is inevitably laden with many setbacks.
28 August 2008
So, you have lost your last job. Of course, you will be disappointed. But, do not let the disappointment stop you from looking ahead. Be objective and try to understand what happened. Truths are heart breakers. Yet, if you accept the defeat, you will be prepared and able to avoid the same problem in future.
Not everyone has a chance to learn his or her mistakes. If you are given a second chance, that is good. Take the opportunity and make the best of it. If not, move on. Life is too short to wallow in such disappointment.
At this juncture, ask yourself these questions:
- What have I learnt from this lesson?
- Where can I make improvements?
- What do I really want from this job (or a new job)?
- What can I do so that the outcome can be different?
If you cannot answer the questions, give yourself two hours to grieve and then look past the failures. Bury the past as soon as possible.
Now it is the time to analyze yourself. You need to reassess you strengths, capabilities and talents. First, identify your core competencies. Take time to identify your abilities.
· What are you good at?
· What are your strengths?
· Where does your passion lie?
These are the questions you need to ask yourself. Think hard and list down the answers. Go through the answers again and again until you are sure and satisfied. This will make you more prepared when you are asked in the next interview.
Focus on what you are good at in every job hunt. The chance of you landing a job that suits you will increase significantly. However, always be honest about your strengths and weaknesses.
Think about your competitors. They are also job hunting like you. Some of them have more years of experience and receive higher education than you. However, you need to be better than anyone of them. You need to present yourself as the best candidate for the position. You may want to present your core strengths and competencies along with your personality and appearance that will ultimately put you in a better position to get that job.
The key here is to identify your selling points to make yourself appealing to your potential employers. Get a sheet of paper and do the exercise below, answer the questions honestly.
· List your Personality Traits
· List your Work-related Personality Traits
(team oriented/detail oriented/multi-tasking/etc)
· List your Personal Achievements
· List your Job-related Accomplishments
(awards/certificates/featured in company’s news/etc)
· List your Cognitive Skills
· List your Functional Skills
(managing people/reducing expenses/processing payroll/copywriting/managing projects/etc)
· List your Job-related Knowledge
· List your Credentials
(educational institutions and professional body certifications/degrees/etc)
This exercise helps to keep you in focus, build your confidence as well as helping you to find the right job for yourself. If you focus on the good in you, you will definite have better outcomes.
It is all right if you have not discovered some of the work-related personality traits or functional skills. Remember it takes some time to acquire these skills as not everyone has them. However, you can still answer the question, “Why should we hire you over the other candidates?”
Tell them about your achievements. Remember to identify your positive attributes that are relevant to your targeted job. You also have to know your selling points well. Let them know how hiring you will benefit the company! Whatever you say, always be honest!
27 August 2008
Can your resume grab someone's attention for more than 10 seconds? No, you don't know, and may not even know. But, why only 10 - 15 seconds? Can't it be longer? Well, that's how long a hiring manager would pay attention to anyone's resume and cover letter.
Whenever there is a job vacancy, there will be hundreds of applicants. A 10-15 second is better than none! No hiring manager is not going to read the resumes word by word. Your resumes are like advertisements. You are selling yourself to get an interview.
Like advertisements, you need to highlight your strengths, competencies and quantifiable accomplishments in order to grab the interviewer's attention. You need to answer the question every hiring manager has in his mind - ‘Why should I hire you?'
How you write a good copy of resume and use it over and over again is important. All the resumes need to have powerful messages. Customize the messages in your resumes each opportunity. Use industry-specific words or phrases in your resumes.
Convey to the readers your experience and accomplishments to demonstrate that you do have the expertise. Then, keep your message short and simple, but powerful. If you think interviewers like long resumes with boring information, then you are wrong.
Many resumes ended in the waste baskets everyday. Companies are always in a hurry to hire and there are many applicants to choose from. Every hiring manager has limited time to choose the best candidate, the one who can answer, "Why should I hire you?"
Readers can easily detect the image you are trying to portray in your resumes and cover letters. So, be professional.
