Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Resume MUST DO's!

Follow These Resume Rules!
There's some debate about how many seconds a recruiter spends looking over a resume, but we can all agree that it's not a lot. With such limited time to get important information across, anything you can do to make your resume easier to skim could mean the difference between the forward or toss piles.
So, after you've spent some time perfecting the content of those sections and bullet points, it's time to make sure they're as easy (and appealing!) to read as possible. Here are 12 little formatting tricks you can use to help recruiters and hiring managers get the most from your resume during their six- to 18-second scan.

1. Don't center any of your text

Even your section headings should be aligned to the left. This improves readability because the eye naturally returns to the left margin once it's ready to move on to the next line of text.

2. Align your dates and locations to the right

You can only fit so much different information (company name, job title, location, dates of employment) on one line of text before it gets unwieldy. To help separate out your information, make a separate column for dates and locations that is right adjusted. On most word processors, you should be able to just create a right-tab.

3. Don't justify your resume

Overall, using a justified setting for your bullets may make your resume look tidier, but it does nothing for readability. This setting leaves uneven gaps between words that ultimately make text harder to read, so for your bullets and resume overall, stick with regular ol’ left alignment.

4. Keep everything the same size font

Aside from your name, which should be a little bigger, the font size throughout your resume should be the same size to ensure readability. Rather than using font size for emphasis throughout your resume, use bolding, italics and all-caps — sparingly, of course.

5. Pick either your roles or your companies to bold

Bolding of select words and phrases helps with scanning, but you don't want to go overboard. So choose what to bold wisely, depending on the message you want to send. If your job titles effectively illustrate your path to management-level roles, bolding those might make the most sense. On the other hand, if you're a new grad and most of your experiences are internships, you might benefit more from emphasizing the companies on your resume.

6. Use ALL-CAPS very sparingly

While it is an option for creating emphasis, all-caps is a lot harder to read and therefore harder to skim than text that isn't capitalized. Save your all-caps option for section headings or your name.

7. Maximize the first 5 words of your bullets

When skimming a resume, a recruiter is very likely going to be reading the first few words of a bullet, then moving on to the next line unless his or her interest is piqued. This means those first few words of your bullets are much more important than the rest. Make sure the first five words of each line make the reader want to keep reading.

8. Keep bullets under 2 lines

Even if your first few words are the most interesting thing your recruiter has ever read, going over two lines per bullet is pushing it a bit. Try to keep your bullets short and sweet. (And yes, you should always use bullets, not paragraphs, to describe your experiences.)

9. Use digits when writing about numbers

Using numbers in your bullet points quantifies results and helps recruiters better understand the scope of your work. Make these numbers easy to read by using digits (i.e., 30% versus thirty percent). It improves readability and — bonus — saves space.

10. Have a separate 'skills' section

Just to really drive the point home, piling up all your relevant skills into one section helps ensure that the recruiter sees them. You should still highlight your skills in the context of your work, but pulling them out into their own section doesn't hurt.

11. Keep your formatting consistent

People can get pretty creative when they're trying to fit all their relevant work experience into one page. That's fine, but make sure that however you decide to do it, you keep your formatting the same throughout the document. Consistency helps with skimming, and if the recruiter wants to refer back to something, he or she will know where to look.

12. Try to have some white space left over

Lastly, having some breathing room on your resume also helps with skimming. Different amounts of white space can signal to the reader that this is a different section or help emphasize the importance of something, such as your name or skills. And overall, it just makes the whole document less overwhelming.
Having your resume skimmed is a fact of life as your apply for jobs. So, make sure you maximize the experience and make it as easy as possible for the recruiter to find the right information — and send you along to the next step of the process.

Find full article at: http://mashable.com/2014/07/29/resume-changes-skimming/

Monday, July 21, 2014

How to Answer the Tough Interview Question...

"What's Your Biggest Strength?"....
Among the other dreaded interview classics — like "Tell me about yourself," "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" and "What are some of your weaknesses?" — "What are your greatest strengths?" seems like a pretty innocuous question.
But that doesn't mean you can skip preparing for it it. In fact, answer it well, and it’s one of the best ways you can show off your skills and show that you stand out among other candidates.
Here are a few strategies for doing just that.

