May 8th, 2009
Now is a good time to re-consider or consider your career path and market options. In this tight market, is it prudent to continue your current career choice, do you want to do the same thing as you have done? Is it possible to switch or target a similar position in a different industry? Are your skill set transferable to other industries? Which industry market is hot now or at least hiring?
Consider using a worksheet to solidify your ideas and to clearly outline what the desires are, as they compared to your options. Putting it down on paper will show you clarity. Believe me, try it…
Use this worksheet to identify possible career market options. Provide as much detail as possible about the characteristics of industries and functions you consider. List positives and negatives for each option.
Example: Telecom Example: Product Development
2. SAME INDUSTRY DIFFERENT FUNCTION
Example: Telecom Example: Marketing Management
3. DIFFERENT INDUSTRY SAME FUNCTION
Example: Information Management Systems Example: Product Development
4. DIFFERENT INDUSTRY DIFFERENT FUNCTION
Example: Information Management Systems Example: Marketing Management
May 5th, 2009
It is typical for companies to setup a telephone interviews in their recruiting and hiring decisions. A good telephone interview can give you an advantage prior to meeting a potential employer. Because preparing yourself is the best way to be effective in a telephone interview. Please see the following tips that lead to success.
Before the Call
• Quiet environment. Make sure the environment at your home or office is clear of other people and extraneous noise, such as radios, TVs, etc.
• Have your resume in front of you
• Prepare a list of accomplishments for each of your positions prior to starting the call—keep this list in front of you.
• Research the company, products, revenues, and other pertinent industry information.
• Prepare questions based on the position’s responsibilities, goals of the division, cultural style of the company, or the interviewer’s background, if it is the hiring manager.
• Be on time.
Beginning the Call
• Be enthusiastic. The first 15 seconds are crucial and interest in your voice is key. Just the way you answer the phone has an impact on the caller. Talk distinctly and with confidence.
• Establish a connection. Ask about the caller’s experience with the company or mention something you have read about the company. Also try touching on a common experience.
• Ask for an overview. Once you are comfortable, ask the interviewer what they are looking for and why the position is open. If you don’t already have this information, this will provide you with good information so you can plan your responses.
During the Call
• Know your resume. Don’t assume that the person on the other end of the phone knows your background or is familiar with the companies listed on your resume. Assume that you have to illustrate your entire background. Make your resume “come alive”. Try to anticipate what a company may ask about your background.
• Demonstrate a career plan. The interviewer may start with the question, “Tell me about yourself.” One approach is to begin by saying, “Let me tell you how and why I am in my current position”. If you have had a number of other titles at one company, explain how value you added to the company resulted in promotional opportunities.
• Demonstrate accomplishments. Review a problem that you turned into a positive situation for each position that you list. Help the interviewer understand the problem, your specific role, what path you took to resolve it, and the final result. Paint a picture. Also, try to quantify accomplishment in each position (e.g. Increased sales by X percent; Oversaw budget of $Y).
• Ask questions from the list you prepared. Asking good questions illustrates that you are already thinking seriously about the position and joining the company. Potential employers expect to be asked questions and welcome opportunities to talk about their companies and/or their own backgrounds.
Ending the call
• Give up control. The end of the call is always a tricky thing. A good suggestion is to thank the caller for his or her time and say that you are interested in the opportunity. If the interviewer has not asked you about your schedule or availability, it is a good idea to ask, “What would the next step be in the process?” Let the interviewer reestablish control of the interview with this question.
• Confirm information. If you don’t already have it, be sure to ask for the interviewer’s exact title and name spelling, along with a street or email address, so that you can send a thank you note.
April 6th, 2009
The following are key reminder and things to remember for an interview. Very often, due to stress levels, you are on auto-pilot and not focusing on the key elements. These things make good and easy sense when you are at home at your desk, but be aware of the below and keep reminding yourself during the actual interview.
