How can you stand out and stand ABOVE your competition in an interview?

How can you stand out and stand ABOVE your competition in an interview? And how can you remain calm and confident especially if you really want or NEED THE JOB? Do you know what your interviewer really wants to know?

 

Here are a few things your Interviewer REALLY wants to know about you:

 

* Where are you a risk? Every new employee is a risk to a company. Whether it’s a specific requirement that you don’t meet, or a skill you don’t have, or potentially being overqualified for the position, or a potential risk for relocating, or potentially being sick or pregnant and at risk for taking a medical leave of absence, etc. So, spend some time thinking about where YOU are a risk.

 

During the interview, beat the interviewer to the punch by stating where you a risk and reassuring him why it won’t be a problem. For example, when I was interviewing with my current company, I had six rounds of interviews. During the final interview with the VP of the division and my future manager, the VP asked where I was a risk. My future manager responded that my brother worked in the same division. The VP then asked if I would be reporting to my brother, which of course, the answer was no. You could immediately see relief across the VP’s face when he realized that the risk was identified, and that it really wasn’t a risk at all.

 

Most interviewers are not as direct as the VP, but the concern is still there. The point is that you need to be able to discuss the area(s) where you are a risk and then immediately follow-up with why it shouldn’t be a problem.

 

Addressing your risks is also the reasoning behind the question, “Tell me about any weaknesses you have.” When you are asked this question, I recommend that you respond by bringing up an area for improvement, but quickly add what you are already doing to strengthen that skill.

 

For example, let’s say that you are interviewing for a position for a Sales VP and the position advertises that the applicant should know a specialized software application. If you are not familiar with this tool, you could say that you do not have a lot of experience with it but that you are taking an on-line training class to sharpen your skills (but only say this if it’s true!)

 

This approach shows that you are serious about your professional development and take the initiative to grow and improve your skills.

 

* Does the interviewer like you? Will you fit in with the corporate culture?

 

This is an area that you really cannot take personally. Either the culture and the team are a good fit for you, or they aren’t. Again, it is better to know up front during the interview, than to have a pit in your stomach every day as you walk into your new office.

 

I was once interviewing with the VP of Sales at a TV station. After 1 ½ hours of interviewing, I really couldn’t tell if he wanted me or not for the position. So, I simply asked, “Do you think I would be a good fit with your team?” He told me that he didn’t think so because he allows his team to vent, kick the garbage can and curse like sailors in the office since they get beaten up outside of the office so much. I appreciated his candor because the reality is that I would not be happy or successful in an environment like that.

 

During your next interview, be prepared to discuss your professional style and work ethics. Your interviewer is trying to get a clear picture on whether you would be a good “fit” for her team. Also, be sure that the ways you dress, speak and act align to the company and the position for which you are seeking. Is the company formal (think Wall Street, a top law firm, or a hospital), or is it more informal (think Google, Starbucks or the YMCA)? Perhaps the company is informal, but the position is formal (think sales, human resources or executive management.)

 

* Will you be able to work out the compensation/benefits package? This is usually the final and perhaps one of the easiest areas to determine if you are a good match for the job role. Be prepared to talk about the SALARY RANGE that you are expecting. I do not recommend giving an exact salary since the benefits package almost always includes room for negotiating vacation days, stock allowance, bonus payouts and starting salary. But you should be able to give a salary range that is acceptable.

 

Since you have one shot to make a great connection with the interviewer, it’s always a smart idea to visit with an interviewing coach to get customized strategies and MORE INSIDER TIPS to strengthen your interviewing skills.

You only have ONE SHOT at making a great first impression

Interviewing is intimidating, nerve wracking, and can make you feel like you’re two heartbeats away from having a heart attack. You only have ONE SHOT at making a great first impression so what can you say that will push you up to the TOP SPOT and get you the job offer?

 

Preparing your answers for an interview is so much simpler when you know what the interviewer really wants to know about you. There are key questions going through your interviewer’s mind and once you understand those questions, you can be more prepared, more confident and feel less anxiety during the interview process. So let’s take a look at what your Interviewer REALLY wants to know about you:

 

* Can you do the job? Do you have the skills, knowledge, and training to successfully perform the job? These questions are usually very black and white. Either you have what it takes to succeed in the position or not. Have you analyzed the job description and fully understand the job requirements? Do you really have what it takes to succeed in this position? If yes, then be prepared to answer specific questions about your qualifications. And if you don’t, then wouldn’t you rather know now in the interview than have the stress of being stuck in a new job where you can’t meet the expectations?

