The Career Club

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Archive for the ‘Interview Preparations’ Category

Job Hunting Errors

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Since the economic downfall, I’ve been critiquing almost triple the resumes and conducting one on one counseling than the year before. I’ve also been scheduling several trainings on more campuses then ever before. It still completely boggles my mind the lack of education many of our students receive when it comes to the basics of looking for a job.

In this tight job market, employers are being very selective then before. Candidates need to be well aware of any habits or mistakes that could be the reasons they are not being hired. Years ago I came across an article by Costello, Erdian & Company thats to the point on the top job hunting errors. Here are the top 10 job hunting errors:

1. Poor Resume: The resume is used as a quick screening device by  most employeers. If it doesn’t strike them as outstanding, your chances of an interview may be nil. The resume should describe education and experience in a concise, well-written format. More importantly, it should emphasize accomplishments, over duties and responsibilities.

Create a quality resume using one of the following templates:
Functional Resume Template
Chronological Resume Template

2. Failure to Network: Friends, acquaintances and people you know should be sought out and their information be used in developing job leads.

3. Limiting Job Sources: Classified ads, employment agencies and other sources are often overlooked. Use all possible methods to learn of appropriate jobs.

4. Unplanned Approach: Pre-printed cover letters, quick and unimaginative phone calls and short non responsive resumes save time for the candidate but turn off employers who feel they will take short cuts in carrying out job responsibilities.

Write a simple but personized cover letter using the following template:
Simple Cover Letter Template

5. Too Short Work Week: For the unemployed, the job search should be a 40 hour per week proposition. You don’t get a job by only using part of your free time.

6. Inadequate Interview Preparation: Each situation is a separate challenge and requries unique preparation. Responses must be timely, flexible and address the specific needs of the employer.

7.  Poor Interviewselling  Techniques: A “give and take” honest relationship must be established during the interview. Candidate should exchange information while listening attentively, selling themselves and demonstrating enthusiasm for the job and the company.

Learn more about interviews by clicking here and here.

8. Restricted Job Search: Restrictions on geographical locations, commuting time, parking facilities, size and type of employer, and other personal matters should be secondary to the overall merit of an opportunity. Financial and professional pressures may also change your outlook later and make the opportunity more feasible. Remember that you can always decline a job offer if it is judged to be unattractive or a better one develops.

9. Negative Attitude: Candidates who “have all the answers criticize their managers, second guess employers” are seldom invited for second interviews. Negative attitudes toward prior jobs are seen as predictors of future performances.

10. Poor Physical Appearance: While there is no need to look like a movie star, candidates who do not demonstrate self-respect by creating a positive image are usually judged to be unacceptable.

Source:
Costello, Erdian, & Company
a national outplacement counseling and human resources consulting firm
as posted on University of Wisconsin’s Career Center
Website

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Interview Do’s and PLEASE Don’t!

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I’ve been getting a lot of questions of what people should do or don’t do during an interview. So here’s an updated list of what I present during my Career Development Trainings. Please note that this isn’t just for during an interview, but what you should do/don’t before and after an interview.

Before an Interview (at least a few days in advance)…
– Research about the company/org and obtain any information about the company/org that will be useful for your interview (example: positive news, sales records, product line, innovation, etc.)
– Prepare any questions you might have about the company/org to ask the interviewer
– Know the duties and the complete description of the position
– Have the interviewer’s name, number and address as well as the interview location and directions
– Practice how you will answer tough questions, talk about yourself and turning on your positive voice
– Prepare interview outfit and make sure it is clean, neat and suitable
– Arrange for a sign language interpreter if necessary
– Prepare and organize your documents in a portfolio

PLEASE Don’t…

– Assume you know everything about the company/org when 90% of the time you don’t have a clue
– Get intoxicated (especially if you’ll be taking a drug test!)
– Have all your documents in a disarray
– Be afraid, very very afraid
– Leave everything for the last minute

