you are interviewing with such that they are eager to learn more about you and what you can offer.
In these tough economic times, I am finding that a lot of clients are getting low-balled when offer time comes around. The question then becomes: Should I lower my salary requirements and accept an offer for less than I am worth?
The answer is, be flexible and carefully evaluate all your options. The most important thing is to be the one to get the job offer! Whether the offer comes in 5k, 10k, or 20k less than what you want is irrelevant. If you at least get an offer, you are ahead of the game. You do not have much power to negotiate upfront, but once they have set their sights on you, and have chosen to give YOU the offer, you are in a much better position to negotiate.
You have to ask yourself, what is my bottom line? Perhaps you were making 100k before, and now you get an offer for 90k. Is 90k something you can live off of, and more importantly, are you going to have the opportunity to get back to where you were within a year or two. Something most talented employees know is that, they determine their own worth. Sure, you might get low-balled initially, but if you know that you can prove your worth, you will be rewarded in the long run.
One of the women I interviewed for my book explained that she once took a position paying 30k a year, but knew that there was enormous upside potential. She saw the value in the company and what she could contribute, and within 8 months was making close to 700k. Now, this may not be the norm, but it goes to show that you can do a lot with the cards you are dealt.
Remember, the next time you get an offer that is less than what you want, ask yourself what is the upside potential? If the money is below what is absolutely necessary, then perhaps you need to renegotiate or turn it down. If instead, you realize that there is a large upside and you can negotiate a review in 60-90 days or possibly even 6 months, then it might be wise to seriously consider it.
Many job seekers underestimate the power of unpaid/volunteer work. Potential employers like to see that you are making good use of your time while you are unemployed. Here are the top 5 reasons to begin volunteering during your down time:
1) Volunteering can help add valuable skills to your resume that you may not already have, or may enhance the skills you do have
2) Showing unpaid and/or volunteer work can help explain gaps in your resume
3) By offering your skills for free, you are showing a potential employer that you are willing to go the extra mile
4) It shows employers that you are committed to being productive, rather then sitting around hoping a job lands in your lap
5) IT IS A GREAT WAY TO NETWORK TO FIND A NEW POSITION!
There are several interview questions that are meant to trick you, and these questions require a little creative thinking. One such example is: “What sort of management style do you prefer: someone who micro-manages you or someone who gives you complete autonomy?”
This trick question forces the interviewee to pick a side. The average job candidate would choose one option over the other and then make a case for their decision. A top notch job candidate would think outside the box, and perhaps answer “Both.”
The trick to answering these difficult questions is to come up with a third option. The third option could sound something like this:
“I am looking to find a position where I can build a trusting relationship with whatever manager I wind up working for. I realize that trust is something that you have to earn, so I would expect that in the beginning I might need a little more guidance and direction. As time goes on, I hope to create a mutual understanding and a symbiotic relationship built on clear communication. As I gain more experience, I would hope the manager I work for would begin to give me more flexibility and to trust in my judgement.”
This is just one example of how you can transform an either or question into an opportunity to create something new. This method works with a variety of different situational questions. It is important never to leave the person you are interviewing with on the defensive. You always want to address the question that is being asked and come up with a creative solution that works for everyone.
While doing research for a recent resume writing workshop I was putting on, I came across this wonderful list of action verbs that I wanted to share:
There are only two reasons, in my opinion, to have an objective listed on your resume.
The first reason would be:
1) If you are a student with little to no work experience in a particular field, then it would be appropriate to add an objective so that the potential employer can see what type of job you are interested in.
The second reason would be:
2) If you are changing into a new career after already having worked in a different field. In this case it would be helpful to identify what new industry you are pursuing (if it is not already clear from the resume).
I personally think objectives are an outdated tool, and should be replaced with a “Summary of Qualifications” and/or nothing at all. If it is already apparent from your resume what your end goal is in a position, then repeating the information in an objective and/or “Summary of Qualifications” can be redundant.
If you are going to use the “Summary of Qualifications,” you should keep it short and to the point. There is no need to say more then 3-4 sentences maximum. Also, be sure not to repeat information in your “Summary of Qualifications” that is already listed in other areas on your resume, otherwise you are just wasting page space.
Things are Looking Up
Though the current economic condition has been trying for millions of Americans and others worldwide, things are beginning to look up. More and more, my clients are getting interviews and are being offered fantastic positions. For the first half of this year, it was rare for anyone to even land an interview, let alone, receive a job offer. As we head into the end of the year, you will begin to see companies regaining their faith in the economy, and slowly but surely people will get hired.
In a normal market, September and October are relatively busy due to executives and hiring managers alike returning from their summer vacations. Unfortunately, in the past, there has been a bit of a lull in hiring around November and December because many potential employers are gone for the holidays with their families. Many times, a company has spent their budget by the end of the year so they begin to look at ramping up their staffing in January. That said, I would highly encourage any job seekers that are looking to be hired before the end of the year, to go full force through the end of September and all throughout October.
Ideally, you should be spending at least 40 hours a week looking for a job. This should include attending networking functions, such as Pink Slip Mixers, posting your resume on websites such as www.monster.com
applying directly to at least 5-10 positions per day, and finally learning to use social media to help facilitate introductions to the companies you want to get hired at.Â
Even if you cannot find a position by the end of 2009, the good news is that January is typically the busiest time of the year when it comes to hiring. Employers will have new budgets to work with and new staff needs to fill. Be diligent in your job search and you too will get hired!