 

You should have pre-selected “personal career stories” that highlight your professional successes. Practice saying out loud what your skills, strengths and areas of expertise are. Your answers should be specific and focus on results and accomplishments.

 

* What “extras” do you bring? For most job openings, about 90% of the work has been defined. In other words, a hiring manager knows about 90% of the work that the new employee will be responsible for, but not the remaining 10%. That is because they want to know, “What can you (the new employee) ADD to the position?”

 

What specialized skills or areas of expertise do you have that can ADD VALUE to the company? For example, if you’re going for a job as a Public Relations manager, you may have some experience in marketing or desktop publishing that is not required for the job, but might be valuable to the company. This “extra” skill may position you as the TOP candidate for the job.

 

Before you go into a job interview, think about the additional skills and talents that you can bring to the position. Be sure to work these skills into the conversation, but only after you have discussed those skills and qualifications that are REQUIRED for the job.

 

Interview coaching can help hone your interview skills.

What have you done lately to drive your career forward?

As your career coach, I need to ask you “What have you done lately to drive your career forward?”

 

Great jobs don’t just land in your lap. You need to know what you want and then go after it!

 

Have you identified a job role that leverages your passions and strengths? Have you had your resume professionally critiqued and customized to meet the requirements of your dream job? Have you been setting up informational interviews to learn more about different job roles and industries?

 

So much of having a successful career change depends on your ability to interview well. You may spend months aggressively going after job opportunities – but it all comes down to the last 60-minutes of interviewing that determines the fate of your career.

 

Want help to make you stand out from your competition? Learn how to showcase your strengths, transferable skills, leadership abilities, accomplishments, and manage perceptions in your next interview in “Interviewing Smart: Insider Secrets to Getting the Job” Guide.

10 Tips to a Fast Career Change

It’s true that the economy and the job market aren’t doing well, BUT companies are still hiring! Just check out theLadders.com, and your local Business Journal for a list of companies looking to add great talent to their line-up.

It’s not enough these days to put your resume up on Monster.com and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring. You have to work at finding a job, and making yourself stand out from your competition. So to help move into a new job fast, here are ten (10) career change success strategies. (The first five were covered in a previous blog post Bullet Proof Your Career with 5 Key Strategies. Below are strategies 6 through 10… put them all together and you have 10 simple yet effective career success tips.

6. Network strategically. Many people don’t enjoy networking. It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and you don’t know what to say! So here’s a tip – when you meet someone who could potentially hire you (or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you), be sure to talk about the kind of work you enjoy doing, and the results you’ve achieved for other companies.

For example, you could say something like, “I like to create marketing campaigns that include TV and radio ads. In fact, the last campaign I worked on generated a 4% increase in sales for the customer!”

7. Power up your resume. Customize your resume for every job you apply for. Yes, it’s a pain, but it works! Showcase those skills and requirements that are listed in the job description. Think of it this way, the hiring manager doesn’t want to know about every skill you have – they only want to know if you have the skills to do their job.

If you don’t meet every requirement listed in the job description – don’t worry! Very few people do. A great rule of thumb is to match at least 60-percent of the requirements. If you can do that – then I say to “go for it!”

8. Focus on results! On your resume, in your interviews, and in your networking opportunities – instead of focusing on responsibilities, talk about your achievements. Also, try to quantify your achievements with a number, dollar, or percentage.

For example, don’t just say that you managed a team of 9 people in the sales department. Instead, say that you led a sales team that generated $250,000 a year for the past 3 years! This says that you take your job seriously, and take your career seriously!

9. Interview smart. Everyone dreads the big question, “What are your weaknesses?” The best way to answer this question is to identify an area that you’re already working on, and say what you’re doing to strengthen that area.

