Tips and Tricks

Comments Off on Interview Tips and Tricks: How to prepare for an interview

Interview Tips and Tricks: How to prepare for an interview

Posted by | November 13, 2012 | Tips and Tricks

If you want to be an exceptional candidate, then you need to do exceptional preparation. Preparation is the number one thing that will set you apart from other candidates. Want to be more impressive? Prepare more. If you are obsessed with preparing for every aspect of the interview, then you will be ready to crush it.

Know why you are applying for this job. Yes, you want a job so that you can pay for your lifestyle. But what are your underlying motivations? Why are you driven towards this job? Why are you passionate about this position? How do your values match the values you will need to do your job? This is a deep question and if you know the answer to it, then you will understand what drives a lot of the answers you will give during the interview. You’ll have a better idea of why you’re a good fit for the job … and that makes it easier for you to tell the recruiter why you’re a good candidate.

Research everything you can about the company. You want to know about the place you’re going to work not just so that you can sound intelligent in the interview, but so that you can figure out if it’s a place that you actually want to work at. Even if this isn’t a “career” for you, it’s likely that you’ll be in the job for a year or two. A year might not seem that long, but talk to anyone who hated their job for a full year … and they’ll tell you that one year is a long time. See what you can find on the company. You’ll want to know what you’re getting into.

If you’re applying for a job at a public company, then check out the financial statements and SEC filings. Go online and search for the Annual Report, Proxy Statement, and 10-K for the company that you’re interested in. These documents aren’t thrilling reads, but they have excellent information in them. Even if you only read the summary near the beginning of each document, then you will be well versed on the inner workings of the company. The corporate filings are also a great way to discover specific questions about the company and you can mention that you read these documents in your research.

10. Get to know someone on the inside. Employees can give you an idea of what “a day in the life” is like and can help you determine if this is a place you would like to work at. Plus, if you mention your meetings with employees during the interview then you will make an impression as someone who is serious about the job. If you don’t know where to start, then head over to LinkedIn or Google and do some searches for people at the company you are interviewing with. If all else fails, give them a call and talk to someone in the department that you want to work in. It shouldn’t be too hard to find someone willing to let you take them to lunch.

Show them that you are familiar with that culture and that you’re a good fit for it. Interviewers are looking for qualified candidates and people who fit in well with their community and culture. They want to be able to trust you, so show them that you display values that are consistent with their group. (Side note: if you really aren’t a good fit and don’t match up well with the people you talk to, then you might want to reconsider going there. There is no sense in spending tons of time with people you don’t enjoy being around.)

Describe the ideal candidate. Once you know a bit more about the company, spend some time writing out a full description of the ideal candidate. Try to be totally objective about it. What would the company want? See things from their perspective. If you were the recruiter, what would the perfect candidate look like?

Reframe your experiences. Once you understand what the company is looking for and what the ideal candidate would look like, you can reframe your experiences to meet those expectations. For example, if the job description requires a “proven ability to motivate others,” then it is basically asking for “effective leadership skills” … but one of those phrases might match up better with your background than another. Spend some time thinking about alternative phrases and how you can reframe your skill set to match the desired qualifications.

Create an “I can handle it” list. If you can convince the recruiter that you can handle the job, then you’ll have a much better chance of getting the job. Print out the list of required skills and experience that comes with the job. Next to each item, write down an experience you have had that is relevant. It doesn’t need to be a perfect match… just an experience that proves that you can handle the task. This is also a good place to look for stories from your personal life or previous work that match up well with the “I can handle it” list. It’s a great way to keep your stories relevant to the position. The hiring managers want to make a good call because their reputation is on the line. You need to ease their fears and show them that you can handle the position. (Hat tip to Julie Melillo.)

Develop a list of “sound bites.” Sound bites are short phrases or sentences that you want to make sure you say throughout the interview. These are phrases that highlight everything that is great about you as a candidate. The exact way you tell a story might change, but you’ll always want to include the sound bite. For example, “I once worked with a co-worker who constantly pushed her work off on me because Excel spreadsheets are a strong point for me and she knew this…” is a great sound bite to use at the start of a story about dealing with a difficult co-worker. It kicks things off and refers to one of your skills. You can tell the rest of the story naturally and still know that you included a solid sound bite. You should have a sound bite for each story you tell. (Hat tip to Stephanie Kiester)

Own your online reputation. Everyone going through the job process is going to have their name searched. You don’t need to be an internet superstar, but it’s a good idea to have an online presence that puts recruiters at ease. You either need to be comfortable with having the hiring manager reading your tweets and browsing your Facebook pictures or you need to adjust your privacy settings so that those areas are hidden. Some people provide a lot of value through social media, so perhaps they want hiring managers to see that. It doesn’t matter which method you choose, but make sure it’s a conscious decision. This is one area of the job process that actually is under your control, so it would be silly to not take responsibility for it.

