Find a New Career with expert assistance
Anyone who is trying to find a new career will be able to use this site to be successful. Even though the first step is to make sure you are building a resume that will accurately represent your skills and separate you from the competition, there are other important considerations. Planning and preparation for the job hunting process will eliminate stress and result in a productive use of your time while changing jobs.
Finding the RIGHT Job
Before you search for a resume writer or resume samples, think about what type of job you’re trying to get. If you are using a career list or career finder to give you direction, be honest in your answers. Making a career change to sales may seem like a profitable move, but if you hate rejection and don’t like being aggressive that type of position won’t be a fit.
Take time to identify your transferable skills, what you like and don’t like about current and past jobs, and what your goals are for the next five years. Putting this information down on paper and then conducting a job search will be much easier. It’s also important to define whether you are looking for a job in your current geography or elsewhere. Being able to find jobs in your area may be more important than finding a job that you love.
Your resume is just the first step
Part of the process to find a new career is building a network that can support you in the transition. Conducting a local job search may be easier if you join organizations that have meetings or events where you can meet prospective employers. Even if you are doing an online job search, try looking for groups through social media that aggregate positions in your specialty or allow companies to post their open positions.
Interviewing is an art form
As you look at job postings, be sure to identify the skills that you could be asked about in a job interview. Understanding how to prepare for an interview, including the job interview questions you should ask at the end, can be the difference between getting to the next stage of the process. Regardless of the industry you want to find a job opportunity in, interviewing separates the average candidate from the one who is confident in their abilities and can provide value to the employer.
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- Mastering the phone interview requires preparation
Employers are using a phone interview to screen candidates and save time, and there are some easy ways to make your time with them impactful and professional. Most candidates are going to screw this stage up – either by assuming they know what to do, or by lacking overall knowledge on what employers are expecting in a phone interview.
Don’t answer your phone when you are expecting a phone interview (really, don’t!)
If you don’t recognize the phone number, don’t pick up. Employers will try to reach you when it’s convenient for them, that time may NOT be best for you to communicate your skills. It’s ok to be ‘busy’ – they don’t want you to wait by the phone all day for their call. Think about this like dating. You wouldn’t want someone you just met in a social situation to think you are sitting by your phone all day waiting for their call.
Establish a professional message on your phone. When looking for a job, keep the message short and to the point. Call the employer back once they have left you a message and schedule a time to talk with them when YOU can be focused in a quiet place. Even though your cell phone is the best one to put on your resume because you have control over the message and when you answer or don’t, a cell phone is not the best way to conduct a phone interview. No matter which carrier you use, you could have technical issues. Unless the land line is at your current employer, that is a better choice.
By adapting some basic habits when you are in the interview process, you will maximize your chance to move from a phone interview to a face-to-face interview. Having pertinent information about the company before your conversation with your prospective future employer is crucial. Once you have a time established with the interviewer to conduct the phone interview, it’s time to do some research about the company, department, and position.
Know pertinent information about the company before the phone interview
Call customer service and ask questions about company objectives through internal sources. Figure out who the competitors are and what they’re doing in similar business areas. Go to the company website, and “Google” the company and person you will be interviewing with to find out what ‘keeps them up at night’. This will help you tailor answers around how your skills could help solve problems and increase growth, productivity, or efficiency. If possible, “know someone” in the company. Professional associations are great places to find people.
Live and love the department and the position
Think about what responsibilities like “organized” mean in the job description. “Organized” in an administrative role may be very different from a managerial one – be ready to give examples of how you have been ‘organized’ in the way the position intends. Use your LinkedIn profile to find other professionals in the organization. This is the largest professional social media networking site – make it work for you. Check out any Facebook groups the company or the competition has. See what their ‘wall’ says – do they have any ‘events’ coming up and if so, plan to attend anything public that will give you even more insight into their company.