For example, if the job calls for someone who can create PowerPoint presentations and you don’t know how to do that – then maybe you could say something like, “I want to learn more about how to create PowerPoint presentations so I’m taking the Microsoft on-line training course.” But of course, only say that if you’re actually doing it!

10. If you’re stuck – get professional help! Never let your career sit on shelf longer than it has to – it means thousands of dollars every month in missed income that you should be making! So if you’re not getting results, then get help. Invest a couple hundred dollars in some professional advice wherever you need it –

 

Great companies are ALWAYS looking to hire great talent – and that means you! So, if you’re serious about getting into a new career, then follow these five tips, power up your confidence, and believe in yourself! You’ll significantly increase your chances of getting hired, and decrease the time it takes you to move into your new job!

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Online degrees, like the information assurance masters degree, could help you acquire the right knowledge for a successful career change, without sacrificing your valuable time.

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Bullet Proof Your Career with 5 Key Strategies

The job market is a little dicey these days, and you need to be career savvy in order to keep your job, or get into a new one.

 

So how can you bullet proof your career so that you stay in high demand with people who could potentially hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you?

 

A new client I’ll call “Shawn” recently called me and said that he had gone through a change in management which resulted in losing his 7-year position as a Leading Program Manager of a prestigious high tech company.

 

He told me that after one year of searching, he had taken the “only job he could get” which was working part-time in the IT department for another company. After talking for a few minutes, it became painfully clear why Shawn wasn’t able to get back on his career path.

 

1. Keep yourself marketable. Shawn shared that the high tech industry was starting to require a project management certification for project and program managers. However, Shawn wasn’t stepping up to get the required training.

 

What he WANTED was to get re-hired as a Program Manager, and then have the new company pay for his certification. What he GOT was two years sitting on the bench without a job.

 

Never let your career sit on a shelf longer than 6-months. Never! Keep the same drive and discipline that you had when you were employed. Get focused. Get a plan. Make it happen. Wallowing isn’t allowed. Instead, seek out opportunities to keep yourself marketable. Use your “in-between” jobs time to get advanced training and education to help advance your career. Consider expanding your skill set by freelancing or consulting. Join an association’s Board of Directors, or at minimum, a committee. These strategies will help keep you visible, expand your network, and keep yourself marketable.

 

2. Fish where the fish are. Another mistake Shawn was making was not having a solid job search strategy. Where are your potential employers? Find out by reading trade magazines, industry publications, company websites and classified ads in your local newspapers to learn which industries are hiring, which companies are hiring, and what the hot jobs are.

 

Start attending industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events and association meetings. Also, join professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.com (you can connect to me!) to get connected to industry leaders and company decision makers. Make it a priority to get connected, and stay connected, to people who can inspire you, hire you, or introduce you to potential employers.

 

3. Be a resource to others. Never give the impression that you’re hungry for a job. Instead, you want to be seen as someone who drives initiatives, solves problems and leads teams. This is one reason why you want to consult, freelance, or volunteer while you’re in between jobs.

 

Get personal with your professional network. Send out links to reports, case studies, press releases and websites that you think might interest those in your network. Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers. Influencers are drawn to those who are resourceful.

 

4. Give your resume the “it” factor. When it comes to resumes – looks are everything! If you’ve been applying for jobs that you’re qualified for, but you’re not getting the interviews, then you need a stronger resume.

 

Hiring managers can have stacks and stacks of resumes piled high on their desk which means that if your resume doesn’t have the “it” factor – you’re toast. Don’t lose out on a great job because your resume doesn’t stand up against your competition. Instead, invest in a professional resume critique. You’ll get specific strategies based on your goals, strengths and accomplishments to get the attention of hiring managers and put yourself in high demand!

 

5. Consider Hiring a Career Coach. Everyone has career bumps, so it’s completely normal to be stuck sometimes. The important thing is to have a strong support system in place of mentors and career coaches who can offer support and guidance.

 

A great career coach can give you the tools, support, and a step-by-step roadmap to help put your career back on track. Making an investment in a career coach means investing in yourself and your career, and could result in cutting your search time by as much as 50-percent, plus MORE money in your pocket with a higher starting salary.

 

The point is that if you’ve been unemployed or at a lower level position for longer than six months, then you need to shake things up! Try different career strategies and start thinking outside the box. And never, ever give up your drive, ambition and courage that it takes to move your career forward.

