Archive for June, 2015

How to Ace a Group Interview

Jun 29 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

Group interviews can be tricky. It can be hard to stand out in the crowd in all the right ways. The tone, the energy; There is so much unpredictability. You don’t have to answer to only one other person, you have to answer for yourself in front of the interviewer and in front of your peers and/or competitors. It takes competition to a whole new level.

So what can you do in a group interview to increase your odds of success and makes sure you stand out among the crowd?

First, break down the group interview and step back- give yourself a pep talk. You’ve got this. And, “this” is no different from any other interview. You still need to take steps to be prepared, and you still need to go into it with a positive attitude and outlook. If anything, a group interview has its advantages. Here’s what you need to do.

Remember the Basics

Like any other job interview you’ll want to make sure you do your research beforehand. Know the company. Know the details so you can apply your experience and what you know appropriately. Talk to others that have interviewed with the company or that may work there instead of relying solely on Google. All of this is something you should do whether or not you’re preparing for a group interview or a more traditional one. So don’t panic and don’t forget to remember the basics.

Be Early

While you should never be late for your interview, in this situation, you should take it a step further and be early—at least half an hour early. This will help you have a chance to calm your nerves and become familiar with the setting. Take this opportunity to absorb your surroundings. Look at pictures and paintings on the wall, people watch. You’ll learn a lot about the people and company culture, all of which will help you in your interview.

Prepare Your Introduction

In a group interview, your introduction is especially important. That’s why you want to take time to compose and memorize your introduction so that it is as concise and fluid as possible. Remember, you never get a second a chance to make a first impression.

Listen, Speak, Support

During a group interview you need to stay on point and alert the whole time. This is not a time to pass the buck and daydream. Listen to the questions and listen to the responses. And don’t be afraid to speak up and answer first- or speak up and add to an answer from one of your peers. You don’t want to dominate the interview but make your presence known. An easy way to inject yourself into the conversation is to offer support, so be alert.

Ask Questions

At the end of most interviews you’ll be asked if you have any questions. Prepare these ahead of time to make sure you’ll have something to ask or say. Some may be answered along the way, so you may need to adapt or change them as the interview progresses. Asking questions lets the interviewer know that you’re genuinely interested and have put some thought into the company, job, and present discussions.

Remember, of course to be courteous, polite, and thank your interviewer for the opportunity, but don’t forget to also shake hands and be polite to your fellow interviewees.

 

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Need a Job? Check Your Attitude.

Jun 22 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

Attitude is everything, at least that is what they say. And really, it’s true. It’s true in your interpersonal relationships and it’s true at work. In fact, your attitude can be the catalyst for success or the cause of your defeat.

A recent study revealed that almost half of all new hires (46%) failed within the first month. Why, you ask? Not because of their lack of skill, but because of their job attitude.

Yes, you read that right. Almost half of all new hires fail because they need an attitude adjustment.

Sometimes, your attitude even prevents you from getting a job in the first place. Whether it’s before or after the hire, here are three things you can change to help change your attitude and/or what others perceive it to be.

Dress

How you dress is an expression of you, but what do your clothes say about you? Look at the office work culture and dress for success. Pay attention to grooming and personal hygiene and dress for success. Take pride in your appearance to show future or present coworkers that you also take pride in your work.

Smile

You don’t have to be super duper happy all the time. In fact, you shouldn’t come off like you’re faking you’re enthusiasm. Yes, we all have bad days and we aren’t always the happiest of happy, but an interview and/or the workplace isn’t the time to dwell in unhappiness or anger. A little smile can go a long way.

Manners

Mind your manners. Say please, say thank you. This is said often, but it can’t be emphasized enough. Your manners help others around you feel more comfortable and appreciated. You’ll be more approachable and gracious and your attitude will appear positive and far from in need of adjustment.

A poor attitude will keep you from getting the job you want (or need) and keep you from realizing your potential. Don’t let it. Be proactive. Think positive. The future is yours.

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How to Market Yourself as a Future Leader

Jun 15 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

According to Forbes, good leaders are hard to come by. At least, that’s how businesses feel. And if businesses view lack of leadership a problem or concern for the future, it creates an excellent opportunity to market yourself as a future leader and showcase your leadership strengths.

Strong Beginnings

Knowledge is power. In this case, this is not simply a saying but a matter of fact. Knowing that companies are looking for future leaders, or potential future leaders, is something you should use to your advantage in the interview stage. Don’t wait until you’re hired on to highlight your leadership skills. Even if you’re only interviewing for an entry-level position and have no field-experience, you can still get the message across.

  • Provide examples of times you’ve helped classmates or coworkers succeed.
  • Discuss how you work with and help motivate others.
  • Explain obstacles you’ve overcome and those you’ve helped others overcome.

