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  • acing the interviewOne of the most stressful processes you will ever go through is the interview process. The combination of pressure to produce the right answers to interview questions with the realization of what is at stake can get to you if you’re not careful. Here are 5 “P’s” to remember for acing the interview and putting yourself in the best position to land the job:

    Perception

    Let’s address the macro element first, which is how we perceive the situation. Our nerves get frazzled because we frame the situation in its worst case scenario in our minds. It is as though we alone have to go through interviews and no one else. As though it has never been done successfully before. Well, let’s work on changing the way we view this. People just like you have been interviewing for jobs for years, and they will be interviewing for years after yours. Keep your focus on the fact that if anyone else has had success in interviewing, then there is no reason you can’t be successful as well. Picture yourself as one of the millions who have and will interview successfully and you will not feel alone. Remember, it has been done before, so if “them”, why not “you”?

    Preparation

    Nothing facilitates fear quite like the unknown. The thought of what can be waiting for you around the corner can make you hesitant and affect your overall confidence level. The cure for this is preparation for the process. You should know what the most common questions tend to be, as well as your prepared response. Research the company with which you are interviewing. Be sure you fully understand not only what they do, but their history and where they are heading. Research as much as you can about the position, the department and its purpose. Your know what they say: “Success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Well, the interview is the opportunity, so prepare for success. And Don’t forget to bring extra copies of your resume.

    Practice

    There is no better facilitator of confidence than familiarity. The more you interview, the more comfortable you will be. Practice every aspect of the interview process via mock interviews. Be it friends and colleagues, or interview coaches and recruiters, simply going through dry runs of the process can make you more comfortable for when faced with the real thing. Get any offers to interview for jobs that you know you do not want to accept? Take those interviews anyway. This is a great time to get some “live fire” experience. Perhaps you can work out some new responses to standard interview questions. Or perhaps you will get one or two odd questions to test your “off-the-cuff” response skills. At some point, you want to be as familiar with the interview process as you are in conversing with your friends. Practice, practice, practice!

    Promptness

    By the time you meet the interviewer, you want to ensure you are in the right frame of mind. Arriving 15 minutes early allows you to sit for a while, decompress, review your resume and notes and go through whatever other mental exercises work for you to put yourself in the proper head space to deal with the interview process. Running into the door at the exact time of the interview does not allow for this. In fact, it sends a message to the interviewer that you may not fully grasp basic interview etiquette, which is the 15-minute early arrival. If you are not already, familiarize yourself with the location and route. Take into account traffic influences (time of day, construction, etc) and figure out exactly when you need to walk out of the door to get to the interview location on time. Vince Lombardi said that “15 minutes early is on time, and on time is late”. Who are we to argue with him?

    Probe

    You’ve arrived on time and killed it throughout the interview. But no matter how well you feel you have prepared, you’d better have some questions for the interviewer at the end. The fact is, if you have prepared properly and truly interested in the position, company or industry, you will have questions that your research simply cannot answer. Your questions (providing they are good ones) gives your interviewer insight into the depths of your thought process and overall investment in your career. When an employer brings you aboard, they want to feel you will be there a while. When you have no questions, it communicates a lack of interest and connection to the position and company, not to mention a lack of preparation and thought. Great questions at the end of the interview process also leave the interview on a high note when it comes to their perception of you. Who knows, you may reveal some facts to them about the organization or industry that they may not know themselves.

  • your resumeYour resume is a marketing and branding document first and foremost. Never let anyone tell you different. As such, it’s effectiveness and truthfulness is more important than its author. Many job seekers ponder whether or not it is frowned upon to have a professional to prepare their resume. Some feel the organization and phrasing of the document somehow misrepresent them because they did not construct it. The fact is, this could not be farther from the truth. One should think of it as knowing what one wants to say, but having a resume writer simply figure out the best way to say it. And this is exactly what the recruiter needs from your resume.

    As we know, the point of the exercise is to secure the interview. When a recruiter receives your resume, your first thought is “Can this resume convince an employer that this is a competitive prospect for the position?” Recruiters are compensated by the company that hires you. As such, the quality of your resume directly affects their income, and they are not going to waste valuable time attempting to market a poorly organized and poorly written resume. When recruiters don’t call you back, it is usually because they feel they have a better chance of getting other job seekers to the interview table. Time is money for a recruiter, and an ineffective resume wastes that valuable time.

