Do it Now! Your Future Self Will Thank You.

It’s that time of year when we make resolutions and promises about the great things we will achieve in the coming year.  But more often than not, the dream is morbidly deferred to its eternal resting place on the unfinished “maybe one day” to-do list.  This time of year should mean a chance at a new beginning.

To quote a modern form of communication, the meme, “Do Something today that your future self will thank you for.”

Taking the First Step

The message is simple yet deeply impactful.  Get started right now on your dreams, projects, or your career.  Nothing is worse than realizing what could have been if you had just gotten started.  Do not defer your dreams or plans any longer. 2018 will be here in 364 days.  Why not arrive at this time next year doing something more than what you are doing today? Perhaps it’s finishing a degree, acquiring a certification, a promotion, a new job, career change, or starting your own business.  Whatever your dreams or goals, you already have the most important ingredient, your vision.  Why not take it to the next level and get started?

Getting Started is Scary…

What we fear of doing most is usually what we most need to do. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yes, doing something new can be very scary and filled with lots of fear, mostly of the unknown.  But that’s exactly what fear is…the unknown.  Instead of thinking the worst, think of the unknown possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead.

I have crafted tried and true ways of getting started by turning your dreams into goals. These four steps are the first phase of making sure your goals actually get done this year.

Steps to Getting Started on Your Goals: 

1. Write down ALL of your goals.  Write down every goal – big and small. Knowing goals in your head is not the same as writing them down. Written goals are more real and you remember them better.   For example, if your goal is to acquire a degree, write something like “Earn a Bachelor’s degree.” It’s just that simple.

2. Prioritize each goal.  Setting a priority to each goal helps organize the list.  If you give each goal a priority it makes the intent real and gives it a sense of urgency.  For example, assign a letter to each goal such as A, B, or C where A is the highest priority.

3. Add due dates to each of your goals.  Adding a due date holds you accountable. Without a date, the goal becomes a suggestion.

4. Write the steps needed to achieve your goals.  All goals need an action plan or they have the risk of failure. Writing steps down makes the vision clearer about what investments (time, money, resources, etc.) are needed to actually make it happen.


SUCCESS TIP:
 Be sure to sit in a place or environment that is relaxing or inspiring to you when going through this process.  Try not to complete this process while multi-tasking or otherwise distracted so that you are focused.  You may need to revisit this list often at least every three months to recalibrate or mark off completed goals.

Your dreams are possible if you just take the first step.  You already have what it takes… YOU!  So go ahead, begin now.  This time next year, your 2018 self will be so thankful and grateful to your 2017 self for getting started.

In case you missed any of my blog posts or other resources, below are resources to help you get started on your future self.

30 Ways to Kick Your Career into High Gear

How to Calculate Your Asking Salary

Ms Resume Help Blog Talk Radio Show (Archives)

Ms Resume Help Blog


Holly Bunn
 is a career coach, resume writer, LinkedIn profile writer, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology. She is sought out as a subject matter expert on resumes, LinkedIn, job search, and career management. Holly has delivered job search workshops and written resumes for hundreds of job seekers who have secured interviews and landed jobs. Her clients experience success almost immediately after applying her winning techniques.  For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or holly@msresumehelp.com.

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5 Real Ways to Improve Your Resume

Everyone should update their resume a least once a year. If you’ve been updating your resume regularly you may not need an entire overhaul of your resume just a little housekeeping. If it’s been more than one year since your last resume update, you may need an overhaul. In the meantime, here are five tried and true ways to update your resume to get better results in your job search. No fluff here…..

1. Update the Headline – many people make the mistake of using the headers feature in MS Word to write their contact information. MS Word Headers can seriously cause formatting issues in an applicant tracking system making contact info unreadable. Instead simply type your Name, City/State/Zip (Province or Locale), an email address you check regularly, a working phone number, and LinkedIn address in the body, at the top of the your resume leaving a minimum of .5″ of margin space. Do not include street address to protect your identity. Keep it simple as seen in the below template example.

