A Job Interview Doesn’t Have to Be Nerve-Racking

A Job Interview doesn't have to be nerve-racking

View the job interview as a conversation to market yourself

How to Ace The Job Interview

Job Interviews 101:

You have sent your resume and cover letter, and you have been asked to come for a job interview – now what?

Preparation is the key to making a good impression quickly.  Arrive early, and dress appropriately for the position you are applying for.  It is a safe bet to dress conservatively and business-like.  Your appearance is one of the ways to market yourself to the employer.

Bring a copy of your resume to the interview, so you have the dates of your work experience at your fingertips.  Also, bring a copy of your references, in case the employer asks for them.

While an interview can be nerve-racking, it is only a conversation, albeit one that you must prepare for.  A tough question, such as: “what is your greatest weakness”? can be answered honestly, but try to turn it into a positive.  For example, you can say that you are a perfectionist, but you have learned that your best work is good enough.

Let the employer lead the discussion, and don’t talk too much. Tell the employer why you want to work for his or her company, and a little bit about your background and achievements and your future goals.  Research the company beforehand to establish some common ground, and prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer, if time permits.

By listening to the interviewer, and observing the work environment, you will gain clues about why you want to work for the company, or in some cases, why the company wouldn’t be a good fit for you. You are interviewing them in a way too.

At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for his or her time.  You may either be contacted for a second interview, or you might not be contacted at all, or, you may be offered the job on the spot.  Decide ahead of time when you are available to start.  It is a courtesy to give your present employer two weeks notice, but you can negotiate employment start date depending on the circumstances.  You can send an email or thank you card after the interview expressing how you enjoyed meeting the person and that you look forward to hearing from them soon.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/ncngpao/9673058279/”>North Carolina National Guard</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

 

A Cover Letter Expresses Why You Want To Work Somewhere

A cover letter expresses why you want to work somewhere

A cover letter expresses why you want to work somewhere
photo credit: Jannie Chien – Morguefile

 

Cover letters 101:

If you haven’t read my previous post on resumes, click here: http://goo.gl/H0Pxbr

Now that your resume is complete, you are now ready to compose a cover letter to email along with your attached resume.

Including a cover letter with your resume makes it easier for an employer to call you for an interview.  Introducing yourself makes you memorable, adds a human connection, and makes your contact info easily accessible to employers.  It also enables you to send out multiple resumes, and tweak each one to a specific employer in the cover letter.

A cover letter is a brief introduction to you, in a few paragraphs, summarizing your skills, experience, or courses on your resume that qualify you for the position you are applying for.

Before you compose the letter, decide what attracts you to this opportunity, and what skills or education or training that you have which are relevant to the position.  Expressing why you are interested in working for this employer and what skills you have to offer to the company makes a personal connection, that competing job applicants may neglect to make.

The cover letter includes contact information, such as your name, address, cell phone number, home phone number, and email address at the top, and the date. The salutation in the letter depends on if you know the name of the person who is hiring for the position, such as –‘Dear Mrs. Jones’, or if you don’t know the name, you could phone and ask, or you can write – ‘To Whom It May Concern’.

Start the letter with your intention: “I am applying for the position of landscaper for your hotel”.    Then explain why this position interests you and how you are qualified for it.  For example, as my attached resume shows, I was employed at Cedar Garden Center last year, and learned how to place and plant trees and flowers on-site under the direction of the head landscaper.  Adding information such as: “I enjoy working outdoors with plants, and have enrolled in the night school horticulture program at college” lets them know that you will work hard, you take pride in your work, and are planning a career in this field in the future.

This brief letter introduces employers to you, informs them why you want to work for them, and how you can help grow their business, gets you noticed amongst a crowd of applicants, and may land you an interview for the position!.

 

A Resume Is About What You Have To Give

A resume is about your skills

photo credit: Jeremy Wilburn via photopin cc
a resume highlights your abilities

Resumes 101:

As graduation season approaches, many young people begin their job search.  Perhaps you are seeking a seasonal job before heading to college, or are applying for your first full-time job in the workforce. The following are some tricks to help you stand out from the crowd on your job search.  Congratulations and good luck!

