Job Seekers

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by REGINA BORSELLINO

Does job searching sometimes feel like you’re flinging resumes and cover letters into a black hole? You may be wondering if your applications are being read at all.

Perhaps you’ve heard that computerized resume scanners reject applications before they even make it into human hands. And yes—at many companies that receive a high volume of applications, that’s true.

The internet has completely transformed the job searching landscape. Long gone are the days when you’d “pound the pavement” or “go in and ask to speak to a manager” for all but the smallest local businesses. Instead, you apply online—which is a double-edged sword for everyone involved. Because you don’t have to physically fill out and deliver an application or send out resumes and cover letters via snail mail anymore, you can apply to a lot more jobs. But so can everybody. This means that an open position can easily get far more applications than companies have the resources to read.

Just ask Muse Career Coach Yolanda M. Owens, Founder of CareerSensei Consulting, who has more than 20 years of recruiting experience in a range of industries, including healthcare, tech, and financial services. When she was a corporate recruiter, she would post a job opening and get back, she says, “over 300 applications for an entry-level position within a week.” She was generally recruiting for between 15 and 20 roles at a time, meaning that she might have 6,000 applicants to track at once!

So hiring managers and recruiters like Owens frequently use an applicant tracking systems (ATS)—software that helps them organize job applications and ensure none fall through the cracks. If you’ve applied to a job any time since 2008, your application has probably passed through an ATS. Over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS of some kind, according to research conducted by Jobscan. Any time you apply for a job through an online form or portal, your application is almost certainly going into an ATS.

But an ATS does more than just track applications—it can also act as a filter, parsing every resume submitted and forwarding only the most relevant, qualified job seekers to a hiring manager or recruiter. That’s the resume-scanning technology you’ve probably heard about.

Luckily, getting past the ATS is a lot easier than you might think. Follow these dos and don’ts to create an ATS-friendly resume that’ll sail right through—and impress the hiring manager, too.

1. Do Apply Only to Roles You’re Qualified For

ATSs get a bad rap as the “robots” standing between you and your new job, and when you hear that Owens read only 25% of the applications she received for most postings, it might reinforce that impression.

But the reason she looked at such a small percentage of applications? Most candidates were not qualified for the job she was filling. And some were completely irrelevant. “If I’m looking at an entry-level [accounting] position and seeing someone who is a dentist or a VP,” Owens says, it’s totally fair for the ATS to discard those.

So first and foremost, make sure you’re truly qualified for the roles you’re applying to. This doesn’t mean you have to hit every single job qualification or apply to a job only if you have the traditional background for it. Owens says she was always “trying to cast a wide net and not exclude too many factors to pass up a candidate who might not be traditional”— career changers looking for an entry point into a new field, for example, or folks who had impressive transferable skills. But if you don’t have the core skills needed to perform a job, you’re better off not wasting your time or a recruiter’s.

2. Don’t Apply to Tons of Jobs at the Same Company

An applicant tracking system also allows recruiters to see all the roles you’ve applied to at their company. Owens often noticed the same person applying to every single opening the company or one of its departments had. When you do this, a recruiter can’t tell what you’re actually interested in or if you’re self-aware about your abilities.

If a company has two very similar roles open, absolutely apply to both. Or if you have a wide range of skills and interests and would be equally happy in two very different roles, then you can apply to both, though you should definitely tailor or target each resume you submit to the specific job.

But you generally shouldn’t be applying to both an entry-level position and a director-level position, or a sales position and a video-editing position. And you definitely shouldn’t be applying to every opening a company has. That just shows you haven’t taken the time to consider what the right role for you is—and a recruiter isn’t likely to take the time to do it for you.

3. Do Include the Right Keywords

At its core, what any applicant tracking system is programmed to do when it “reads” a resume is the same as what a person would do: It’s scanning for key pieces of information to find out whether or not you’re a match for a job opening. “ATS algorithms aren’t that different from the human algorithms, we’re all kind of skimming for the same things,” says Jon Shields, Marketing Manager at Jobscan. So when it comes to writing a resume that can make it past an ATS, you want to make sure that key information is there and that it’s easy to find.

One of the ways the ATS narrows an applicant pool is by searching for specific keywords. It’s like a Google search on a much smaller scale.

The recruiter or hiring manager can decide which keywords to search for—usually whatever skills, qualifications, experience, or qualities are most important for performing the job. For entry-level roles, that might mean certain majors, whereas for a tech position, it might be certain coding languages.

So if you want to make it past the ATS, you’ll need to include those important keywords on your resume. Hint: Look for the hard skills that come up more than once in a posting and are mentioned near the top of the requirements and job duties. Hard skills include types of software, methodologies, spoken languages, and other abilities that are easier to quantify. (The most important keyword could even be the job title itself!)

Depending on your industry, certain degrees and certifications might also be important keywords. Particularly in fields like nursing and teaching where state licenses are necessary, employers are going to want to know at a glance that you’re legally allowed to do the job you’re applying for.

If you’re having trouble identifying the important keywords in a job description as you craft an ATS-friendly resume, there are tools online (like Jobscan, Resume Worded’s Targeted Resume or SkillSyncer) that can help you.

Note: In some cases, an ATS scanning for keywords will only recognize and count exact matches. So if you have the correct experience, but you wrote it using language that’s different than what the system is looking for, you might not come up as one of the most qualified applicants. For example, if you write that you’re an “LSW” but the ATS is checking for “Licensed Social Worker,” it might drop your resume. (To be safe, write out the full name, then put the abbreviation in parentheses.) Or if you wrote that you’re “an Excel expert,” but the ATS is searching for someone who has “experience with spreadsheets,” your resume might never get to the hiring manager. When in doubt, match your phrasing to what’s in the job description, as that’s likely to be what the ATS is looking for.

4. Do Put Your Keywords in Context

Applicant tracking systems can recognize that a key skill or experience is present. But interpreting the strength and value of that experience is still for people to do. And humans want to see how you used your skills.

It’s obvious to a recruiter when you’ve just worked in a keyword because it was in the posting, without tying it to a specific personal achievement—and it doesn’t win you any points. “Instead of focusing on regurgitating a job description, focus on your accomplishments,” Owens says.

Plus, remember that you won’t be the only one adding those important keywords to your resume. “If [you’re] all using the same job descriptions and the same buzzwords, what’s going to make you stand out from the crowd?” Owens asks. Answer: your accomplishments, which are unique to you.

When describing your current and past positions, “ensure your bullet points are actually achievements, and use numbers and metrics to highlight them,” says Rohan Mahtani, Founder of Resume Worded. Instead of just telling recruiters and hiring managers that you have a skill, this will show them how you’ve used it and what the results were.

5. Don’t Try to Trick the ATS

ATSs have brought up a whole new host of problems with applicants “trying to cheat the system,” Owens says. You might have come across advice about how to tweak your resume to fool an applicant tracking system—by pasting keywords in white, pasting the entire job description in white, repeating the keywords as many times as possible, or adding a section labeled “keywords” where you stick various words from the job description.

Don’t do any of this!

Any tricks that have to do with pasting keywords in white will immediately be discovered because the ATS will display all text in the same color on the other end. So even if this gets your application flagged to a human recruiter, they’ll see that you added the full text of the job description or just wrote “sales sales sales sales” somewhere and move onto the next candidate as quickly as they can. Not only are you failing to prove you’re qualified for the job, but you’re also showing that you’ll cheat to get ahead!

If you were considering adding a “keyword” section, remember that it lacks any context. If you can’t also speak to your experience with the skill, it probably doesn’t belong on your resume, and if this is true of one of the main keywords, this isn’t the job for you. What you can do, however, is include a keyword-rich resume summarynot an objective statement—that concisely puts your skills in context at the top of your document.

You also want to be careful you’re not just stuffing your resume full of keywords. “You can use a keyword as much as you like so long as it’s used in [the] correct context that makes it relevant to the job description,” says Nick Francioso, an Army veteran who mentors other veterans during career transitions and the founder of resume optimization tool SkillSyncer. But if you just cram in random keywords all over the place, you might make it past a resume scanner only to irritate a recruiter or hiring manager with a resume full of nonsense.

6. Do Choose the Right File Type

In the great resume file-type debate, there are only two real contenders: .docx vs .pdf. While PDFs are best at keeping your format intact overall, the .docx format is the most accurately parsed by ATSs. So if you want to get past the ATS, use a .docx file. But also follow directions (if the listing asks for a certain file type, give it to them!) and take the posting’s word for it (if a posting says a PDF is OK, then it’s OK).

And if you’re considering using an online resume builder, first check what file type it spits out—Mahtani cautions that some online resume builders will generate your resume as an image (.jpg or .png, for example).

Pro tip: If you don’t have Microsoft Word or another program that can convert your resume to .docx or .pdf, you can use Google Docs to create your resume, then download it in either format for free.

7. Do Make Your Resume Easy to Scan (by Robots and Humans)

In addition to making sure that your resume has the right content for an applicant tracking system, you also need to make sure the ATS can make sense of that information and deliver it to the person on the other end in a readable form.

Fortunately, ATS-friendly resume formatting is very similar to recruiter-friendly resume formatting. Like a human, the ATS will read from left to right and top to bottom, so keep that in mind as you format. For example, your name and contact information should all be at the top, and your work history should start with your most recent or current position. There should be “no surprises about where info is supposed to be,” Shields says.

Among the three common resume formats you can choose from—chronologicalcombination, and functional—ATSs are programmed to prefer the first two. Recruiters also prefer chronological and combination formats (starting to notice a theme?). “For me, it’s more about storytelling to demonstrate a person’s professional progression,” Owens says. That story is harder to see with a functional resume, which can confuse applicant tracking systems, too. Without a clear work history to draw from, the software doesn’t know how to sort different sections of text.

“Ultimately recruiters just want to find the info they’re looking for as quickly as possible,” Shields says. So making a resume ATS friendly will actually help your resume be more readable to recruiters as well.

8. Don’t Include Too Much Fancy Formatting

It may pain you to hear this, but you likely need to get rid of that expensive resume template or heavily designed custom resume. “If you speak to experienced hiring managers [and] recruiters, they’ll tell you that creative [or] fancy resumes are not only harder for [an] ATS to read, but also harder for them to read!” says Mahtani.

In order to scan your resume for relevant keywords most ATSs will convert the document to a text-only file. So at best, any fancy formatting will be lost. At worst, the ATS won’t be able to pull out the important information and so a person may never lay eyes on your nice designs—or read about the experience and skills that actually qualify you for the job.

When designing a resume to go through an ATS, avoid:

  • Tables
  • Text boxes
  • Logos
  • Images: In the U.S., your resume should never include your photo.
  • Graphics, graphs, or other visuals
  • Columns: Since ATSs are programmed to read left to right, some will read columns straight across rather than reading column one top to bottom and then starting column two at the top.
  • Headers and footers: Information in the header and footer sometimes gets dropped by the ATS completely. Make sure all text is within the document body.
  • Uncommon section headings: Stick to conventional labels like “Education,” “Work Experience,” and “Technical Skills,” so the ATS knows how to sort your information. This is not the place to get creative with something like “Where I’ve Made an Impact.”
  • Hyperlinks on important words: Some systems will display only the URL and drop the words you linked from, so don’t link from anything important (like your job title or an accomplishment). Instead, paste in the URL itself or link out from a word like “website” or “portfolio.”
  • Less common fonts: Stick to a universal font like Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia, or Cambria. Avoid fonts you need to download, which the ATS may have trouble parsing.

Here are some elements you can use without tripping up an ATS:

  • Bold
  • Italics
  • Underline: But stick to using underlines in headings and for URLs, Shields says. In general, people have been trained to see any underline within sentences as links.
  • Colors: Just know that the ATS will return all text in the same color, so make sure your color choices aren’t vital to understanding the text of your resume.
  • Bullets: Bullets are an important component of any resume, but stick to the standard circle- or square-shaped ones. Anything else could get messy.

Still not convinced that you should ditch your fancy resume? To show how formatting can trip up an ATS, we created a resume with many of the “forbidden” design elements—including columns, separate text boxes for the job seeker’s name and contact information, a table, icons, and text in the header—and used it to apply to a job at The Muse. The resume contains all the keywords found in the job posting, and since Victoria Harris is a fictional person, she hits every single requirement, making her an ideal candidate for the job.

