interviewing

Communication ~ Interview Killers & Winners

You need all the advantages you can get when you are going into an interview but there are mistakes that can kill the advantages. We will cover a few of these today.

First things first…do your research! You must know about the company and what the purpose and mission are before you can sell yourself to them. Go online and research everything you can find from their web site and from any news articles or press releases you can find. One of the questions that is often asked at an interview is “What do you know about our company?” If you can’t give them something substantial…it is an interview killer! If you can tell them something about their mission statement and goals and how you fit into those goals or why your own philosophy is in alignment with their mission statement…it is an interview win!

You must know exactly what you can do for the company. The company needs to know how you “fit” into their organization and it is up to you to tell them. You must know exactly where you can help them. If you have 10 years of experience in sales and consistently have rated number 1 or 2 on your sales team…tell the employer that you will bring those skills to their company to increase their bottom line. If you can give any type of accomplishments…it is always a win!

Know your strengths…if you are an organization wonder…let them know that. Unfortunately the question is often phrased as “Tell us some of your strengths and some of your weaknesses.” You must be able to state what your strengths are without hesitation, but without sounding arrogant. One of the reasons that I am such an excellent resume writer is my outlook on it…I am not necessarily a better writer than someone else but rather it is how I look at the challenge. I am an excellent resume writer because I see resume writing as a challenge that will strengthen my writing skills and I approach it as something that I want to be the best I can make it. I am sure there are better resume writers out there but I can offer that I will always take on the challenge and do my best. As for weaknesses, I generally advise clients to talk about something that they want and need to improve upon…and if they have already started with that improvement that is all the better. I personally get very frustrated while trying to work on my web site so I have reached out to a company that is going to help me learn more functions so it will be easier on me and I will be more efficient. These are interview wins because I know myself and what I can offer and I know areas that need improvement and I am trying to make those improvements happen.

Why did you leave your last job? This could be problematic if you had some trouble and were let go but at that point you simply need to be honest about what you learned from the situation…even if it wasn’t your fault. You never want to bad mouth a former employer because that is an absolute killer! You can however state that unfortunately there were changes within the company and personalities were not working out and being the “low person on the seniority list” you were the one who have to vacate the position…however what you learned was….maybe you learned that with a new change in management you were not allowed to be as involved with decisions and you should have taken a moment to watch the new manager and see and ask how they preferred you to involve yourself. Changes at a company can make staying an impossible in some situations but you must learn something in both staying and leaving. Maybe you simply could not work under the newly promoted person because your personalities did not gel…being upfront and stating that you knew the situation was coming where you would have to leave but prior to that time you tried to make it work and unfortunately it just couldn’t. Learning to watch and learn is not a bad thing so it can be a win in an interview. Trying to make something work is a win for you because you tried…just don’t say that you tried but the other person is a jerk and didn’t…simply state that there are the RARE instances where 2 personalities just can’t seem to work no matter how hard you tried.

Job hunting is hard work…it is the hardest job you will ever have but hang in there and keep trying until you find the right job for you.

See you next time…

Coach

PS…remember to send the thank you note immediately after the interview! One to each member of the panel.

Interviewing ~ Quick View

A client recently asked me to do a “quick view” of some of my tips on my blog so that her teenagers would read it. Her point was tha for many young people that are used to technology providing information immediately, it might be easier to gain their attention if I gave them the information “now”. So over the next few days I will be providing the “quick tip” verson of interviewing. My friend also stated that she loves reading the long blogs because she wants the in depth information and she asked me not to get rid of it…so I will attempt to do both and work back and forth between the two sytles.

Enjoy…

INTERVIEWING TIPS 1

It is important to be on time for an interview. It is best if you arrive about 15 minutes early. This will give you time to relax and fill out an application, if necessary. Dress appropriately, since the first impression is a lasting one.

