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Mar 21

10 EASY STEPS TO THRIVE DURING A JOB PHONE INTERVIEW

Posted in Career Article, Interviewing Tips, Tips & Tricks at 2:40 pm

“Job hunting starts at the phone interview. To get the job, you need to present yourself well over the phone – say the right things, mind your tone, and be confident overall. To see how you can do this, read this article so you can land a job”.

Phone interviews are frequently used by companies to save time by pre-qualifying your interest and expertise. The following are some recommendations to ensure your next phone interview is successful for you.

Isolate Yourself
Phone interviews place you at a disadvantage because you only have one tool of communication, your voice. The interviewer’s impression of you is shaped by all the sounds coming through the phone. Insulate yourself from distractions and background noises. Do not have your phone interview when you are surrounded by a lot of noise like an outdoor café at a busy intersection. If the call is on your cell phone make sure the caller can hear you clearly.

When the phone interviewer first contacts you, make sure it is comfortable for you to talk on the phone for at least 20 minutes. If it’s not convenient, recommend scheduling another time for the call.

Schedule the Phone Interview
If you can not speak comfortably when the first call arrives, ask the interviewer if you could schedule a specific time for the phone interview. Be sure to define who will call who. It is recommended that you offer to call the company. This ensures you are fully prepared and in a situation where you can speak without interruptions. Schedule the phone interview just like you would any face-to-face interview.

Stand Up
During the call standup, walk around and smile. All these things make a big difference in the projection and quality of your voice.

What’s Next
At the conclusion, ask the interviewer about next steps and timing of their hiring process.

Get Face-to-Face
If you are interested, ask for a face-to-face interview. Remember that your objective (during the phone interview) is to secure a face-to-face interview. You will be most effective discussing your background and assessing the company in a face-to-face meeting.

Prepare Your Responses
Phone interviews follow a similar pattern of questioning with the purpose of screening you out of consideration. Below is a list of questions most phone interviewers ask. Write down and practice your responses.

- Tell Me About Yourself.
- What do you know about our company?
- How did you learn about this position?
- What is our current salary?
- What are your compensation requirements?
- Why are you looking for a new position?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Do you have any questions?

Questions You Ask
Questions are your primary tool of influence with an interviewer. Questions help you direct the conversation and assess if the company is right for you. Here are some questions to ask during a phone interview.

Opening Questions:
Questions you ask at the beginning of the phone interview.

- What is your position with this company?
- How much time would you like to speak on the phone?
- What position are you considering me for?
- What are the key things you’d like to learn about my background?

More Questions:
Questions you could ask in the middle of the interview.

- What business imperatives are driving the need for this position?
- Describe the three top challenges that I’ll face in this job?
- What are the characteristics of people who are most successful in your company?
- What are the key deliverables and outcomes that this position must achieve?

Closing Questions:
Questions you ask at the end of the phone interview.

- What additional information would you like me to provide?
- What concerns do you have at this point?
- When is the best time to follow up with you?

Feb 20

HAVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE YOU’RE OUT OF WORK?

Posted in Career Article, Tips & Tricks at 1:56 pm

The first thing we’re told when we lose a job is to tell everyone we know. This includes colleagues from the past jobs, friends, neighbors, relatives, hair stylists, convenience store owners, LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends; everybody. We tell the people we know because they can potentially help us find a job. We also tell them because they can be a support system. 

But some wouldn’t consider telling the people who should be some of the first to know, their children. Too often people tell me they wouldn’t consider telling their kids because they don’t want to let them down, don’t want to seem weak in their kids’ mind. Hogwash, I say. Your children need to know about your situation if you want them to understand the meaning of life.

 Dr. Julie Olson, Ph.D. in clinical psychology, at the Santa Margarita Solutions Center, asserts, “Whether you lost your job, had a pay cut or lost hours at work, as much as this could upset you and create anxiety about your financial situation, the main job you have as a parent is to give your children a sense of security and teach them how to cope with whatever comes their way.”

 This especially includes telling your kids about losing your job.

 I lost my job in marketing about nine years ago. It was devastating, but I felt it was important to share the news with my three kids. They had to know for a number of reasons.

  1. There would be changes around the house. There wouldn’t be any more shopping sprees. My eldest daughter’s steady flow of GAP and Abercrombie and Fitch clothing would be cut completely. The quality and quantity of food was going to change; but we would still eat.
  2. Daddy wouldn’t be going to work every morning. Instead I would be conducting a job search, which meant I would need time to be out of the house to visit the career center or local library, hit the pavement to knock on companies’ doors, and network.
  3. It also meant I would be acting a little different. I might be moody or distracted, but I would still love them very much. I would need them to understand that it would be a sad and frustrating time and they shouldn’t feel they were at fault. If I seemed distanced while with them, it was because I was thinking about finding work.
  4. This would be a fact of life. People sometimes lose their jobs more than once. It’s not a pleasant thing, but it’s temporary and will eventually pass. I couldn’t be Superman. I would need support from them and other people. In a way, this would be a great lesson for them about persevering in times of trouble.
  5. Most importantly, I wouldn’t lie about our situation. My oldest was smart enough to know that two, three, four…months of vacation was unrealistic. That coming home reeking of alcohol on a week day night was not normal behavior.