Header

2. Remove Objective Statements – Objective statements are so 1980 and a big signal that your resume is outdated. Instead add  the name of the job or job title that you are seeking. This replaces the objective statement and clearly states the job for which the resume is being submitted.

job title

3. Add a Technical Skills Inventory – Catalog a list of software that you are skilled at using. Most people forget to list the software, even when the employer clearly states the software requirements in the job posting. A simple inventory list is often enough. No matter the job, you should include a technology skill list. This list can also function as a keyword list for search engines.  50% of job seekers do not list a technical inventory on their resume. The technical skills list will separate you from your competition. Below is an example of a simple inventory list.

technical skills

 

For IT professionals, a technical skills list is particularly important. The list should be segmented into sections as seen in the below example:

technical skills3

4. Add Completed Training Courses to the Education section if they are relevant to the job you seek. Employers like to see candidates who are committed to improving their skill set and skill sets should be renewed every 3-5 years. This means you should be adding a degree, certification, or training to your resume within this time frame. Training can be a great way to supplement the absence of a degree or certification on your resume. The training can be on and off the job. It’s also a great way to supplement the time in between starting and finishing a degree or certification.  www.lynda.com is a great way to complete training at a low cost and you can add it to your LinkedIn profile automatically upon completion. Below is an example training list for an aspiring project manager who is not certified.

training list

5. Remove “References Available Upon Request.”  This statement is also from the 80’s. Believe it or not, candidates still include this statement at the bottom of resumes. Most companies today are aware that they can and often will request references. You are wasting valuable resume space by making an obvious statement. So do yourself a favor and remove this statement from your resume.

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Holly Bunn is a career coach, resume writer, LinkedIn profile writer, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology. She is sought after as a subject matter expert on resumes, LinkedIn, job search, and career management. Holly has delivered job search workshops and written resumes for hundreds of job seekers who have secured interviews and landed jobs. Her clients experience success almost immediately after applying her winning techniques. For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or holly@msresumehelp.com.

Want more job search and career tips? Join my mailing list: http://bit.ly/msresumehelptips


Career Talk with Holly Bunn Online Radio Show
. Click here: Ms Resume Help BlogTalk Radio Show (Home)


Join the conversion!
  Join the LinkedIn Group, “Career Talk with Holly Bunn” to post your questions, get answers, updates, and information about the show.

 

30 Ways to Kick Your Career Into High Gear

Everyone should have career goals but not everyone formulates an effective plan (if any plan at all). The New Year is a good time to reflect on your career goals and plan for the future. After all, the only person responsible for your success is you. If you wait until an annual review or when you suddenly need a new job to take stock of your accomplishments, polish up a skill set, or make networking connections, you put avoidable pressure on yourself and make it that much harder. Working on your career and yourself throughout the year is being a good steward of your success and will pay off in the end.

Here is a comprehensive list of ways to kick start your career today and throughout the year.

  1.  Update your resume – This should be done at least once per year. Here is a post I’ve written on accomplishment based resumes to get you started.  http://bit.ly/1Qq31TR
  2. Update your LinkedIn Profile – A stale or unfinished profile is a dead profile. Read more on why you should update and/or finish your profile http://bit.ly/1NL8bVT.
  3. Update your internal company profile (most people forget this) – Companies often look internally before they post externally. If your profile is unfinished or blank you could miss an opportunity.
  4. Learn a new skill set/take a class (skill sets renew every 5 years)  – www.Lynda.com  is a great way to learn a new skill at a low cost. The bonus is you can add  finished courses it to your LinkedIn profile.
  5. Finish your degree, certification, and/or training  – you are worth the investment, your future success depends on it.
  6. Set personal career goals – “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin
  7. Read and finish a book related to your career or skill set – Knowledge is power. The more you know the stronger your position among your competition.
  8. Write a book – sharing is caring. Great ideas should be recorded for posterity. What better way to establish yourself as a thought leader than to write a book? Here is an easy way to get started http://goinswriter.com/tips-writing-book/.
  9. Take a vacation (without kids) – Vacations reduce stress and offer a time of revitalization.
  10. Volunteer – According to Psychology today, Volunteering in your current career industry—or an area you’d like to transition into—is an especially effective way to leverage social connections for career gain.
  11. Do someone a five minute favor each day  – paying it forward brings good Karma and builds character. Learn more about the art of the five minute favor here: http://bit.ly/1Qq3Bkq
  12. Find a career mentor – surround yourself with successful people.
  13. Be a career mentor – When you share your knowledge with someone with less experience, you can change the world for them.
  14. Stop procrastinating today – your future self will thank you this time next year.
  15. Implement your plans start to finish – your future self will thank you this time next year.
  16. Keep your word – A kept word creates integrity, reliability, respect, and trust. People often do business with whom they trust.
  17. Find an accountability partner – This person will keep you honest  and hold you accountable for achieving your goals (or kick you in the rear if you need it). They can also be your biggest cheerleader.
  18. Be an accountability partner –  Being a career big brother/sister to someone with less experience than you is a great way to pass on the knowledge.
  19. Save money for retirement now (IRA, Annuity, 401K, etc) – Social Security will not be enough.
  20. Expand your network on and offline – Facebook friends don’t count. Start with LinkedIn.
  21. Listen more, talk less
  22. Under promise, over deliver
  23. Send thank you notes or email
  24. Invest in one good high quality suit  – dress for the position you seek.  Here’s my Pinterest page for inspiration http://bit.ly/1Qq3ZQ1
  25. Invest in one good high quality pair of shoes only for interviews and business – nothing kills a great outfit faster than a run down or low quality shoe.
  26. Create a budget and stick to it – living outside of your means can kill your future dreams.
  27. Create an online profile – your personal brand is your message when you can’t speak. Take control of the message by driving people to your personal profile. Start with a profile here : http://about.me
  28. Start a blog – A blog is a great way to establish thought leadership and can be a precursor to a book.
  29. Create personal business cards – when personal networking, your employer’s card may not always be appropriate to give out to personal connections. Great cards start here: www.moo.com
  30. Have a plan B – be prepared in case of emergency.