If you know who is interviewing you, then search for them online. You can flip the script and search for your interviewers as well. Of course, you’re not looking for dirt, you’re looking for evidence that you might fit in well at the company, for areas of common interest, and for possible questions you could ask the recruiter.

Determine who the most appropriate people are that you can list as references. Then, tell them that you are listing them. It’s important to give your references a heads up. If you feel uncomfortable telling someone that you’re listing them, then what makes you think that they are going to be a good person to talk about you?

Do as many practice interviews as you can. It’s not fun — and it might even be more awkward than the real interview — but doing practice interviews with friends, family, or others is a critical piece of the puzzle. You need feedback not just on your responses, but also on body language, tone, and approach. You’ll never know how your answers need to change unless you deliver them a few times.

Use the STAR method to guide your answers. This simple formula ensures that you accurately describe your experiences and highlight the results they provided. The STAR method includes,

      S: The Situation – describe it

 

      T: The Task or problem – what dilemma or problem did you face?

 

      A: The Action – what action did you take?

 

    R: The Result – what was the result of your action?

Make sure that each experience you describe includes those four areas. (Hat tip to Fred Cooper.)

Devise bullet points for each question, not a full script. You will want to write out your answers to hard questions beforehand because the written word forces you to clarify your thoughts. However, you only need to know the main point or primary story that you want to tell for each answer… you don’t need to memorize everything word for word.

 

(source: Passive Panda)

Comments Off on Interview Tips and Tricks: Mindset and approach

Interview Tips and Tricks: Mindset and approach

Posted by | October 30, 2012 | Tips and Tricks

1. It’s your job to sell yourself. If you don’t do it, then you can be sure that no one else will. Most of us understand this, but that doesn’t mean that we’re all comfortable with it. There is no need to bloat your accomplishments or make false claims, but there is every need to paint the best picture of yourself. If you’re feeling apprehensive about this idea, then remember: it’s not bragging if you did it.

2. Apply to fewer jobs. When you need a job, it’s easy to shotgun your resume in 100 different directions. And that is exactly why the stack of resumes is so high for that job you want. Everyone is sending out the same resume to every job they can find. Slow down. Focus on a few jobs that you actually want. Then tailor everything about your application to each specific job.

3. You’re interviewing them too. Your goal should be to find a job that you actually care about and a company that you want to be a part of. If you focus on jobs like that, then the interview will be much better. You’ll be genuinely engaged. You’ll ask more questions because you’re interested and not because “that’s what you’re supposed to do in an interview.” Plus — and here’s a crazy bonus — if you only apply to jobs that you look interesting, then you aren’t going to end up in a job that you never actually wanted. Sort of makes you wonder why you’re applying to a bunch of jobs that you aren’t going to enjoy, right?

4. Realize that some things are of minimal benefit. If you really wanted, you could write out a list of 1000 things to remember for a job interview. Of course, most of them wouldn’t really help you because some things just aren’t that important. Your focus should be on solving problems for the company, on proving why you’re the best candidate for the job, and on finding a culture and community that you naturally fit in with. If you do those three things, then you’ll find that the little things (like remembering to iron your shirt) are… well… little things.

5. Sometimes you may need to be persistent. If you want to make an impression, then you might have to find the courage to never say die. You might need to take ten people out to lunch before you find a contact that can help you. You might need to send a progress report to the recruiter every week for two months before they even care. You might need to start a project on the side and email a progress report to a recruiter every week for two months before they start to pay attention to you. You might need to ask one person to vouch for you. Then you might need to ask five more. Don’t lose hope and keep moving forward everyday. Keep walking and you’ll make it to the finish line.

 

(source: Passive Panda)

Comments Off on Tips and Tricks: Ink at Inc.

Tips and Tricks: Ink at Inc.

Posted by | October 23, 2012 | Tips and Tricks

I have many tattoos. The number isn’t that large, but they take up a significant portion of the visible space on my arms and legs. I am the most tattooed person at Snagajob by a good measure, and usually when people I work with have questions (or commentary) about tattooing, they come to me. After eight years of gainful employment with tattoos, these are some things I’ve learned.