 All came to pass after 10 months of unemployment; a day came when I found a job, and I was delighted to tell my three kids the good news. The funny thing about that day was when my son told me he didn’t want me to go back to work. Who, he wondered out loud, would take him to playgroup, or play Lego with him? At the time he asked me, I was more concerned about getting back in a working groove. Now, I miss the time I had with my children who understood at that bleak time more about life than they did when I was still working.

 If you haven’t told your kids about losing your job, do it soon. As Dr. Julie Olson writes,  ”…teach them how to cope with whatever comes their way.”

Feb 20

Common Resume Blunders

Posted in Career Article, Resume Tips, Tips & Tricks at 1:54 pm

Make sure your resume is in top-notch shape by avoiding the top 10 resume blunders:

1. Too Focused on Job Duties

Your resume should not be a boring list of job duties and responsibilities. Go beyond showing what was required and demonstrate how you made a difference at each company, providing specific examples. When developing your achievements, ask yourself:

  • How did you perform the job better than others?
  • What were the problems or challenges faced? How did you overcome them? What were the results? How did the company benefit from your performance?
  • Did you receive any awards, special recognitions or promotions as a result?

2. Flowery or General Objective Statement

Many candidates lose their readers in the beginning. Statements such as “a challenging position enabling me to contribute to organizational goals while offering an opportunity for growth and advancement” are overused, too general and waste valuable space. If you’re on a career track, replace the objective with a tagline stating what you do or your expertise.

3. Too Short or Too Long

Many people try to squeeze their experiences onto one page, because they’ve heard resumes shouldn’t be longer. By doing this, job seekers may delete impressive achievements. Other candidates ramble on about irrelevant or redundant experiences. There is no rule about appropriate resume length. When writing your resume, ask yourself, “Will this statement help me land an interview?” Every word should sell you, so include only the information that elicits a “yes.”

4. Using Personal Pronouns and Articles

A resume is a form of business communication, so it should be concise and written in a telegraphic style. There should be no mentions of “I” or “me,” and only minimal use of articles. For example:

I developed a new product that added $2 million in sales and increased the market segment’s gross margin by 12%.

Should be changed to:

Developed new product that added $2 million in sales and increased market segment’s gross margin by 12%.

5. Listing Irrelevant Information

Many people include their interests, but they should include only those relating to the job. For example, if a candidate is applying for a position as a ski instructor, he should list cross-country skiing as a hobby.

Personal information, such as date of birth, marital status, height and weight, normally should not be on the resume unless you’re an entertainment professional or job seeker outside the US.

6. Using a Functional Resume When You Have a Good Career History

It irks hiring managers not to see the career progression and impact you made at each position. Unless you have an emergency situation, such as virtually no work history or excessive job-hopping, avoid the functional format.

The modified chronological format, or combination resume, is often the most effective. Here’s the basic layout:

  • Header (name, address, email address, phone number).
  • Lead with a strong profile section detailing the scope of your experience and areas of proficiency.
  • Reverse chronological employment history emphasizing achievements over the past 10 to 15 years.
  • Education (new grads may put this at the top).

7. Not Including a Summary Section That Makes an Initial Hard Sell

This is one of the job seeker’s greatest tools. Candidates who have done their homework will know the skills and competencies important to the position. The summary should demonstrate the skill level and experiences directly related to the position being sought.

To create a high-impact summary statement, peruse job openings to determine what’s important to employers. Next, write a list of your matching skills, experience and education. Incorporate these points into your summary.

8. Not Including Keywords

With so many companies using technology to store resumes, the only hope a job seeker has of being found is to sprinkle relevant keywords throughout the resume. Determine keywords by reading job descriptions that interest you, and include the words you see repeatedly in your resume.

9. Referring to Your References

Employers know you have professional references. Use this statement only to signal the end of a long resume or to round out the design.

10. Typos

One typo can land your resume in the garbage. Proofread and show your resume to several friends to have them proofread it as well. This document is a reflection of you and should be perfect.

Dec 07

Do I Delete This from My Resume or Not?

Posted in Career Article, Tips & Tricks at 8:26 am

Most job seekers make the common mistake of concentrating on what they should include on their resume. Very few pay attention to what they shouldn’t include. The one important word you should never forget when you write a resume is relevance. Your resume should only contain what is relevant, nothing more. So go over your resume again and check what you should delete. Below are some of the details that may not find a place on your resume.

1. Nothing personal; Your ethnicity, marital status, religious beliefs, and physical appearance are not crucial to your work performance. Likewise, the employer wouldn’t be interested in your personal philosophy, hobbies and interests unless they can directly impact the job you’re applying for. A professional tone always works for the potential employer, so list your education, employment history and qualifications. These are the relevant information to the job and your career objective that the employer would be looking for. Stick to that and delete anything that resembles “personal”.