 

Your job is out there waiting for you. You just need to go get it!

Recent Interview on NBC Channel 12 Phoenix

The Art of Promoting Yourself Without Bragging (part 1)

For a lot of us, one of the most difficult things about moving into a new career is having to talk about ourselves to our professional network.  We may be able to promote products, services, and companies – but when it comes to promoting ourselves – forget about it!!

 

So, how do you speak about your strengths and successes in a tactful way without making it sound like you’re bragging?

 

Talk about your projects, teams, and the value they delivered to the organization.  It may feel uncomfortable talking about your achievements, but the fact is you won’t get noticed (yet alone hired!) if you don’t talk about them.

 

Here’s a tip – focus on the projects and teams you contributed to, and the value they delivered to the organization.  Talk about goals, or stretch goals, that were met and how they benefited the organization to help increase revenue, save costs, or gain more market share.

 

Focus on results.  On your resume, in your interviews, and in your networking opportunities – instead of talking about your previous responsibilities, talk about tangible results you helped to achieve. When you quantify your achievements with a number, dollar, or percentage, you add credibility to your successes and rise above the competition.

 

For example, instead of saying that you managed a sales team for a specific product, instead, say that you led a sales team that generated $250,000 a year for the past 3 years!  Quantifying your successes says that you are a driver, high achiever, and that you get results.

 

Look for more great tips for promoting yourself without bragging later this week.

Important Tips for Keeping your Job

Hi!
Click the photo to hear my TV interview on NBC-TV Phoenix last night for some smart tips to help you keep your job in this tough economy!  Enjoy!!

Bullet Proof Your Career with 5 Key Strategies

Hi Everyone!

The job market is a
little dicey these days, and you need to be career savvy in order to keep your
job, or get into a new one.

So how can you
bullet proof your career so that you stay in high demand with people who could
potentially hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you?

A new client I’ll
call “Shawn” recently called me and said that he had gone through a
change in management which resulted in losing his 7-year position as a Leading
Program Manager of a prestigious high tech company.

He told me that
after one year of searching, he had taken the “only job he could get” which was
working part-time in the IT department for another company. After talking for a
few minutes, it became painfully clear why Shawn wasn’t able to get back on his
career path.

  1. Keep yourself marketable. Shawn shared that the high tech
    industry was starting to require a project management certification for
    project and program managers.  However,
    Shawn wasn’t stepping up to get the required training.What he WANTED was to get re-hired as a Program Manager, and then have the
    new company pay for his certification.  What he GOT was two years sitting on the bench without a job.   

    Never let your career sit on a shelf longer than 6-months. Never!  Keep
    the same drive and discipline that you had when you were employed.
    Get focused. Get a plan. Make it happen. Wallowing isn’t allowed. 
    Instead, seek out opportunities to keep yourself marketable. Use your
    “in-between” jobs time to get advanced training and education to
    help advance your career.  Consider expanding your skillset by
    freelancing or consulting. Join an association’s Board of Directors, or
    at
    minimum, a committee. These strategies will help keep you visible,
    expand
    your network, and keep yourself marketable.
     

  2. Fish where the fish are. Another mistake Shawn was making was
    not having a solid job search strategy. Where are your potential
    employers? Find out by r
    eading trade magazines, industry publications,
    company websites and classified ads in your local newspapers to learn
    which industries are hiring, which companies are hiring, and what the hot
    jobs are.
    Start attending industry conferences, trade shows, business networking
    events and  association meetings.  Also, join professional
    networking sites such as LinkedIn.com (you can connect to me!) to get
    connected to industry leaders and company decision makers. Make it a
    priority to get connected, and stay connected, to people who can inspire
    you, hire you, or introduce you to potential employers.
     

  3. Be a resource to others.  Never give the impression that
    you’re hungry for a job.  Instead, you want to be seen as someone who
    drives initiatives, solves problems and leads teams.  This is one
    reason why you want to consult, freelance, or volunteer while you’re in
    between jobs. Get personal with your professional network.  Send out links to
    reports, case studies, press releases and websites that you think might
    interest those in your network.  Invite them to business networking
    events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers.  Influencers
    are drawn to those who are resourceful.
     