A resume is a short read for a time strapped employer, it is 1 or 2 pages long, detailing what you have to offer this employer to help their business, in a clear, neat, easy to read, and error free document.  It is not only about what job you want to get, it is also about what you can give, and you show this on your resume by demonstrated skills and accomplishments that are transferable to a new job.

  1. Contains a sentence that says what your job objective is – what position you are applying for, and why they need to hire you, rather than the other 100 people who emailed resumes to their inbox.
  2. It is constructed with descriptive action words and adjectives showing your enthusiasm and skills for getting the job done. If your employment experience is limited, use transferrable skills acquired from babysitting, paper routes, hockey teams or volunteer work.
  3. A quality resume alone won’t get you noticed, you need to send out quantities of resumes to increase your odds of landing a job interview.  On average, for each 10 resumes you send out, two employers will respond.
  4. Tailor the resume to which job you are applying for, and in some cases, send in a different resume for each job.  For example, if you have a lot of experience in a field of work you are applying for, list your work experience first, and education second.  However, if you have limited experience in your field of study, and need relevant work experience to match your educational qualifications, list education first, and work history second.  Your goal is to make an impression in the first 30 seconds of an employer considering your resume, to make him or her want to continue reading, so you have to grab them with the skills or education that are most desirable to that employer.
  5. If you do get called to come in for an interview, remember to dress appropriately for the job you are applying for.  Wear clean clothes similar to what the current employees at that workplace wear, have neat hair, turn off your mobile device and remember to thank the employer for their time at the close of the interview.    A follow-up thank you email with a “looking forward to hearing from you soon” comment is also a nice touch.

Blog Road Trip – Change Is The Journey

Blog road trip

Your are changed by the journey

For a successful road trip, it is best to pack light, because the most essential items, such as: curiosity, open mindedness, and willingness to learn, are not found in your suitcase.  These tools enable you to stumble upon surprises on your journey that are so exquisite, they transform you, and upon your return home, you feel compelled to share the wealth of your experience with others.

By attending seminars, panel discussions, workshops, and community events during the past month, I have met people who are working to make a difference in the world, by giving their time, their talent, their leadership, and their money.  Many are also doing fulfilling work and making money.

At institute B in Vancouver, I attended the screening of “Not Business as Usual”, and the panel discussion that followed, and had a guest blog posted on the Institute B website.  Here is the link to my blog: http://www.instituteb.com/the-passionate-fans-of-conscious-capitalism/.  You can watch the film on their website as well.  This is an organization that is changing capitalism, and creating a culture where business for profit is also purpose driven.

Dj's Deth Klown at Clayton Fest

DJ’s Deth Klown at Clayton Community Festival

At ‘The Surrey Steps Up Youth Awards’, I met the youth space group, who are fundraising to create a safe, sober, space for teens in the White Rock/ South Surrey.  The blog post was published in The Semi-Ahmoo Straight newsmagazine. Here is the link to the blog post –  http://annhoy.com/working-to-create-a-safe-sober-space-for-teens-in-their-community-by-ann-hoy/

With stops at the brand new Surrey City Hall, The Clayton Festival for families, The Cloverdale Rodeo, with a 68 year tradition of community pride, and entertainment, and The Louise Hay ‘I Can Do It’ Conference in Vancouver, with keynote speaker Wayne Dyer, it has been an interesting and informative journey.

Blog Road Trip

Learning at The I Can Do It Conference, Vancouver

In addition, I have been following media personalities on Twitter, at  @AnnHoyBlog, who use their influence to make the world better.  It only takes one person to make a change,and it is more about how the journey changes you than the destination you reach. After 242 blog posts, and 200,000 page views on AnnHoy.com, I am taking a break from sawing to sharpen the saw.  As Burton Rascoe said, “A writer is working even when he is staring out the window”.  Your observations are translated onto the page when you meet like-minded people, like the alchemy that turns base metals into gold.

Taking time to reflect, has helped me plan how to transform my blog to one that raises business consciousness up, as we spend a large part of our lives at work.  More about the blog makeover will follow. Have a great day!

photo: flickr/photo pin creative commons/road trip other photos: Ann Hoy