- Know where you are going, how to get there and how long it takes (be aware of traffic conditions)
- Take extra copies of your resume and reference list
- Dress conservatively
- Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake and smile
- Stay alert to words and body language, both interviewer’s and your’s
- Listen to questions before answering
- Engage the interviewer in a dialogue
- Be sure to ask questions and show your appreciation of the meeting and interest in the org/position
- Do not ask questions about benefits, or bonus arrangements – unless they ask you or you feel there is definite interest
- Ask for a business card
- In closing, ask and get commitment about the next steps in the process
April 3rd, 2009
Any opportunity you get, let folks know (or remind them) that you are in the market for a great job. Although creating a brand for your self involves a lot of other efforts, one of the easiest to do is:
- You send quite a few emails daily, correct?
Have a linkedin profile? Add it to the bottom of ALL your emails, under your name. If you use Outlook, a standard template can be set. Please make sure it is linked to the real URL, so that with one click, they are looking at your resume/profile! Have a “professiona” Facebook, or Myspace, etc.? Add that to your signature. Let people know or remind them of who you are.
March 12th, 2009
Everyone has written a resume or two and probably did a prety good job. It never hurt to review and see some key pointers in how to prepare a resume. My experience has been that you need to update as you move along once you have found appropriate changes, including your industry buzz words, or just simply from your own experiences and feedback from interviewers. You can always tell depends on the type of questions they ask. Here are some tips…
- Be Honest
- Your resume is only as good as the oral presentation that supports it. However, a good resume gets you at the door.
- A good resume will clearly reflect your strategy and positioning
- Write specific accomplishments with factual data – e.g. $ save, % of improvements, $ revenue increase, # of projects completed with no increase of FTE, etc.
- Avoid different types of fonts on the same page, avoid fancy graphics. Keep the look simple and easy to read
- Make your point quickly and concise
- Avoid personal pronouns (I, me, my, we, etc.)
- Use the past tense (most of the time)
- Choose the strongest action words
- List the education toward to end (unless you are a fresh college grad)
- There is no right length for a resume, current preference is 2 pages
- Use portrait and not horizontal layout.
- Use keywords & buzz words that are specific to your industry
March 10th, 2009
During the interview, you are the sales guy. You are indeed selling yourself, thus think about yourself as a Product. Well, you hre a consumer, what would you want? what feature/functions? They are hiring, what kind of person would they want?
My assumption is that you had already researched the company, the group/division, the minimum job requirements, etc.
During the interview, on the part where you describe yourself as the “product” — focus on your:
- - strength
- - skills
- - interests
- - executive behaviors (assertiveness, decisiveness, enthusiasm, intellect, collaborations, partnership, etc.)
March 5th, 2009
The interview is likely the most important step in securing that offer. Now that you are at the door, what are some of the keys for a successful interview?
The employer is essentially looking to confirm 3 things:
- Can you DO?
- WILL you do?
- Will you FIT?
Thus, the strategy is to show and convince them that you indeed can do the job, willing to do the job and most importantly will fit the group and/or company culture. Thus you can consider focusing on the following:
I can do – most folks emphasis this area too much, spending a lot of time talking about what type of jobs that were done in the past. Of course, it is important to show that you are qualified. However at this stage, they probably has a good idea of your background already.
I will do – are you over-qualified? Will you be bored? Will you do a similar job their way? Will you commute that long distance? Etc. You got the idea.
I will fit – often this is one of the biggest reasons they want to meet you. Show them that you are flexible, personable and like people, enjoy a team environment and able to work with difficult and different personalities, etc. We can work well together!
There have been so much written about how to do the best interview… My view has always be – Try to be simple – “Be yourself, focus on their needs and communicate clearly”. If you keep the above 3 key concepts (Can, Will, Fit) in mind, it may improve landing you the next job.
March 3rd, 2009
Related to managing your online presence, clean up your on-line dirt if any and be careful of what you write online such that your next employer would/could look at you negatively. Please check out the article here.
Though the story was on a teenager, but the similarity is clear on managing your career path.
February 21st, 2009
Related to earlier post on “Online Dirt”
In a nutshell, managing the creation of user-generated content starts and ends with the user. Managing user-generated content starts, but does never ends, on the Net. Focus on the creation and, as employers, let users know your expectations before they go to print.
Please peruse the following article.
February 18th, 2009
A real example of “Online Dirt” and possible strategy to clean it up. It is relative to the last Blog post dated Feb 10th. Please read the article/link.