Here’s what the resume looks like after it’s been run through an ATS:

You’ll immediately notice that the columns have been smashed together. Victoria’s current position is still first, which is good, but what comes next is an indecipherable jumble: “Education Sales Cloud Apollo.io.” Then, the ATS has combined the start date of her current job with her graduation date and interpreted that she’s been in her current position for just one month instead of over a year.

When you finally get to her bullet points, they’ve also been destroyed. Her fourth bullet, for example, now ends with: “Salesforce Analytics Cloud and Salesforce Sales Cloud Salesforce Salesforce.” Victoria wasn’t keyword stuffing, but it sure looks like she was.

Yes, this feels like a lot. But the main thing to take away when it comes to creating an ATS-friendly resume is that “it will help even if you’re not going through an ATS,” Shields says. At the end of the day, what an ATS is looking for in a resume is not that different from what a person is scanning for—so if you make a resume that beats the ATS, chances are it’ll impress a whole lot of humans, too.

SOURCE: https://www.themuse.com/advice/beat-the-robots-how-to-get-your-resume-past-the-system-into-human-hands

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LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report 
DALLAS SHERRINGHAM

ARTIFICIAL Intelligence was a major threat to jobs in years gone by, but it is the biggest of booming careers in 2020.

As automation changes the way people live and work every day, jobs in AI are proving to be some of the biggest career opportunities of our time.

LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report for the USA names artificial intelligence specialist as the job that saw the most growth in the past five years. The renowned career site looked at each job’s growth rate in hiring every year, averaged over the past five years, to determine the emerging jobs list.

For example, hiring growth for AI specialists, which pays a national average of $136,000 per year in the USA, according to LinkedIn salary data, has grown 74% each year, on average, since 2015. These jobs are primarily concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Boston, Seattle and Los Angeles.

Artificial intelligence is a subset of automation and refers to machines learning to use judgment and logic to complete tasks that require planning, reasoning, problem-solving and predicting.

While AI specialists tend to work in the tech industry, the report notes that many also work in higher education. One reason why: There is a so-called tech talent shortage in the U.S., so schools may be seeking out more AI experts to teach these skills.

Workers also have been trying to learn AI skills online, leading to fast growth in the multibillion-dollar e-learning industry.

As a result, online learning platforms may have also hired AI experts to teach their students.

“At this stage, most of the workforce doesn’t work in the emerging field of artificial intelligence, but that doesn’t mean it won’t impact everyone,” LinkedIn’s principal economist Mr Guy Berger said in the report.

“Artificial intelligence will require the entire workforce to learn new skills, whether it’s to keep up to date with an existing role or pursuing a new career as a result of automation.”

Here are the top 15 emerging jobs of 2020, what they pay and where the most jobs are, according to LinkedIn.

15. Product owner
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 24%
Average pay: $100,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Information technology and services, financial services, computer software, insurance, hospitals and health care

14. JavaScript developer
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 25%
Average pay: $83,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Computer software, information technology and services, internet, financial services, marketing and advertising

13. Cloud engineer
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 27%
Average pay: $100,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Information technology and services, computer software, financial services, internet, telecommunications

12. Chief revenue officer
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 28%
Average pay: $330,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Computer software, information technology and services, marketing and advertising, internet, financial services

11. Back end developer
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 30%
Average pay: $88,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Computer software, internet, information technology and services, marketing and advertising, financial services

10. Cybersecurity specialist
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 30%
Average pay: $103,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Information technology and services, defense and space, computer network and security, management consulting, financial services

9. Behavioral health technician
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 32%
Average pay: $33,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Mental health care, hospital and health care, individual and family services, education management, health, wellness and fitness

8. Data engineer
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 33%
Average pay: $100,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Information technology and services, internet, computer software, financial services, hospital and health care

7. Sales development representative
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 34%
Average pay: $60,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Computer software, internet, information technology and services, marketing and advertising, computer and network security

6. Customer success specialist
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 34%
Average pay: $90,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Computer software, internet, information technology and services, marketing and advertising, financial services

5. Site reliability engineer
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 34%
Average pay: $130,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Internet, computer software, information technology and services, financial services, consumer electronics

4. Full stack engineer
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 35%
Average pay: $82,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Computer software, information technology and services, internet, financial services, higher education

3. Data scientist
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 37%
Average pay: $143,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Information technology and services, computer software, internet, financial services, higher education

2. Robotics engineer
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 40%
Average pay: $85,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Information technology and services, industrial automation, computer software, financial services, automotive

1. Artificial intelligence specialist
Average annual growth rate since 2015: 74%
Average pay: $136,000 per year
Top industries hiring for this role: Computer software, internet, information technology and services, higher education, consumer electronics

Overall, more than half of the roles on LinkedIn’s emerging jobs list are within the technology, engineering and data science spaces.

Even those that aren’t more traditional tech jobs — like customer success specialist, sales development representative or product owner — are growing in demand because they are needed within technology organizations.

With an average annual salary of $330,000 a year, chief revenue officers are the highest-paid emerging job of 2020. The report notes this is a relatively new type of job “born out of the need to better understand the roles both sales and marketing play in making a company money.”

While this is a more traditional sales and marketing position, the top industries hiring for this executive role include computer software, information and technology services, internet and financial services, along with marketing and advertising companies.

The one fast-growing job on the list that doesn’t fall within tech is No. 9 behavioral health technician, which has likely grown thanks to increased health insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment in recent years, according to the LinkedIn report.

It’s also the only job that doesn’t require a four-year degree, but rather a certificate or associate’s degree, which could encourage professionals from many different educational backgrounds to pursue a career in the field.

Source: LinkedIn’s Emerging Jobs Report 2020

SOURCE: https://www.coastba.com.au/featured/item/1870-ai-the-way-to-go-in-2020

A young business man shaking hands with someone

by Margaret Buj

Unless you are one of the lucky few who works in a high-demand career, finding a new job can be a challenging and frustrating experience. You can make the job search a bit easier on yourself if you use proactive strategies for finding a new job – and the tips for finding a new job included in this article are applicable to all jobseekers, from those just starting out to experienced candidates who need a quick refresher.

Here are some of my best tips for finding a new job at any career level.

1. Get clear on what you want

Before starting your job search, take the time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and the type of work you enjoy doing. The better you know yourself, the more likely you’ll find a new job that provides you with greater satisfaction. What do you want in a job? What’s most important, title, money, promotion, the work itself, location, or company culture?

2. Research your target companies

Once you know what you want, it’s time to find out what the companies you’re applying for want. A great tip for finding a new job is to investigate a company’s Glassdoor page. It will help you get a feel for their company culture, figure out what questions they commonly ask in interviews, and even discover what salary you’re likely to be paid.

Your resume is still one of the most critical tools of a job search. One of my best tips for finding a new job is to have an achievement-oriented resume that includes quantifiable achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

3. Tailor your resume to each job

Your resume is still one of the most critical tools of a job search. A lot of resumes I see are full of responsibilities (instead of tangible achievements) and jobseekers send the same resume to various openings. One of my best tips for finding a new job is to have an achievement-oriented resume that includes quantifiable achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Make yourself an obvious fit. Study the words and phrases that are used in the job description? Make sure you include them in your resume (provided you have that experience, of course). Tailor your resume to each job – the recruiter should know within a few seconds of looking at your resume that you have the skills they are looking for.

Editor’s note: You can tailor your resume, or build a new one from scratch, using LiveCareer’s free resume builder.

4. Create your online career brand

Building your brand simply means showcasing your expertise and passion online where employers searching the Web can find it. Most recruiters, including myself, use LinkedIn as their primary search tool and if you’re a professional, you need to be using LinkedIn to your full advantage. It’s a great resource for finding people working at companies that interest you and also for positioning yourself to be found by recruiters and hiring managers with relevant openings.

5. Get organized

Before you start applying for jobs or interviewing with employers, take a moment to develop a system that works for you in organizing your job search. A simple spreadsheet works best for many to keep a track of the jobs you’ve applied for, where you have been invited to interview, etc.

6. Build, cultivate, and utilize your network of contacts

For the vast majority of jobseekers, a large and strong network of contacts — people who know you and want to help you uncover job leads — results in more job opportunities. Networking – in person and online – is essential to your success in your job search.

It also helps you to get a good idea of what is out there and available, so you can be more strategic in your job search.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to people on LinkedIn, and if you know someone working at a company that interests you, ask for a referral. Hiring managers would prefer to interview people who came recommended before sorting through the resumes arriving via a career website.

7. Don’t limit yourself to online applications

If you rely only on submitting online applications, you could be looking for a job for a very long time. By the time you apply, the company might be in the final interview stage, or the job might have even been filled. Contact companies that interest you directly – you might get in contact with an internal recruiter or schedule informational interviews with people who work in those companies. Ideally, you want to be known to the people who might influence you getting your foot in the door.

8. Aim to complete a few job-related goals daily

It takes a great deal of time and effort to find a new job. In a long job search, it’s easy to get discouraged and distracted, but by focusing on achieving daily goals you can motivate yourself while also building a foundation for success.

9. Be kind to yourself

Looking for a job can be stressful. So, take some time to meditate, exercise, watch a movie or whatever it is that helps you unwind. Create a good support network – having people to brainstorm with or vent your frustrations to will help the process be less painful.

10. Develop examples and stories that showcase your skills

This is one of the main tips for finding a new job. People remember stories, so your goal should be developing a set of interview stories you can use in networking meetings or job interviews that clearly demonstrate your skills, achievements, and passion for your work. Be memorable! Using stories (use the STAR format) may also help you feel more comfortable talking about yourself.

11. Prepare for all job interviews

Before you get called for your first interview, develop responses for common interview questions, and then practice them — ideally using the mock-interviewing technique with a friend, network contact, or interview coach. The more prepared you are for the interview, the more comfortable you’ll be – and the more likely you’ll succeed.

For the vast majority of jobseekers, a large and strong network of contacts — people who know you and want to help you uncover job leads — results in more job opportunities. Networking – in person and online – is essential to your success in your job search.

12. Write thank-you notes after interviews to all interviewers

A quick note (by email is fine) of thanks that emphasizes your interest and fit with the job and employer will not get you the job offer, but it will help make you stand out from the majority of jobseekers who do not bother with this simple act of courtesy.

13. Continue following up with hiring managers

Your work is not done once the interview is complete or the thank-you note sent. Following up with the hiring manager regularly shows your interest and enthusiasm for the job. The key is doing so in a way that is professional while not making you sound pesky or needy.

14. Expect the job search to take longer than you think

You can hope to have a new job within a short period, but the likely reality is that it might take months to find the right opportunity and get offered the position. You should mentally prepare yourself for a long battle — and then you can be happily surprised if you are one of the lucky few whose job search is short.

5 Final Thoughts on Finding a New Job

Here a few other tips for finding a new job if your job search situation does not fit the typical model – if conditions are such that finding employment will be unusually hard.

First, having both a positive attitude and outlook is extremely important. Employers can sense desperation and despair; organizations want to hire positive and competent people. If you’ve been unemployed for a long period and depressed or recently downsized and angry, find a way to shrug it off when job hunting or you will only be hurting yourself.

Second, if you’re an older worker trying to find a job, you may face age discrimination. Among the ways to proactively counter any issues about your age are to limit the number of years of experience you list on your resume (by keeping to the last 10-15 years), eliminate dates in the education section of your resume, and focus on adaptability and flexibility in the interview.

Third, remember that you may need additional training or experience, especially if you are entering a new career field.

Fourth, you may need to consider temping or volunteering for a short period to gain experience and build network contacts that can lead to a full-time position.

Fifth, in the most extreme cases, you may need to consider relocation to a place that has a higher concentration of jobs in your field.

Hope you’ve found these tips for finding a new job useful. I’d love to hear what you’re going to change in your job search after reading this article.

SOURCE: https://www.livecareer.com/resources/jobs/search/14-job-hunting-tips

Commuting image

By Dallas Sherringham

CENTRAL Coast workers of the future workers won’t be driving all the way to their jobs.

They will be catching state-of-art public transport, riding bikes or even walking the final stage according to a key advocate for smarter cities

Three quarters of Coast workers still commute by car, but a new strategy from the Smart Cities Council outlines six essential steps to greater urban mobility and better cities.