- Your interview clothes tell your next boss about your work
It’s summer, except in New York where it could snow any moment, and the triple digit temperatures are a daily occurrence in the Southwest. So, who wants to wear long sleeves, closed toe shoes, and a tie to an interview? If you are in the job hunt you need to realize that no matter what the temperature is outside, employers will make judgments about a candidate’s work ethic from the first minute they meet them. Here are the golden rules of interview clothes that can put you ahead of the competition.
A suit is always the right outfit for an interview. If you work in a labor intensive industry, you may be able to wear a dress shirt or conservative blouse with a basic skirt or pants and leave the tie and jacket at home. The key is that you aren’t looking to ‘stand out’ with your overall appearance for an interview. This is probably the first time you are meeting your prospective boss, or someone who you will work with, so the first impression counts.
The color of the clothes you wear to an interview matters. Avoid wearing ties, shirts, or tops with bright colors, especially the first time you meet your prospective manager. You want him to be listening to you, not wondering why you picked hot pink.
Interviews aren’t a good time to think outside the box
Keep it simple. Don’t overdo the jewelry or hair gel. If you have piercings that can be removed, take them out. Try to wear clothing to cover up tattoos unless you are working in a field that is ok with ink. Remember that distracting the interviewer with what you consider your personal sense of style is won’t get you the job.
Research will save your interview
Know your audience. If you don’t know whether piercings or tattoos are acceptable, take them out or cover them up. Prepare in advance. Showing up to an interview in a wrinkled suit, or missing a button on your jacket will only tell the manager that you either don’t have attention to detail or you are a sloppy worker.
A summer interview can be a good thing
Summer is a great time to shop for basic suits that you can use throughout the year. Men should check out Men’s Warehouse and JC Penney and women can find conservative suits at Ann Taylor and Express. If you want to spend a little more money, Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom are good options. Wherever you shop, remember to look in the mirror and think ‘what does this outfit say about me and my work’?
- Volunteering experience can help your resume format
Job seekers transitioning from one field or industry to another may need to develop skills to make the jump. When your resume format is in need of an update with content that may separate you from the competition, different types of experience can help. Volunteering is a great way to strengthen existing skills or develop new ones while helping an organization. For those of you who are currently employed, if your current job doesn’t allow for time or opportunity to learn certain skills or gain certain experience, a volunteer position may be a great answer.
Pick the right place and time to volunteer.
This seems obvious, but you can’t build skills if you don’t want to be there. Look on local volunteering websites for organizations that are focused toward helping a cause you are interested in. The next step is to determine how much time you can devote to the organization. In fairness to the organization and to yourself, don’t over commit your time. It is important to understand what time commitment the group is looking for up front so you can determine if the opportunity is a fit for you.
Employers will know if you have included content to update your resume format in a genuine or fake way. This is why you need to select a volunteering location that will translate into real skills and experience that are relevant to your current or next employer. Learning how to balance a budget may be useful if you use math or accounting skills in your job. Identify what you will learn or improve in before you agree to a position.
Understand benefits you will get from your volunteering experience.
Take advantage of the opportunity to meet other people who are trying to achieve similar goals in building skills to change their own resume format. You may be surprised how even a large city may be a very small community in certain industries and volunteering is an effective way to build your professional network. Use LinkedIn® to add people you interact with on a regular basis at your volunteering location.
Keep track of your accomplishments to update your resume format.
You can’t update your resume format unless you keep accurate, detailed records of what your responsibilities are and how you have accomplished goals or objectives in your volunteering experience. Save documents, internal communication, and other information that you can refer to as you update your resume.
Don’t limit your options.
The summer months can be a good time to find volunteer experiences that could involve your family and teach children the value of contributing while developing their own skills. When you are looking for options, consider how you could build your skills, leverage experiences to improve your resume format, and also include your children and significant others as well.
- Managing a panel interview requires extra professionalism
Stepping into a panel interview – an interview with more than two people at the same time – can be a little more challenging than a one-on-one meeting. The basic principles are still the same, whether you are speaking to one person or to a group of managers who are evaluating your skills and background. There are some special ways to prepare for this type of interview so you aren’t caught off guard. Once you are in the interview, you will increase your chances of sailing through to the next round if you execute the recommendations below.