Interview Tips:

1. Do some research on the business before the interview. (See “How to Find a Job,” “Research the Employer.”)

2. Practice interviewing.

3. Go alone. Do not take children or friends.

4. Greet the employer with a handshake.

5. Make frequent eye contact.

6. Smile, be polite, and try to relax.

7. Listen carefully to the questions asked. Ask the interviewer to restate a question if you are confused.

8. Answer questions as directly as possible.

9. Be upbeat and make positive statements.

10. If you’ve worked before, talk about what you learned from it.

11. Use examples of how your skills and abilities would fit the job.

Watch for more “quick tips” coming soon…

Communication ~ Interviewing ~ What are they looking for??? (Part 2)

As you can see I have taken a break from the non-verbal communication aspect of interviewing because I have had so many questions come up from clients that are asking me “What are they looking for…I don’t know what they are looking for so I don’t know how to answer the questions?”

This is one of the reasons that career coaching is so very important…I can give you general ideas on this blog on how to answer a question or a series of questions but each person is different and each answer must be unique in its own way. Working with you individually I can help you formulate just the right interview answer for you and your situation and not a generic answer that won’t get you noticed or allow you stand out.

There is not one single answer that an employer is looking for but with the right information I can help formulate a great answer that will get their attention.

So what do they want??? They want you to stand out so they can say…”YES, that is the right person for this job!”

They want you to connect the dots for them so they have a clear picture of how you are going to benefit them by explaining how your previous employment will merge with this new position and how you will fit into their organization.

That is what I call it “connecting the dots” so they have a clear picture of where you came from and how that fits into their picture and gives them enough information for them to make an informed decision on hiring you. Now you may be asking about my saying “informed decision” but the fact is that most people don’t know how to give information in an interview…they don’t give information that will get them hired…they give information about what they have done and not what they can do for the new employer. Certainly it is important for you to talk about what you have done and absolutely you are proud of your accomplishments but that doesn’t mean that those things are what this new employer is searching for so that is the part about connecting the dots.

I will be deviating some from the non-verbal communication and I am not completely finished with it yet but when new clients ask new questions or have concerns I like to cover it here also because if one client is asking then there is a good chance that several others have the same question.

If you are reading this blog and you have a question just go to www.careercreate.com and send me a request to post something on your question. It may not be a complete answer because as I said it is nearly impossible to help formulate answers to individual situations without question and answer coaching sessions but I can give you general information that might help you out.

See you next time…

Communication ~ Interviewing ~ What are they looking for???

I had a client this week that brought up the question of  “underlying motives” when interviewers are asking questions. My answer is “YES” there is usually something underlying in the question. Most of the time I tell people that the underlying question is “Why should I hire you” and that you should tack that on in your head to each question asked…so the question is…Could you please tell me something about yourself (and why should I hire you)? What are your strengths (and why should I hire you)? Why do want to work for our company (and why should I hire you)?

But there are also other motives so if the question is “What traits or qualities do you admire in others?” the person posing the question is generally going to think that if you admire those traits in others you try to emulate those traits and/or that you possess those traits. Usually the things we like in other people are the things we like in ourselves.  It is about selling yourself so you want them to know those great qualities but what if we flip the question?

Now the question is “What traits or qualities bother you in other people?”

Often the things that bother us about other people are the things we don’t like in ourselves so how do we give an answer and not give the interviewer/employer pause? Of course it is not always the case that the things we dislike in others are traits we dislike in ourselves but it is an assumption that many people make so we must be prepared in the interview.

The best way to get through this question is to be honest about our traits and why it bothers us when someone has a trait that we have a problem with…BUT…you must put a preface on the answer…

I am a very organized person so I guess it bothers me when someone seems less organized, but in reality there are many different ways that people stay organized and mine isn’t the only way so I try to remember that.

OR

People tell me that I am honest to a fault, something I am working on so I make sure I am also tactful, but it bothers me when someone is dishonest because it isn’t necessary or right so I try to let people know that I prefer the truth even if it isn’t what I want to hear because it is important to me for the people around me to be truthful.

OR

There was a time in my life that I had trouble being on time for events and it made life harder for others so I worked very diligently and very hard to change and now it bothers me when others are late but I try to use my own experience to help them see they can change by making a few simple adjustments in their routine.

