Archive for Interviewing

No, Thank YOU

After any informational or job interview send a prompt thank you note.  If you know the hiring manager or committee is making a quick turn around decision it is o.k. to e-mail the thank you.  If you have a bit of time, go ahead and send a formal, “typed” letter or a hand-written note with legible handwriting.  No texting a thank you as of yet.

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Just Ask

As you discover a new career interest and begin seeking out candidates to informational interview, ask the right way.   Most people will gladly talk with you about who they are and what they do if you focus your interest on them.  Start your request with a statement that indicates you have done some background research and care about that information.  Limit the amount you share about yourself and seek out their input.  Eventually you end up sharing your story during the informational interview when invited to do so.

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Tell Me About Yourself…

Are you ready to respond to what could be for some the hardest question to answer in an interview situation?  “Please, tell me about yourself.”

Interview Handshake

The intention of the questions is for the interviewers to learn a brief summary of the background and qualifications of the candidate.  Your answer should focus on addressing three questions according to Mandy Nyez from St. Norbert College in Wisconsin:

1. Who are you and where are you now? Talk about your education, degrees you have or are pursuing, and any specialty areas you would like to highlight.

Currently I am a senior at Acme University and intend to get my Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications in December.  I have focused on public relations as a concentration area.

2. Where have you been? Career-related experiences are important to highlight in your answer.  Focus on relevant and transferable skills to the position.  If your volunteer and leadership positions are relevant, you can also talk about highlights here as well.

For the pas two summers I have been an intern with ABC Marketing Services in the PR department.  The internships allowed me to hone my copy writing and public speaking skills.  I created press releases and served as a spokeswoman for two client accounts.

3. Where are you going? Finally, you want to focus on your career objectives and goals related to the position.

My hope is to utilize my educational background, experience in the field with clients, and my energy and enthusiasm as the PR Coordinator at First Avenue Advertising.  Eventually I would like to earn my way up to the Public Relations Director.

Be careful about coming across as “canned” or too rehearsed.  Avoid sharing personal information such as your age, number of siblings, or hobbies.  Your future employer wants to see you are a good fit with the position and their company or organization.  Keep it career-related so they can better understand what you “bring to the table.”

Keep your total answer concise as follow-up questions will allow you to fill in more details later.  Outline your summary and practice several versions.  After some intentional work, you will be able to confidently share who and what you are about at job fairs, informal networking opportunities, and in the job interview itself.

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Don’t worry, be happy

frown smile

or at least pretend you are…  One of the hardest concepts to convey to someone who has been unemployed and is applying and interviewing for jobs is to keep a positive attitude.  The reality of unemployment, spending more than you earn, or hating your current job can be depressing (literally).  Ironically any hint of you as the job seeker of being desperate, unhappy, down, or feeling sorry for yourself is a quick ticket for rejection in the workplace.

The folks who are in control of the hiring do not want to bring someone in who might “share” this caustic attitude with current employees.  What can you do to ensure you are in a good place mentally when applying or interviewing for a job?

  • Be in a good place- What you are conveying on paper (resume, cover letter, and/or application) changes depending on your mood.  Try to psyche yourself up and be in that “King of the world” place when writing your job search materials.  If not, set them aside until you can be mentally ready.  Note:  This is not an excuse to never start writing.  Be proactive in trying to be in a good place.
  • Do something for yourself- Before the interview do something that might add joy to your life.  Take a walk in a park, put bubbles in your bath, go to the library, visit a neighbor, call a friend, read a book, play a board game, listen to or play music, smell a flower, or some other small gesture that improves your being.
  • Make a list and refer to it-  When you are in a positive mood, make a list that includes talents you have that you will share in the work place.  When you are feeling blue, bring out the list and reflect on ways in which you will make a difference.  Understand the reasons why you would add value to any company or organization.
  • Fake it til you make it-  You always want to be true to yourself and honest in your job application materials and during interviews.  With that being said, remember a time when you were happy and be that person during the interview process.
  • Seek professional help-  If finances allow, find a mental health counselor or therapist to help you deal with the challenges you are dealing with.  A good career coach or counselor can help you create a solid resume and critique your job interviewing skills but is not the right person to help you sort through “life” issues.

Give the impression that you are a resilient person no matter the circumstances.  People want to connect with positive people and go out of there way to help if that confidence appears to be there.

Check this out: J.D. Roth at GetRichSlowly has an excellent post that focuses on the happiness factor with a review of Tal Ben-Shahar’s book, Happier.

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