 

Join the conversation!  Join the LinkedIn Group, “Career Talk with Holly Bunn” to post your questions, get answers to your career questions, show updates, and other career related information.

Want more job search and career tips? Join the mailing list: http://bit.ly/msresumehelptips

Visit my blog for more articles like this one:  https://msresumehelp.wordpress.com

Career Talk with Holly Bunn Online Radio Show, Click here: Ms Resume Help BlogTalk Radio Show (Home)

Holly Bunn is a career coach, resume writer, LinkedIn profile writer, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology. She is sought out as a subject matter expert on resumes, LinkedIn, job search, and career management. Holly has delivered job search workshops and written resumes for hundreds of job seekers who have secured interviews and landed jobs. Her clients experience success almost immediately after applying her winning techniques. For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or holly@msresumehelp.com.

3 Tips on Turning Black Friday Into Job Search Gold!

Last year I offered a few job search tips that were better than a stuffed turkey on my blog.  This year I’m offering up 3 more holidays job search tips that could turn your Black Friday into new job gold.

Now, after the turkey and all the fixings are long gone, your job search should still be going strong.  “But Holly, no one is hiring during the holidays.” Wrong! Employers are still out there looking for new candidates, even during the holiday season.  Many job seekers take a vacation from the job hunt during the holidays.  Whoa, what a huge mistake this can be for many!  The savvy job seeker (hint -hint) should be using the holidays to get a leg up on the competition.  So, here are my 3 best tips for the holiday job search with all the stuffings:

  1. No Vacations! In the job search there are no vacations during the holiday season. You could be missing an opportunity.  Employers do not stop posting jobs or reviewing resumes during the holidays.  More importantly, the competition is lower during this time because many have stopped looking.
  2. Black Friday is Apply Day. Many employers post jobs on Fridays and Black Friday is no different.  Many job posts for this coming Friday will be business as usual.  Use Black Friday as a time to apply for open positions while your competition is shopping. Trust me, recruiters will be checking applications on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to review resumes from the weekend.  First in often wins.
  3. Digitize your resume. Did you know that the wrong font and file format can kill a good resume?  Get your resume ready for the technology with a simple task.  Change resume font to one of these fonts when you are asked to copy and paste your resume into an online profile/application: Arial, Calibri, or Garamond. Use no more than 12 points for either font – 11 is preferred.  Stay away from Times/Time Roman as it often translates into unreadable text.  The best font is Courier New as this is a universal database font.   It may not be pretty in the UI (user interface) but it’s a beauty to the software that is managing your resume.  Expert resume tip: When copying and pasting your resume into an application, remove all formatting (bullets, bolds, underlines, etc.) and flush all text to the left.  Removing the formatting makes it easier to read in the database and will increase your odds of getting past the technology.

Beat the crowds this Black Friday by following these doorbuster job search tips.

Join the conversation!  Join the LinkedIn Group, “Career Talk with Holly Bunn” to post your questions, get answers to your career questions, show updates, and other career related information.

