Just went through an hour of interviewing suggestions with an impressive young lady. Linda, I'll call her. A seriously qualified administrator.
Linda is a single mother who felt she had stalled in her career. So, she took the plunge and decided to go back to school. Just now she is finishing her full degree and looking to reach out for that next level in her career. Understandably she was a little shy on the confidence scale.
Well, after we developed her résumé, pulled all her abilities, achievements, skills, strengths and qualifications together.... aka, her value, she began to see all the merit she had and how able she was and what she had to offer a company. Her eyes gleamed. Confidence overcame her.
I asked her what she intended to do with her new résumé.
After some silence, her answer was less than positive.
She wasn't lacking confidence with her résumé. She knew it would bring her interviews. But her concern was with how well she would do in an interview. She had no idea how to approach it. Lingering questions: what to say, how prepare, how to approach certain situations. Nervousness, attitude, how to make a good impression, compensation, benefits and even how to close the deal were issues. The nerves were her biggest concern.
So, we sat down and went over ten suggestions. After several cups of coffee, a little role playing, definite dos and a few don'ts, Linda is looking forward to the interviews. We erased so many of the little things that add up to fear of the interview. It’s not to say she won’t be nervous. Everyone is to some degree. It’s how you handle the nervous afflictions that make you think vomiting is not out of the question. Just kidding.
In summary. Remember if you are comfortable with your résumé. Be comfortable with your interviewing skills. You have to pass both tests to receive an offer.
Tip. Review your interviewing skills with someone you trust. It's hard to see yourself and especially under stress. And interviewing for a job is stress. Think you can nail it? Probably so. But if you find yourself saying, “I blew it,” on your way out of the interview or you’re missing out on offers after interviews, take another look at yourself, how you might come across in the stressful setting of being grilled by a prospective employer.
BTW... remember YOU are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you.
The best part of my work is learning about wonderful people.
There are sales people, and there are sales people and then there is Frank.
This is a little story about, like so many sales people who are well trained in their product or service who put up big numbers and collect tons of awards, but when it comes to selling themselves, they wilt. This was Frank.
He could convince, close and sell magnificently industrial products like a champ to an industry he knew like the back of his hand. But during the résumé writing process we discovered he was not so confident at selling his own story. Doubt, uncertainty, reluctance to blow his horn loud was creating doubt in his mind. Causing hesitation in generating a winning attitude in the job search. Getting laid off can do that to you. His ego had been crushed. His confidence wilting.
When the résumé was complete, after the Q&A back-and-forth in the writing process, Frank emerged armed with a document showing his value, an new attitude, and a plan to find that next thing he was after.
He's a wonderful, warm, caring and positive guy. Loved working with him.
Why I like my job so much. Writing résumés for good people like Brian, (not his real name) a 64 year old talented and vastly experienced tradesman is the perfect example.
I sat down with Brian at a coffee house to hear his story. He was a guy devastated over a knee jerk reaction to a supervisor being a jerk to Brian one too many times. So..... Brian had up and walked out on a job he had held down for years. He had been an exemplary employee at every job he had ever held.
He sat there, over his coffee, down-dog face, and wondered how big a mistake he had made. Walking out on a job. Something he had never even contemplated before. How hard would it be to find another job at his age? (BTW, he looked not a day over 50: fit, articulate, passionate and as cogent as a college kid.) His biggest worry however, was he didn't have the technology that the new industry he had been in for 30 years was focusing in on. There you have it. Right? He was in trouble!
Far from it.
During the résumé writing process we discussed his strengths. MANY! I pointed out his loyalty over the years. He was reliable, dependable, got along with his teammates, he was known for mentoring the kids, and he was excellent at his trade with a distinguished performance record. He needed to focus on all those good things about him. His value.
But what about his issue with the tech? I reminded him he could read the technology (that the new industry wanted). He couldn't write it, but he could read it and perform well. Basic fundamental wisdom and experience counts for something.
Here's the best part.