It is sort of like the “What are some or even one of your weaknesses?” It is about change and making ourselves better. It takes some thinking about what areas of life you are improving but that is what you should be talking about. It is important that you remember that just because someone throws out the word weakness…it does not make you weak…we all have things we want to improve about ourselves and so refocus on the question as areas of improvement and you won’t feel quite so panicked. Think of an area that needs improvement that you are truly working to improve and tell them what you want to improve and how you are improving.

The weakness question is not a time to throw out deep dark secrets about how you have trouble getting up in the morning or only taking an hour for lunch or even how many drinks you have in day…it is a time to look at yourself and pick an area that you really are improving.

Until next time…live life in the best way possible…

Communication ~ Interviews ~ Non-verbal Impressions (part 6)

We have covered the self confidence level at varying degrees but since it is such a key element we are going to continue to discuss it and reiterate the points of importance. (Considering that all levels are important…I will probably cover all of the points more than once and some maybe even more than twice…so let’s get started)

Being self confident is a major key to the sales and marketing aspect of selling yourself. Think for a moment of a time when you purchased a product that worked so well that you wanted to tell all of your friends and coworkers about it because it was so amazing. Now take that same enthusiasm and sell and market yourself because honestly you need to be excited about the quality of work you do and/or how much you love what you do so you can sell yourself to others.

Remember…you are both the sales person and the product so you need to be confident in what you do and what you are capable of doing. It’s not just about what you have done but you must show a potential employer that you are also capable of doing any work that he/she needs and of learning quickly with enthusiasm and flexibility. Of course you will be telling them as you are speaking but your non-verbal communication can say things that contradict what you are telling them. Let’s go back to eye contact for a moment because it is part of your self confidence portrayal and use the eye contact as an example. Let’s say you are telling the employer that you are an honest and forthright person but the whole time you avoid eye contact and when you do look up there is fear and indecision in your eyes that says “I am not sure that I am confident in what I am saying”. If you aren’t sure, or your actions aren’t showing that you believe what you are saying…how do you expect the employer to be convinced? Honesty shows and it is imperative that everyone is honest during an interview so you end up in a job that is right for you and right for the employer.

Remember that employers don’t expect you to know everything and they are expecting to have some training time go into the person they hire so if you portray confidence in your ability to learn and show that you want to do the best job possible then you might be the person hired even if you have less qualifications or experience than someone else. Enthusiasm can take you a long way because employers want employees with good attitudes and if you are excited about what you do and are confident in your abilities and employer will take a long look at you because it is important to productivity to have workers that want to get the work done and get it done well!

Of course your enthusiasm will show through as you are speaking but the non-verbal actions must match the words. It shows clearly when a person is enthusiastic, excited, and has a great attitude in their actions because when you are excited about something the animation starts, the sparkle shows in the eyes, and a person tends to sit up taller and convey the excitement in many         non-verbal ways. Self confidence show in body language and voice and since you KNOW that you are great at what you do…make sure that you portray that confidence in all ways.

As I close I will leave you with a bit of information that has to do with communication but not actually non-verbal…Did you notice that I made the word “know” in the above paragraph in capital letters and made it bold and italic? Well the reason for that is simple…you never “think” “believe” or “feel” you are anything…you are always…Confident, Sure, or You Know…always leave out words that portray you as unsure or have the “maybe” connotation to them when you are trying to portray your confidence in yourself.

Communication ~ Interviews ~ Non-verbal Impressions (part 5)

Last time we talked a bit about posture so first we will pick up and reiterate those points and then move forward. We have determined that as you walked in and shook hands you were standing tall and showing confidence; you sat down and sat at attention, not military attention, but a tall and straight posture again showing your confidence; but you are leaning forward just a little bit to convey interest in the process and the people with whom you are having a conversation. Interviewing is a conversation between you and the person(s) sitting across from you. Of course it just doesn’t feel like a natural conversation because of the nervousness of the situation, but make no mistake it is a conversation and you want to engage the other people by telling stories and asking questions.