1. There is no such thing as privacy

When I got my first tattoo (a quote from a little known author, Mr. Wm. Shakespeare) on my forearm, it never crossed my mind that anyone would give a crap what I had placed there. Boy, was I wrong. To add insult to injury, my tattoos are almost exclusively words. Do you know what everyone’s natural inclination is to do with words? If you thought “ignore them,” you’d be incorrect. People want to read words. It goes against every fiber of our beings to ignore the written word. I wasn’t prepared for this. I’ve been verbally accosted by religious fanatics, grabbed by strangers, had my sleeves pulled up by crazy customers and fielded twenty-one questions from co-workers. If it’s on your body and they can see it; it’s public domain.

Because I am a non-confrontational person by nature, I can’t be rude. This is especially true in the workplace where you are being paid to be friendly and professional. I have friends with visible tattoos who aren’t so nice about engaging with complete strangers. I generally believe that most people don’t mean to be rude and aren’t familiar with tattoo (or social) etiquette. I have also been asked thousands of times, so at this point I just choose to let it just roll off my back.

2. With tattoos and job interviews, timing is everything

I made a conscious decision when I started tattooing visible portions of my body that I’d never get anything that couldn’t be covered up with professional business attire (for me that means a suit). I still stand by that philosophy, as you just never know where you’re going to end up. That doesn’t change the fact that in some settings, it will be nearly impossible to cover up your tattoos.

For instance, I worked at Best Buy for many years while I was in college. Anyone who has ever been to Best Buy knows that the uniform involves a short-sleeve blue polo shirt. Since my forearms are tattooed, it would have been impossible to cover these up at work. Because of this, and in the interest of full disclosure, I inquired about their tattoo policy after I was offered the position. I find that immediately following a job offer is a good place to bring up body art and piercings. It’s before you start (saves messy paperwork for them if it’s against company policy), but you’ve already shown you’d be a good employee (saves you the frustration of being discriminated against). I’ve been careful (and lucky) about the companies I’ve worked for, and it’s never been an issue.

3. The content of your tattoos matters

This is tricky. Lots of people have an “oh crap” moment with their tattoos, where you regret the moment you ever walked into the tattoo shop and said, “Yes, I’d like a permanent reminder of the girlfriend whom I will break up with approximately two years after I get this tattoo.” At least I hope I’m not the only one who was that big of an idiot.

With that being said, your tattoos are a diary of your life, and they give everyone you meet a pretty good idea of who you are (or were). Tattoos with offensive language, gestures, illustrations and the like are no exceptions. Even if they’re done as a joke, they likely won’t be tolerated by an employer or their customers. If you feel strongly about something that could be offensive, it’s best saved for a portion of your body not revealed in, say, a tank top and shorts.

4. One final note

I’ve been fortunate to work with Amanda Hite, the CEO of Talent Revolution. She recently built up the courage to commit to a visible tattoo of her company’s (and personal) philosophy: “Be the change.” Afterwards, she fielded questions like, “What will your clients think?” and “What if you decide to go back into the corporate world?” and “How are you going to hide it?” This was Amanda’s response on her blog:

“It’s not about a tattoo.

It’s 2010, it’s about being able to be who you are…If I’m not accepted in the workplace for a tattoo, I’m pretty certain there will be other more important parts of who I am that would not be accepted. Look, sometimes we have to work a job we don’t entirely like, but in this day and age, should we still have to work in places where we can’t express ourselves and be who we are? I’ve learned that only when you embrace your own authenticity, unapologetically, can you really explore your talents’ potential. By being true to yourself you attract the kind of people in your life who share your values. Including employers and clients.

You do have a choice.”

Amanda couldn’t be more spot-on. If an employer isn’t willing to hire you because of your tattoo, that’s okay. There’s no reason to get upset about it – it’s their choice. It’s their right (and responsibility) to represent their company and brand to their customers in a way they are comfortable with. Ultimately, you don’t want to work for a company who doesn’t embrace the way you identify yourself.

 

(Source: Snagajob.com)

Comments Off on Tips and Tricks: Understanding Workplace Harassment

Tips and Tricks: Understanding Workplace Harassment

Posted by | October 9, 2012 | Tips and Tricks

Workplace Harassment is a serious issue, and not a lot of places fully understand it.  It’s not just sexual harassment.  At my day job, I actually deal with it quite a bit, partially due to my tattoos, which is not OK (example, a supervisor feels the need to say I have a tattoo on my ditch to cover up heroin track marks, which he says in front of other employees and laughs.  I’ve never even smoked pot.)  This article is for those of you out there who might be under employed, or feel you are in a hostel environment and are looking for another job.  So please, take the time to read this, and understand that you are not alone.