1. Think quality, not quantity

Let’s start with what not to do. The worst response I've ever heard was a full minute-long diatribe during which the interviewee proceeded to list a string of positive attributes (outgoing, detail-oriented, hardworking, independent, friendly, easy-going, you name it) and just kept going. One of the adjectives chosen was actually "humble." I was speechless.
To walk that line between confident and arrogant, definitely don't just list a bunch of nice adjectives to describe yourself. Sure, you want to sell yourself as the right man or woman for the job, but you're going to be much more compelling if you cut the buzzwords and speak genuinely about your strengths.
Your strategy? Choose one to three attributes you want to mention (depending on whether the question asks for one strength or multiple) and cap it there. You’ll want to think strategically about what skills will position you as qualified for the job and a good fit for the company. Does the position require client interaction? Communication and relationship building makes sense. Or if the environment is fast paced and constantly evolving — your ability to multitask, adapt and learn quickly would be good to highlight.

2. Back strengths up with stories

That said, what's more important than the strengths you choose is being able to back up your claims — don't just expect the interviewer to believe you without some evidence.
Start off by answering the question directly, and then segue into a story that shows off your skills. For example, "I think some of my greatest strengths are my communication skills and willingness to take initiative. During my last internship, when I was helping to manage several social media accounts, I made sure that everyone on the team was on the same page and knew what our messaging strategy was by taking the initiative to send out a weekly email to keep the team up to date and to seek feedback. This ended up being so helpful that the weekly social media update was incorporated into a full-time staff member's responsibilities."

3. Look for holes and fill them

The great thing about the "strengths" question is that it's actually pretty versatile and open-ended—you can really turn the conversation to whatever you want. So, a great way to approach this question is to think about something you really want to talk about during the interview, but haven't had the chance to share yet. Are there any skills that you want to emphasize? Maybe you have a killer "teamwork" story, but haven't had the opportunity to share it yet. Well, here is your chance!
Alternatively, if you get the question toward the end of your interview and you've basically covered your bases, another approach would be to make a final pitch that you're a great fit for the position and the company culture. Assuming you've done the crucial legwork of researching the company prior to interviewing, you should have a good sense of how the company perceives it's own uniqueness. Bloomberg, for example, is known for caring about loyalty. On the other hand, Bridgewater is a bit notorious for how much it values open communication.
Of course, you can only use this strategy if your personal values do truly align with the company's. If they do, you can essentially rehash your answer for "Why this company?" with more of a focus on values and an example to back it up. For instance, "I would have to say that one of my greatest strengths is my ability to collaborate. In fact, having the opportunity to work in a team is one of the biggest draws for me to this position. I've found that working in a team brings out the best in me. For example…"
Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all answer for this. Your best bet in preparing for the "strengths" question (and questions like it) is to have your talking points prepared and a lot of good stories to turn to. Use open questions like this strategically, and then make sure your answer's memorable by telling a killer story. With a bit of preparation, you'll be ready to take full advantage of being asked, "What's your greatest strength?"

Find full article at: http://mashable.com/2014/06/19/greatest-strength-job-interview/

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Five DEADLIEST Job Interview Mistakes

Five DEADLIEST Job Interview Mistakes

A lot of people are confused about job interviews. They think a job interview is like a citizenship exam. They think that if they study hard and give the right answer to each question put to them, everything will be fine.

At a citizenship exam, if you answer the questions correctly you'll get your papers. Everyone who shows up to the exam that day can become a citizen, and we can have a big party and celebrate. Your goal in the citizenship exam is to give the right answer and wait for the next question.

A job interview is exactly the opposite! Only one person can get the job, so the last thing you want to do is sound like everyone else. Yet our office is flooded with mail from people who are unclear on the 'one person gets hired' concept as it relates to job interviews.

"You say that I should answer the question 'Why should we hire you?' with a non-traditional answer," goes a typical query. "What's wrong with 'You should hire me because I'm qualified, hard-working and eager to make a difference!'?"
You can answer the question that way if you want to, but why on earth would you want to? Every other candidate will answer exactly that way!