2. What achievements; Don’t even think of putting your nomination as prom queen under Achievements. Professional memberships, awards, volunteer and community services have more weight. You also need to make sure that the achievements that you list showcase how what you have done will benefit the employer in the future.

3. Their needs; not yours; Forget about Objectives. These days, they are a sure way to get your resume tossed out of the window. Many experts recommend a branding statement or professional summary that more effectively describes the skill set and talents that you bring to the table.

4. Irrelevant certification programs; There’s no need to clutter your resume with so many certificates that are not related to the job requirements. If you’re applying for an IT position, highlight your professional certifications or designations. Show a link between your past work experience and your current career goals. If the information doesn’t serve that purpose, delete it.

5. Too much jargon; Your objective must be clear: you want the reader to understand the words you use on your resume. Remember that the first readers of your resume are most likely the recruiters and human resources associates rather than the immediate hiring manager. Keep them in mind and unless you’re absolutely sure the terminologies you use mean something to them, better delete them now. Your resume should exhibit your knowledge of the job through your education and experience.

Again, the key to a good resume is a professional tone. You may possess all those fabulous qualifications employers are looking for but why spoil a good resume with garbage? Make it focused, concise, complete and easy for the reader to understand. This will do wonders for your job search!

Dec 07

TEMPING: AN OPTION FOR OLDER WORKERS

Posted in Career Article, Tips & Tricks at 8:19 am

According to government data, 40 percent of workers older than 55 were in the workforce as of February 2010 — up from just 29 percent in 1993. That number is expected to increase to 43.5 percent by 2018. This trend reflects the need for many older workers to either stay in or rejoin the workforce to beef up their retirement income.

In a survey released in 2004, about one-third of pensioners age 55 to 64 were employed, and 15 percent of whom retired from another job before taking their current position, according to Sarah Rix, senior policy advisor at AARP.

 

“A lot of us were not earning that much in our working years, and Social Security is just not that great,” says MaryLu Baumbach, a retiree who turned to temp work to make ends meet.

Temping is a practical option for many older workers. Temporary staffing agencies help you land part-time jobs as well as offer additional benefits, and they want to hire you. “We’ve received…little resistance from employers in hiring older workers,” says Michael Lynch, president of the Des Moines office of temp agency Manpower.

 Check out these benefits to help you decide if a temp job is right for you.

Work Your Own Hours

If you aren’t seeking a standard eight-hour, five-day-a-week position, a temp agency may be able to accommodate your schedule. “We have been successful in creating some job-sharing situations,” says Lynch. “That means sometimes we’ll assign two people to one job, allowing one person to work two days and the other to work the other three days of the workweek.

 Experience Wanted  It’s likely prospective employers will value your work history. “The people I work for are all in their 30s and 40s, and I think they realize that hiring older workers means hiring experience, dependability and a good work ethic,” Baumbach says.

 Social Security Considerations  If you’re receiving Social Security benefit payments, you may need to monitor how much money you earn because of income limitations. According to Evelyn Morton, director of economic issues at AARP, those who start collecting payments before full retirement age will have $1 in benefits deducted for each $2 they earn above the annual limit. In the year they reach full retirement age, $1 in benefits will be deducted for each $3 they earn above that year’s limit for the months before they reach full retirement age. Once you reach full retirement age, you get your full benefits, regardless of how much additional money you earn. “The best way to determine your own situation is to take a look at the Social Security Administration’s Web site,” Morton says.

 By temping, you can control your earnings, keeping them under the limitations. Address this issue in your initial meeting with the temp agency.

 Job Prep 101  Working through a temp agency can also help you overcome some job search-related hurdles before approaching an employer. Many agencies will provide counseling on resume preparation, interviewing and other essentials for a successful job search. Agencies will often provide self-guided tutorials on current office software and other skills necessary in today’s workplace. Don’t be shy — ask your agency for information regarding your job hunt; even if it does not have the information, the agency may be able to direct you to the right place.

 Now Find That Job  If temp work could be just what you’re looking for, get started with these tips:

  • Get to Know Computers: Jobs ranging from clerical or admin work to retail sales now require some expertise with computers — particularly a working knowledge of the Microsoft Windows environment. Ask your agency for a list of in-demand software skills. You may find related tutorials offered by area community colleges, your local library or on the Web.
  • Overcome Culture Shock: If you’ve been out of work awhile, a number of pivotal changes may have occurred. For instance, corporate downsizing has caused employers to expect more from each employee. Also, employees are now expected to increase the speed at which they complete assigned tasks. Be sure to ask your agency what the employer expects from you.
  • Market Yourself: The responsibility of selling yourself to potential employers — even with a temp agency as your partner — falls squarely on your shoulders. Document your experience and achievements without emphasizing your age. Your maturity is nothing to be ashamed of, but there is no point in bringing it to a potential employer’s attention.
  • Look and Feel Your Best: You are your own most important product. How you present yourself should reflect your confidence. Present yourself professionally, emphasize your relevant, current skills, and prove yourself to be reliable and productive.

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