Workplace Harassment is a Form of Discrimination

Unlawful harassment is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal authority.
Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based on race, color, religion, sex (whether or not of a sexual nature and including same-gender harassment and gender identity harassment), national origin, age (40 and over), disability (mental or physical), sexual orientation, or retaliation (sometimes collectively referred to as “legally protected characteristics”) constitutes harassment when:
  1. The conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment; or
  2. A supervisor’s harassing conduct results in a tangible change in an employee’s employment status or benefits (for example, demotion, termination, failure to promote, etc.).
Hostile work environment harassment occurs when unwelcome comments or conduct based on sex, race or other legally protected characteristics unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Anyone in the workplace might commit this type of harassment – a management official, co-worker, or non-employee, such as a contractor, vendor or guest. The victim can be anyone affected by the conduct, not just the individual at whom the offensive conduct is directed.
Examples of actions that may create sexual hostile environment harassment include:
  • Leering, i.e., staring in a sexually suggestive manner
  • Making offensive remarks about looks, clothing, body parts
  • Touching in a way that may make an employee feel uncomfortable, such as patting, pinching or intentional brushing against another’s body
  • Telling sexual or lewd jokes, hanging sexual posters, making sexual gestures, etc.
  • Sending, forwarding or soliciting sexually suggestive letters, notes, emails, or images
Other actions which may result in hostile environment harassment, but are non-sexual in nature, include:
  • Use of racially derogatory words, phrases, epithets
  • Demonstrations of a racial or ethnic nature such as a use of gestures, pictures or drawings which would offend a particular racial or ethnic group
  • Comments about an individual’s skin color or other racial/ethnic characteristics
  • Making disparaging remarks about an individual’s gender that are not sexual in nature
  • Negative comments about an employee’s religious beliefs (or lack of religious beliefs)
  • Expressing negative stereotypes regarding an employee’s birthplace or ancestry
  • Negative comments regarding an employee’s age when referring to employees 40 and over
  • Derogatory or intimidating references to an employee’s mental or physical impairment
Harassment that results in a tangible employment action occurs when a management official’s harassing conduct results in some significant change in an employee’s employment status (e.g., hiring, firing, promotion, failure to promote, demotion, formal discipline, such as suspension, undesirable reassignment, or a significant change in benefits, a compensation decision, or a work assignment). Only individuals with supervisory or managerial responsibility can commit this type of harassment.
A claim of harassment generally requires several elements, including:
  1. The complaining party must be a member of a statutorily protected class;
  2. S/he was subjected to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct related to his or her membership in that protected class;
  3. The unwelcome conduct complained of was based on his or her membership in that protected class;
  4. The unwelcome conduct affected a term or condition of employment and/or had the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with his or her work performance and/or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

What is Not Harassment?

The anti-discrimination statutes are not a general civility code. Thus, federal law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not extremely serious. Rather, the conduct must be so objectively offensive as to alter the conditions of the individual’s employment. The conditions of employment are altered only if the harassment culminates in a tangible employment action or is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment.
Report any incident of harassment immediately to your supervisor, any member of management and/or to the Director of the Office of Workplace Diversity.
(source: FCC)
Comments Off on Tips and Tricks: What’s my tattoo/piercing/hairstyle got to do with it?

Tips and Tricks: What’s my tattoo/piercing/hairstyle got to do with it?

Posted by | October 2, 2012 | Tips and Tricks

Joe asked on Snagajob’s Facebook:

“Can jobs really discriminate against me because of my hair? I have dreadlocks, and I’ve heard it looks unprofessional, or its too long, but I could wear a hair net or hat – plus I saw females working with very long hair.”

While dreadlocks shouldn’t prevent you from getting a job, you need to make sure your hairstyle is clean and controlled no matter how you wear your hair. Remember that maintaining a professional image by carefully choosing what you wear for interviews is even more important than usual when you choose to express yourself through style selections.

Tattoos

I have a tattoo, but you won’t catch me showing it off in interviews. It’s on the top of my foot, so when I’m wearing my $14 interview suit and heels it’s extremely obvious (see picture at right) – that’s why I spend an extra 20 minutes putting on tattoo cover up and making sure it doesn’t show. I’m fortunate to work in an ink-friendly environment, but when I came in to speak to them about the job it was completely covered with makeup.  Once, I put on tattoo coverup and an interview outfit just to drop off a reference letter. Why? Because there was a chance I’d be seeing the hiring manager when I stopped by (that was actually what I was hoping for). I don’t think my tattoo is controversial or offensive, but I don’t want interviewers to focus on anything but my qualifications.

Piercings

One hole per ear is safe, but avoid wearing big earrings that will distract the interviewer. Beyond that, take out any extra piercings that you can. I have a few extra holes in my ear, but for interviews I go one stud per earlobe – period.