    According to a study done by BeHiring, recruiters spend 5 to 7 seconds reviewing a resume before deciding whether or not it is worth their time. In such a scenario, it is important to ensure the most critical information is accessible immediately. While you may feel that your homespun resume may be more “real” and “authentic”, if it doesn’t communicate the high priority items immediately, that authenticity is worthless. So when that recruiter is combing through resumes on Monster to find that perfect candidate, just remember that 427,000 resumes are posted on Monster.com each week. This is your competition. Your resume doesn’t have much time to deliver its payload, so you will want help from someone who understands how to get that payload to its target.

    Recruiters represent about 5% of the profiles that appear on LinkedIn, so they are an important cog in the hiring machine. But just remember, that cog is overworked and its time is valuable. Respect it and your relationship with recruiters has a better chance of paying off for you.

  • looking-for-employment

    “Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Swim out to it!” – Steve Southerland

    Your resume writer has prepared for you a strong document that should optimize your chances for an interview. So you begin looking for employment by scouring the online job boards and company websites, where you begin applying for positions. But is that enough? You may be competing with hundreds of other applicants. Some of which also used highly talented certified resume writers to assist them. When seriously looking for employment, what you need is your resume and cover letter in the hands of the decision makers. But in this digital age, there seems to be layers of firewalls between the applicant and these keepers of employment. So, how do you make it happen?

    Of course, if you have been managing your career properly, you have some infrastructure that can go a long way in helping carry out your attack plan (well-crafted LinkedIn profile, manicured social media, blog or website to establish your subject matter expertise, etc).

    When looking for employment, you can use your social media tools to tunnel your way to those who either have the power to bring you in, or at least may be able to wield some measure of influence. After researching who the decision makers may be for the position you seek, look them up on social media. Assess their openness to communication, and if you deem it feasible, introduce yourself and inform them of your application for the position available in their department. Since your LinkedIn page is optimized and blog updated regularly, they can immediately get a good feel for your qualifications. But don’t cyber-stalk or harass. The idea here is simply to get their attention for a few more moments than the competition. One never knows the conversation that can lick off.

    Of course, there are much riskier and crazier approaches job seekers have taken when looking for employment. Everything from singing telegrams to wacky formatted resumes have been used in attempts to get noticed. But remember, negative attention is not what you are seeking. So don’t do something so outlandish that your application becomes a punchline. You just want an edge, a subtle nudge that ever so slightly diverts the hiring manager’s attention your way.

  • job searchGet Your Hustle On! (That Job Search Won’t Manage Itself)

    You just received your degree, your company is closing, or you are just tired of your most recent employer. Either way, it’s time to begin a job search. But before you do, Let’s be clear on one thing: no matter the economy, jobs rarely just fall of the tree. Now, there are exceptions to that rule. You might be in an industry experiencing a talent shortage. Perhaps you are a high profile commodity within your profession. But if neither of these is true, you need to be ready to “shake a tail feather”.

    Perhaps it is a sign of times, but job search persistence seems to be in short supply these days. It is a bit myopic and self centered to believe that using an average resume to apply for an average number of position using an average methodology is going to produce results. Forbes Magazine once reported that the average number of applicants to apply for any particular job was 118, with only 20 of those getting an interview? So, your middle-of-the-pack effort using your middle-of-the-pack tools would mean you likely won’t even sniff an interview in this scenario.

    To ensure optimal success, your job search efforts need to be put into overdrive! Have your resume professionally written. Then, plot your job search meticulously. Look for any and every entity that hires people with your skill set, not just the ones with posted openings.

    • Have you tapped all of your friends, family and colleagues for their contacts?
    • Are you on LinkedIn? No, are you REALLY on LinkedIn? Is your profile optimized for search and visually appealing? Are you using enough of the character limitations to give the search algorithms something to hold onto?
    • What about your other social media profiles? Have they been sanitized, free of “hot mess” of fight videos, incessant complaints and personal spats?
    • Do you put in a full 8+ hours of effort every day on something toward employment?

    The period of unemployment is no time for a lack of intestinal fortitude. There are going to be moments of self-doubt and disappointment. But expect it. And then fight past it. Trust your job search strategy and stick to the plan, regardless of how you feel.