There is no one way to sit during an interview and it is important that you are somewhat comfortable so you can feel at least a little relaxed but you also don’t want to be too comfortable so you start to look sloppy or arrogant. I know one person who likes to sit with his legs crossed with his ankle resting on his knee because he has very long legs and when there is a table in front of him the alternative is to have his legs stretched way out in front of the table. He sits down and pushes his chair back a bit and crosses his legs but he also sits tall and straight and leans forward to show interest. He could never be comfortable with his legs sticking out from under the table; it would undermine his confidence level.  As I said in earlier posts, I keep my feet on the floor in front of me so they don’t start doing their usual little dance and jiggle routine!  I have another friend who sits with hands on her lap and her feet crossed at the ankles. She likes her hands in her lap because if she does start to fidget it is less noticeable. You must be comfortable but not casual because you are not in a casual situation. I guess I need to take a moment to say “you aren’t in a casual situation…most of the time” but my clients that are truck drivers, service technicians, and construction workers say that their world is a bit different and it usually is more of a casual atmosphere. You have to be the judge of your own industry and if you aren’t sure…err on the side of caution.

Everything you do is some sort of a communication that you are conveying to the interviewer(s) so make sure you practice in front of a mirror, with another person, or use a video camera and find out what your non-verbal body language is saying.

Let’s talk about eye contact and how that impacts the impression you make. It stands to reason that if you are nervous you might want to look anywhere in the room except directly at the people asking you questions because you are fearful  they will see the fear and nervousness reflected in your eyes. The problem with that theory is that when you don’t look people in the eye it portrays fear, lack of  confidence, and even the impression of dishonesty to the person who’s eyes you are avoiding. A potential employer wants a confident and honest person in their employ so make sure you make good eye contact with each person as you are speaking. Remember that one person may have asked you the question but all panel members are rating you so you must try to give them equal time and respect.

Another factor of eye contact is the expressiveness that can show when a person is telling about an accomplishment that makes them really proud or when telling a story that describes a situation that shows the kind of person and/or employee he/she would be. People tend to get animated and expressive when telling stories that they are proud to tell and that animation can show through during an interview and the pride shows in the eyes and in the voice!

Communication ~ Interviews ~ Non-verbal Impressions (part 4)

You wrote and tailored a fantastic resume where you communicated your skills so well that the employer called you in for an interview.  You know that your resume made a great first impression and showed that your work product is exceptional and your written communication skills are excellent. Now the interview day arrives and you are ready…

You walk in standing tall and showing confidence, you smile at each person as you say hello, you give a good firm handshake, and provide each person with a copy of your resume. You have created a strong first impression that speaks volumes about you and how you feel about yourself and your experience.

Before I move on…it is okay to be nervous…in fact even the most confident interviewee’s are nervous…you just can’t show it so while many of you are out there saying…”Loretta, you are crazy, out of your mind, you have lost it if you expect us to not be nervous as we walk in for an interview…we are going to be nervous and/or down right scared because these people will be deciding out work fate!” Yes, you are quite right, they will be deciding your work fate…but how good are you at what you do? How much do you know about your job? I am guessing that you have been confident in your job for quite some time and even very comfortable talking to others about it while you still were working, am I right? Well, go back to that place of confidence and surety in what you do and what you know and express that to the panel. It’s okay to be nervous…just don’t show it!

Now I have another batch of you out there that are saying “I am changing careers and I am new at what I am doing so I don’t have the experience to be confident when I walk in!” Again, you have been studying, talking to others about the excitement of the changes happening in your life…that is what you need to show to the panel or person that is interviewing you. Show that excitement that many people lack, show your confidence in what you have learned and how much you look forward into putting theory and classwork into practice. You can still be confident because you know the kind of person you are, you know that given the chance to prove yourself as an asset…you will go above and beyond the employers expectations.

Let’s get back to how you portray yourself in the interview…we have established that you have walked in and made sure that the person/panel has gotten the impression that you are a confident person. Now they invite you to sit down and get on with the questions. Yes, it matters the way you sit in your chair! Don’t slouch! You don’t have to sit at military attention, but do sit up straight and tall and maybe lean forward…just a little bit. Leaning forward conveys interest and you want to show you are interested in this process.