Want more job search and career tips? Join my mailing list: http://bit.ly/msresumehelptips

Visit my blog for more articles like this one:  https://msresumehelp.wordpress.com

Career Talk with Holly Bunn Online Radio Show, Click here: Ms Resume Help BlogTalk Radio Show (Home)

Holly Bunn is a career coach, resume writer, LinkedIn profile writer, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology. She is sought out as a subject matter expert on resumes, LinkedIn, job search, and career management. Holly has delivered job search workshops and written resumes for hundreds of job seekers who have secured interviews and landed jobs. Her clients experience success almost immediately after applying her winning techniques. For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or holly@msresumehelp.com.

13 Winning Tips when Applying for an Internal Job

smiling-business-person

Applying for an internal job is easy because you have already worked for the company, right? Uh…Not so much.  Being an internal applicant doesn’t give you an “in”vantage against other applicants.  You often have to take extra steps in the process that an external applicant does not. It is very important that you employ the same tactics you would as if applying for an external position. Bring your “A” game.  The job could depend on it.

According to Forbes online Job Seekers should do 7 things when applying for internal jobs:

  1. Take the process seriously – Prepare for the interview.
  2. Speak to employees already on the job – find out what they think about the job.
  3. Meet with HR/HR Business Partner – discuss the job’s responsibilities and requirements.
  4. Let your manager know – many companies require this
  5. Get your manager’s support – they are your best sponsor/reference
  6. Introduce yourself to the HM – let them know you’ve applied for the position.
  7. Send a Thank you note after the interview – be sure it’s customized.

My advice3
I wholly agree with all the steps Forbes mentioned.  In addition to this information, here is how I advise my clients on navigating through the internal job process:

8. Determine if you are qualified and meet the minimum requirements for the position.  Just as you would for an external job, be sure you are at least an 80% match for the job. Listen to Episode 13 for details about how to calculate the 80%.

9. Know the notice period – it could be up to 90 days at some companies.  Some company policies also require that you are in your current position for a specific period of time (6 months, or 1 year, etc).

Business communication. Two cheerful business men talking to each other and gesturing

10. When you inform your manager, have a transition plan ready.   To give yourself an advantage, have a transition plan ready for when you leave your current position to help with the transition. Offer to be available for a specific period of time while you migrate to your new position. While creating a transition plan may not be your responsibility, creating one may decrease the anxiety of backfilling your current position. This sets you up for success.  This helps you beat out your competitors.   

resume11. Prepare a current, tailored resume. You should not assume that you don’t need a resume or that that the hiring manager knows your career experience and accomplishments.   Many companies ask for resumes from internal candidates to compare skill sets against the requirements for the position. Your resume is an opportunity to show you are a perfect fit for the position so invest in creating a value added resume. Listen to Episode 6 for tips on tailoring your resume.

Is_there_such_thing_as_a_bad_charity_-_shh_photo12. Maintain strict confidentiality – Do not tell anyone at the job you are applying for an open position – not even your best friend at work – especially if you haven’t told your manager.  Why?  Save yourself from uncomfortable feelings in front of an audience in case you don’t get the job.  If you tell just one person, chances are the information will get out.

image001113. Don’t complicate the application process with politics. Follow company procedure for applying for an open position.  It’s when you deviate from the policy to accommodate political, emotional, or social nuances that could disqualify you from the process (by not following policy) or turn the application process into a legal matter – and everyone should avoid both. Contact your local HR representative for procedures on applying for internal positions.

 Ending thought:  Treat the internal process the same as the external job process by taking it seriously. Follow internal policies and tell your manager even if you are not required. Submit a current, tailored resume.  Send a thank you note.  Following these tips will lead you to greater success.

red checkmarkTask for the week: update your internal profile within your company and your resume.

imagesCareer Tip of the Week: Review your education and training on your resume and LinkedIn profile.  Be sure to update your skill set every five years (new degree, new certification, new training, etc). Visit Lynda.com to take a course, then add it to your LinkedIn profile as a way to add a recent training on a new skill.

For more on this topic, click to listen to this week’s episode on my BlogTalkRadio Show, “Career Talk with Holly Bunn”, Applying for Internal Jobs

Want more job search and career tips? Join my mailing list: http://bit.ly/msresumehelptips

Career Talk with Holly Bunn Online Radio Show,Saturdays at 12:30pm ET.Click here: Ms Resume Help BlogTalk Radio Show (Home)

Join the conversion!  Join the LinkedIn Group, “Career Talk with Holly Bunn” to post your questions, get answers, updates, and information about the show.