A powerful resume should contain these elements:
• Profile or summary :
This is a very important part. You write it to provide an overview of your personality and experience. Your message here must be short, simple but powerful. You need to capture your reader's immediate attention. It can be written like this:
- ‘Experienced, result driven, high profile corporate management coach known for consistently delivering exceeding expectations'
- ‘Meticulous, results-oriented, dedicated and accomplished consultant with a proven track record of achieving significant objectives'
• Accomplishment or achievements :
Include in this section a bulleted section of your quantifiable accomplishments and results. This is also the part where you can hard-sell yourself. Grab the reader's attention using positive quantifiable descriptions such as:
- reduced expenses by 25% - increased annual revenues by 45%
• Expertise or skills :
Be specific in this section. Do not simply state some general skills and ask the reader to guess. Use words/phrases that describe you area of expertise. Get clues from the job descriptions of the advertisements to help you. Make sure you are using the correct words/phrases for each opportunity you desire.
• Education :
Include the pertinent education that is relevant to the opportunities. If you have no working experience, you can expand this section by listing some of the courses you have attended. However, if you have some working experience, limit this section to only what is important.
• Work experience:
This is the list of different jobs you have had. You may need to provide objective details about your duties (main responsibilities) for each of the position listed.
You can organize the information according to the date or category. You do not have to start your resume with an objective. Your profile has described you well. Putting an objective on your resume can really limit your opportunities.
An objective specifies that you are only interest in that particular position only. The hiring manager may not pass your resume to another department which may give you the opportunity you need.
Another element which you do not have to include in your resume is references. It is enough to include the statement - ‘References available upon request'. If you are applying for certain senior positions, you may need to include references. However, include the list of references on another sheet of paper.
Follow these few rules when you write your resume:
• Brief, clear and drive to the point- Do not use long descriptive sentences which can cause confusion.
• Objective and quantifiable- Write factual statements with simple but powerful messages
• Action oriented- Use more action words to bring your experience to life and get you noticed.
• Easy to read- Do not include too much information. Interesting and relevant information will do.
• Short (One to two pages only) - This is important as all hiring managers have only 10 - 15 seconds to scan through every resume. If you can create interest in anyone in that short time, you do not need a long resume.
• Relevant to the position applied- The information provided must be relevant to the position applied only. Hiring managers know what type of candidates they want. So, do not try to show off by including all unnecessary information.
• Include only sensible information- Do not list these items : expected salary, weaknesses, or any of your IQ results!
• Internet ready- Create resumes that you can send to the prospect companies by emails. Use ‘text only' format. You can also convert your resumes into PDF files so that the format stays when it is viewed by the readers.
• Attention grabbing- If your resume is an advertisement, it must be able to capture at least 10 -15 seconds of the reader's attention. If your resume is not getting any response, it is time to review and rewrite it.
• Reviewed and edited by someone else- Ask someone to give you the feedback to your resume. If there are criticisms, good, re-edit it. Be careful with spellings and typo-errors. Do not allow the readers to laugh at you because of a silly mistake. Edit it a few times until you can produce a good and powerful resume. You can use bullets and simple paragraphs when writing your resumes. Just do not overdo it.
Good and well written resumes can open the door to many interviews. You can also refer from so many books on resumes in the market. So, start writing your resume now!
25 August 2008
23 August 2008
Interviews are conducted by companies to get a general overview of the candidates who applied for the vacancies advertised by them. Interviews can help the companies to choose the best candidates for the jobs. Candidates have to bear in mind that an interview is important as this is where the first impression is made.
The first thing you need to do when you receive a letter or telephone call to attend an interview is to find out more about the company. With the advance of technology, and broadband internet connection, the web is almost a free directory for all the companies. It is just an easy task to do a simple research of the company. Do not make a fool of yourself by asking the interviewer about the company. This will flaw the good impression the interviewer has for you.
Next, prepare your resume. Imagine yourself as an interviewer. Think of all the questions an interviewer will ask. If it is an executive position, make sure you list your previous relevant executive experience, include some management experience too (if you have). If you have good references, you can also list them down. Ensure you still have good relationships with your references. That is why it is always good not to burn bridges when you decide to resign from previous jobs.
However, if you are a new entrée, and the company is taking in some management trainees, just make sure you have some good references ready. Experience is not really important in this case as the company may contact your references for more information. Do not feel ill at ease if you have nothing to offer. Your academic result may be a great help too. If you did well in your co-curricular activities, that may also be an excellent testimonial. Some companies accept sport-persons to help them in their annual sports events.
Now it is time to compose your resume and cover letter. Use only plain white A4 papers and not perfumed or colored papers. Make sure your resume is not longer than two pages. Use ‘Times New Roman’ with a 12-point-type font. You may use other fonts as long as they can be read easily. Check your grammar and spellings. Then, print out your resume and cover letter using a good printer. Make two copies so that you can keep one as reference.