Again the eye contact will be important so make sure that you are making eye contact with each person in the room. One person may ask you a question but if there is more than one person there, they are also rating you so make sure you make eye contact with everyone. (Think of how a teacher or speaker looks around the room as he/she speaks so that everyone feels included and emulate them) When I do employment coaching I always look around the room and talk to everyone so it is the same principal

What are your nervous habits? Do you even know them? Do you play with your hair? Do you click or play with a pen? Do you tap your fingers or move your feet? We all have nervous habits that we use to relax and to reduce stress but we have to leave them behind when we walk in for the interview. I am sure I have stressed the importance of practice and more practice before an interview so let me add to that,  the practice should be in front of a mirror or another person so that you can either see your habits or have someone tell you what they are. When I got ready to start interviewing as a Career Coach I learned that I move my feet pretty much constantly when I am speaking to a group or answering questions or anything else that makes me nervous or excited. To combat this nervous habit, I practiced answering questions in front of a mirror and I would push and I mean PUSH my feet into the floor to keep them from moving around. It worked and when I began my series of interviews my feet stayed firmly on the floor without the pushing part. It had become natural, through practice, to keep my feet still.

You should have a form that you can use to rate yourself after an interview on how well you communicated your skills and strengths to the interviewer(s). Something like the chart below…

Example

Assessment

1.

Posture / Body position

1

2

3

4

5

2.

Eye contact with interviewer(s)

1

2

3

4

5

3.

Self – Confidence / Comfort level

1

2

3

4

5

4.

Mannerisms / Body Movements

1

2

3

4

5

5.

Voice (volume and pacing)

1

2

3

4

5

6.

Facial Expressions

1

2

3

4

5

There is so much more to communication than just talking and over time I will cover many aspects to make it easier for you to sell yourself. See you next time…

Communication ~ Oversell

I need to change focus for a moment even though we are still in the communication area…I just was talking with a client about “oversell” and how in the long run it can hurt you. How much information is enough and how much is too much? Very good questions and I will try to shed some light on them today.

Okay…let’s look at interviews (and job search in general) this way…You are the product…and you are the salesperson! You are required to sell yourself to the employer based on what their needs are…not all the wonderful things you have accomplished over a lifetime. Yes, I know that you are very proud of those accomplishments and you should be but if they aren’t relevant to what the employer needs, they won’t make an impression.

I come up against this over and over when I am either writing a resume or teaching someone to write a resume and I want to try to stick to one page. We as proud and accomplished people want to put everything, including the kitchen sink, into our resume but if I am not going to be working with customers because I am applying for a research job in a back office…it won’t help me to put all my customer service work on my resume. Of course I might touch on it if my ultimate goal was to get out of the back office and work with the clients but if I keep talking about customers and should be talking about research I am not helping myself. I can successfully cover both but they would be for different resumes. I work with customers everyday, all day and often into the night so truly I could create a great resume based on customer service and communication skills. I could write a second resume simply on research and go into  the times that I am or was writing curriculum and needed to research for statistics, quotes, resources, and/or information and I could also talk about when I was a paralegal student and had to do some of the hardest research ever on case law. Two separate resumes for one person. I could also have another resume based on my administrative type work in an office environment; but if I tried to put all of this information into one resume, or discuss all of it at an interview I would overwhelm the interviewer with irrelevant information.

First and foremost…get and read the job description for the position. If you can’t get a job description from the company there are websites that you can go to and get the information you need. I cover that information in my Job Search strategy 1 workshop/coaching session while teaching you how to break the information into categories that best suit your traits. Breaking your strengths and skills into categories is critical in being able to sell yourself to the employer without “overselling” or “underselling”. Believe it or not…there is a “just right” in communicating your strengths and it is critical that you find it based on what the employer needs.

What can you do to make sure you sell yourself?