Holly Bunn is a career coach, resume writer, LinkedIn profile writer, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology. She is sought out as a subject matter expert on resumes, LinkedIn, job search, and career management. Holly has delivered job search workshops and written resumes for hundreds of job seekers who have secured interviews and landed jobs. Her clients experience success almost immediately after applying her winning techniques.  For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or holly@msresumehelp.com.

You Created a LinkedIn Profile, Now What?

LinkedIn is not just another social media channel.  I would argue that it’s the most important social media channel for your career.  This weekend on my BlogTalkRadio show, I shared my best tips on what to do with your LinkedIn profile once you have created one.  Very often, people create a LinkedIn profile (or have one created for them) and forget about it or only log on when searching for a job. In reality, you are already behind the eight ball if you log on only when you need a job or once in a blue moon.  The name of the game on LinkedIn is engagement if you want to be successful on LinkedIn. Below are a few highlights from Episode 12 on what to do now that your profile is created.

What is LinkedIn?

If you’re a social media novice (or living under a rock) you may not know the purpose of LinkedIn.  It is a social media platform for professionals to connect. LinkedIn is the HubSpot for building relationships to achieve goals and also the number one place where businesses go to look for people to hire. Most people on LinkedIn connect with the intention of doing business together in some shape or form.  Think of it as the business edition of Facebook (but it’s not like Facebook at all).   Refer to Episode 6 – LinkedIn and Resumes to find out more on LinkedIn and how to get started.

 Top 5 things you should do when you log into LinkedIn

1. Check LinkedIn for new messages, or notifications twice per day. This takes seconds if you use the app and even faster if you use the desktop version. Log on once in the morning or at lunchtime and once at the end of your work day. Why? If you are in the job market, check messages often and respond quickly. Do not rely on just the email notifications to alert you when you have a new or incoming message. Emails often get missed in the mix of all the emails you get on a daily basis.

LinkedIn also has a feature in the upper right corner of the home page, “Ways to Stay Connected” and “People You May Know.”  These features are an awesome way to congratulate people on new jobs, work anniversaries, and a quick, easy way to “Like” or “Comment” on your connections’ achievements.

2. Post a status update 2-3 times per week (ideally every other day). Status updates can range from news articles, blog posts to funny, business related or motivational memes/photos (keep religion and politics out of it – leave that for Facebook), etc.  Best days to post are Monday mornings between 8:30 – 9:30am, Friday mornings before 8:30 -9:30am, and any day Monday-Thursday around 5pm. Use sites like Buffer and HootSuite to help you schedule posts automatically.

Share other connections’ status updates, articles, posts, or pictures (be sure to give them a “like” while you’re at it) Sharing shows people that you are open to others’ ideas and helping someone.

3. Give and thank connections for endorsements.  Endorsements are a way to recognize your 1st-degree connections’ skills. They also let your connections validate the strengths found on your own profile. Skill endorsements are a simple and effective way of building your professional brand and engaging your network.

Some recruiters use endorsements as a way to validate the skill set you are claiming on your resume. If a large number of people have endorsed you for a skill, chances are you have that skill.

4. Use the LinkedIn “Jobs” feature to look for open positions. LinkedIn does a nice job of suggesting jobs on almost every page on side banners. You can also set up job search email notifications on the “Jobs” page, save searches, save open jobs, and  if you apply for a job on LinkedIn it evens saves the job application. Please note that employers cannot see your job search activity and the jobs page.

 LinkedIn allows you to use your profile to apply for jobs. I know will be tempted to click the button because it’s fast. Consider submitting a tailored resume (include your LinkedIn profile on the resume).  If you don’t submit a tailored resume, you could be wasting your time. If you’ve wondered why you are not getting responses, the one size fits all approach could be the reason. You are wasting opportunities if you are not using a tailored resume to apply.

5. Make 10 connections per day to grow your network: Start connecting with people close to you, from work, high school, college, friends, family, people you meet at events, gatherings, etc. Then use Gmail, Email, phone address book, and Facebook contacts. You can also use the “People you may know” feature to connect with people.

Also consider connecting with Recruiters, LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networker) or Open Networkers, Industry experts (connect upwards). LIONS are a great resource when it comes to connecting. A lot of recruiters are LIONS and they love connecting with potential job seekers. The more candidates, the larger the search network, the quicker they can find someone to fill an open position.