Get ready the outfit you want to wear to the interview. The outfit must suit the occasion. For any executive position, it is good to wear dark suits (ladies) or a pair of dark trousers, pastel colored long-sleeve shirt and a dark colored necktie (men). Do not wear any gold adornments. You may not get any extra marks but if you must, then be discreet. Remember to wear a comfortable pair of shoes. You may need to wait for a few hours, so it is good to be comfortable.
Be at the venue at least half an hour before the actual time. If the interview takes place outside your town, be there a day earlier or at least an hour earlier. Doing so will make you feel less stressful. You will also be able to take note of the company during working hours. Do not put a bored look on your face while waiting for your turn. Put on a smile instead. Everything will be all right.
22 August 2008
Is that possible? Not really. On a certain level, we may have the same opinion of certain topics. We may even have the same likes and dislikes. Yet, there are many things that set each and every one of us apart; experience, education, locality, culture, social and so on.
It is wise not to outsmart the interviewer or anyone that may jeopardize you chance to secure a position in that particular company.
Questions any interviewer would likely ask are:
Q: Please introduce yourself.
A good chance for you to exaggerate for a few seconds (but not too much). Remember, if you exaggerate even a little about yourself, you may need to tell some lies to cover the ‘exaggeration’ you have made. Never do that. You just do not have enough reasons for telling too much. It is enough if you are able to describe yourself briefly.
Most interviewers are not ready to spend more than one minute to listen to your ‘greatness’. They know you would not be there if you are so great! Just tell what they want to hear; your most recent projects or assignments.
Q: What attracts you to work in this company?
My personal advice; you will not be able to answer this question if you did not do any research about the company beforehand. Always be ready at any interview. As we are all living in societies with overloaded information, it is not too difficult to do any background searching.
Be sincere when you answer this question. Although you are attracted with the position or the benefits, do not mention so. You can tell them what you can contribute to the company. Be convincing when you do that. Some interviewers are good in reading body language and facial expressions.
Q: Where will you be in 5 years’ time?
A common question which can be asked in any interview.
You have to think carefully before you answer. You may choose to answer it assuming that you are still with the company but in a higher position. You may also choose to answer that by then you are an established business owner.
No matter how you choose to answer, be aware that this is not an easy question although it sounds easy. It is asked so that the interviewer will know your plans for the future.
Do not answer it with a joke. The interviewer may be amused at that time, but how you are assessed is another matter. Always be serious. Eye contact is important.
Q: What do you expect from this job? Or What is your expectation of this job?
Whenever this question is asked, candidates have the feeling that they have the better chance of being chosen. Then, begin the long description of one’s expectation. Sometimes it can be so ideal that the interviewer will raise his/her eyebrow and give a wry smile.
Be brief. It is enough just to say that you wish to bring things to a higher level. You are not even sure if you are the right candidate. The company has many other candidates waiting to be interviewed. It is not good to let others wait an extra hour.
Q: Why do you think you are the right person for this job?
You can give lots of reasons but not too many. The interviewer knows more about the right person for the job than you. You can start by saying how you suit the job, the advantages if you are hired, and so on.
Everyone has some good in him. Use that to your advantage. Be humble, though. Presenting yourself as someone capable is good. Do not overstate your competence or you will be seen as boastful.
If the interviewer thinks that there is another job opening which is suitable for you, ask more questions about that too. There are chances, although that job is not a managerial one, you can work your way up. If you are keen to join the company, why not accept the offer, instead of competing with other higher qualified candidates.
Q: Do you believe in socializing with your colleagues as a way to enhance workplace
No pointers for this question. You can say whatever you think is right. Just remember that in every workplace, there will be many other employees too. Socializing is good to enhance relationship among the employees.
You may choose not to attend certain functions later if you dislike them. However, you must please the interviewer by giving an honest answer. Q: Are you an opportunist?
Q: Are you an opportunist?
Well, each of us is an opportunist. Just make sure you know where you stand. Answering this question is not going to jeopardize your chance to get the job. Usually, only a good opportunist able to achieve high. So, think carefully before you answer.
Nobody likes to be taken advantage of by others. An opportunist may take advantage of his work, position or even his colleagues in order to get something of his desire. In another word, an opportunist is a very ambitious person. Not everyone likes an opportunist, except the CEO himself!