  • Read the job description
  • Write down all of your previous experience (both paid and unpaid)
  • Make a list of your major duties you have done
  • For each duty, make a list of skills you used to complete those duties
  • Make a list of duties the new employer/job will require
  • Again for each duty write a list of primary skills that will be needed
  • Match your duties and skills to what the employer needs
  • Break the job description down into relevant categories
  • Fit your skill and abilities into those categories
  • Write your resume accordingly and keep it on one page!

What can you do for the interview portion to ensure you don’t oversell?

  • Reread the job description and look over the new resume you have written
  • Write out a 45 second to 1 minute speech about why you fit the job description
  • Remember to include some “soft” skill in that speech (dependable, flexible, honest, hard-working, etc.)
  • Practice the speech out-loud so you can hear how it sounds
  • Make sure you are consistently sticking to the key points the employer is seeking
  • Think of some stories/examples of how you have handled situations in the past that you can use to illustrate certain points, skills, or strengths
  • Practice, practice, practice…out-loud so you are comfortable and confident as you communicate your skills

Keep in mind…it is always about the employer, the job, the job description, and the company that you want to work for, it is only a little bit about you. The company is only interested in what you can do for them in relation to the job you are attempting to get; so if you don’t need to know anything about environmental science for the job, but you do need to know a certain amount about human behavior, don’t go into detail about the degree you just received in environmental science…instead talk about the elective classes you took in sociology or psychology and how much you learned and are looking forward to utilizing that knowledge in this exciting new job.

Here is to you and your great strengths and abilities…see you next time and if you have questions or comments please let me know and I will let you know when the new e-book on “Interviewing and how to answer the tough interview questions” is complete and ready for  purchase.

The e-book “Propelled to Greatness ~ Motivate ~ The Difference Between Good and Great” is done and for sale at my website and will be sent in PDF format when purchased.

Communication ~ Interviews (part 2)

Communication comes in more forms that just talking. We have covered them in various aspects of the career search. There is the aspect of orally articulating your strengths, there is body language, written skills especially on a resume, first impressions, and tone. All of these come into play during the interview.

You might be asking how the written aspect of the resume comes into play while you are in an interview? The fact is…when you walk into an interview, you should have a copy (actually copies) of your resume ready to give to each person that will be interviewing you. You can never assume that the interviewer(s) have seen your resume so you should make sure you give them each their own copy.

Another way written communication might come into play is if you bring a portfolio or work samples into the interview to showcase certain work that you have done. These items can be very important in your discussion because you can refer to them as you speaking. “As you can see from my resume….” or “As you can see from the example on page 3 of my portfolio I created the brochure for…” and it gives the panel a visual aspect of your work product.

First impressions are critical when you are meeting for an interview. You only get one chance to make a first impression so it should be planned and well thought out. Something to remember is that many people have allergies to certain scents so you want to only use unscented deodorants and no perfumes or colognes that might aggravate the allergies of another person. Simply shower and be clean and fresh and that should suffice. Freshly washed hair and clean clothing speak volumes when attempting to make a good impression.

Ensuring that your clothes fit well is also very important. I don’t know what seemed to happen to my clothes, but from the time I put them into the closet…and the time I needed them for interviews…they seemed to have shrunk! I can only guess that there must have been moisture in my closet…because they were all too tight! I am only half kidding here…I did have interview clothes that were too tight and that could have been a big problem if I didn’t check out the clothes and try them on prior to the interview date. I had gained a few pounds and didn’t realize it until I needed the clothing. It is very important to try on each piece of clothing before hand to be sure that everything fits and doesn’t need any repairs. As I was getting ready for one interview I discovered that one of my favorite interview shirts needed a button; a button that I didn’t have so I had to either find a different shirt or I had to go buy a button, or set of buttons, to do the needed repairs.

Clothing should usually be conservative and business appropriate. A nice suit is always acceptable but a formal matching suit isn’t required. Nice slacks or knee (or longer) length skirt with a nice collared shirt and jacket can make a great impression if they are in good repair, clean, and fit well. I have been told by a few of the young women that I have coached that are in the retail business that I should include in this portion of my information that my ideas are guidelines for general business attire but if a person is going to work at a trendy boutique…the clothing options might be a bit more on the “hip” side rather than the conservative side. Each person should know their work, their trends, their audience and dress appropriately because as we know…as a professional in a certain industry…you might be the best expert to choose what is or is not appropriate. I am only giving you guidelines. If you ever need more in-depth coaching feel free to contact me at www.careercreate.com for private coaching sessions.

