Thursday, October 30, 2014

Keep it Professional


     People don't always realize how similar dating and embarking upon a job search are, but if you really think about it; these are two life experiences that both involve a hefty dose of anxiety and the importance of first impressions. That's because hiring managers are just as prone to spot deal breakers and toss your resume aside as any first date may be.
     What kind of deal breakers are we talking about? Well, unprofessionalism in any of these three areas could be deeply hindering your job search:
        Your Resume: You may have an exemplary 20-year career under your belt and recommendations from every big name in your industry, but if your resume is a chaotic mess - hiring managers aren't even going to notice those details before putting you in the 'no' pile. The organization and presentation of your resume is just as important as the details contained within it. So if you aren't sure what it takes to create a professional resume, hire someone to do this for you - otherwise, you may be wasting your time even just applying for jobs.
        Your E-mail: When you were a teenager, creative and funny e-mail addresses were perfectly normal. But once you start searching for a job, it's time to retire your old hugsandkisses242@aol.com e-mail address. Believe it or not, hiring managers actually do take note of your e-mail when you submit a resume. And typically, this is one area where you want to be bland and standard. So get a new e-mail address ASAP, preferably with some variation of your name included. Sam.Smith1983@gmail.com is the perfect way to go. The good news is, most e-mail accounts are free - meaning you have no excuse not to fix this faux pas immediately.
        Your Voicemail: Similarly, your voicemail should reflect that you are a mature professional on a job hunt. That means no heavy metal music playing in the background, no lame jokes and no run-on messages. Keep it short and sweet, "This is Sam Smith. Please leave a message and I'll call you back." If you don't trust yourself to do that, use your phone provider's standard messaging options. That is, unless you want hiring managers to hang up without leaving a message at all when they call. 

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Don't Say That!": Innovative Ways to Bomb That First Interview



       You've been on the job hunt for a while, submitting resumes and reaching out to your networks for tips on openings and future opportunities. So you're no amateur when it comes to looking for that perfect job. But for some reason, you haven't been getting many offers - even though you've been getting your foot in the door for interviews.
         Keep in mind, there are some things you should never talk about during a first interview. For instance, we all know you shouldn't ever trash a previous employer. But what about some of the less talked about mistakes you may be making? If you've been guilty of any of these in the past, it might explain why you haven't been able to close the deal:
        Uttering the Phrase "I Don't Know" When it Comes to Questions About You: Some people just aren't comfortable talking about themselves. We've been taught that being humble is an admirable trait and as a result, we struggle with bragging. But if there was ever a situation that called for touting some of your greatest accomplishments, an interview is it. So it's time to brush up on all you have to offer, because it simply isn't acceptable to provide an "I Don't Know" response when asked what your greatest contribution was to your previous company or what the financial gain was on your most recent project. Not only should you know all the answers to questions about you and your work history, but you should be able to quickly provide them when asked.
        Admitting You Don't Know Much About This Company or the Opening: If you've been looking for a while, it's possible you have been submitting resumes without even fully reading the job descriptions anymore. That's fine, but if you get a call for an interview - it's time to do your research. Look into the company you are interviewing with and brush up on the specifics of the job as well. This will allow you to present yourself to hiring managers as someone who is uniquely qualified to fill this role and who is especially excited about the opportunity to join their team. 
        Asking About Money or Benefits: Don't put your cart in front of your horse by asking about compensation or benefits before a job offer has even been made. Not only can this come off as over-eager, but it gives the impression that your willingness to take a job is dependent upon what you can get out of it. While this may be the case, you want to remember that hiring managers are looking for candidates who are specifically excited about being a part of their organization or about taking on the challenges of a new role. So leave the monetary talks for the negotiation stage, where you will have plenty of opportunities to find out what's on the table. 

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