Facial piercings are distracting at best, and against company policy at worst. And clicking your tongue piercing against your teeth while you nervously ponder an interview question is annoying to the interviewer – not to mention bad for your teeth.

Hair style

No matter how you choose to wear your hair, make sure it is clean, controlled and out of your face. If you’re applying for food service positions, this is extra important, but it’s good to remember for any interview. You want the interviewer to remember your awesome follow-up interview questions, not how you wear your hair or how you couldn’t stop messing it.

Hair color

Unnatural hair colors (pink, blue, green, etc.) will be an issue for some almost all employers. I know a lot of talented people with alternative hairstyles (my last boss had pink hair, and a close friend of mine is an art director with hot pink hair), but if they were job hunting they’d tone it down with a more natural color. Unless you can find a job with an employer who will view your alternative style as a positive, you need to ask yourself what’s more important – your hair color or your chance to land the job.

You can never be too careful when you’re trying to make a great impression. Personal expression is empowering, but until you’ve landed a job with an employer who appreciates unique personal expression (or you’ve become successful enough to own your own business), it’s best to let your qualifications, not your personal style, stand out during your job search.

 

(source: Snagajob)

Comments Off on Tips and Tricks: 10 Out Of The Box Job Hunting Tips

Tips and Tricks: 10 Out Of The Box Job Hunting Tips

Posted by | September 25, 2012 | Tips and Tricks

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate currently sits at 8.3 percent.

If you are out of work this presents a problem because there is often a large quantity of qualified applicants seeking a given job.

In these times, it is more important than ever to think outside of the box when applying for jobs.

Here are 10 creative job hunting tips:

1)  Know what positions are available at a company

Before you can try to work for a company, you need to figure out what job openings the company has.  Once you know this you can focus your energy on trying to get that specific job. You can look on a company website to see what job openings a company has. However, the best strategy would be to speak to someone who works at the company as often times companies don’t update their websites with every potential and available job opening.

2)  Use LinkedIn and use it well

LinkedIn is widely recognized as the best social network for career professionals. LinkedIn can be utilized as a great resource to connect with people at a company that you are interested in working for. The key on LinkedIn is to compile as many direct connections to other professionals that you can.  More direct connections will convert into more secondary connections.

So, if you want to work for Facebook, and you have 200 LinkedIn connections, there is a chance that one of your connections has a connection with someone working at Facebook. This secondary connection can then be leveraged by you to get introduced to the respective person that works at Facebook. And, as we all know – knowing someone who works at the company which you are applying to – can greatly increase your odds of securing the job.

3)  Take a look at resume samples

Before finalizing your resume, it is wise to take a look at resume samples. By reviewing other resumes, you can get ideas for ways to improve the content and look and feel of your resume. Looking at resume samples often helps you to identify specific areas where you can improve your expertise or enhance the way you present yourself to potential employers.

4)  Be creative about how you use Twitter

You can utilize Twitter to look for jobs in several ways, one of the most creative ways is to use Twitter to locate and contact someone at a given company. You can use Twellow to search Twitter profiles.  Search for the company that you want to work for – and you may find someone who has a profile
that says, Director of Biz Dev for company X.

Now that you found that person, you can follow them on Twitter hoping that they follow you back so that you can DM them.Or you can mention them in the hopes they will then get in touch with you. Also, sometimes people include their email address in their profile so you can contact them that way. Either way, Twitter offers a creative way to develop a contact, as the person may appreciate your hard work and creativity in getting in touch with them.

5)  Consider different types of jobs

You don’t want to have tunnel vision and only look for one type of job.  Especially with the unemployment rate being what it is – you have to think about a few different types of job titles to consider. When you have a few different areas you are considering – it will open up a wide range of options for yourself and you’ll end up getting more interviews and call-backs.  And remember, each interview is an opportunity to not only get a job but also to develop key contacts within an organization.

6)  Use multiple resumes

Take advantage of resume templates  which you can then fill your information into. Take advantage of these to create multiple resumes for different types of jobs. The area where your resumes will
differentiate themselves are on the objective, resume structure, and job detail for a specific job that you had.

The structure of the resume should be one which best highlights your accomplishments.The objective should target directly to the type of job you are applying for. The job detail which explains what you accomplished in past jobs should highlight the skills and experiences that the job you are applying for is seeking.

7)  Consider different pay packages

Especially when applying to a startup or small company, consider offering and/or accepting different pay packages. If you offer a potential employer to pay you based on commission or based on some other type of performance measurement, the employer may be more likely to hire you as it will be less of a risk for them. And for you, it could offer a bigger reward as if you succeed in the job you could end up making more money for yourself.

