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A Picture Says a Thousand Words!

Who says a blog post has to be an article?

While reviewing my Google+ status yesterday I saw where several people had added me to their circles. Among them was +Prabh Singh from Vancouver, Canada. As I read his posts, I came upon a link he used to create a Word Cloud, and since I tend to be an early adapter, I jumped on the bandwagon, experimented with it, and created a cloud from my blog. The above image is the result of this experiment.

Is this a tool that a job seeker would find useful? Why or why not?

Here’s the link courtesy of the developer @Timdream:  HTML5 Word Cloud

 

11 Important Interview Tips

Do you have an interview today, or anytime soon? Are you nervous? Are your palms getting sweaty? Stop worrying because help is near.

While coaching a client last week, I suggested to her that she ask for some inside tips from the recruiter since he already knows the company where my client will be interviewing. He quickly reeled off the points below, and while they are not new, they could easily be overlooked by job seekers who are focused on practising answers to interview questions. Hopefully they will calm your nerves and help you to do well in the interview:

  1. Arrive early and enter the building 15 minutes before your interview.
  2. Bring three copies of your resume.
  3. Interview attire is conservative, so dress accordingly.
  4. If you have long hair, pull it back.
  5. If you have several ear piercings, take out extra earrings.
  6. If you have tattoos, cover them.
  7. Take a Photo ID – preferably your current driver’s license.
  8. Relax – answer questions honestly and you will do great.
  9. It is OK to ask interviewer(s) to repeat a question, if you need clarification.
  10. Do not accept anything to eat or drink.
  11. When asked to “Tell me about yourself”, they mean your professional, not your personal background.

While reviewing these tips, others might come to your mind. Add them here.

To your interview success,

 

 

 

When a Résumé Looks too Good to be True…

…It probably is! Some time ago I wrote an article titled “Lying on Resumes Alarmingly Common”, where I referenced a newspaper article with the heading “Official Résumé Wrong”! Fast forward to 2011, and it appears the topic of ‘lying on résumés’ has reared it’s head again. As a matter of fact, one month ago, I was reviewing the résumé of a young man and when I questioned him about his most recent experience, he admitted he had fabricated it because “others were doing it.” As a career coach and professional résumé writer, I owe it to my clients and myself to make sure that the information is correct.

Officeteam recently conducted a survey and it reveals, once again, that most job seekers stretch the truth on their résumés, particularly when it comes to their job duties and education. The job market may be tough right now, but job seekers should refrain from embellishing their résumés as they will be found out, sooner or later.

Here are some tips that Officeteam has offered to employers on how they can verify information on résumés. Job seekers should take note:

1. Watch for ambiguity. When reviewing resumes, question vague descriptions of skills (e.g., “familiar with,” “involved in”) which may be signs that a professional is trying to hide a lack of relevant work experience.
2. Ask once, ask twice. Pose interview questions that relate to specific skills needed. For example, if a candidate must know a particular software program, ask how he or she has used the technology in previous roles. If an applicant’s response is ambiguous, don’t be afraid to rephrase the question.
3. Get the facts. Ask references to confirm basic information such as the candidate’s employment history, job titles, responsibilities and salary. If they’re willing to talk further, delve into their thoughts on the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, interpersonal skills, and ability to work on a team.
4. Branch out. Inquire if references know of others you can speak to about promising candidates. Also, tap your own network to find mutual acquaintances who might be able to shed light on the prospective hire’s background and character.
6.  Put them to the test. To get a true sense of a candidate’s abilities, consider hiring the person on a temporary basis before extending a full-time offer. This allows both parties to assess whether the position is a fit.

How about you? Do you embellish, or have you lied on your résumé? Do you know anyone who does? Add your voice here!

Source: Officeteam

Related post: Lying on Résumés Alarmingly Common

Monday Rx: Change Your Job Search Strategy If…

You have often heard the saying, “If you always do what you have always done, you will continue getting what you have always gotten”, or something close. If that sounds like you and your job search or your career, then you may want to reconsider your strategy, regardless of your status or what stage of the job search game you are at.

Consider this story:

A Mom wrote me on September 8, and said, “My daughter has taken a year off before going to college and she desperately needs a job.  She has been job hunting, but her lack of experience is a real hindrance.  She is now very discouraged.  Could you spare some time to talk to her on the phone in the next few days?”