The last thing you want to do on a job interview is disappear into the confusing sea of job-seekers that a hiring manager is desperately trying to keep separate in his mind.
Your job on a job interview is to get the manager thinking and to exercise your own brain, too. Neural activity is the key. If you stay in the standard frame and answer the questions like a good little sheepie job candidate, the manager may literally forget who you are.
I was an HR chief for millennia. The biggest problem job-seekers face after job interviews is that hiring managers literally can't remember them.
"Now Amy Jones - which one was she, again?" a hiring manager would ask me.
"Blonde curly hair, Southern accent," I'd say. "Oh, yeah, her!" the hiring manager would reply.

How would you keep a dozen job candidates straight if you met them all over three or four days? The more cues you can get during the interview (the Navy Guy, the woman who wrote a kids' book) the easier it becomes keep each candidate distinct in your mind.
The more you stick to the script and sound just like everyone else in the lineup, the worse the problem becomes.
Managers feel bad when they meet people and forget them, but it happens every day.
"Did I meet Chester Anderson?"
"Yep - tall guy, rides a Harley, remember?"
"Oh yeah, the Harley guy."
Once a manager forgets you, all the thank-you notes in the world won't bring you back to mind as a living, breathing human being, much less a contender for the job. Your aim at a job interview is to make an impression, not to sit in the chair like a ventriloquist's dummy and spit out pat answers on cue.
Here are the five deadliest interview mistakes we see in our work with job-seekers and hiring managers. We've provided remedies on the three linked blog pages. Take charge of your next job interview, and make it a high-mojo conversation!

MISTAKE NUMBER ONE: Neglecting the Basics
You've got to go to a job interview prepared. If your first question for an HR person or hiring manager is "What does your company do?" you can bet that the interviewer is drawing a big red X through your name in his mind, even if he's too polite to say so.
You have to know what the company does and for whom, where its various locations are and who its competitors are. You have to know what's new in the organization and what people are saying about them. Here is a list of of critical pre-interview research topics and where to find the information you need.
The goal of your pre-interview research is not to show that you're a good little student and a get a gold star, but to understand the company's business situation. That's for your own benefit, and your knowledge will help you compose thoughtful interview questions to ask your interviewer, too.

MISTAKE NUMBER TWO: Showing Up Without Questions
"Is there a bus that runs by here?" is a perfectly fine question for a job-seeker to ask an interviewer if the job-seeker is 18 years old or younger. Once we hit adulthood, we're expected to develop higher-altitude questions about the role, the company's situation in its marketplace and the hiring manager's priorities.

Click here for a list of interview questions that you can jot on your spiffy notepad (tucked into your leather or vegan leather portfolio, which you'll bring to every interview not only to prep yourself with pre-written questions but also to take notes) and refer to when you need it.
The best interview questions, though, are not the ones on our list but organic questions that spring from the unfolding conversation, as in this example.

MISTAKE NUMBER THREE: Answering and Going Silent
When we have in mind that a job interview is like an oral exam, we answer a question and then clam up and wait for the next one. That's citizenship-exam behavior. That's not how humans converse, and you're not going to start an intellectually-stimulating conversation by following the boring, standard script. If you interview in the standard sheepie way, the manager will forget your conversation two minutes after your tush disappears through the revolving door.
Here are two contrasting answers to the lame interview question "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
MANAGER: Where do you see yourself in five years?
APPLICANT: Here, hopefully, working in Accounts Payable or perhaps in Finance.

Is this manager going to say "Wow! There's a lively thinker!" upon hearing this answer?
Heck, no. Not one neuron is firing in the manager's brain while you're matching the lameness quotient of his lame question with your own lame answer.
Let's try it again:

MANAGER: Where do you see yourself in five years?
APPLICANT: I don't have a timetable, but I'm interested in astrophysics - yes, don't laugh! It's true. I love science, and I don't know exactly where I'll go with it but I read everything I can about quantum mechanics, cosmology and the point where engineering and physics intersect.
MANAGER: Wow -- but you're an Accounts Payable person!
APPLICANT: I worked at my grandpa's hardware store in high school and I learned bookkeeping and then Accounting. I got my BS in Finance because I like fitting the numbers into the rest of the business processes like Purchasing, Sales and forecasting. Somehow I'm going to weave the science in, at some point. Life is long!

You can turn even a brainless interview question like "Where do you see yourself in five years?" into a conversation-starter if you bring a little mojo to the interview.

What is there to be afraid of, after all? The only mistake you can make is to hide behind the script and be forgotten. As long as you stay calm, don't evaluate or censor yourself and listen to your body, you're going to do fine.