Be sure to personalize your connection message whenever possible. I will admit that LinkedIn is not a fan of connecting with masses of people who you don’t know. The strategy I recommend to my clients is connecting with people who you have something in common or common interests. Refer to Episode 2 – LinkedIn Connections for more information.

Groups are a great way to stay connected and engage with your network. You are able to make connections with other group members.   As a matter of fact, please join me in the LinkedIn group for “Career Talk with Holly Bunn” to get show updates, career advice, and special offers for career services.

Who to connect with on LinkedIn … based on your goals

  • College bound High school students:   Connect with college admissions professionals and professors at the school you are targeting.  In your message tell them you want to expand your network at the college or school.  This will help you create a positive connection long before you apply.

    Parents, if you want to give your child a leg up, help your High Schooler by creating a LinkedIn profile.  I will do a BlogTalkRadio show about this in the future.
  • College Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores: connect with recruiters, managers, and professionals at companies you would like to work for.  Ask them for advice about intern opportunities if you are still in school (sophomore or Junior).  College seniors should connect with recruiters and managers at the beginning of your senior year no later than six months prior to graduation.  The connection will establish a positive relationship before you graduate. I will also do a future BlogTalkRadio show about college students and LinkedIn.
  • If you are in job search mode up to the Director Level: Start by searching for Recruiters, Talent Advisors, Sourcers, Talent Managers, etc. In the search results, start with people with whom you already have a connection, the higher the number, the better. Tailor your connection message and mention the connections in common, etc.
  • Senior Executives: Connect with your peers and/or make upward connections at the companies you are targeting.  C-levels connect with board members of target organizations, venture capitalists, investors, and peer C-Levels. Did you know that the top 5% of Fortune 500 executives are on LinkedIn and use it strictly to make connections for business?
  • Business owners/Entrepreneurs – connect with potential clients/customers, vendors, suppliers, social media professionals, bloggers in your industry. Invite them to follow your company pages.  Also follow competitor’s company pages.  Keep an eye on them and stay one step ahead.  Follow all their social for that matter.

LinkedIn is a valuable tool for success.  And like any tool, it’s as only as good as you use it. If you are going to spend time on social media, spend it on the channel that will enhance your career and lead you to success.

Join the conversion!  Join the LinkedIn Group, “Career Talk with Holly Bunn” to post your career questions, get answers, updates, and information about your job search and the show.

Want more job search and career tips? Join my mailing list: http://bit.ly/msresumehelptips

Career Talk with Holly Bunn Online Radio Show,Saturdays at 12:30pm ET. Click here to learn more about the show: Ms Resume Help BlogTalk Radio Show (Home)

Holly Bunn is a resume writer, career coach, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology. She is sought out as a subject matter expert on resumes, LinkedIn, job search, and career management. Holly has delivered job search workshops and written resumes for hundreds of job seekers who have secured interviews and landed jobs. Her clients experience success almost immediately after applying her winning techniques.  For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or holly@msresumehelp.com.

How to Ace Your Face-to-Face Interview (Show Notes)

The face-to-face interview can be daunting, even frightening for some. Often we have tried and true rituals that help us prepare and get rid of those awful jitters so we can ace the interview.  This past weekend, I covered How to Ace the Face-to-Face Interview on my show, Career Talk with Holly Bunn.  Here are a few highlights from the show.

3 Tips on How to Prepare for the Face-to-Face Interview

feb-10-interview-blunders

I discussed the basics of preparing for a phone interview in my last blog post, How to Rock Your Phone Interview.  Below are a few additional steps to take for the Face-to-Face interview:

  1. Create at least 3 CAR statements (different than those you used in the Phone interview)  Challenge, Action, Result stories.   These stories describe accomplishments that were problems or situations that you have solved.  Create stories that demonstrate your ability to do the job.  After you’ve written these stories, practice speaking them out loud so that you are comfortable with the story.
  2. Research the company for current events (in the last 24-48 hours) and be prepared to talk about or incorporate them into your interview.
  3. Travel the interview route/directions the day/week before the interview (if you have a local interview).  Google isn’t always right when it comes to directions.  Map the route before the interview by traveling the route.  Try this during your rush hour to help determine your commute.

TOUGH QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

interview-questions2

Tell me About Yourself?

How to Answer:  Talk about your career from the most current position through the last five years.  Include education, certifications, and training relevant to the position. The answer to this question is not an autobiography.  Reiterate the high points on your resume.