8)  Check out Craigslist, Tattooedjobs.com, and other interdependent or specialty listing sites

Quite often, small businesses and start-ups post job listings on Craigslist, or specialty sites like tattooedjobs.com.  These smaller companies do this in an effort to quickly find internet savvy candidates for a particular job. It is also very simple and cheap for start-ups to post job listings on Craigslist. This is an underrated place for candidates to find jobs.  You often won’t know the company you are applying to – so it is difficult to get these jobs via networking.

What can make you stand out to employers is following instructions closely and being detail oriented. Many people mass apply to jobs online – so by not automating your application you can differentiate yourself and show employers that you are about quality. 

9)  Do not focus on monster.com or hotjobs

Monster and Hotjobs use to be the best places to find jobs online. It was the place companies went to hire, and the place potential employees went to apply. However, there are so many people looking for work that you need to find ways to differentiate yourself. And Monster and HotJobs get so many applications that it becomes very difficult to stand out from the crowd so it can make sense to ignore these services all together. Also, sometimes, a company will get hundreds of applications through Monster.com and then they will end up hiring someone who found the company directly via networking through an existing employee.

10)  Attend an industry conference

Industry conferences can be gold for job seekers. In one conference room will be influential people from hundreds of companies directly in the niche that you are in. If you are creative about how you approach people at each booth – you can make a very solid contact which you can utilize when you are applying to that particular company later on.

You can also identify job openings that the potential company has now or could have in the future. In the age of so much networking happening virtually on the World Wide Web – there is still no replacement for good old fashioned face-to-face contact!

 

(source: Business Insider)

Comments Off on Tips and Tricks: Eight Tips for Job Hunting During the Recession

Tips and Tricks: Eight Tips for Job Hunting During the Recession

Posted by | September 20, 2012 | Tips and Tricks

The global credit crisis and flat-lining domestic economy have turned this into one of the most challenging times to be looking for a job in recent history. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 14 million people are currently unemployed, about twice as many since the recession started in December 2007. And while the January 2011 unemployment rate fell to 9 percent — the lowest level in nearly two years — that rate is still high by historical standards.

To be a successful job seeker in this climate, you have to be calm, patient and proactive — and try any (or all) of these tips.

Pick and Choose Your Targets

When Jack Hinson was laid off in mid-2008 from his job at a large Internet content company in Austin, he prioritized his search. “It’s important to put your time and energy into opportunities that you’re the most interested in and that have the best chance of coming to fruition,” he says. “Pick a few companies you’re interested in and pursue them, whether they have current openings or not.”

Concentrate on Growth Industries

Brent Berger, a Las Vegas-based scenario planning and strategy consultant, suggests focusing on growth industries and areas. “Look at energy,” he says. “With oil costs where they are, the need for cheap fuel and cheap heat is ever-mounting. And any job that alleviates pain is recession-proof. Similarly, the National Guard, Border Patrol, homeland security and the defense industry in general will continue to thrive as the next stage in the war on terror continues.”

Work Your Network

Hinson’s new gig came from an old connection. “I’d spoken to the company’s founders about a year ago and stayed in touch,” he says. “Then I ran into one of them at a networking function.” So flip through your Rolodex or business social media contacts and let them know you’re looking.

Sell Yourself

San Francisco PR account executive Samantha Rubenstein launched a job search just as the economy began to flag. After three months, she got a great offer from Atomic PR. She attributes her success to doing more than learning about the company. “Preparation [includes] learning how to talk about yourself in a meaningful and powerful way,” she says. “I created a list of potential interview questions and typed up bulleted answers to create speaking points.”

Consider Freelancing

Russ Carr, a designer and writer in St. Louis, has twice had a line on a job only to see it slip away when the employer lost a key account or decided to distribute the duties among current employees. To keep some money coming in, Carr started freelancing. “I haven’t stopped trying to shop myself for a full-time gig again, but freelancing certainly has kept food on the table,” he says. “If you’re in a field that supports it, don’t think twice — just do it.”

Take a Temporary Position

If freelancing isn’t practical, try temping. “Consider interim staffing to fill a temporary slot for work that needs to be done despite the economy,” advises Ronald Torch, president and CEO of the Torch Group, a marketing staffing firm in Cleveland. Or temp with a company that interests you. “Many of these options pay well and can carry the burden of bill-paying until a permanent position comes along,” he says.

Sweat the Small Stuff

“Don’t forget the personal touches,” counsels Felicia Miller, assistant director of career services at the Art Institute of Las Vegas. “Don’t use a template cover letter — make sure each letter addresses specific skills or qualities the company is looking for. And always send a thank-you note or email after the interview. Use this correspondence as an opportunity to revisit weak areas of your interview.”