Mobility Now, released as part of the recent Smart Cities Week, was prepared by the Council’s Urban Mobility Task Force, a group which advocates for sustainable and inclusive mobility solutions that build livable cities.

Smart Cities Council Executive Director Adam Beck is leading the charge to make the workforce more mobile.

“Advancing technological capabilities, new service delivery models and unprecedented city growth create great opportunities as well as urgent pressures to deliver new mobility solutions,” he said.

“Australia’s population is projected to grow by 24%, reaching 31.4 million by 2036. Nearly 80% of this growth will be accommodated in our four largest cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

“At the same time, Infrastructure Australia estimates that that road and public transport congestion could cost the economy $40B by 2031.

“We know half of all commuters in our capital cities live within 10 km of their workplace – and as much as a third live within five km. And yet most still drive. Our challenge is to boost transport options that help people overcome the first and last mile hurdle.

“If just five per cent of driver-only commuters shifted to micro-mobility – cycling, scooting or walking in combination with public transport – we would remove 300,000 cars from Australia’s daily commuter traffic, while helping people’s wallets and waistlines,” Mr Beck said.

The Mobility Now strategy outlines six clear steps:
1. Adapt and re-design the urban built environment.
2. Develop a new urban mobility operating system.
3. Introduce more accessible and equitable mobility.
4. Embrace a global 21st century urban mobility data system.
5. Create a new mobility incentives regime.
6. Implement new decision making and strategy development practices.

“These six actions must be taken now to address the challenges associated with the ‘first and last mile’ problem and enable uptake of more sustainable transport modes,” Mr Beck said.

“Mobility Now is not about pitching cars against bikes or pedestrians, but about curating a more balanced mix of transport modes to enhance the livability, sustainability and workability of our cities – not to mention the health and wellbeing of our citizens.”

About the Smart Cities Council

Smart Cities Council is the world’s largest network of smart cities companies, practitioners and policy makers. It envisions a world where digital technology, data and intelligent design are harnessed to create smart, sustainable cities with high-quality living and high-quality jobs. www.smartcitiescouncil.com

SOURCE: https://www.coastba.com.au/people-news/item/1853-the-mobile-workers-of-tomorrow

Cover Letter image

by Alyse Kalish

We love having examples. It’s so much easier to follow a recipe, build a puzzle, or yes, even write a cover letter when you know what the end product should look like.

So that’s what we’re going to give you—all the cover letter examples and tips you need to make yours shine (we’re unfortunately not experts in recipes or puzzles).

Want to get right down to business? Skip ahead to:

Why Bother With a Cover Letter at All?

Before we jump in, it’s worth emphasizing why cover letters still exist and are worthy of your attention. I bet when you see a job listing where one’s “optional” you gleefully submit a resume and move on. But you’re truly doing yourself a disservice by not creating one (or by writing one that’s super generic or formulaic).

“When you’re writing a resume you’re oftentimes confined by space, by resume speak, by keywords—you’re up against a lot of technical requirements,” says Melody Godfred, a Muse career coach and founder of Write in Color who’s read thousands of cover letters over the course of her career, “whereas in a cover letter you have an opportunity to craft a narrative that aligns you not only with the position you’re applying to but also the company you’re applying to.”

When you’re writing a resume you’re oftentimes confined by space, by resume speak, by keywords—you’re up against a lot of technical requirements, whereas in a cover letter you have an opportunity to craft a narrative that aligns you not only with the position you’re applying to but also the company you’re applying to.

It helps you explain your value proposition, stand out from the stack, and create “continuity between your application and the person you’re going to be when you walk into the room,” Godfred says. If there’s a gap in your resume, you have the opportunity to explain why it’s there. If you’re changing careers, you have the chance to describe why you’re making the switch. If your resume’s pretty dull, a cover letter helps you add personality to an otherwise straightforward career path.

Convinced? A little less worried? Maybe not sold on the idea but now know why you need to spend time on it? Either way, let’s get started—we promise this will be painless.

The Elements of a Perfect Cover Letter

Let’s go back to puzzles for a second. They’re made up of bits and pieces that fit together a specific way to complete the whole, right?

Cover letters are a little like puzzles. When you put each component in its proper place (and remove any parts that don’t fit), you create a complete picture.

Every great cover letter includes the following:

An Engaging Opening Line

Not “I’m applying for [position].” Not “I’m writing to be considered for a role at [Company].” Not “Hello! How’s it going? Please hire me!”

Your opening line is everything. How you start a cover letter influences whether someone keeps reading—and you want them to, right?

“Starting with something that immediately connects you to the company is essential—something that tells the company that this is not a generic cover letter,” says Godfred. “Even if your second paragraph is something that doesn’t ever change, that first intro is where you have to say something that tells the employer, ‘I wrote this just for you.’”

It can be a childhood memory tying you back to the company’s mission. It can be a story about the time you fell in love with the company’s product. It can be an anecdote from another job or experience showing how hard of a worker you are. Whatever you decide to open with, make it memorable.

A Clear Pitch

The next few paragraphs, Godfred explains, are where you include one of two things: “If you’re someone who’s transitioning careers, and you need to explain that transition, you do it there.” But if you’re not a career changer, use this section to “hit them with the strongest results you have that are aligned with the opportunity,” she states.

Ryan Kahn—Muse career coach and founder of The Hired Group—calls this your pitch. In other words, the part where you’re “selling yourself for the position and why you’re qualified for it.”

Godfred emphasizes that this section should have a balance of soft and hard skills. Talk about your experience using Salesforce or doing SEO work (and get those job description keywords in! More on that later), but also highlight your ability to lead teams and communicate effectively.

“Companies are embracing authenticity, they’re embracing humanity, they’re looking for people who are going to fit their culture. So what are your values? What do you stand for?” says Godfred. These values should be as much a part of your cover letter as the nitty-gritty.

A Great Closing Line

Kahn explains that your closing line could include your next steps, such as “I welcome the opportunity to speak with you more about how I can contribute to [team]” or “I would love to schedule a time for us to discuss this role and my experience.”

But more importantly, “you want to make sure that you’re gracious and thanking them,” he says. While seemingly cliché, it never hurts to end on a simple “thank you for your consideration.”

You can, however, exclude the “references upon request” line. “If an employer wants your references, you better believe they’ll ask for them,” says Godfred.

A Few Other Cover Letter Essentials

First off—please, I beg you, address your cover letter to a person. No “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” People don’t talk that way, so why would they want to read it?

Secondly, keep the applicant tracking system, or ATS, in mind. This robot will be sifting through your cover letter much in the way it does with your resume, so you’ll want to scatter relevant keywords from the job description throughout your cover letter where it makes sense.

Third of all, get your contact information on there, including your name, phone number, and email (most of the time, your address and theirs is irrelevant)—and on every page, if yours goes over one.

“Imagine you come across a cover letter and you print it out with a bunch of applications to review and it doesn’t have the person’s contact information on it,” states Godfred. “You never want to put yourself in a situation where you’re the right person and they can’t find you.”

And know that the ATS can’t read crazy formatting, so keep your font and layout simple.

How to Get Started Writing a Cover Letter

Overall, says Godfred, “when you’re up against dwindling attention spans, the more concise you can be the better. Make every single word count.”

To get started, she always suggests that her clients do a “brain dump.” Once you just get your ideas onto the page, then “ask yourself how you can cut half of it.” Through this process, “you’ll find that those very generic phrases oftentimes are the first to go,” she says. You only have so much space to get your point across, so focus on the information that isn’t stated elsewhere rather than simply regurgitating your resume.

This can feel like a lot to do on one cover letter, let alone several, so Kahn likes to remind his clients that quality comes first. Target the jobs you’re most closely drawn to and qualified for and give them all your energy, rather than try to churn out hundreds of cover letters. You may not be able to apply to as many jobs, but you’re guaranteed to have better results in terms of response rate.

Cover Letters Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Whether you’re writing a cover letter for a data scientist or executive assistant position, an internship or a senior-level role, a startup or a Fortune 500 company, you’re going to want to tailor it to the role, company, and culture (not to mention, the job description).

Don’t fret! We’ve got examples of the four basic types of cover letters below: a traditional cover letter, an impact cover letter, a writing sample cover letter, and a career change cover letter. We’ve also included the exact job descriptions they’re written for—to help inspire you to tailor yours to a specific position.

One note before you read on: There’s a difference between your cover letter and the email you send with your application. If you’re not sure whether to copy and paste your letter into your email or attach it as a document, common practice is to pick either/or, not both.

Example #1The Traditional Cover Letter

A traditional cover letter, is, as you guessed it, based on your average cover letter template. You’ll most likely write this version if you’re applying to a very traditional company (like a law firm or major healthcare company) or a very traditional role (like a lawyer or accountant), or when you’re just looking to lean more conservative and safe.

The Job Description

Let’s say you’re applying to a paralegal job opening. The job description might look something like this:

Responsibilities

  • Draft routine legal documents for review and use by attorneys
  • Coordinate and organize materials and presentations for board meetings
  • Research legal and related business issues and report findings and conclusions to team
  • Provide overall legal administrative support of the legal team
  • Maintain calendars and ensure timely filings

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent of relevant education and work experience
  • Strong communication skills (oral and written)
  • Strong organizational, multitasking, and prioritizing skills
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
  • Trustworthy, positive, energetic, and optimistic attitude with a willingness to roll up your sleeves

The Cover Letter Example

Under the constraints of keeping things strictly professional, here’s what you could write without sounding too boring or jargon-y:

Dear Ms. Jessica Tilman,

In my five-year career as a paralegal, I have honed my legal research and writing skills, and the attorneys I’ve worked with have complimented me on my command of case law and litigation support. Spiegel Law Firm’s 20 years in practice proves that the firm has strong values and excellent attorneys, which is why I want to be a part of the Spiegel Law Firm team.

I currently serve as a paralegal for Chandler LLC, where I work closely with the partners on a number of high-priority cases. During my time here, I implemented a new calendar system that ensures timely filing of court papers. This system has prevented missed deadlines and allowed for better organization of internal and client meetings.

Previously, as a paralegal for the Neuerburg Law Firm, I received praise for my overall support of the legal team and my positive attitude.

My further qualifications include a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, a paralegal certificate, and training in LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Microsoft Office Suite.

I would love the opportunity to discuss how I can contribute to your legal team. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Chase Broadstein
chasebroadstein@emailcentral.com
(222) 222-2222

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Why This Works

It’s short, sweet, and to the point. It shows both a knack for getting things done in a thorough and timely matter and an energy for helping out wherever it’s needed. They also toss some important keywords in there: implemented a new calendar system, My further qualifications include a Bachelor’s Degree…, training in LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Microsoft Office Suite…

Finally, it expresses a genuine interest in this specific firm in its opening lines.

Example #2The Impact Cover Letter

The impact cover letter works best for roles where you’re expected to deliver on certain goals or results. Maybe you’re in sales and the job calls for hitting a certain quota each quarter. Or maybe you’re an event planner looking to show you can run X number of conferences or create Y number of marketing campaigns. The key for this, then, will be to put your accomplishments front and center.

The Job Description

You’ve come across an opening for an email marketing manager. The job description states the following:

Responsibilities

  • Manage email marketing strategy and calendar, including copywriting, optimization, monitoring, reporting, and analysis of campaigns
  • Improve campaign success through conversion optimization, A/B testing, and running experiments
  • Measure and report on performance of campaigns, assessing against goals
  • Collaborate with the design team to determine content strategy and ensure brand guidelines are followed in emails
  • Partner and collaborate cross-functionally with sales, product, product marketing, and data teams

Requirements

  • 3+ years in email marketing or equivalent field
  • Experience with Google Analytics, HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, and SEO a plus
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written) and an eye for copyediting
  • Team player with strong interpersonal, relationship-building, and stakeholder management skills
  • Excellent project management, problem solving, and time management skills, with the ability to multitask effectively

The Cover Letter Example

Your personality can shine more directly through this kind of cover letter, but you’ll want to make sure your hard skills and successes stand out:

Dear Russ Roman,

I have a problem. See, my inbox currently (and embarrassingly) hosts 1,500 unread emails—including newsletters from at least 50 different brands.

But this problem only fuels my passion for creating emails that are worth opening. Because from my perspective, as someone who can barely get through their own stack of mail, that’s a true win.