Dressing for an Interview…
– Job specific clothing such as hard hat and clean jeans for a construction job or a two piece suit for an office job
– Dress conservatively as possible within the confines of your personality
– Neutral, semi dark color clothing
– Simple jewelry such as one or two rings, small earrings and a necklace (depending on where you are interviewing, a small nose ring should be ok)

PLEASE Don’t…
– Wear revealing or skintight clothing, haphazardly
– Wear every piece of jewelry you own
– Use strong perfume, aftershave, deodorant, body spray, etc.
– Wear bright nail polish, lipstick or clothing

Take to the Interview…
– Valid photo ID or Passport
– Social Security Card
– Your prepared and organized portfolio
– Master application/completed company application
– Multiple copies of your targeted resume
– References and letters of recommendation
– Small calendar/appointment book
– Other required certifications or documents such as typing tests, training certificates, etc.
– A bottle of water is fine if securely closed
– Confidence and a positive attitude

PLEASE Don’t…
– Bring your relatives, friends, children or pets!
– Bring any food or sticky drinks
– Even thing of bringing drugs or alcohol

Interviewing Etiquette includes…
– Arrive at least 15 minutes early
– Make sure your cell phone is off or at least on vibrate or silent
– Shake hands firmly and quickly
– Wait for the interviewer to invite you to have a seat
– Sit attentively, straight up and ready
– Pay attention to the interviewer and listen to everything told and asked
– Pay attention to your poster, body language and nervousness
– Eye contact is very important, look at the interviewer when asking and answering questions
– Look interested, excited and ready
– Use professional language and speak clearly in an appropriate volume and tone
– Show off your confidence and SMILE!

PLEASE Don’t…
– Be late
– Smoke
– Chew gum
– Have a cell phone on or on loud
– Answer your cell phone
– Slouch in your seat, cross your legs with the bottom of your feet facing the interviewer and hands everywhere
– Touch everything
– Interrupt the interviewer
– Speak in “slang” or use foul language
– Lie about your work or criminal history
– Be apologetic for whatever qualification you may lack
– Move far beyond the topic
– Take what is not given to you
– Talk too little or too much
– Speak in a very low voice or extremely loud
– Talk with your hands over your mouth or look away from the interviewer
– Take care of your hygiene
– Be fake
– Walk out yelling, screaming and raging

After an Interview…
– Send a “thank you” note to the interviewer for their time
– Make a follow up call and converse with the interviewer
– If asked not to call, send a follow up email to the interviewer

PLEASE Don’t…
– Contact the interviewer on how horrible they were
– Bombard the interviewer with calls and emails on your status

Should you questions, post them in the comments so that I may respond!

Written by Ms. Hala

10 June 2009 at 4:08 am

Interview Facts

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Interview Facts
CDG, Step 5: Interview Preparation

Here are 10 basic interview facts to remember…

1. The interview is meant to be a conversation between the candidate and the company in order to discover whether there is a fit with the company’s needs as well as a fit with the candidate’s needs.

2. The interviewer can often make the decision about the candidate in the first three to five minutes of the interview.

3. An interview is in some ways unfair. Who can figure one out in five minutes or even two hours? At best, interviews are an imperfect way of accepting or rejecting an impression of the candidate and/or the company environment.

4. Most people don’t talk enough during an interview (due to nervousness or lack of interpersonal skills). Candidates should initiate discussion and let the interviewer know of their interest in the position to be filled.

5. During an interview, a candidate’s interpersonal skills are tested. Interpersonal skills are as important as a candidate’s background, experience and education.

6. The best interviewees do it fast by setting the tone of the interview in the first few minutes, then spending the rest of the time enhancing what’s been said.

7. The interviewer is more likely to remember the interviewee’s negatives then positives.

8. Confidence is sitting up straight, head high and eye contact with the interviewer. Body language can speak volumes louder then words

9. A “thank you” note, card or even an email after the initial interview can make the chances of being hired even higher. Such simple acts can add to the impression left during the beginning of the initial interview.

10. One may get a job without a resume, but definitely not without an interview.

Written by Ms. Hala

15 March 2009 at 10:32 pm