  4. Give your resume the “it” factor. When it comes to resumes – looks are
    everything!  If you’ve been applying for jobs that you’re qualified
    for, but you’re not getting the interviews, then you need a stronger
    resume.Hiring managers can have stacks and stacks of resumes piled high on their
    desk which means that if your resume doesn’t have the “it”
    factor – you’re toast.  Don’t lose out on a great job because your
    resume doesn’t stand up against your competition.  Instead, invest in
    a professional
    resume critique
    . You’ll get specific strategies based on your goals,
    strengths and accomplishments to get the attention of hiring managers and
    put yourself in high demand! 

     

  5. Consider Hiring a Career Coach.  Everyone
    has career bumps, so it’s completely normal to be stuck sometimes.  The important thing is to have a strong
    support system in place of mentors and career coaches who can offer
    support and guidance. A great career coach can give you
    the tools, support, and a step-by-step roadmap to help put your career
    back on track. Making an investment in a career coach means investing in
    yourself and your career, and could result in cutting your search time by
    as much as 50-percent, plus MORE money in your pocket with a higher
    starting salary.   

  6.  

The point is that if you’ve been
unemployed or at a lower level position for longer than six months, then you
need to shake things up! 
Try
different career strategies and start thinking outside the box. And never, ever
give up your drive, ambition and courage that it takes to move your career
forward.

Your job is out
there waiting for you. You just need to go get it!

Managing Perceptions – The Secret Ingredient to Getting Hired

Hi Everyone!What I’ve learned in my career about getting hired is the art of
managing perceptions.  Every step in the hiring process is filled with
other people outside of my influence making quick decisions and snap
judgments about my skills, experience, and more personally, about me. 

So
the more aware you are of the messages that you’re sending out to
others, the more you can shape and manage those perceptions to showcase
your best assets and greatest qualities.Below are four
strategies to help you master the art of managing perceptions and speed
up the hiring process so that you can get into a new job quickly.

1.    Perceptions are real.  You
influence people through your actions and your words.  As wrong as it
may be, it’s human nature to make very quick judgments about people,
and those judgments are accelerated by warp speed during the hiring
process.  With hundreds of potential candidates for each job opening,
hiring managers and HR professionals have to assess and determine very,
very quickly the right job candidates from the wrong candidates.

So
the key is to send clear, positive messages through your networking,
resume, and interviews that you consistently add value to an
organization. 

2.    Shaping perceptions.  The really important question is, What are the perceptions that you want people to have about you? 

When
you’re in the job market, you need to be sending a crystal clear
message that focuses on the value that you consistently deliver to a
company or client. Your “value” is a unique blend of your strengths,
successes, and the results you’ve achieved for an organization.  Also,
be passionate about the kind of work you enjoy doing.  Your value and
your passion will make you truly unique from a crowd of colleagues,
business associates, and even job applicants.

3.    Resume Power. 
Companies will only interview the top 1 to 3-percent of job candidates,
so if you think the “look” of your resume is good enough – think
again.  The truth is that companies don’t always interview the best
qualified – they interview those with the best resume.  

Don’t
write your resume yourself.  Instead, if you want to position yourself
as a top candidate then have your resume written by a professional. A
professionally polished resume sends the message that you’re serious
about your career, as well as the job you’re going after.

4.    Interviewing Perceptions. 
Driving perceptions during a job interview is about the way you dress,
the way you interact, and largely about your attitude.  Be prepared,
organized, confident and passionate.

Last week, I interviewed
three consultants to do some project work for me.  When I asked each of
them whether they could do the work successfully, one candidate
responded, “Yes, this is my bread and butter.  And not only can I do
this work successfully, but I like doing this kind of work.”   Calm. 
Confident.  Passionate.  He gave me peace of mind in knowing that
hiring him would bring little, if any, risk.  I hired him on the spot. 

Job candidates who get hired give clear and consistent messages
about the value they bring to an organization, and a passion for the
work they enjoy doing.  When you’re able to successfully manage and
shape perceptions through your networking, resume, and interviews,
you’re much more likely to stand above your competition and get hired.