I’ve been following Vitabe for years, and can proudly say that I open every single email you send to me. I’m a sucker for a good subject line—“Take a Vitamin-ute—We’ll A-B-C You Soon” being my favorite—and the way your email content feels both fun and expert-backed really speaks to me. This is why I’m thrilled to submit my application for a role as email marketing manager at your company.

I have over four years of experience working in the email marketing space. In my current role at Westside Bank, I was able to implement new email campaigns centered around reengaging churned clients. By analyzing data around the types of clients who churn and the engagement of our current email subscribers, as well as A/B testing headlines and newsletter layouts, we were able to increase email subscribers by 15% and convert 30% of those subscribers to purchase our product, a significant increase from the previous year. I also launched a “Your Credit Matters” newsletter focused on educating our clients on how they spend and manage their credit—which became our highest performing campaign in terms of open-rates and click-through to date.

Previously, as a member of the marketing team at Dream Diary Mattresses, I collaborated with the sales and product team to understand how I could best support them in hitting their quarterly goals. One specific project involving creating personalized emails for customers drew more people to come back to our site after 30 days than direct paid ad campaigns, leading to a 112% increase in revenue from the last quarter.

I take the content I write and the calendars I manage seriously, editing and refining to the point beyond being detail-oriented into scary territory, and I feel my experience and drive would greatly help Vitabe further develop their email program for success.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Lad Miller
lmiller@inboxeseverywhere.com
(987) 654-3210

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Why This Works

This sample cover letter concisely highlights the person’s significant achievements and ties them back to the job description. By adding context to how their projects were created, monitored, and completed, they’re able to show just how results-driven they are.

One thing worth noting: This person didn’t include skills such as Google Analytics, HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, and SEO—all of which are listed in the job description. The reason they decided not to was simply because those skills are most likely in their resume, and they wanted to use the space they had to discuss specific projects and tell a story not visible on other parts of their application.

infographic of cover letter example impact cover letter

Example #3The Writing Sample Cover Letter

Often for roles where communication is king, such as PR, copyediting, or reporting, your cover letter will either substitute for or complement your writing samples. So it’s just as important to write eloquently as it is to showcase your skill set.

The Job Description

Let’s take the example of a staff writer position. The requirements might include the following:

Responsibilities

  • Pitch and write editorial content and collaborate with teams to report on timely issues and trends
  • Evaluate content performance and digital trends on a daily basis to constantly adjust pitches and packaging
  • Utilize CMS tools, strategically select photos and videos, and request original graphics to optimize all written content for maximum engagement

Requirements

  • At least 2-3 years of experience creating content at a digital-first outlet
  • Strong writing and reporting skills, and the ability to write clearly and quickly
  • Familiarity with working in a CMS and with analytics tools such as Google Analytics
  • Deadline-driven, strategic thinker with a knack for crafting click-y headlines
  • Strong collaborator who thrives in fast-paced environments

The Cover Letter Example

Have fun with this one, but make sure you’ve tripled-checked for spelling and grammar mistakes, and are showing off your best writing tactics:

Dear Mr. Kolsh,

Since I could walk, I’ve been dancing. And since I could read, I’ve been glued to Arabesque Weekly.

At one point, you featured one of my local heros—a ballerina who struggled with an injury early in her career and went on to become a principal at Pacific Northwest Ballet—and I plastered the article above my childhood bed. It’s still there today.

Of course, I never became a star myself, but it was that article and so many others you’ve published that taught me that dancing was about more than just pirouettes and arabesques (sorry, I had to)—and that the right kind of writer can shed light on aspects of the art that make it surprising, impactful, and universal. I can be that writer.

As an editorial assistant for The Improv Group for the past two and a half years, my main responsibility was to get all of our content ready to go live. This included a final round of proofreading, adding in HTML where necessary, fact-checking, and finding photos, videos, and GIFs that would complement the content and optimize audience engagement. As I tinkered with each post, I became intimately familiar with our internal CMS and what makes a piece perfect.

But, by far, my favorite aspect of this role has been writing. Each week, I pitch and write at least one article, from 250-word news items to 900-word advice pieces to even longer personal essays. I love the challenge of developing pitches that align with the trends we see in the data, fit in with the company’s brand and mission, and allow me to flex my creative muscles.

Collaborating with my team to form the best content library we can has been a dream come true. I am ready to use my experience to help Arabesque Weekly achieve all its big and small goals. And I hope to one day write a story that another child tapes to their wall forever.

It would be an honor to be a part of your editorial team, and I look forward to the possibility of discussing the opportunity with you.

Hoping to be your next staff writer,
Marlee Wood
marleew@mailplace.net
(555) 666-4433

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Why This Works

This candidate is clearly passionate about this specific publication and leads with a unique personal anecdote tied to the company’s mission and further showing their ability to tell stories in a compelling way. There are relevant keywords and phrases, sure, but they’re not just thrown in there. Every sentence carries a specific voice, proving this person knows how to communicate effectively.

Example #4The Career Change Cover Letter

Like I said earlier, cover letters can play a big part in helping career changers prove their worth—especially when it’s unclear how your skills transfer over to this new field.

Writing a career change cover letter requires a bit more strategy. You’ll want to highlight the obvious skills you have that relate to the job description, but you’ll also want to draw a line between experiences you’ve had in the past and responsibilities you might have in this new role. Finally, you’ll want to explain, if not emphasize, why you’re making the switch and what’s driving you toward this specific industry, company, or position.

The Job Description

Let’s say you’re someone who has experience supporting a sales team as an administrative assistant, and you’re now looking to become a sales representative. You come across the following job posting:

Responsibilities

  • Develop new sales techniques and strategies to build pipeline and hit team goals
  • Coordinate with other teams to increase lead generation efforts
  • Assist in the processing of new business, including contacting customers to finalize sales and service transactions

Requirements

  • 1-3 years of successful sales experience
  • Strong communication skills (oral and written)
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment
  • Ability to work independently to plan, set priorities, and effectively organize work
  • Proven ability to be persuasive, persistent, and confident in closing a sale

The Cover Letter Example

Here’s how you might translate your past experience over to this new (and exciting) prospect:

Dear Maria Ross,

The head of sales at Sunshine Inc. was in a bind. She needed six client meetings scheduled, 18 service transactions processed, and a summary of the team’s new lead generation campaign drafted before getting on a flight to Austin—in three hours. So, she turned to her cool-headed, sales-savvy administrative assistant for help. That assistant was me. Not only did I execute everything on her to-do list, I did it all before her plane left the ground.

For three years, I worked in lockstep with a busy, growth-oriented sales leader to support the business development team. As the sole administrative assistant in the department, I balanced a swath of competing priorities, ranging from data entry and meeting coordination to contacting customers, finalizing transactions, and creating promotional materials. This role helped me to develop a comprehensive understanding of the sales cycle, sales strategy, and pipeline growth.

Like many others, my career path hasn’t been entirely straightforward. After leaving Crabapple Media, I enrolled in a local coding training program. Six months later, I emerged with a certificate in computer programming and a certainty that I did not want to be a coder. But education is never wasted. I’m now an aspiring sales representative with experience supporting a thriving sales team and extensive knowledge of the tech space.

Here’s a little bit more about how my experience would translate into this role:

  • At Crabapple Media, I assisted in coordinating three annual sales strategy rollouts, each yielding a 26% increase in pipeline YoY.
  • At Sunshine Inc., I supported 12 independent team members in their lead generation efforts. I also assisted in processing an average of 300 sales transactions every quarter.
  • I thrive in busy, ever-changing environments that require me to communicate clearly and concisely. Supporting a high-volume team and a busy executive helped me to hone these skills—I typically sent more than 200 emails a day!

I would, of course, love to schedule a time for us to discuss this role and my experience, and I truly want to thank you for considering me.

All the best,
Jaclyne Dean
jdean@iloveemail.com
(123) 456-789

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Why This Works

The opener draws you in, leading you to want to learn more. It toots the person’s horn, but in a way that’s traceable. Then, the next couple sections explain both their experience in the sales space and in roles before, eventually tying that back to why they’re applying to this specific job. Similar to the impact cover letter, the author lists some of the more important qualities they bring to the table, doing a bit of keyword stuffing and resume gap explaining along the way.

Hopefully these cover letter examples help as you go to tackle your own. Remember: This is just one small step in the process! Take your time, but learn to move on when you’ve given it your all.

To further guide you, read some of the best cover letters we’ve ever encountered and check out this cover letter template.

And, don’t forget to edit! Read about how to cut a cover letter down to one page (because any longer and no one’s reading), plus everything you should double check before pressing submit.

SOURCE: https://www.themuse.com/advice/cover-letter-examples-every-type-job-seeker

Interviewing Image

by The Muse Editor

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what questions a hiring manager would be asking you in your next job interview?

We can’t read minds, unfortunately, but we’ll give you the next best thing: a list of more than 40 of the most commonly asked interview questions, along with advice for answering them all.

While we don’t recommend having a canned response for every interview question (in fact, please don’t), we do recommend spending some time getting comfortable with what you might be asked, what hiring managers are really looking for in your responses, and what it takes to show that you’re the right person for the job.

Consider this list your interview question and answer study guide.

  1. Tell Me About Yourself.
  2. How Did You Hear About This Position?
  3. Why Do You Want to Work at This Company?
  4. Why Do You Want This Job?
  5. Why Should We Hire You?
  6. What Are Your Greatest Strengths?
  7. What Do You Consider to Be Your Weaknesses?
  8. What Is Your Greatest Professional Achievement?
  9. Tell Me About a Challenge or Conflict You’ve Faced at Work, and How You Dealt With It.
  10. Tell Me About a Time You Demonstrated Leadership Skills.
  11. What’s a Time You Disagreed With a Decision That Was Made at Work?
  12. Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake.
  13. Tell Me About a Time You Failed.
  14. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?
  15. Why Were You Fired?
  16. Why Was There a Gap in Your Employment?
  17. Can You Explain Why You Changed Career Paths?
  18. What’s Your Current Salary?
  19. What Do You Like Least About Your Job?
  20. What Are You Looking for in a New Position?
  21. What Type of Work Environment Do You Prefer?
  22. What’s Your Management Style?
  23. How Would Your Boss and Coworkers Describe You?
  24. How Do You Deal With Pressure or Stressful Situations?
  25. What Do You Like to Do Outside of Work?
  26. Are You Planning on Having Children?
  27. How Do You Prioritize Your Work?
  28. What Are You Passionate About?
  29. What Motivates You?
  30. What Are Your Pet Peeves?
  31. How Do You Like to Be Managed?
  32. Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
  33. What’s Your Dream Job?
  34. What Other Companies Are You Interviewing With?
  35. What Makes You Unique?
  36. What Should I Know That’s Not on Your Resume?
  37. What Would Your First 30, 60, or 90 Days Look Like in This Role?
  38. What Are Your Salary Requirements?
  39. What Do You Think We Could Do Better or Differently?
  40. When Can You Start?
  41. Are You Willing to Relocate?
  42. How Many Tennis Balls Can You Fit Into a Limousine?
  43. If You Were an Animal, Which One Would You Want to Be?
  44. Sell Me This Pen.
  45. Is There Anything Else You’d Like Us to Know?
  46. Do You Have Any Questions for Us?
  47. Bonus Questions

Classic Questions

These frequently asked questions touch on the essentials hiring managers want to know about every candidate: who you are, why you’re a fit for the job, and what you’re good at. You may not be asked exactly these questions in exactly these words, but if you have answers in mind for them, you’ll be prepared for just about anything the interviewer throws your way.

1. Tell Me About Yourself.

This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it’s crucial. Here’s the deal: Don’t give your complete employment (or personal) history. Instead give a pitch—one that’s concise and compelling and that shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job. Muse writer and MIT career counselor Lily Zhang recommends using a present, past, future formula. Talk a little bit about your current role (including the scope and perhaps one big accomplishment), then give some background as to how you got there and experience you have that’s relevant. Finally, segue into why you want—and would be perfect for—this role.

Read More: A Complete Guide to Answering “Tell Me About Yourself” in an Interview (Plus Examples!)