Q: What is your expected ROI (Return of Investment)?
So far, not many interviewers will ask this question. Yet, some interviewers from the Human Resource Department will ask it.
It is interesting to note that we all seldom think of the ROI we would get from the job apart from the salary and other fringe benefits we will receive.
Ask yourself questions like: What am I going to get from this job? Will there be a promotion opportunity? Can I apply to another department after some time? Is the contract benefiting me or the company?
Everyone has a different expected ROI. Do not worry too much about that. Just remember that whatever your answer is, there is no right or wrong.
These are some of the questions I found my trainees having trouble answering every time they attend interviews. Apart from the questions, your competence in a certain language, such as English, has to be good. You will need to do all the communication in English.
Other issues maybe how you dress to an interview. Stop wearing that old, faded torn pair of jeans. Even if the company belongs to a family, please wear something formal. Ladies can wear simple business suits. No red or any bright colored coats. A brown, blue, gray or black will do just nice. Do not overdo your make-up. Use light perfume and best of all, smile.
(Most)Young men know how to dress formally. Just make sure the pen in your breast pocket does not leak. You will be embarrassed when facing the interviewer. Do not wear a belt with a big buckle. It will definitely take away all the attention.
Body language is another factor an interviewer will look at. Just one look and he/she can tell if you are nervous or scared. Take a deep breath before you walk into the room. Avoid drinking too much water or you will end up going to the toilet every few minutes. If the interview takes half an hour or more, it will definitely make a bad impression when you need to excuse yourself so often. Just relax and be yourself.
Always be courteous, even when you are told that you may not be suitable for the position. Do not show any anger or dejection when you receive the bad news. You may not have the heart to smile, but do so anyway. Do not let others see how desperate you need the job.
When you are ready, good luck!
These days, many fresh graduates are attracted by job advertisements that promise high paying jobs with a short list of responsibilities. Yet, most were shocked when they tended the interview. The interviewer asked them so many questions, (some are rather personal too) and they were dumbfounded. Some of the responsibilities asked during the interview were not even listed in the advertisement!
If you are one of these fresh graduates, what should you do? What have you learned from the interviews you have attended so far?
Are you really interested in that job? What can you do to prepare yourself for the interview?
The first step is find out all you can about that job. Check again if the vacancy matches your experience. You must be specific in this part. Think and reconsider if you are able to do what are listed. Don’t ever think that just because you can learn something new at the job, you ignore the need to update your skills. Most companies want their employees to contribute and not to learn!
Of course, the next step is to find out about the company. This is an easy job. With the advance of modern communication technology, most companies are listed in the directory of many search engines. So, unless the company is a new start-up, chances it is listed too is great. Read to understand the background and the activities of the company.
You can accept advice from others on how to prepare yourself physical before an interview. However, only you can prepare yourself mentally. This is never an easy task.
Many people may have told you how to hold yourself up during an interview. However, many did not expect the questions the interviewer would ask during an interview.
Just be careful how you answer those questions.
- What is your expected ROI (Return of Investment)?
- So far, what was your ROI?
- Why did you leave the last job?
- From your resume we could see that you only worked a few moths in that company, can I trust that you would not leave us after a few months?
- Can you trust people?
- Can people trust you?
- Are you a people’s person? (Are you able to work with people?)
- Can you communicate with co-workers who are generally younger than you?
- Can you do management work?
- Are you an honest person?
- Do you believe in socializing with your colleagues as a way to enhance working relationship?
- Why didn’t your parents push you to do better?
- Your past experiences show that you are an opportunist, can you explain?
- Can you lead a team of energetic young achievers?
- Do you consider yourself a loyal person?
- Can you justify why we should hire you?
If you have some years of working experience, you may be able to answer some of the questions; however, if you are a fresh graduate, you will be dumbfounded.
My experience taught me that the best person to do any interview is the superior officer of the department. He or she is the person who knows what type of person matches the job. A superior officer is looking for someone who can do the job, find the solutions to all the problems the department is facing; not someone with a ‘super track record’, who knows his ROI.
All right, you may not be the suitable candidate, so what? There are so many other smaller companies waiting for you. Just walk out politely from the company, and remember that you are still the best despite that you failed the interview.
If you are qualified, and chosen for the job, congratulations! Don’t forget that your journey does not end there.