MISTAKE NUMBER FOUR: Leaving Without Learning
Notice how I keep talking about getting the manager's brain and your own brain working? To do that, you've got to listen carefully to everything your interviewer says, get off the script and react appropriately. You've got to let the conversation unfold, and that means keeping the conversation human instead of retreating to the boring and robotic standard interview script.
Let's compare two answers to the question "What do you know about FrammelSoft?"

MANAGER: Tell me what you know about FrammelSoft.
CANDIDATE: I'm sorry that I'm not familiar with that software, but I'm a quick learner.

This is a classic interview mishap. You're an experienced Accounts Payable person and you've never heard of this piece of software, yet you apologize for not knowing it?
You have nothing to apologize for. Let's try it again, this time staying human and pushing for some learning on both sides of the conversation.

MANAGER: Tell me what you know about FrammelSoft.
CANDIDATE: Is that an Accounts Payable application?
MANAGER: Not specifically - it's a kind of mid-range ERP, but there's an Accounts Payable piece. We've been using it since before I got here.
CANDIDATE: How does it fit into the A/P pipeline specifically?
MANAGER: Well, we enter the vendors into FrammelSoft and then it creates vendor reports used by Purchasing. It's kind of ancillary to A/P but it's a tricky system and I was wondering if you'd used it.
CANDIDATE: I haven't heard of it, but it makes me curious, because I thought I read in the job ad that you use SAP.

MANAGER: We do use SAP - this Frammelsoft program is a legacy thing that is actually kind of a pain in the neck.
CANDIDATE: Would it be worth exploring a way to get out of the dependence on FrammelSoft and get that functionality from SAP, which already cost your company a bundle?
MANAGER: That would be heavenly, but our Purchasing guys are completely committed to FrammelSoft.
CANDIDATE: It makes me think that if I were the person you hired for this job, the Purchasing folks would be a high priority for me -- getting to know them and then understanding what they get out of FrammelSoft that they can't get from SAP.
MANAGER: I have to think our SAP Account Manager would be your ally in that.

The hiring manager is mentally imagining you in the job, already! On a job interview, don't give a harmless little answer and be quiet. Listen, learn and respond! You'd do that naturally if you weren't experiencing interview jitters.
You can lessen the jitter factor by reminding yourself that not everyone is worthy of your gifts. Only the people who get you, deserve you!

Groveling means cowering and begging. It means watching the interviewer's face to see how he or she reacts to every word you utter and every non-verbal signal you send. It means shutting down your true personality in order to be pleasing to the interviewer.
You don't go on dates to please people, do you? You go on dates to figure out whether you and another person have enough chemistry to continue the conversation. A job interview works the same way!

As long as you believe that an employer has something wonderful and precious that you desperately need -- that is, a job -- and that you are nothing and they are godlike, you are sunk. The only kind of people you'll bring in then will be fearful managers who are sure to undervalue and abuse you.
When you know in your heart and your gut that you bring to the table something just as valuable as a paycheck and maybe much more -- your tremendous experience, intellect and instinct -- you'll carry yourself differently. You won't trip over your words in an effort to please His Majesty or Her Highness, because you'll see yourself and the interviewer as equals on a level playing field.
If the energy is right, you'll have a new job and they'll have an awesome new employee in a few weeks. If the energy is wrong, your mojo won't even flicker, because you'll be one step closer to the perfect opportunity waiting for you, working among people who will grow your precious flame.

See full article at: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140705055830-52594-the-five-deadliest-job-interview-mistakes
Human Workplace, was founded in 2012 to reinvent work for people. CEO and Founder, Liz Ryan, was a Fortune 500 HR SVP and is now the world's most widely-read career and workplace advisor.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Interview Nerves? We Got Your Back!


It’s the morning of your big interview and you’re a nervous wreck. Your palms are sweating, you can’t find your resume and you've become convinced you’re going to bomb your big day.
Unfortunately, nerves are the ultimate enemy to any interview success story. It doesn't matter how qualified you are; if you find yourself in a panic, you’re likely to undercut your chances of success.
A case of nerves can lead to major nonverbal mistakes. For example, 67% of interviewees fail to make adequate eye contact and 33% fidget too much. Don’t despair if you’re nervous for your big day — just remember that you’re the boss of your brain. Calm your nerves with these surprising mental hacks, and get ready to nail your next interview.