2. How Did You Hear About This Position?

Another seemingly innocuous interview question, this is actually a perfect opportunity to stand out and show your passion for and connection to the company. For example, if you found out about the gig through a friend or professional contact, name drop that person, then share why you were so excited about it. If you discovered the company through an event or article, share that. Even if you found the listing through a random job board, share what, specifically, caught your eye about the role.

Read More: 3 Ways People Mess Up the (Simple) Answer to “How Did You Come Across This Job Opportunity?”

3. Why Do You Want to Work at This Company?

Beware of generic answers! If what you say can apply to a whole slew of other companies, or if your response makes you sound like every other candidate, you’re missing an opportunity to stand out. Zhang recommends one of four strategies: Do your research and point to something that makes the company unique that really appeals to you; talk about how you’ve watched the company grow and change since you first heard of it; focus on the organization’s opportunities for future growth and how you can contribute to it; or share what’s gotten you excited from your interactions with employees so far. Whichever route you choose, make sure to be specific. And if you can’t figure out why you’d want to work at the company you’re interviewing with by the time you’re well into the hiring process? It might be a red flag telling you that this position is not the right fit.

Read More: 4 Better Ways to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work at This Company?”

4. Why Do You Want This Job?

Again, companies want to hire people who are passionate about the job, so you should have a great answer about why you want the position. (And if you don’t? You probably should apply elsewhere.) First, identify a couple of key factors that make the role a great fit for you (e.g., “I love customer support because I love the constant human interaction and the satisfaction that comes from helping someone solve a problem”), then share why you love the company (e.g., “I’ve always been passionate about education, and I think you’re doing great things, so I want to be a part of it”).

Read More: 3 Steps for Answering “Why Do You Want This Job?”

5. Why Should We Hire You?

This interview question seems forward (not to mention intimidating!), but if you’re asked it, you’re in luck: There’s no better setup for you to sell yourself and your skills to the hiring manager. Your job here is to craft an answer that covers three things: that you can not only do the work, but also deliver great results; that you’ll really fit in with the team and culture; and that you’d be a better hire than any of the other candidates.

Read More: 3 Better Ways to Answer “Why Should We Hire You?”

6. What Are Your Greatest Strengths?

Here’s an opening to talk about something that makes you great—and a great fit for this role. When you’re answering this question, think quality, not quantity. In other words, don’t rattle off a list of adjectives. Instead, pick one or a few (depending on the question) specific qualities that are relevant to this position and illustrate them with examples. Stories are always more memorable than generalizations. And if there’s something you were hoping to mention because it makes you a great candidate, but you haven’t had a chance yet, this would be the perfect time.

Read More: 3 Smart Strategies for Answering “What’s Your Greatest Strength?”

7. What Do You Consider to Be Your Weaknesses?

What your interviewer is really trying to do with this question—beyond identifying any major red flags—is to gauge your self-awareness and honesty. So, “I can’t meet a deadline to save my life” is not an option—but neither is “Nothing! I’m perfect!” Strike a balance by thinking of something that you struggle with but that you’re working to improve. For example, maybe you’ve never been strong at public speaking, but you’ve recently volunteered to run meetings to help you get more comfortable when addressing a crowd.

Read More: 4 Ways to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?” That Actually Sound Believable

Questions About Your Work History

The meat of any job interview is your track record at work: what you accomplished, how you succeeded or failed (and how you dealt with it), and how you behaved in real time in actual work environments. If you prep a few versatile stories to tell about your work history and practice answering behavioral interview questions, you’ll be ready to go.

8. What Is Your Greatest Professional Achievement?

Nothing says “hire me” better than a track record of achieving amazing results in past jobs, so don’t be shy when answering this interview question! A great way to do so is by using the STAR method: situation, task, action, results. Set up the situation and the task that you were required to complete to provide the interviewer with background context (e.g., “In my last job as a junior analyst, it was my role to manage the invoicing process”), then describe what you did (the action) and what you achieved (the result): “In one month, I streamlined the process, which saved my group 10 person-hours each month and reduced errors on invoices by 25%.”

Read More: How to Knock Your Next Interview Out of the Park

9. Tell Me About a Challenge or Conflict You’ve Faced at Work, and How You Dealt With It.

You’re probably not eager to talk about conflicts you’ve had at work during a job interview. But if you’re asked directly, don’t pretend you’ve never had one. Be honest about a difficult situation you’ve faced (but without going into the kind of detail you’d share venting to a friend). “Most people who ask are only looking for evidence that you’re willing to face these kinds of issues head-on and make a sincere attempt at coming to a resolution,” former recruiter Rich Moy says. Stay calm and professional as you tell the story (and answer any follow-up questions), spend more time talking about the resolution than the conflict, and mention what you’d do differently next time to show “you’re open to learning from tough experiences.”

Read More: 3 Ways You’re Messing Up the Answer to, “Tell Me About a Conflict You’ve Faced at Work”

10. Tell Me About a Time You Demonstrated Leadership Skills.

You don’t have to have a fancy title to act like a leader or demonstrate leadership skills. Think about a time when you headed up a project, took the initiative to propose an alternate process, or helped motivate your team to get something done. Then use the STAR method to tell your interviewer a story, giving enough detail to paint a picture (but not so much that you start rambling) and making sure you spell out the result. In other words, be clear about why you’re telling this particular story and connect all the dots for the interviewer.

Read More: The Best Way to Answer “Tell Me About a Time You Demonstrated Leadership Skills” in a Job Interview

11. What’s a Time You Disagreed With a Decision That Was Made at Work?

The ideal anecdote here is one where you handled a disagreement in a professional way and learned something from the experience. Zhang recommends paying particular attention to how you start and end your response. To open, make a short statement to frame the rest of your answer, one that nods at the ultimate takeaway or the reason you’re telling this story. For example: “I learned early on in my professional career that it’s fine to disagree if you can back up your hunches with data.” And to close strong, you can either give a one-sentence summary of your answer (“In short…”) or talk briefly about how what you learned or gained from this experience would help you in the role you’re interviewing for.

Read More: How to Answer “Tell Me About a Time When…” Interview Questions

12. Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake.

You’re probably not too eager to dig into past blunders when you’re trying to impress an interviewer and land a job. But talking about a mistake and winning someone over aren’t mutually exclusive, Moy says. In fact, if you do it right, it can help you. The key is to be honest without placing blame on other people, then explain what you learned from your mistake and what actions you took to ensure it didn’t happen again. At the end of the day, employers are looking for folks who are self-aware, can take feedback, and care about doing better.

Read More: 3 Rules That Guarantee You’ll Nail the Answer to “Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake”

13. Tell Me About a Time You Failed.

This question is very similar to the one about making a mistake, and you should approach your answer in much the same way. Make sure you pick a real, actual failure you can speak honestly about. Start by making it clear to the interviewer how you define failure. For example: “As a manager, I consider it a failure whenever I’m caught by surprise. I strive to know what’s going on with my team and their work.” Then situate the example in relation to that definition and explain what happened. Finally, don’t forget to share what you learned. It’s OK to fail—everyone does sometimes—but it’s important to show that you took something from the experience.

Read More: 4 Steps for Answering “Tell Me About a Time When You Failed”

14. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?

This is a toughie, but one you can be sure you’ll be asked. Definitely keep things positive—you have nothing to gain by being negative about your current employer. Instead, frame things in a way that shows that you’re eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you’re interviewing for is a better fit for you. For example, “I’d really love to be part of product development from beginning to end, and I know I’d have that opportunity here.” And if you were let go from your most recent job? Keep it simple: “Unfortunately, I was let go,” is a totally acceptable answer.

Read More: 4 Better Ways to Answer “Why Are You Leaving Your Job?”

15. Why Were You Fired?

Of course, they may ask the follow-up question: Why were you let go? If you lost your job due to layoffs, you can simply say, “The company [reorganized/merged/was acquired] and unfortunately my [position/department] was eliminated.” But what if you were fired for performance reasons? Your best bet is to be honest (the job-seeking world is small, after all). But it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Frame it as a learning experience: Share how you’ve grown and how you approach your job and life now as a result. And if you can portray your growth as an advantage for this next job, even better.

Read More: Stop Cringing! How to Tell an Interviewer You’ve Been Fired

16. Why Was There a Gap in Your Employment?

Maybe you were taking care of children or aging parents, dealing with health issues, or traveling the world. Maybe it just took you a long time to land the right job. Whatever the reason, you should be prepared to discuss the gap (or gaps) on your resume. Seriously, practice saying your answer out loud. The key is to be honest, though that doesn’t mean you have to share more details than you’re comfortable with. If there are skills or qualities you honed or gained in your time away from the workforce—whether through volunteer work, running a home, or responding to a personal crisis—you can also talk about how those would help you excel in this role.

Read More: How to Explain the Gap in Your Resume With Ease

17. Can You Explain Why You Changed Career Paths?

Don’t be thrown off by this question—just take a deep breath and explain to the hiring manager why you’ve made the career decisions you have. More importantly, give a few examples of how your past experience is transferable to the new role. This doesn’t have to be a direct connection; in fact, it’s often more impressive when a candidate can show how seemingly irrelevant experience is very relevant to the role.

Read More: How to Explain Your Winding Career Path to a Hiring Manager

18. What’s Your Current Salary?

It’s now illegal for some or all employers to ask you about your salary history in several cities and states, including New York City; Louisville, North Carolina; California; and Massachusetts. But no matter where you live, it can be stressful to hear this question. Don’t panic—there are several possible strategies you can turn to. For example, you can deflect the question, Muse career coach Emily Liou says, with a response like: “Before discussing any salary, I’d really like to learn more about what this role entails. I’ve done a lot of research on [Company] and I am certain if it’s the right fit, we’ll be able to agree on a number that’s fair and competitive to both parties.” You can also reframe the question around your salary expectations or requirements (see question 38) or choose to share the number if you think it will work in your favor.

Read More: Here’s How You Answer the Illegal “What’s Your Current Salary” Question

19. What Do You Like Least About Your Job?

Tread carefully here! The last thing you want to do is let your answer devolve into a rant about how terrible your current company is or how much you hate your boss or that one coworker. The easiest way to handle this question with poise is to focus on an opportunity the role you’re interviewing for offers that your current job doesn’t. You can keep the conversation positive and emphasize why you’re so excited about the job.

Read More: What Interviewers Really Want When They Ask, “What Do You Like Least About Your Job?”

Questions About You and Your Goals

Another crucial aspect of an interview? Getting to know a candidate. That’s why you’ll likely encounter questions about how you work, what you’re looking for (in a job, a team, a company, and a manager), and what your goals are. It’s a good sign if your interviewers want to make sure you’ll be a good fit—or add—to the team. Use it as an opportunity!

20. What Are You Looking for in a New Position?

Hint: Ideally the same things that this position has to offer. Be specific.

Read More: 4 Steps for Answering “What Are You Looking for in a New Position?”

21. What Type of Work Environment Do You Prefer?

Hint: Ideally one that’s similar to the environment of the company you’re applying to. Be specific.

Read More: 3 Steps to Answering “What Type of Work Environment Do You Prefer?”

22. What’s Your Management Style?

The best managers are strong but flexible, and that’s exactly what you want to show off in your answer. (Think something like, “While every situation and every team member requires a bit of a different strategy, I tend to approach my employee relationships as a coach…”) Then share a couple of your best managerial moments, like when you grew your team from five to 15 or coached an underperforming employee to become the company’s top salesperson.

Read More: How to Answer “What’s Your Management Style?”

23. How Would Your Boss and Coworkers Describe You?

First of all, be honest (remember, if you make it to the final round, the hiring manager will be calling your former bosses and coworkers for references!). Then try to pull out strengths and traits you haven’t discussed in other aspects of the interview, such as your strong work ethic or your willingness to pitch in on other projects when needed.

Read More: 3 Strategies for Answering “How Would Your Boss or Coworkers Describe You?”

24. How Do You Deal With Pressure or Stressful Situations?

Here’s another question you may feel the urge to sidestep in an effort to prove you’re the perfect candidate who can handle anything. But it’s important not to dismiss this one (i.e. don’t say “I just put my head down and push through it” or “I don’t get stressed out”). Instead, talk about your go-to strategies for dealing with stress (whether it’s meditating for 10 minutes every day or making sure you go for a run or keeping a super-detailed to-do list) and how you communicate and otherwise proactively try to mitigate pressure. If you can give a real example of a stressful situation you navigated successfully, all the better.