Stay Positive

The most important thing when searching for a job in tough economic times is to retain a positive attitude, says Carol Vecchio, founder and executive director of Centerpoint Institute for Life and Career Renewal in Seattle. “Even in a job market with 10 percent unemployment, there’s 90 percent employment,” she says. “There is an average of over 3 million jobs available in the US per month — and each job seeker is looking for one. Those are pretty good odds.”

Struggling to find a great job in a bad economy can be a drag, but undertaking even a few of these tips will improve your chances of landing a gig. “Remember it doesn’t matter how many jobs are or aren’t out there,” Vecchio says. “You’re just looking for one — the right one for you.”

(source: monster.com)

Comments Off on Tips and Tricks: The Subconscious Mind Can Be Your Friend, Or Your Enemy Pt. 1

Tips and Tricks: The Subconscious Mind Can Be Your Friend, Or Your Enemy Pt. 1

Posted by | August 28, 2012 | Tips and Tricks

   Every day we communicate with other people.  We are social creatures, but what we don’t realize is we communicate with our bodies more than we do with speech.  Talking is the first form of communication that comes to mind, as we all do a great deal of it.  There is a huge emphasis on speaking properly, good grammar, enunciation, and so on, but what people don’t realize is our subconscious  mind is pulling WAY more information than you could ever imagine.  The information is then being interpenetrated and processed to form opinions and choices long before we ever even speak with another person.  Today, I want to help you with finding and understanding some of these subconscious ques we project every day with out even realizing it, as well as giving you some ideas on ways to project confidence, trust, and power, to help you land the job.

 

Body Language

It is said that up to 93% of communication is body language.  This is HUGE.  And I know you probably have heard this a million times before, but it’s true.  How you carry yourself says a lot about you, or at least the confidence you carry.  Even if you don’t feel you are the best candidate for the position, fake it until you make it.  Walk with a confidence stride, sit up right.  Slouching makes you seem submissive and depressed.  Sitting up right makes you appear confident and dominate.  When hunting for a manager position, or any position of authority, you want to exude confident dominance.  As far as walking in to an interview, pretend you are being watched by someone who is very attractive.  Science as actually shown that both men and women change how they walk when being observed or believing they are being observed by someone they are attracted to.  This walk usually is the “confident” walk.  So, no joke, pretend some hot woman/man is checking you out when you walk in.  It works!

Also, take up some space!  Sit in the largest of the chairs offered to sit down in.  Sit in a way you fill the chair.  Why?  Because the larger you appear, the more confident you appear.  You see this all the time in the animal kingdom.  Some territorial animal walks up in to another territorial animal’s place, and they flare up.  They try and make themselves seem as HUGE as possible.  9 times out of 10, these stands usually ends in one of the animals running off?  Why?  Because the one that ran off wasn’t as confident in his abilities to fight such a large opponent.  We are animals.  Take a tip from them.  Look big!

SMILE!  I don’t how doom and gloom things may be, how “metal” you think you are, or how smiling is “too mainstream”.  For god sakes, smiling is HUGE!  It show friendliness, and smiling has shown to increase the production of chemicals in your brain that deal with happiness, and when you are happy, you are confident.

 

Speach

Not just what you are saying, but how you are saying it is important.  Speak well, speak clear, and talk yourself up.  These things you should know by now, but maybe there are somethings you may not realize help!

Playing yourself up is huge.  Don’t be humble.  If you got lucky and scored a huge deal at a previous employer, it wasn’t luck.  You landed that deal.  You.  Not Bob, not Sue, not Jeremiah.  You.  You were the man, you were the hero of the day.  Boast it.

Don’t dodge questions.  If the interviewer asks you something, answer it.  Doesn’t matter if it makes you look bad, owning up to mistakes or bad decisions can go a long way.  Just keep it short if it was negative, and then turn it in to a positive by showing it was a life lesson and if they want to focus on that, focus on what you learned from the event, and how it now makes you a better person.

The volume of our voices is one more way in which we can manage others’ impressions of us. When we speak softly, the message conveyed is uncertain and lacking confidence. Volume also impacts body language, and the louder you speak, the more gestures you’ll use. Combine appropriate levels of each to convey a sense of authority and expertise.

 

What You Wear

Now we have already gone over Dress to Impress, but there is more to it as well.  If you really want to tailor your choices in what you wear to an interview to help you out, there are a few other things to keep in mind.

First, color.  As a photographer, I learned long ago that color can do a lot of things to the mind.  And you know you probably have heard about people in red rooms tend to be more angry, and people in yellow rooms tend to be happy, and so on, but it all works differently depending in what doses and how it is done.

