Selling Yourself

Networking- important for your career

I was at work today and got a call from a person that I worked with over a year ago but she remembered my work ethic, how hard I work for my clients, and my knowledge base and contacted me to help her put a group of workshops together. In return…I have a chance at getting to know more of her federal employee coworkers and bosses so maybe if an opportunity comes up…she would recommend me for a job if I decide to be in the market.

Then I got home and saw a facebook post from my daughter that said “Just chatted with someone from my 2nd grade team for an hour and twenty minutes! It’s nice having such a supportive team and building such good relationships!” ūüėÄ

Yes, Jen it is awesome building such great relationships and having a supportive team and that is where keeping up on your networking can be so beneficial. I must have made a very good impression for this person to want to contact me and remember me all this time later…I actually worked with her prior to my hip replacement which was in October of 2012 so it has been more like a year and a half. I guess my next blog should be about making a great impression since that is part of this conversation.

On another networking note…contacts that I have from a previous job have contacted me to let me know that a job that I would probably like is going to open soon and that I should be the one to apply. I have stayed in touch with all of these contacts and cultivated great working relationships as well as friendships and they are paying off with job assistance…and I am not even actively looking! Imagine what would happen if I was looking and started calling all those networking contacts that I have spent years cultivating?!

So when you are job searching remember to call everyone you know to let them know the type of job you are looking for…but also let them know that for the right pay and benefits package, you might take another type of job. You always want to look flexible and open!

Please also remember that no matter how you feel make sure that if you go out of the house and you are actively searching for work…you are clean and well groomed. I don’t mean that you need to be in suit or skirt but rather make sure you are showered, hair combed, and your jeans are clean because networking can happen anywhere. I have gotten job leads in the grocery store checkout line and at the local coffee house. Making a great impression, especially a first impression, is key because you never get a second chance to make a first impression and it takes a long time to change an opinion of a bad first impression.

See you next time.

Coach

CUSTOMER SERVICE…ALWAYS IMPORTANT…this one is in Vallejo, CA

I have taught customer service workshops for many years of my career as a Career Coach/Employment Specialist so when i get great customer service I feel that I should let people know about it. We recently had to purchase a new vehicle because both of my(fully paid for) cars were wiped out in my driveway by a drunk driver! Thankfully no one was injured…just my pocketbook!

But back to the customer service…Vallejo Nissan! ūüėé We have been taking cars there for many years, I think since about 2004 and have always received great service and when I took my new Nissan Rogue in for the oil change last week I was reminded as to the reason I continue to go there…they are HONEST…and they are very friendly and pleasant to be around but honesty is so very important. We took our car to the dealer where we purchased the car for the first oil change and they said we needed the more expensive synthetic oil and we paid quite a bit more than we were used to paying for an oil change…but this time we took it to Vallejo because we dropped the service contract with the other shop so we could go back to Vallejo Nissan…

This is where the customer service and honesty real showed…imagine my surprise when Scott Schlattman came out and said…I was mistaken…you don’t need synthetic oil for this car because it is a 2013 and it wasn’t until the 2014 that they started using the synthetic so it will be $30-$40 less than we thought!!! That is honesty…we would not have known the difference because we had already been told and paid for a synthetic oil change at another dealership!

Thank you Scott and Vallejo Nissan for being an honest and fair…not to mention excellent mechanic shop where a female who knows nothing about cars feels safe bringing my car in! I can’t say enough about Vallejo Nissan because they are amazing in all aspects but since I teach Customer Service…I am qualified to make a statement that says…If you want to see what great customer service is really like…go to the shop at Vallejo Nissan and talk to Scott or Teri! I give Vallejo Nissan 5 stars…and think I will post this on my facebook page to share it even further!

Until next time…remember that when in the world of work you have both external customers and you have internal customers which are your coworkers and supervisors and they should be treated equally great so if you are out there job searching…treat everyone you meet with your great customer service skills and it just might help you get hired!

Happy Labor Day!

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.