Read More: 3 Ways You’re Messing Up the Answer to “How Do You Deal With Stressful Situations?”

25. What Do You Like to Do Outside of Work?

Interviewers will sometimes ask about your hobbies or interests outside of work in order to get to know you a little better—to find out what you’re passionate about and devote time to during your off-hours. It’s another chance to let your personality shine. Be honest, but keep it professional and be mindful of answers that might make it sound like you’re going to spend all your time focusing on something other than the job you’re applying for.

Read More: 5 Secrets for Acing Your Next Interview

26. Are You Planning on Having Children?

Questions about your family status, gender (“How would you handle managing a team of all men?”), nationality (“Where were you born?”), religion, or age are illegal—but they still get asked (and frequently). Of course, not always with ill intent—the interviewer might just be trying to make conversation and might not realize these are off-limits—but you should definitely tie any questions about your personal life (or anything else you think might be inappropriate) back to the job at hand. For this question, think: “You know, I’m not quite there yet. But I am very interested in the career paths at your company. Can you tell me more about that?”

Read More: 5 Illegal Interview Questions and How to Dodge Them

27. How Do You Prioritize Your Work?

Your interviewers want to know that you can manage your time, exercise judgement, communicate, and shift gears when needed. Start by talking about whatever system you’ve found works for you to plan your day or week, whether it’s a to-do list app you swear by or a color-coded spreadsheet. This is one where you’ll definitely want to lean on a real-life example. So go on to describe how you’ve reacted to a last-minute request or another unexpected shift in priorities in the past, incorporating how you evaluated and decided what to do and how you communicated with your manager and/or teammates about it.

Read More: A Foolproof Method to Answer the Interview Question “How Do You Prioritize Your Work?”

28. What Are You Passionate About?

You’re not a robot programmed to do your work and then power down. You’re a human, and if someone asks you this question in an interview, it’s probably because they want to get to know you better. The answer can align directly with the type of work you’d be doing in that role—like if, for example, you’re applying to be a graphic designer and spend all of your free time creating illustrations and data visualizations to post on Instagram.

But don’t be afraid to talk about a hobby that’s different from your day-to-day work. Bonus points if you can “take it one step further and connect how your passion would make you an excellent candidate for the role you are applying for,” says Muse career coach Al Dea. Like if you’re a software developer who loves to bake, you might talk about how the ability to be both creative and precise informs your approach to code.

Read More: 3 Authentic Ways to Answer “What Are You Passionate About?” in a Job Interview

29. What Motivates You?

Before you panic about answering what feels like a probing existential question, consider that the interviewer wants to make sure you’re excited about this role at this company, and that you’ll be motivated to succeed if they pick you. So think back to what has energized you in previous roles and pinpoint what made your eyes light up when you read this job description. Pick one thing, make sure it’s relevant to the role and company you’re interviewing for, and try to weave in a story to help illustrate your point. If you’re honest, which you should be, your enthusiasm will be palpable.

Read More: 5 Easy Steps to Answer “What Motivates You?” in an Interview

30. What Are Your Pet Peeves?

Here’s another one that feels like a minefield. But it’ll be easier to navigate if you know why an interviewer is asking it. Most likely, they want to make sure you’ll thrive at their company—and get a glimpse of how you deal with conflict. So be certain you pick something that doesn’t contradict the culture and environment at this organization while still being honest. Then explain why and what you’ve done to address it in the past, doing your best to stay calm and composed. Since there’s no need to dwell on something that annoys you, you can keep this response short and sweet.

Read More: 6 Tips for Answering “What Are Your Pet Peeves?” in an Interview

31. How Do You Like to Be Managed?

This is another one of those questions that’s about finding the right fit—both from the company’s perspective and your own. Think back on what worked well for you in the past and what didn’t. What did previous bosses do that motivated you and helped you succeed and grow? Pick one or two things to focus on and always articulate them with a positive framing (even if your preference comes from an experience where your manager behaved in the opposite way, phrase it as what you would want a manager to do). If you can give a positive example from a great boss, it’ll make your answer even stronger.

Read More: 3 Easy Steps to Answer “How Do You Like to Be Managed?” in an Interview

32. Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

If asked this question, be honest and specific about your future goals, but consider this: A hiring manager wants to know a) if you’ve set realistic expectations for your career, b) if you have ambition (a.k.a., this interview isn’t the first time you’re considering the question), and c) if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Your best bet is to think realistically about where this position could take you and answer along those lines. And if the position isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket to your aspirations? It’s OK to say that you’re not quite sure what the future holds, but that you see this experience playing an important role in helping you make that decision.

Read More: How to Answer “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

33. What’s Your Dream Job?

Along similar lines, the interviewer wants to uncover whether this position is really in line with your ultimate career goals. While “an NBA star” might get you a few laughs, a better bet is to talk about your goals and ambitions—and why this job will get you closer to them.

Read More: The Secret Formula to Answering “What’s Your Dream Job?” in an Interview

34. What Other Companies Are You Interviewing With?

Companies might ask you who else you’re interviewing with for a few reasons. Maybe they want to see how serious you are about this role and team (or even this field) or they’re trying to find out who they’re competing with to hire you. On one hand, you want to express your enthusiasm for this job, but at the same time, you don’t want to give the company any more leverage than it already has by telling them there’s no one else in the running. Depending on where you are in your search, you can talk about applying to or interviewing for a few roles that have XYZ in common—then mention how and why this role seems like a particularly good fit.

Read More: How to Answer “What Other Companies Are You Interviewing With?”

35. What Makes You Unique?

“They genuinely want to know the answer,” Dea promises. Give them a reason to pick you over other similar candidates. The key is to keep your answer relevant to the role you’re applying to. So the fact that you can run a six-minute mile or crush a trivia challenge might not help you get the job (but hey, it depends on the job!). Use this opportunity to tell them something that would give you an edge over your competition for this position. To figure out what that is, you can ask some former colleagues, think back to patterns you’ve seen in feedback you get, or try to distill why people tend to turn to you. Focus on one or two things and don’t forget to back up whatever you say with evidence.

Read More: A Simple Way to Answer “What Makes You Unique?” in Your Job Search (Plus, Examples!)

36. What Should I Know That’s Not on Your Resume?

It’s a good sign if a recruiter or hiring manager is interested in more than just what’s on your resume. It probably means they looked at your resume, think you might be a good fit for the role, and want to know more about you. To make this wide-open question a little more manageable, try talking about a positive trait, a story or detail that reveals a little more about you and your experience, or a mission or goal that makes you excited about this role or company.

Read More: The Right Way to Answer “What Should I Know That’s Not on Your Resume?”

Questions About the Job

At the end of the day, the people on the other side of the hiring process want to make sure you could take on this role. That means they might ask you logistical questions to ensure that timing and other factors are aligned, and they might have you imagine what you’d do after starting.

37. What Would Your First 30, 60, or 90 Days Look Like in This Role?

Your potential future boss (or whoever else has asked you this question) wants to know that you’ve done your research, given some thought to how you’d get started, and would be able to take initiative if hired. So think about what information and aspects of the company and team you’d need to familiarize yourself with and which colleagues you’d want to sit down and talk to. You can also suggest one possible starter project to show you’d be ready to hit the ground running and contribute early on. This won’t necessarily be the thing you do first if you do get the job, but a good answer shows that you’re thoughtful and that you care.

Read More: 3 Interview Questions You Should Be Ready to Answer

38. What Are Your Salary Requirements?

The #1 rule of answering this question is doing your research on what you should be paid by using sites like Payscale and reaching out to your network. You’ll likely come up with a range, and we recommend stating the highest number in that range that applies, based on your experience, education, and skills. Then make sure the hiring manager knows that you’re flexible. You’re communicating that you know your skills are valuable, but that you want the job and are willing to negotiate.

You can also try to deflect or delay giving a number, especially if you get this question very early in the process, by saying something like, “I was hoping to get a sense of what range/band you had in mind for this role” or, as Liou suggests, “Before discussing any salary, I’d really like to learn more about what this role entails.”

Read More: Q&A: The Secret to Giving Your “Salary Requirements”

39. What Do You Think We Could Do Better or Differently?

This question can really do a number on you. How do you give a meaty answer without insulting the company or, worse, the person you’re speaking with? Well first, take a deep breath. Then start your response with something positive about the company or specific product you’ve been asked to discuss. When you’re ready to give your constructive feedback, give some background on the perspective you’re bringing to the table and explain why you’d make the change you’re suggesting (ideally based on some past experience or other evidence). And if you end with a question, you can show them you’re curious about the company or product and open to other points of view. Try: “Did you consider that approach here? I’d love to know more about your process.”

Read More: How to Answer the “How Would You Improve Our Company?” Interview Question Without Bashing Anyone

40. When Can You Start?

Your goal here should be to set realistic expectations that will work for both you and the company. What exactly that sounds like will depend on your specific situation. If you’re ready to start immediately—if you’re unemployed, for example—you could offer to start within the week. But if you need to give notice to your current employer, don’t be afraid to say so; people will understand and respect that you plan to wrap things up right. It’s also legitimate to want to take a break between jobs, though you might want to say you have “previously scheduled commitments to attend to” and try to be flexible if they really need someone to start a bit sooner.

Read More: 4 Ways to Answer the Interview Question “When Can You Start?”

41. Are You Willing to Relocate?

While this may sound like a simple yes-or-no question, it’s often a little bit more complicated than that. The simplest scenario is one where you’re totally open to moving and would be willing to do so for this opportunity. But if the answer is no, or at least not right now, you can reiterate your enthusiasm for the role, briefly explain why you can’t move at this time, and offer an alternative, like working remotely or out of a local office. Sometimes it’s not as clear-cut, and that’s OK. You can say you prefer to stay put for xyz reasons, but would be willing to consider relocating for the right opportunity.

Read More: The Best Responses to “Are You Willing to Relocate?” Depending on Your Situation

Questions That Test You

Depending on the style of the interviewer and company, you could get some pretty quirky questions. They’re often testing how you think through something on the spot. Don’t panic. Take a moment to think—and remember, there’s no one single correct answer or approach.

42. How Many Tennis Balls Can You Fit Into a Limousine?

1,000? 10,000? 100,000? Seriously? Well, seriously, you might get asked brain-teaser questions like these, especially in quantitative jobs. But remember that the interviewer doesn’t necessarily want an exact number—they want to make sure that you understand what’s being asked of you, and that you can set into motion a systematic and logical way to respond. So take a deep breath and start thinking through the math. (Yes, it’s OK to ask for a pen and paper!)

Read More: 9 Steps to Solving an Impossible Brain Teaser in a Tech Interview (Without Breaking a Sweat)

43. If You Were an Animal, Which One Would You Want to Be?

Seemingly random personality-test type questions like these come up in interviews because hiring managers want to see how you can think on your feet. There’s no wrong answer here, but you’ll immediately gain bonus points if your answer helps you share your strengths or personality or connect with the hiring manager. Pro tip: Come up with a stalling tactic to buy yourself some thinking time, such as saying, “Now, that is a great question. I think I would have to say…”

Read More: 4 Steps for Answering Off-the-Wall Interview Questions

44. Sell Me This Pen.

If you’re interviewing for a sales job, your interviewer might put you on the spot to sell them a pen sitting on the table, or a legal pad, or a water bottle, or just something. The main thing they’re testing you for? How you handle a high-pressure situation. So try to stay calm and confident and use your body language—making eye contact, sitting up straight, and more—to convey that you can handle this. Make sure you listen, understand your “customer’s” needs, get specific about the item’s features and benefits, and end strong—as though you were truly closing a deal.

Read More: 4 Tips for Responding to “Sell Me This Pen” in an Interview

Wrapping-Up Questions

When it comes time for the interview to wind down, you might have a chance to add any last thoughts and you’ll almost certainly have time to ask the questions that will help you decide if this company and role might be great for you. In fact, if they don’t leave time for you to ask any questions at any of your interviews, that might be a red flag in itself.