Blue – Studies show that navy blue is the best color for a suit to wear to a job interview, because it inspires confidence. You are more likely to get the job when you wear navy blue to an interview than any other color.  Blue is both friendly and powerful. It connotes loyalty. Have you noticed how many companies use blue in their logo and corporate colors?

Red – Red is powerful and strong. It shows you’re not afraid to stand out, and it gets attention.  But beware of too much, or too tight red. It could get you in trouble. A tight red dress says, to put it mildly, “flirt alert.” A bright red button down shirt with a dark suit and tie could look too Vegas or Mafia on a man. And while a red suit on a woman is great for politicians and public speakers, in some settings it can be a little bright and intimidating. It can also give the impression that you’re flashy, and not a team player.

Beige – Beige screams “Blending In”.  If you don’t want to get noticed, or stand out, then Beige is the color.  So, not so much the best color for an interview, but perhaps in a job where you are suppose to be doing things unseen or in the background.

White – If you’re wearing all-white it looks like a uniform and employees will be on tenterhooks around you, just waiting for you to explode when you attract the inevitable stain. Unless you’re a painter, chef or nurse, stay away from all white.

Green – Darker greens can connote power, class, strength and conservatism. Brighter greens tell people you’re sporty, more casual and often cheerful.

Pink – Pink is not just for women anymore. Men who wear pale pink or salmon accents tell the world they’re confident, daring and independent enough to sport what has previously been considered a feminine color. Women can use it to soften a strong, dark-colored suit and look more approachable. Bright, bubblegum pink or fuchsia from head to toe is just plain annoying and hurts people’s eyes.

Purple – Dark purple says elegance, authority, class and a regal demeanor. Men can get away with a deep burgundy jacket to give a refined yet highly stylish impression. Women can appear strong, powerful and confident in a deep purple jacket, suit or blouse. A deep purple dressy T-shirt or button down in a very casual work environment says “I’m confident and efficient, yet not stuffy.”

Yellow – Yellow tells people you’re casual, playful, cheerful, approachable and not afraid to take risks. Seeing yellow can cheer people up, so you’re perceived as having a sunny personality just for wearing it. Watch out for mustard, however, which can make people of almost all complexions look jaundiced or otherwise unhealthy.

Brown – You have to be careful with brown. It’s been touted this season as “the new black, but unless your brown clothes are fitted properly, it can make you look like a potato, a potato sack, or any of a number of unattractive brown-colored substances. When your brown clothing has the right cut, however, and is accented with blue, pink, beige, yellow, salmon, green or a host of other colors, it’s a great substitute for black — not as severe, formal or depressing.

Orange – Go easy on the orange, lest your outfit be mistaken for a caution sign, safety wear, or prison garb. Because of the intensity of most oranges, unless the clothing is extremely well made, it often looks cheap or garish. Peaches are fine and blend well with other colors, but too much bright orange can make your colleagues think you’re tacky and craving attention.

 

Stay tuned for more on the subconscious mind and how it plays in to interviews at a later date!  Good luck and stay positive!

 

Comments Off on Tips and Tricks: Dress to Impress

Tips and Tricks: Dress to Impress

Posted by | August 23, 2012 | Tips and Tricks


This is an age old wordage, but it’s very true. The way you dress can say a lot when you go in to an interview. Some people don’t understand why this is, or they think they do, but they don’t fully. Why is how you dress so important?

Well, there are a few reasons. First, the obvious answer is if you take the time to dress nicely, it shows you care about the interview. This is the main reason, and what all the other reasons I am going to give you come back to, so keep this in mind. Dressing nicely for an interview shows you cared about the interview.
Getting done up for a job interview takes more time than just rolling out of bed and throwing 3 day dirty clothes on. Once again, it shows the interview meant enough to you that you spent the time to get done up. You wouldn’t go on a first date with your dream guy/girl dressed like a bum, why would you do it for a job you really wanted?
Nice clothes are not always cheap. Dressing nicely for an interview shows you view value what you wear, and conveys it as an investment. Companies like people who can put value on things, and invest in to it, whether it’s time, money, or appearances.
When you dress up, you hold yourself differently. Or at least I know I do. You walk with confidence. A “swag” as some might say. And guys, much like women, employers love an interviewee to have confidence.
Lastly, we live in a suit and tie world. I will be the first to tell you that I dislike conformity, but by dressing up nicely, you show that you can follow rules (to some point), and thus can be a team player. Companies can’t afford to hire all rouge agents. Businesses succeed by having a group of people work together for the greater good.
So remember, don’t think of putting on a button up shirt, a tie, and some slacks as “giving in to the man.” Think of it as “working the system”.