On September 10, I contacted the young lady – all of 17 years old – and asked her to explain to me what she had been doing. After our initial conversation, I suggested she did things differently. Since she had never worked before, I gave her a research assignment to visit several locations in her area – Tim Hortons, McDonalds, Starbucks, Canadian Tire, among others. She was to observe the surroundings, how the employees behaved, how they treated customers and generally be alert for other things that were taking place. She was also to make notes of her observations. In addition, she should write down comments that people frequently made about her – her punctuality, reliability, leadership skills, etc. Lastly, she should create a list of some of her own qualities.

With the information from her research, we created a one page hybrid of a cover letter and résumé and I asked her to customize each to fit the companies she was targeting. She was to write what she observed on her visits, what was going well and how she could add value as their next employee. Remember, she had little to go on in the first place.

On September 15, she responded by saying: This is incredibly helpful! I’ve been applying to places all week so tomorrow I will follow up with all the companies to which I applied. I will keep you updated on how that goes.”

What a difference in her mood in five days! On September 23, she wrote: “Hi Mrs. Wright, I just want to say thank you for all your advice and help. I really appreciate it. I received my first job yesterday – full time hostess at Red Lobster. I’m ecstatic!”

Entry-level students are not my usual clientele, but I deviated from the norm with this young lady. What I found is that a change of strategy works, whether one is an entry-level job seeker or a more seasoned professional, but it requires commitment and perseverance. Who would’ve imagined that in a such a tough job market, a 17 year-old who had never previously worked could change her job search strategy and find success within 13 days?

How about you? Is your job search strategy working for you, or is it time to go back to the drawing board and tweak it a bit? Contact me if you need some assistance!

 

Image source: Google

If Facebook Were a Country…

Whether you are a job seeker, you are in a career transition or you are an entrepreneur, it’s impossible to ignore social media these days. Career and business opportunities are aplenty via Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter, but are you taking advantage of them? If you are not already convinced, read the following stats taken from an email from John Assaraf, of OneCoach:

Did you know that…

  • If Facebook were a country, it would be third-largest in the world, and growing faster than #1 and #2 combined?
  • YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. Every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to it.
  • LinkedIn is the largest network of business professionals in the world, with over 70 million users in 200 countries. 12 million of them visit daily, and a new one joins every second.
  • Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers. 96% of them have joined a social network.
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations about products. Only 14% trust ads.
  • 93% of all business buyers believe all companies should be on social media platforms.

Although these questions were geared to business owners, it applies equally to job seekers and those in a career transition.  Arm yourself with the tools of the social media revolution. Test the waters and swim in the one that appeals to you. Do something, will you?

The E.A.S.Y Way to Ace Your Next Interview

As career professionals, we can learn a lot from our clients. They come to us because of their perceived belief that we have all the answers. They believe we have the expertise to help them when they are seeking a professional resume to distinguish themselves from other candidates, or when they are looking for interview coaching to help them tell their stories and get hired.  Little do they know how much they also bring to the coaching relationship and how much we learn from them.

I am coaching a young man who is interviewing for a position in law enforcement. His contact at the agency suggested he retains a Career Coach to help him prepare for the interview. After our first session and I had given him his homework assignment, he sent a note to say someone in his network heard of an E.A.S.Y. way to practice for this particular type of interview. I was intrigued! After all, I had coached other law enforcement clients before and always used the S.T.A.R. or C.A.R. interview technique. Was this something new?

When I reviewed the concept, I found out it operates on the same premise as the C.A.R. technique we had agreed to practice. Now, we wouldn’t have to ditch our original plan, except that we would now be working with a different acronym – E.A.S.Y.Event, Action, Step taken and Yield (or Outcome). Once we got that straightened out, it was easy to get back on track to prepare for the next session.

If you are a job seeker and would like to ace your next interview, or you are a career coach and would like to incorporate another acronym into your interview coaching toolkit, it’s E.A.S.Y. :

E – Event:                           What event did you face?

A – Action:                         What did you do?

S – Step taken:                  What steps were involved?

Y – Yield:                            What did you get? What was the outcome?

So, Miss or Mr. Job-Seeker, the next time you are preparing for your interview, suggest to your coach that you use the E.A.S.Y. way to tell your success stories and get hired.

What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments below.