45. Is There Anything Else You’d Like Us to Know?

Just when you thought you were done, your interviewer asks you this open-ended doozy. Don’t panic—it’s not a trick question! You can use this as an opportunity to close out the meeting on a high note in one of two ways, Zhang says. First, if there really is something relevant that you haven’t had a chance to mention, do it now. Otherwise, you can briefly summarize your qualifications. For example, Zhang says, you could say: “I think we’ve covered most of it, but just to summarize, it sounds like you’re looking for someone who can really hit the ground running. And with my previous experience [enumerate experience here], I think I’d be a great fit.”

Read More: How to Answer “Is There Anything Else You’d Like Us to Know?”

46. Do You Have Any Questions for Us?

You probably already know that an interview isn’t just a chance for a hiring manager to grill you—it’s an opportunity to sniff out whether a job is the right fit from your perspective. What do you want to know about the position? The company? The department? The team? You’ll cover a lot of this in the actual interview, so have a few less-common questions ready to go. We especially like questions targeted to the interviewer (“What’s your favorite part about working here?”) or the company’s growth (“What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth?”)

Read More: 51 Great Questions to Ask in an Interview

Bonus Questions

Looking for more interview questions? Check out these lists of questions (and example answers!) for different types of interviews.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/interview-questions-and-answers

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by ALYSE KALISH

Your resume is arguably the most valuable piece of paper for your career. But this document can be daunting for many. Maybe you’re not sure how to fit in all your information onto one page. Maybe you’re not sure about the right way to format and write your resume. Maybe you don’t even know what the heck a resume is!

Whatever your concern, we’ll break down everything you need to know about making the perfect resume, from scratch.

What Is a Resume?

A resume is a summary of your career, whether yours is just getting started or has been going on for years. Coming in at around one page in length (two only under specific circumstances), it showcases the jobs you’ve held and currently hold, the responsibilities you’ve taken on, the skills you’ve developed, and the qualities you bring to the table as an employee. Together, those things make it super easy for any hiring manager to see your qualifications and fit for a role.

For all the work you may put into writing one, hiring managers actually spend very little time—mere seconds in many cases—looking at your resume. But despite this sad fact, it’s safe to say that creating a great resume (rather than hastily throwing one together) still matters.

“If you miss the mark, your resume may never be read. Even worse, you might be removed from the applicant pool by a computer before a human even knows you exist,” says Muse career coach Heather Yurovsky, founder of Shatter & Shine. So you want to get it right because, as she explains, isn’t the goal to “spend less time looking for a job and more time in a role you love?”

You might be wondering if you can lean on your LinkedIn profile instead of writing a resume. The answer, sadly, is no. Most hiring managers still expect you to submit a resume, even if they also look at your LinkedIn. Even if you don’t need a resume for a job you’re applying for now, you’re going to need one at some point in your career—they’re not anywhere close to going out of style. So it’s best to always have one at the ready should an opportunity pop up.

And although LinkedIn has plenty of benefits, a resume has one clear advantage: While your LinkedIn is usually a broader picture of your career trajectory, your resume gives you the opportunity to tailor your career story to a specific role or company (more on that later).

Oh, and you’ve probably heard of something called a CV? It’s slightly different from a resume, and usually more common with academics and job seekers outside the U.S.

What Are Employers Looking for in a Resume?

Hiring managers look for three things on your resume, “What did you do? Why did you do it? And what was the result?” says Muse career coach Martin McGovern, owner of Career Therapy. “If you can answer all three of these questions in…your resume bullet points, you’re going to be on the right track.”

Clear, easy-to-understand language is key. “The truth is that most resumes make no sense. They are stuffed with jargon, they are too technical, and they are filled with redundancies. Try to read a resume that isn’t yours and you will quickly realize that it feels like an alien wrote it,” McGovern adds. Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter who has no idea how your role works—how can you make your resume accessible to them?

The hiring manager also cares about more than just you and you alone—they care about you in relation to them. “Hiring managers want to see if a candidate matches the requirements” of the role they’re hiring for, Yurovsky explains. “Your resume should paint this picture so the hiring manager not only knows what day-to-day responsibilities you can handle, but why you, above other[s], bring value to their organization.”

How Do You Write a Resume?

Whether you’re someone who’s never written a resume in your life, or you need a nice, thorough refresher on the process of creating one, follow these steps to go from a blank page to a complete—and dare I say beautiful—document.

1. Pick Your Format

Before you start typing one single thing, you have to decide what you want the overall resume to look like.

Resume builders can be helpful for this step—they’ll take all your basic information and organize it for you, eliminating some of the legwork. You can also use a pre-made outline, such as one of these free Google Docs templates.

But it’s often safest to start with a clean slate all on your own and eventually upgrade to a more advanced layout. This allows you to course correct, edit and re-edit, and choose a resume format that best fits your particular situation (after all, not everyone has a career trajectory that’s easy to compartmentalize).

In general, you’re most likely to cover and/or include sections on the following:

  • Your work experience
  • Your non-work experience, including professional organizations, community involvement, or side projects
  • Your education and certifications
  • Your skills (specifically hard skills) and interests

So how do you format and organize all of that information?

By far the most common (and safest, if you’re not sure which route to take) option is reverse chronological order. This means you organize your experiences from most recent to least recent. So your work experiences would go above your education, and your current role would go above previous roles you’ve held. This of course has its exceptions—maybe you went back to grad school between jobs, or your most recent role is irrelevant to the job you’re applying for. So the whole page may not be exactly in reverse chronological order depending on your situation. It’s just a guideline.

There’s also something called a functional or skills-based resume. This is used pretty rarely, mainly with career changers and those with limited or complicated work histories. It gets its name because it’s primarily about listing your skills rather than experiences, and showcases them above your work history and education.

You can also opt for a combination resume, which is a mix between a reverse chronological resume and skills-based resume. It highlights your skills at the top, but allows just as much room below to cover your job and school experience.

Use caution when choosing these two formats: “Combo and skills-based [resumes] can be hard to follow, because [they force] the reader to hunt for connections between your skills and experience, and [don’t] provide the full context of your work,” says Muse Career Coach Angela Smith, founder of Loft Consulting. “I’ve also heard a lot of recruiters say that they automatically discount skill-based resumes because they feel the candidate is trying to hide something. I don’t necessarily believe that, but I think it’s important for job-seekers to know that perception is out there.”

2. Start With Your Basic Information

Your contact information should always go at the top of your resume. In this header you’ll want to include anything that could be helpful for a recruiter to get in touch with you. Usually, this means adding in:

  • Your full name (preferably the name you use across the web)
  • Your phone number
  • Your personal email address

You might also choose to include other basic information, such as your LinkedIn or personal website URL, your GitHub (for technical roles), your social media profiles (if relevant to the job), or your address. If you’re looking to move for a job, you may choose to leave out your address or write “open to relocating” to better your chances of getting an interview.

The key is to make this part as clear as possible. If a hiring manager can’t reach you, there’s no point in perfecting the rest of your resume.

3. Add in Your Work Experience

This section will most likely be the bulk of your resume. Even if you’re changing careers, employers still want to see where you’ve worked, what you’ve done, and the impact of that work to get a sense of your background and expertise.

Your “Work Experience” might be one entire category, or you might choose to break it up into “Relevant Experience” and “Additional Experience” to highlight the jobs that are most important for hiring managers to focus on. Either way, you’ll almost always want to have your most recent experience at the top and your older experience down below.

Within your work experience, you’ll want to include each official job title, the company (and possibly its location), and the years you worked there. Below that, you’ll add in two to four bullet points explaining what you did in that job, the skills you built and exercised, the tools you used, and the results of what you did. If you accomplished a lot during your time there, focus on the responsibilities that made the most impact or you’re the most proud of, as well as the ones that best align you with the job you’re applying for (more on that in the following sections). It’s key here to list, if relevant, quantitative as well as qualitative accomplishments.

For example, you might write:

Associate Accountant, Finances and Co., Ann Arbor, MI
September 2017 – Present

  • Manage billing and invoicing for more than 50 clients, ensuring the deadlines and needs of our enterprise partners, including Big Company and Super Star Org, are met
  • Collaborate closely with sales, account management, and project management teams on project setup, maintenance, and invoice management
  • Assist in the streamlining of invoicing guidelines and procedures through documentation and the implementation of new software, resulting in an average two-week decrease in total time spent per client

Your resume bullets should be in past tense if you’re referring to past jobs and present tense if you’re talking about your current roles. In addition, your bullets should always start with a strong action verb that best describes what you did. And if you have examples of your work, consider hyperlinking them here as well.

If you have a ton of experience and this category is starting to run long (read: over one page), consider kicking out your oldest jobs unless they’re super relevant to the job you’re applying for, or extra impressive for your field.

Not sure where to start? “It’s helpful to do a brain dump and create a document that has everything and anything you consider as experience or an achievement,” says Yurovsky. From there, she explains, you can start to whittle down what is and isn’t important. And you can refer to this document later if you ever decide to update your resume for a specific role.

Need more specific advice on listing your work experience on your resume? Check out these additional resources:

4. Consider Including Volunteer Work or Other Experience

Anything you’ve done that’s not work experience—your side gig, volunteer work, special projects—can be hosted under clearly-labeled sections (“Volunteer Experience” or “Activities,” for example). Depending on how robust your work experience is, these things may be worth including, particularly if they’ve helped you level up your skill set or better align you with your dream job. Plus, they make you look that much more well-rounded, passionate, and hardworking.

If you’re a recent grad, you might also build out a section for on-campus activities, such as clubs, organizations, or leadership experience. This can be a great supplement if you’re lacking in the jobs department. You can frame these just as you would professional jobs—including your title, the organization’s name, and bullets describing what your role was and what you accomplished.

Read More: This Is Exactly How to List Volunteer Work on Your Resume

5. Don’t Forget Your Education

If you’re still in school or just graduated, your education can go at the top of your resume, but for pretty much everyone else, this goes near the bottom. Most people include their school, graduation year (for folks less up to about a decade out of school), major, and degree. Brand-new grads might also write in their GPA, honors and awards, study abroad, thesis, or other notable achievements. But keep this section super simple, as you don’t want it to take up too much space over your work experience.

It’s possible you have unique education experience, such as taking an online course or certification. If you did this specifically as a way to boost yourself within your industry, definitely include it. Again, list everything more or less reverse chronologically—so a grad school degree would go above an undergrad degree, and a more recent relevant online course would go above that.

Learn more about the ins and outs of listing your education on your resume:

6. Top It Off With Some Skills and Interests

The skills section of a resume gets a bad rap, but it’s just as important as the rest of the stuff you include. It’s a quick list a recruiter can scan to see if your skill set aligns with what they’re hiring for. And it’s super ATS-friendly (ATS stands for “applicant tracking system,” the robot that in some cases reads your resume before a human does) because it allows you to add in keywords the machine is scanning for.

Usually this section goes at the bottom of your resume, but in special cases—such as a skills-based resume or when someone’s switching fields—you may place it further up.

What exactly do you throw in here? You’ll want to list any hard skills and applications you’re familiar with (Photoshop, SEO, JavaScript, to name a few examples), and, if relevant, your level of expertise. Avoid including soft skills here, like time management or public speaking—save those for your bullet points instead.

Be strategic when filling in your skills. Don’t list things you actually couldn’t do at a high competence level (I’m looking at those of you who say you’re “great” at Excel), and maybe nix skills that are completely irrelevant to the job you want. For example, you may not even need to include Excel if you’re applying for say, a design position, unless it’s listed as a job requirement.

Maybe you’re thinking, I’m a really good volleyball player, but that’s not a “skill,” right? No, it’s not, but it is a hobby. Adding in a hobby section at the bottom of your resume is underrated, and frequently a smart choice. It can be a great conversation starter with a hiring manager, and it can show that you’re a good culture fit—or a culture add—for the company. Also, it’s just a nice way to add in some of your personality. So tack on a bullet point listing out some of your interests, such as hiking, rowing, or crafting (no more than five to seven work-appropriate verbs), and you’re all set here.

7. Write a Resume Summary Statement (if Relevant)

You may have heard of a resume summary statement. They’re not super common, but they can be useful to include near the top of your resume if you’re looking to add clarity or context to your resume. If you’re a career changer, you might find a summary statement helpful in explaining your leap and tying your experience to your new path. Or if you’re a more experienced professional, you can use a summary statement to highlight a theme that brings your career trajectory together.