How much jewelry is worn or if you have tattoos that might need to be covered is another first impression question. How much jewelry should a person wear? It is best to stick to the basics. Women should wear conservative earrings that aren’t too flashy or dangle too much toward the shoulders, a nice necklace is of course fine, again not too flashy or showy, then of course a ring on each hand, a watch, possible a bracelet, and maybe a brooch, or pin on the lapel of a blazer. Again we each have to decide for ourselves what is appropriate based on our job/career. For men the general rule is to be conservative based on a business model. Men do wear jewelry and again it should be worn in moderation just as I have expressed women wear jewelry in moderation and if tattoos are an issue, wear long sleeves to cover them up. Many people have very nice tattoos…my son has them…but I advise him the same way…cover them up because you never know who your audience will be or how they will perceive your appearance and that is why I always stress taking the conservative route.

Next time in our series on communication and interviews we will talk about non-verbal communication such as eye contact and handshakes.

Communication ~ Interviews

The 45 second to 2 minute “elevator speech” is your way to give the employer a snapshot of you when they ask the most commonly asked interview question ~ Could you please tell me something about yourself?

This snapshot should include a bit about your traits:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • punctual
  • flexible
  • hard-working

It should contain information about your skills:

  • skilled in MS Office Suite (all programs)
  • Coordinated and scheduled events for 50-100 participants
  • Answered multi-line telephone systems, transferred calls, and took messages
  • Worked closely with Executive Director to create employee manual

You want them to know about your work history and accomplishments:

  • While working at XYZ Company I was promoted from Cashier to Lead Cashier in less than 6 months
  • I supervised between 4-8 people depending on the day and shift
  • I was trained in bank deposits, scheduling, time card preparation, and monthly reports
  • My manager chose me as employee of the month for 3 months in a row, which is the limit each person can have in any 6 month period
  • And working as a team we streamlined our work stations and created a more timely service rate for our customers and created greater turnover and profit margin for the company

You simply need to know what you do and then put each part down on paper and practice saying it so you think it sounds good…and then practice saying it to someone else. The more you practice, the better it will sound when you are talking to an employer.

This “Tell me about yourself” speech can also be used when you are talking to anyone about yourself and your career. It is a very common question at social events, or business events, or even family reunions where not everyone knows each other…”So, what do you do for a living?” You already know the basics of what you want to say, so you just change it to a more casual version and give a great picture of who you are and what you do for a living.

Networking is an important part of job search or career changing and you want your answer to come evenly and smoothly when you are meeting new people and hoping to gain them as allies in your career endeavors. Networking has gotten me 2 different jobs because I was able to articulate my skills, my traits, and my future plans to someone that had the contacts to help me go further. Future posts will have more on networking but I want you to start thinking about it now because it is something you should be doing every day. Every day you should tell  people what you are doing and where you want to end up. Are you a student? What are you studying? Your instructors have been in the business you are entering so they are your first point of contact…get to know them and let them see the best of you. Are you a dislocated worker? Tell everyone that you know and everyone that you meet what you do and the type of work you are seeking. 80% or more of jobs are gotten through networking with other people, so you can see why you can’t be shy or timid when you are job searching or changing careers.

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Non-verbal communication is still communication
You have made it to the interview and now you need to make a great impression. What are your nervous habits? Do you really sit as straight as you think you do? Are you making eye contact? Watching the clock? Read more to ensure you are communicating what you want... Career Blog

Colleague Statement
“Loretta is a highly experienced and productive professional in the field of Workforce Development, Job Readiness, Career Counseling, Workshop Facilitation, and Job Search Preparation. I have worked with her closely for over six years, and she has consistently been a valuable, key resource in the employment community. For three of those years, she was at Napa Valley College as a resource specialist in their career center... 
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