  • resume-writerWhen you considering hiring a resume pro while preparing for a multi-front job search, you may have to make some tough decisions. Your resume writer can’t realistically prepare multiple documents for the price of one (additional keyword research, potential rephrasing and re-ordering based upon the goal, new cover letter focus, etc.). So, how does one approach this dilemma?

    Option #1: Hire A Resume Pro Willing To Give Discounts On Additional Work

    When your resume pro prepares properly for the project, research is done on the industry and the position in question. A strategy is then developed based upon your particular qualifications mix to best bring immediate focus from the hiring authority to the relevant concepts. If you are seeking multiple position types (that vary in core skill utilization), you need a resume for each one to fully optimize your chances for success. Any credible resume service should be willing to prepare  additional targeted resume and cover letter packages at a discount. After all, you actual background doesn’t change and usually, the resume that was just prepared can usually be used as a starting point. check with any resume pro with which you consult to ensure this is an option.

    Option #2: Send A Resume Pro 100% After The Top Priority

    Perhaps you have a few employment areas that can be viable options for you, but there is one type of job in particular that you really want to land. if this is the case, your resume pro should develop a strategy to land interviews for that particular job. But along with developing strategy for that #1 target, your resume writer should seek opportunities to include concepts from the other job targets. But the kicker is, the #1 target should not be compromised in doing so. It is the resume equivalent to biting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The primary target gets diluted, and now your resume is not strong enough for any of the employment goals.

    Option #3: Have A Resume Pro Develop An Excellent Base Resume That Can Be Retargeted As Needed

    If your employment goals are in the same ballpark, you can have a resume pro to build a document that gives you a good foundational resume that can be easily directed toward different, but related goals. Of course, this depends upon how comfortable you will be in making the resume changes yourself. A few keyword changes, profile entries and perhaps re-ordering duties and highlights to bring the most relevant ones to the top can be all you need. But be sure to seek consistency in phrase styling, formatting and spacing.

    Your resume is always to be written for your audience. So if you are not comfortable retargeting your resume and cover letter to pull attention to critical areas, be honest with yourself. Remember, a sluggish job search is a drain on your financial resources and delay in career advancement. Not to mention that the longer you are unemployed, the more “unemployable” hiring managers perceive you to be.

  • employer-loyalty-what-you-really-owe-themYou have been with your employer for 4 years now as an Administrative Assistant. While you have definitely shown employer loyalty, you feel the job is getting a bit stale. Your career isn’t moving where you’d like, nor is it moving as fast as you’d like. The company is a small one, with little growth momentum, so that is not likely to change. So you begin mulling over the possibility of hitting the job market. I mean, things are looking up for the overall economy, right? So you’re thinking,”Now is the time”. But just then, a little voice begins to chirp in your ear. “The boss depends on us so much, I am not sure we should leave. Who will the vendors talk to? Who will find the Gunderson file that is always getting lost? Who will correct the grammar of his written communications?”

    Loyalty. It is a virtue that is valued by all employers. But one that can end up being your demise if you aren’t careful.

    While you can be thankful to your employer for taking you off the unemployment scrapheap, remember that the basis of capitalism is pursuing one’s best interest. Unless you were hired because of “somebody you know”, your boss brought you aboard because you were the the best available of the pool of applicants that came along at the time. During that time, the likelihood is that you showed employer loyalty by putting in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Quid pro quo (loosely translated, “this for that”). You provided time and expertise, and your boss provided compensation. Other than that, the people you owe first are yourself and your family. You spend at least 8 hours per day at a full-time job. You need to be fulfilled not only from a growth perspective, but a financial one as well.

    In most cases, the only thing you truly owe an employer is two weeks notice before leaving. From there you determine a balance between your need to move on and time frame to do so. But if you find a new position and they want you to begin right away (you know, because you let a certified professional resume writer handle it for you), it would not be prudent to let the opportunity slip by simply because it would be inconvenient for your boss. Let’s face it. It you are “that employee”, it will never be convenient. But in most cases, if the bottom line suffered enough, the decision would likely be made to let you go. They may not like it. They may feel bad doing it. But if it is either you or their business, you will be the victim. 

    Employer loyalty is fine, but be loyal to yourself and your professional needs first. You’ll be sorry if you don’t.

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