While you don’t want to get too personal, challenging life experiences can be given as examples. If you’re worried about it getting too personal, remember that you don’t need to get too specific. You can and should also rehearse your verbiage ahead of time as you prep for your interview, since preparation is key to acing any interview—whether or not you’re trying to position yourself as a future leader.

Learn

Be eager to learn new things at work. Try to absorb knowledge and advice from coworkers. If you want to be a leader, your coworkers are not the enemy. Ask questions. Learn about the organization. Develop an understanding about how things work within the company. If you see something that is off or that can be streamlined, make suggestions. There may be a method to the madness, but there may be means of improvement. Proving yourself as a leader isn’t about advancing your career. It’s about advancing the company and its goals overall.

Help

Be enthusiastic. Let others in the office know that you’re ready and willing to help. You may find a great mentor along the way and you’ll expand your skillset and presence in the office as well. This will also allow others to see your leadership skills in action and open up opportunity for future leadership roles—big or small.

Overall, think of yourself a sponge. Don’t stay guarded or closed off at work. Open yourself to the possibilities and look for the opportunity to shine. Be that future leader that companies want, and turn opportunity into success.

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Find a Job Outside of Job Posting Sites

Jun 08 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

When you’re out of work, the job search can be exhausting. Even if you were thrilled to leave your last job behind you, looking for a job can take its toll as it drags on. Before you give up, take a deep breath and reinvent your job search.

Remember: ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’

If traditional job posting sites just aren’t working for you, here’s what you need to do.

List & Research

Begin your break from the land of job postings by making a list of ideal companies within your area. You don’t want to start with a huge list. Instead, zone in on less than 5 companies that you’d love to work for.

After your list is made, research the company. Go to their website. Go to their LinkedIn profile. Find out their goals. Find out what they’ve done lately. Find out their accomplishments. Find out contact information. Learn about present employees and company culture. Then, research industry statistics and learn where they stand.

The goal is to find a handful of companies you’d like to work for and learn about them so that you can visualize where you fit and how you could benefit them.

Plan & Communicate

Once you have your company list and intel, begin to reach out to contacts. Start by sending an email or LinkedIn message. Then, after a little time has passed, reach out by phone. If you still can’t seem to break through, try networking within the company or industry and talk face to face over coffee. Leverage yourself and your abilities. Offer help if needed and use that contact to find new contacts to expand your network—rinse/repeat.

Remember to keep all email or electronic communication short and concise. State who you are, what your experience is, and how you can apply that experience in a way that benefits the company. Aim for no more than 4 sentences total, but make your words count.

Find Alternatives

LinkedIn is not the only way to network online. Many industries have forums and message boards full of people asking for help or giving advice in a certain field. Explore reddit. Look at industry and company blogs. Comment and interact. Remember, that is what networking is all about.

 

 

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How to Say No at Work

Jun 01 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

Saying ‘No’ comes easily for some, but for others can be quite difficult. After all, strong work ethic means we should be the person that says ‘yes’ at work, right?

Wrong. Or rather, not exactly.

Sure, you don’t want to be that person screaming NO at everyone, but you also don’t want to be the person agreeing to take on the world. Try as you may, you are only one person, and if you try to do too much you’ll end up burned out. Here’s what you need to know about how to say no at work.

 

The Art of Saying No

The art of saying “No” is difficult to master but the key to its success is in being graceful and respectful when doing so. Here are things to keep in mind when you’re tasked with saying “no”.

  • Be Polite: A great way to do this is to express gratitude that you were thought of to tackle the task at hand. “Sorry” is also a nice, polite word to include, but don’t dwell on the rejection. Smile, give thanks, apologize (when/if necessary) and move along.
  • Be Sincere: When saying no you need to come across as sincere. Don’t joke or appear aloof. Even if you are friends with your boss or co-worker, this is not the time for off-the-cuff remarks.
  • Be Clear: While being nice and polite when saying no is important, it is equally important that you make your “no” clear so there’s not any confusion or disappointment—either immediately or down the road.

After declining, suggest someone else for the job. This helps quell any awkward silence and redirects your decline into a positive solution.

 

Know When to Say No

Sometimes, knowing when to say no can be tricky. You shouldn’t avoid additional work like the plague. Tackling extra projects and expanding your skill set is something you should do—but you need to be aware of your limits and be willing and able to evaluate your work load realistically.

When unsure think about the following:

  • Who: Think of who is asking you to do something. Your boss or manager is priority, while others are not.
  • What: What is the task? Is it something you can do and/or are familiar with. Will it teach you anything? Will you learn from it? Will it help with your career development? What other things do you have on your plate, so to speak?
  • When: When does it need to be completed and when will you have to get it done?
  • Where: Where does it fit in with your other work projects? Will it put a strain on you?

As you can see, saying no or yes is complicated. There are a lot of independent variables that only you can account for. Ultimately, the ability to say no in the right way at the right time is an invaluable skill that will help you garner more respect in the workplace.

It may never be an easy task, but it is always a necessary one.

 

 

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