The best way to be calm and prepared for a panel interview is to know how many people will be interviewing you and what their roles are. Contact the person coordinating the interview to ask who is involved in the panel interview a couple of days in advance. Bring resume copies for everyone. Showing up without any clue about who is going to be there is a sure fire way to fail your interview.
Being aware of the different roles the interviewers have will also make you more educated to navigate the process effectively. This doesn’t mean that you need to focus on only the person who will be your direct supervisor, but more importantly that you can tailor answers toward different people’s experience. If there is someone who has previous experience in an area you want to possibly move into during your career, this is your time to show them that you are capable and someone to watch internally.
Pretend you are the only person who knows everyone at the party
Some candidates walk into the room and sit in the chair. This is only going to show the interviewers that you are nervous and following every other candidate’s pattern. By shaking each of the interviewer’s hands when you walk in, you show a calm and professional presence to the employer. This also allows you to give each person a copy of your resume.
Balance your eye contact
As you answer questions, look around at each of the interviewers to explain the skills that you have while ending your answers by looking at the person who originally asked the question. Be careful not to look like a bird and ‘peek’ at the interviewers. The less stressed out you seem to be, the more you will be perceived as confident and competent.
Focus on the value you can provide to the employer
Don’t let the number of people in the room distract you from including details and results in the examples you share about past experiences. Ultimately, the candidates who show confidence and professionalism toward each of the interviewers will move forward past a panel interview to the next stage in the process and into a job offer.
- What do your interview clothes say about you?
You passed the resume screening, they called you for a phone interview and you sailed through it. Now it’s time to show up and meet them for the first time – so what do your interview clothes say about you? Even if you think what you are wearing to an interview is not making a statement, the hiring manager who you are going to interview with will definitely have an opinion. Knowing what to wear, what not to wear, and what is appropriate in different interview situation is an important skill in the career search process.
If you wear these interview clothes, you will fail…
Some choices for interview clothes are obvious ‘Don’ts’. Don’t wear shorts, flip flops, tank tops, strapless tops, etc. Then there are interview clothes that you may think could be ok but could end your interview process quickly. Think about how a hiring manager would evaluate two candidates. The job requires technical skills and is in an industrial area where a suit or formal clothes would not be needed for work daily. The first candidate walks in wearing a dress shirt, tie, dress pants and dress shoes. The second candidate walks in wearing a collared shirt, nice pants (not dress pants), and shoes (not tennis shoes).
It’s obviously a more casual environment – or has a formal uniform which an interview candidate would not be able to wear to the interview – than a suit would call for. The first candidate, however, took the interview process seriously enough to show that they can be professional.
Trends are not ok for interview clothes
Maybe your friends who work in advertising told you that everyone is wearing thin collars, flashy colored ties, and tailored jackets with extremely thin lapels. Your interviews are not the time to show your fashion awareness. The exception to this would be if you are interviewing for a position in an industry that requires current knowledge of trends, media, entertainment, or the arts. In those cases, you should not only be aware of the trends, but also execute them –just use discretion in being somewhat conservative in what you do.
Some interview apparel is never appropriate
Being unique and individualistic is valued by employers. Having a vision, new set of eyes, and different perception, are all going to be good skills depending on what field you are going into. There are some things that really should not be worn to an interview however. If you have pierced your face – outside of your ears – take those out. Chunky jewelry that will distract the interviewer needs to stay at home. Bright colored shirts, suits, ties, shoes, or anything else is only going to distract the person you are talking to.
Some interview apparel is always on target
The bottom line for any hiring manager’s interpretation of your first impression will be whether you are wearing a suit – or equally conservative, but less formal because of the work environment – to show your professionalism. Even if you are interviewing at McDonald’s to be the person in charge of the French fries, showing up for your interview in clothes that communicate your appreciation of the position and the opportunity to share your skills and experience will show the interviewer your commitment and potentially launch you ahead of the competition.