How NOT to answer: Do not talk about anything from your personal life, such as how you spend time with your children, volunteer organizations, hobbies, favorite color, food, etc.

maxresdefault
What are your strengths? Why should I hire you?

How to Answer:  Both of these questions will have the same answer. Talk about your top 3 strengths related to the job. You should have identified your strengths prior to the job interview through your preparation. I cover this in my last episode on Rocking Your Phone Interview.  If you’ve been asked any of these questions during the interview, answer the same every time with your top 3 strengths.  The repetition will work in your favor.

How NOT to Answer: Stay away from cliche answers to this question: “I am a great communicator, I am a people person, I am a leader…”   These answers and those alike are vague answers and could be relevant to anyone for any job. You must present strengths related to the job.

17etwzyirhv2djpgWhat are your weaknesses?

How to Answer: Consider that your weakness is the experience that you do not have related to the job.  This is actually an opportunity to learn. Pick a skill/weakness that is possible to overcome and discuss the steps you are taking to tackle it. Example: “I’m not great at Microsoft Project and I am taking a class on Lynda.com to increase my knowledge of this software”

How NOT to Answer: Do not to talk about personality traits and never try to fake out the weakness question by turning a strength into a weakness.  Employers see this from a mile away and are quite turned off by this type of trickery.

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Tell me about a problem you’ve had and how you solved it. 

How to answer: Use one or more of your C-A-R stories to describe the Challenge, Action, and Result (in that order).  You should already have these stories prepared prior to the interview. Remember to be excited when discussing these stories, they are accomplishments. Attitude is everything.

How NOT to answer:  Do not pick stories from your previous or current job that are painful or that paint a negative picture of you. Often a natural reaction to this question is choosing a story that is painful.  Fight this natural urge by preparing CAR stories that are accomplishment based, prior to the interview.

Career-Ladder-Looking-Ahead-MSWhere do you see yourself in five years?

How to Answer:  Talk about career growth as it relates to the job.  Also, be sure your answer is attainable.  Example: I am applying for a management position now and in five years I hope to be a Senior Manager or Director.

How NOT to answer: Do not talk about career growth unrelated to the position which you are applying.  Example: I am applying for this management position now, but in five years I hope to have my own nail salon.  This will signal the employer that you do not plan to stay with the company long term.

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10 Face-to-Face Interview Rules to Follow 

  1. Check bad attitudes at the door – prepare to walk in knowing you have the job, it’s a matter of verifying this.  Positive attitude is everything.  Leave all negativity at the door.  
  2. No cell phones – turn them on silent, not vibrate when you enter the interview.  And please don’t stop an interview to take a call.
  3. Use the bathroom before – don’t disturb the momentum by going to the bathroom.
  4. No bad breath – do not eat garlic, onions, or other smelly foods; do not drink alcohol or coffee; do not smoke before the interview.  Your breath will reek and they will smell you before they hear you.  People will remember how you smelled more than what you said. So, pop a breath mint before you walk in the door for your appointment.
  5. No perfume, cologne, or body spray: you never know who will be allergic to your fragrance or who will find it offensive in smell.  Leave the smell goods at home.
  6. Smile – the energy is transferable.  No scary Stepford wife smile.
  7. Sit up straight in your chair almost in the middle of the chair.  Don’t lean back or slouch – this is often associated with laziness.
  8. Do not bad mouth your former/current employer or manager.
  9. Tell the truth – no lies (not even little white lies), no fudging the facts.  All lies will catch up with you. If you don’t know the answer, say so and get back with them.
  10. Dress the part – colors are psychological. Black – associated with authority, Gray – associated with confidence, Blue – associated with loyalty and corporate environments.  Visit my Pinterest Page on Interview and Office attire to get some ideas on what to wear.

your hiredEnding thought:  The key to acing the face-to face interview is preparation and attitude – be calm and be yourself.  Preparation helps instill confidence so you don’t have to search for answers. Remember, people buy from whom they like – so present your best self during the interview and be optimistic. 

In case you missed the show, click here now to listen to the entire episode: How to Ace Your Face-to-Face Interview 

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Holly Bunn is a resume writer, career coach, and motivational speaker with more than 15 years of experience in Human Resources, recruiting, and technology.  Her clients have secured interviews with Fortune 100 companies.  She is sought after as a subject matter expert on LinkedIn and has delivered workshops and speeches to hundreds of job seekers.  For more information on career coaching or resume help, contact Holly at (305) 791-6965 or holly@msresumehelp.com.