The Law of Attraction

Yes I do believe that when you put positive energy out into the world…positive energy and good things will come back to you…I am going to begin a course tonight to become an Advanced Law of Attraction Coach so I can expand the great info that I want to pass along to you…stay tuned and I will get back here as soon as possible with the new information.

Coach Loretta

Best Customer Service ~ Outback in Pinole, CA

As a Career Coach/Workshop Facilitator one of the main things that I have taught is how to

give great customer service. It seems to me that customer service is often lacking even

though the customer is putting out good money for services.¬†I don’t usually go out of my¬†

way to say much about the customer service I receive because most of the time, it simply is

not worth mentioning! However, my husband and I went out to dinner the other night at the

Outback Steakhouse in Pinole, CA and the customer service was off the charts in customer

care and satisfaction. I am not going to go into the details but I am going to say that there

was an aspect of the dinner that was not up to my standards and when I told our server, he

immediately offered to make it right. I accepted his idea for a resolution and within a few

moments, a young man came over and introduced himself as “Ian” and really went out of¬†his

way to find out exactly why I was not happy, and then proceeded to go into the kitchen and

cook my new food himself…to my specifications. He was gracious and customer oriented

and left me wanting to tell as many people as possible that they should go to Outback in

Pinole, CA and enjoy the experience because the customer service is the best! I will say it

one more time…”Ian, you are¬†one of the best customer service representatives that I have

encountered and I have posted it on my facebook page and now my blog and I have told

several people that Outback, Pinole is the place to go!” Thank you for the best dinner out we¬†

have had in a very long time!

Loretta Perry-Dawson

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 ~ In General it is a skill to build ~ Listening is a communication skill

I have spent a lot of time working on communication information because so much of what we do when we are job searching is about communication and it is so very important that we put our best foot forward and communicate effectively. I was working with someone recently and I asked him to tell me what communication means and he sat for a minute and then broke it down pretty succinctly in four words, well actually four if you want to be technical because one way to communicate has 2 words, those words are: talking, writing, listening and body language. Those are the primary ways to communicate, of course we have other ways such as sign language, volume, tone, etc…but they fall under the 3 categories because if you use sign language it is words in body language, so to speak. Tone comes under talking and of course writing covers all kinds of communication whether you are providing it or taking it in because you are reading it.

Let’s take a look at the importance of being a good listener. Listening is a skill that can be learned and should be learned because most people don’t listen,¬† people are often thinking of what they are going to say next and very often this causes them to miss significant points in a conversation. So what does that have to do with job searching? It has lots to do with job searching because if a prospective employer gives instructions or asks a question, you better listen so you can follow the directions or answer the question(s) correctly.

I want you to think back and honestly try to remember a time or times when you missed a point or answered something sort of off topic because you weren’t paying attention. Well, you certainly don’t want that to happen when you are talking with a prospective employer. People speak at about 125-175 words per minute but most people can listen intelligently at about 800 words per minute so it is fairly easy to see why a person’s mind would wander. Also people usually change about 75-80% of what you say into what they want to hear because people are not taught to listen. We hear things all the time, the sound of a train or siren, traffic going by, a dog barking outside, or children playing just out of sight…think about it…we hear things all the time but how often do we stop to really listen to what we hear? Our minds work very quickly and so it can be quite easy to let your mind wander into other things.

Also it is a stressful time when we are in an interview or talking with someone we want to work for and our minds can be running through many ideas, thoughts, fears, or statements we want to make sure we say, thus we might not be paying as close of attention as we should. It is critically important that we listen carefully to everything that an employer wants or says so we are on the same track.

So how do you become an active listener? Repeating back what you hear (or think you hear) is always a great way to make sure that you heard correctly. Asking questions in between a persons statements to you will help you stay focused. Inquiring if you understand them correctly by restating what they have said, in your own words, so they have a chance to let you know if you have gotten off track or if they maybe aren’t explaining things correctly. Of course nodding your head in agreement or using sounds (uh huh, oh, yes, mmmhmm)¬† or words to convey that you are listening is a good idea too.