Cognitive reframing

Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique used to identify negative thoughts, and then dispute or reframe those thoughts into more positive challenges. Recent research reveals that people perform better when they look at difficult situations as a challenge instead of a threat — and a job interview presents a prime opportunity to turn a difficult situation into a challenge.
When you think about it, interviewing is a solo activity. Research has found this solo status can be extremely stressful, because it increases visibility and performance pressure. When all eyes are on you in the interview, the implications for making a mistake are much higher. It’s no wonder going on a job interview can feel so threatening.
However, research has found that cognitive appraisal, or how you view a situation, has a big impact on how well you perform in these instances. If you see the interview as a challenge to tackle and overcome instead of a threatening and scary situation, you increase your odds of success. Before the interview, create a little mantra for yourself so you can remember that this is a challenge to overcome — not a frightening experience. Reframing how you interpret the interview gives you a better chance of success.

Chew gum

Can chewing gum contribute to interview success? The answer might just surprise you. Researchers at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom found that workers who chew gum have lower levels of occupational stress. The same research team also found that students who chewed gum regularly reported lower stress levels and the ability to complete a greater load of academic work.
Meanwhile, researchers from St. Lawrence University found that gum-chewing benefits working memory, episodic memory and general information-processing speed. The chewing motion gets blood flowing to the head, leading to neural arousal and making it easier for you to focus and concentrate.
Chewing some gum before a big interview may help you focus on your talking points, remember important information and rid some of the troublesome stress that's bringing down your performance. Popping in a stick of gum doesn’t just ensure minty-fresh breath, it might also improve your interviewing skills. Just don’t forget to get rid of the gum before the actual interview! No interviewer wants to see how many bubbles you can blow or how loudly you can pop your gum.

Smile like you mean it (and you will)

While you're focused on the questions interviewers might ask and the qualifications you want to highlight, you might be missing an important interview weapon in your arsenal: Your smile. A full 38% of job seekers get so wrapped up in the stress of the interview that they forget to smile.
Smiling is important, especially when meeting new people, since it helps send the message that you’re friendly and easy to work with. This is especially important when interviewing for client-facing or sales jobs. For instance, if you’re interviewing for a job as a medical sales representative, good people skills are a must — smiling shows you can connect easily with others.
As an added bonus, smiling in the interview just might make you feel happier and more relaxed. Researchers studying the phenomenon have found that expressions may influence emotions. Therefore, if you smile — even when extremely stressed in an interview setting — you might actually start to feel happier. Happiness may translate to confidence, and your potential employers are likely to pick up on this. So don’t be afraid to flash those pearly whites; they just might nab you the job.

Mirror body language

It’s a fact of life that we tend to like people who remind us of ourselves; humans are a little egocentric that way. Therefore, mirroring body language in an interview can lead to more positive feelings from the interviewer. Research has found that mimicry can leave people with more positive feelings, and even make others more persuasive.
If you want to persuade an interviewer that you’re the perfect person for the job, subtly mirror nonverbal gestures. This includes pitch and tone, body language, posture and body orientation. Don’t go overboard and copy your interviewer’s every gesture; remember you want to build a bond, not creep them out. Being subtly aware of body language, however, can make you a smarter interview subject and a more appealing hire.
Interviews can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that you’re in charge of your own destiny. By utilizing some of these mental hacks, you may just nail the interview and land your dream job.

It’s a fact of life that we tend to like people who remind us of ourselves; humans are a little egocentric that way. Therefore, mirroring body language in an interview can lead to more positive feelings from the interviewer. Research has found that mimicry can leave people with more positive feelings, and even make others more persuasive.If you want to persuade an interviewer that you’re the perfect person for the job, subtly mirror nonverbal gestures. This includes pitch and tone, body language, posture and body orientation. Don’t go overboard and copy your interviewer’s every gesture; remember you want to build a bond, not creep them out. Being subtly aware of body language, however, can make you a smarter interview subject and a more appealing hire.

Interviews can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that you’re in charge of your own destiny. By utilizing some of these mental hacks, you may just nail the interview and land your dream job.

Find full article at: http://mashable.com/2014/06/03/interview-mental-hacks/