Got a call from Brian 5 days after completing his résumé. He's a new man after 4 interviews. Not only is he sure of getting a new job, but he can choose from 4 highly rated companies who want him to join their teams. All opportunities better than the company that ran him off. What do we say about clouds? They all have a silver lining if you just look
It's stories like this that me feel good.
Happy job hunting.
Good people to work with are the best part of my job.
Just finished with a top-notch gentleman who is ready to take a new step in his management career. He's been a driver in a medium size firm ($60MM) in Denver for about 10 years serving as the "Everything Financial Manager" to include leading an accounting department, employee benefits, lender relations, and trusted advisor to ownership. During the economic downturn he kept the boat afloat, on course, flying straight and level with a confident and decisive frame-of-mind.
He has nothing but respect for ownership of his current company, but feels like its just time for a change. He's earned it, and deserves it. Someone will be happy and fortunate to get this fellow.
Companies should be so lucky to have a CFO like James. It was a privilege to get to know him.
I recently had a conversation with a favorite client of mine on updating a résumé we had written 3 years ago. He had an impeccable sales record and had been a loyal employee for twenty some years. Suddenly he finds himself out of work.
Well, the résumé update dialogue was easy. However, during our discussion, it became clear he was bitter about how he had been treated at a particular past company, which resulted in only a 6 month stay. So his original question: "Should I leave that company short stay off the résumé?"
During our discussion on the résumé update, he would abruptly interject how he had been misled by this sales manager and eventually let go even though he had been a good producer. As it turns out, the entire sales force had been terminated because the newly created department in the company was unprepared for the launch and it had failed through no fault of my client. But he still couldn't get over the fact that he was lied to and let go. His ego was damaged. He was convinced, as a result of his strained relationship with that sales manager, he would probably get a bad review and, and, and on and on and on about how it was unfair and, and, and....
First of all, leave that 6 month job ON the résumé. It was a highly regarded company and even though it was a short stay, the experience was good and enhanced his experience. As opposed to 6 month gap, that would have been worse since he had had another gap earlier on in his career.
Next, and probably more important, he had to realize he needed to let the venom go of his dismissal. How he was holding the feelings of the way he was terminated was oozing from his pores. All his impressive accomplishments were being over shadowed by his bitterness.
After all there was a valid reason why he was let go. In this case, the ENTIRE department was terminated, a blood bath. Everyone knows these stories of wholesale dismissals and recognize how good people get caught up in the bathwater. Interviewers do also.
DO NOT get into the weeds as to how unfairly you have been treated; move on. The more effort to "right-the-wrong" on a résumé or in an interview only instigates more interview questioning on a dark blemish to an otherwise brilliant career.
If questioned about a blemish on your résumé, be prepared with a “SHORT” fluent, without hesitation, stumbling or hem-haws, answer. Put an emphatic period at the end of the answer. Then follow it up, while you still have the floor, with a positive forward looking statement as to how you will be a positive and effective producer for your next company.
Let the venom go!
Happy hunting, Chet
If you're writing your own résumé, beware of using excessive exaggerations, otherwise known as superlative adjectives (busiest, greatest, strongest, quickest) in one form or another to describe yourself. Be very judicious with the words "most" and "least” preceding adjectives (most wonderful, most successful, most intelligent.) Be particularly careful with these intensifiers: perfect, excellent, great. There are many; you know them when you hear them. It's up to others to describe you as such. Generally, not yourself..
And then let’s look at a few of the consistent, overused bloviations that don't get a candidate very far. If these phrases appear (world class, result oriented, dynamic) take them out and find fair and respectable alternatives. Good résumé writers are very careful about allowing clichéd intensifiers into a document.
Tip for knowing if you should use them.
Consider how you speak to co-workers or friends around the water cooler. Would you say something like this? "I'm the most efficient, best prepared, dynamic person in the running." Probably not. So, think twice about using these terms to describe yourself, especially to someone you've never met who might be making a decision whether to hire you or not.