We will talk more about listening skills in communication next time…see you then…

Communication ~ Resumes

I had a bit of an accident and haven’t been here for a bit, but things are fine and now let’s get to that post about resumes and the importance of categories. It doesn’t really matter what type of resume you are working with at some point in time the information needs to¬† be broken into categories. Generally the first time an employer looks at your resume he/she is going to give it about an 8 to 10 second glance so it they can’t grab onto something quickly, they could very well lose interest. The unfortunate truth is that employers are looking to screen you OUT so they can concentrate on the best of the best they receive. I know…nobody likes to hear that from me, but it is the truth so I might as well be the one to tell you. Better me than the employer that kicks back your resume…so let’s look at categories and how you make them work for you on your resume.

In the last blog I gave some job titles and then wrote down skills that were used in those job titles…and every job was almost the same all the way down the resume. This time we will work on breaking skills into categories to show that it is possible to NOT have everything sound the same.

This time we will take a resume that has lots of customer service including restaurant and clerical and bring it full circle to make a strong “all around” customer service/clerical/administrative resume

CUSTOMER SERVICE

  • Greeted guests and ensured that they were___________________________________________________
  • Answered customer questions and provided information _______________________________________
  • Resolved customer _____________________________________________________________________
  • Provided superior customer service; strong skills in ____________________________________________
  • Served customers their orders and made sure _________________________________________________
  • Responded quickly to customer ___________________________________________________________
  • Strong belief in ensuring customer _________________________________________________________

ADMINISTRATIVE/CLERICAL

  • Billing, meeting minutes, mail, filing, phones, computers, office machines, errands, and reception
  • Organized registration for ________________________________________________________
  • Coordinated and hosted events; organized ________________, such as a____________________ for participants, facilities, catering, signage, displays, _________________ requirements, printing and event _________________
  • Met with sponsors and organizing committees to plan __________________, to establish a_____________, or to review _______________________________ and event ___________________________________
  • Arranged the availability of __________________________________________________, and other event needs
  • Planned and developed __________________________________________ according to customer requirements
  • Conducted post-event evaluations to determine _______________________________________________

CASHIER

  • Received and disbursed _________________; kept records of _______________________________ transactions
  • Received checks and cash for ____________, verified amounts and examined ________________________
  • Explained, promoted, and sold ____________________________________________________________
  • Strong ability to multi-task in fast-paced environment by ______________________, ______________________, maintaining ____________________________________, and finishing all ______________________________
  • 100% accuracy rate for __________________________________________________________________

Another strategy is to use definite accomplishment statements to grab the attention of the reader…we will delve into that type of resume writing next time…but a quick example might be:

Flexible Leader: Operational turnaround in previous company –

  • Resulting in company‚Äôs elevated ___________________________________________________________
  • Successfully slashed over budget cost through _____________________, labor _______________,__ and

productivity ______________________

Communication ~ Interviewing ~ What are they looking for? (Part 3)

The question of the day was:

What are they looking for when they ask where you expect to be in 5 years?

They are hoping that you will want to grow with their company because it is very expensive for employers to hire and train new personnel but it is true that not everyone will be staying with the company so really consider what you want to be doing in five years before planning out this answer. Let’s take for example a person that I know that wanted to work in an office while going to college but expected to graduate and move on…and graduated but didn’t move on because she loved the job, people she worked with, and made decent money. The day she interviewed she answered the question honestly but threw in a curve. The answer was something like this…”Well, as you know I am still in school working on a degree in __________ and so when I graduate I think I will pursue my career of __________. I have always enjoyed working in an office doing administrative work and I know that I will give you 100% while I am here. Of course there is always the chance that the opportunities here will be worth my making this my choice for a career home.

Remember, if you are a student and you are taking a transition job and there is no upward path for you it is best to be honest and say that when you graduate you will pursue the career that you have been working toward.

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…

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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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