Overall, you probably won’t need a summary statement if your career is pretty linear and your bullet points do a great job of emphasizing what you have to offer in terms of skills and experience. But if you think it makes sense to include one, “Take the time to think about what the person reading your summary wants to know before you write it,” says McGovern. “Good summaries explain why you do what you do and how it can help. For instance: Merging a background in ABC, I help companies improve XYZ through 123. Summaries shouldn’t be any more complicated than that.”

So, taking McGovern’s example, you might say:

Merging a background in social media marketing and PR with seven years in the consumer tech space, I help companies improve their internal and external communication and brand awareness through data-driven, quality content and strategies that align with the modern trends of the space.

Yurovsky adds that “you don’t want your summary statement to be a dense paragraph with too much information. You want it to be easy to read, concise, and memorable. Almost like a tagline.”

Read More: 3 Resume Summary Examples That’ll Make Writing Your Own Easier

8. Tailor It to the Job (and the ATS)

Once you have your resume written out—you’ve broken down your work experience, tagged on some activities and additional experiences, and listed out your skills—it’s important to go back to the job description (or multiple job descriptions, if you’re applying to several similar jobs) and make sure that what your resume says matches up with the kind of candidate the employers are looking for. In other words, tailor it.

Let’s explain further. You’ll want to begin by tackling the ATS. This means combing the job description to see if individual words and phrases line up. What skills are they asking for, and have you listed them (so long as you actually have them)? What words are they using to describe their ideal hire, and do you use similar language in your resume?

Next, take a bird’s-eye view. If you were the hiring manager for the role, where on your resume would your eyes be drawn to? And what would you be looking for? Whatever you think will be most important for the recruiter, make sure it’s near the top of your resume, or otherwise emphasized.

Finally, dig into the role and responsibilities of the job. Does your resume reflect similar experience? If not, is there a way you can spin it so that it’s clear you’re capable of doing the job (and doing it well)?

These articles can help you if the word “tailoring” makes you start to sweat:

9. Edit and Refine It

Please, please don’t just write your resume and shoot it out without giving it a second glance. Hiring managers may not spend hours browsing it, but if there’s one thing that sticks out more than anything else it’s a glaring typo.

The best approach? Write a rough draft, then leave and come back to it later with fresh eyes to give it an edit.

Cover the basics: Is your contact information correct and updated? Are you using the right verb tenses? Does everything look consistent and accurate in terms of spelling and grammar?

Then do some cutting if your resume’s quite long. It’s no longer a hard-and-fast rule that all resumes must be only one page—but consider it a smart guideline for most applicants, especially if you’ve got less than 10 years work experience. The exception is if you’re very senior or very established in your career; in this scenario, a two-page resume isn’t completely out of the question. Everyone else, read this article for advice on how to cut your resume down.

Formatting-wise, it’s key to consider a couple things. First, what font are you using, and is it legible (for a human and a robot)? When in doubt, go with one of these simple, but sleek, options: Arial, Arial Narrow, Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, or Helvetica.

Second, are you going to save it as a Word document or PDF? Neither option is wrong, although a PDF helps ensure that your formatting is maintained, no matter what type of computer the hiring manager uses to open the document.

Third, is your resume formatted in a way that it’s skimmable? If it’s feeling crowded or overrun with words, read this: 12 Tiny Changes That Make Your Resume Easy for Recruiters to Skim.

Once you’ve given it a few good looks, it may be worth sending it to a friend or colleague (or even a career coach) to get a second opinion. Don’t just have them edit it for spelling and grammar—they should dig into your bullets and offer feedback on whether or not your resume is showing you in the best possible light (it’s smart to also send them the job description for something to compare it to).

What Are Some Examples of a Good Resume?

Here’s the thing: Your resume won’t ever look exactly like someone else’s, nor should it. How you choose to format it, organize your information, and talk about specific experiences depends not just on your career path, but on your field, the job you’re applying for, the company that job is at, and more.

So there isn’t a universal way to do a resume. But there are common themes. To give you some context as to how yours might turn out, here are three examples of different kinds of resumes.

The Most Popular: A Reverse Chronological Resume

As previously mentioned, a reverse chronological resume is preferred by many coaches and HR experts, mainly because it’s super readable. When everything’s in a clear order, it’s easy to skim and even easier to draw lines between experiences.

Who it’s good for: Just about everyone—from students applying to internships all the way up to senior-level executives (with an optional resume summary statement)

Download an Example Chronological Resume for a Software Engineer

Example of a reverse chronological resume created in Google Docs using the resume template Swiss.

The Unorthodox Route: A Functional or Skills-Based Resume

Rather than listing out your experience in reverse chronological order, a functional or skills-based resume has bullet points that reflect how each of your skills is demonstrated by the work you’ve done over the course of your career. At the bottom, you’ll include everything else, such as your education, job history, professional achievements, community involvement, and other technical skills. This is a good option if you have a somewhat all-over-the-place work history and want to tie everything together neatly.

Who it’s good for: Career changers whose work experiences may not appear to be relevant and people with an abundance of temporary jobs or gaps in their work histories.

Download an Example Functional Resume for a Project Manager

Example of a functional or skills-based resume created in Google Docs using the resume template Spearmint.

The Creative Angle: An Infographic Resume or Resume Website

This resume type is characterized by how it’s formatted visually. You may choose a reverse chronological order or skills-based style to organize your information, but also use graphics, colors, unique fonts, and even multimedia elements to help that information pop. Keep in mind that any creative resume is still likely subject to an ATS—and certain elements may be unreadable by a robot. So consider going this route only if you know a human will be reading your resume (and that said human might enjoy it).

Who it’s good for: People applying to creative roles (designers, editors, writers, marketers, video producers, for example), startups, or fun companies, or to jobs where a creative resume is encouraged, if not required.

Download an Example Infographic Resume for a Designer

Example of an infographic resume created in Canva.

Not a designer but want your resume to look just as pretty as this example? Check out these articles:

Your resume is a living, breathing document. So while you won’t go through this whole process every time you apply for a job, you should be thinking about all these things as you go to update your resume for your next career step. You might decide later on to switch up the order, or remove or add things, or even get creative and try out a whole new format. If you’re not getting the calls back you expect, you may decide to scrap it and start over—and that’s totally OK.

Regardless of where this piece of paper goes and how it grows, when you give it the care and attention it deserves, you set yourself up for success. And you’ll make it that much more likely that you’ll land an interview and get the chance to prove to the hiring manager—over the phone or in person—what you’ve got to offer.

SOURCE: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-make-a-resume-examples

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The irony of job search advice: There’s so much available that you don’t have to spend more than four seconds Googling before you land on some nugget of wisdom or another.

Yet, at the same time, there’s so much available (some of which completely contradicts other advice you’ll find) that it can easily overwhelm you. Which, in fact, is probably the exact opposite outcome you’re looking for when you go sleuthing for genuinely useful counsel in the first place.

So let’s do this: Let’s boil things down to a short list of sound, timeless job searching tips that’ll help you fine-tune your strategy so that you may sail through the process (or at least cut out some of the unnecessary time and frustration).

1. Make Yourself a “Smack-in-the-Forehead” Obvious Fit
When you apply for a job via an online application process, it’s very likely that your resume will first be screened by an applicant tracking system and then (assuming you make this first cut) move onto human eyeballs. The first human eyeballs that review your resume are often those of a lower level HR person or recruiter, who may or may not understand all of the nuances of that job for which you’re applying.

Thus, it behooves you to make it very simple for both the computer and the human to quickly connect their “Here’s what we’re looking for” to your “Here’s what you can walk through our doors and deliver.”

Tip
Study the job description and any available information you have on the position. Are you mirroring the words and phrases in the job description? Are you showcasing your strengths in the areas that seem to be of paramount importance to this role? Line it up. Line it up.

2. Don’t Limit Yourself to Online Applications During Your Job Search
You want that job search to last and last? Well, then continue to rely solely on submitting online applications. You want to accelerate this bad boy? Don’t stop once you apply online for that position. Start finding and then endearing yourself to people working at that company of interest. Schedule informational interviews with would-be peers. Approach an internal recruiter and ask a few questions. Get on the radar of the very people who might influence you getting an interview. (More on that here.)

Tip
By lining up with people on the inside of the companies at which you want to work, you will instantly set yourself apart. Decision makers interview people who come recommended or by way of a personal referral before they start sorting through the blob of resumes that arrives by way of the ATS.

3. Remember That Your Resume (and LinkedIn Profile) Is Not a Tattoo
Yes, your new resume is lovely. Your LinkedIn profile, breathtaking. However, if they don’t position you as a direct match for a particular role that you’re gunning for, don’t be afraid to modify wording, switch around key terms, and swap bullet points in and out. Your resume is not a tattoo, nor is your LinkedIn profile. Treat them as living, breathing documents throughout your job search (and career).

Tip
If you’re a covert job seeker, remember to turn off your activity broadcasts (within privacy and settings) when you make edits to your LinkedIn profile. If your current boss or colleagues are connected to you on LinkedIn, they may get suspicious about all the frequent changes.

4. Accept That You Will Never Bore Anyone Into Hiring You
Don’t get me wrong—you absolutely must come across as polished, articulate, and professional throughout your job search. However, many people translate this into: Must. Be. Boring.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Realize that few people get hired because they had perfect white space on their cover letters, memorized all of the “correct” interview questions or used incredibly safe, common phraseology (i.e., clichés) throughout their resumes. All of this correctness is going to make you look staged and non-genuine. Instead, give yourself permission to be both polished and endearing. Memorable, likable candidates are almost always the ones who go the distance.

5. If You’re Not on LinkedIn, You Very Nearly Don’t Exist
Considering that more than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary search tool, this is not an understatement. If you’re a professional, you need to not only be on LinkedIn, you need to be using it to your full advantage. Don’t believe me? Think about it this way: If tomorrow morning, a recruiter logs onto LinkedIn looking for someone in your geography, with expertise in what you do, and you’re not there? Guess who they’re going to find and contact? Yes, that person’s name is “not you.”

Tip
If you figure out how to harness the power of no other social media tool for job search, figure out LinkedIn. It’s (by far) the best resource we have available today for career and job search networking, for finding people working at companies of interest, and for positioning yourself to be found by a recruiter who has a relevant job opening.

6. Thank You Matters
I once placed a candidate into an engineering role with a company that manufactures packaging equipment. He was competing head-to-head with another engineer, who had similar talents and wanted the job just as badly. My candidate sent a thoughtful, non-robotic thank you note to each person with whom he’d interviewed, within about two hours of leaving their offices. The other candidate sent nothing.

Guess why my candidate got the job offer? Yep, the thoughtful, non-robotic thank you notes. They sealed the deal for him, especially considering the other front-runner sent nothing.

Tip
Consider crafting, original, genuine thank you notes (one for each interviewer) the moment you get back to a computer, following the interview. The speed with which you send the notes, and the quality, will make an impact.

And finally, remember that the interviewer cares much more about what you can do for them than what you want out of the deal. Certainly, they’re going to care a bunch about what you want once you establish your worth. But during the interview, you must demonstrate why you make business sense to hire, period.

Now, go forth and show your job search exactly who is the boss.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-job-search-tips-that-are-so-basic-people-forget-them

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Quick Tips That Will Help You Get Hired Fast

Applying for Every Job You Find Isn’t Always a Good Idea: Focus your search on jobs that you’re qualified for. You’ll have a better chance of getting selected for an interview. Sending out random resumes and cover letters is just going to be a waste of time. Before you start job hunting, take the time to decide what type of job you’re seeking.

Even better, come up with a target list of companies you’d like to work for and do your best to get noticed by them. Here’s how to get noticed by your dream company.

Don’t Stop Applying for Jobs While You Are Waiting to Hear Back From an Employer: Most job seekers are rejected by over 15 employers before landing a job. Learn from your mistakes and keep applying until you get the right offer. Worst case scenario, you’ll be juggling multiple job offers. That’s a good thing.

You Need a Specific Cover Letter, or Your Resume May Not Get Noticed: You only have a few seconds to impress a hiring manager enough to select you for an interview. Hiring managers want to see what you can do for the company written in the first paragraph of your cover letter. Here’s how to match your qualifications to a job, and tips for how to write a cover letter.

You Should Also Target Your Resume to the Job: It’s not just your cover letter. Your resume should be edited and tweaked, so it’s as close a match to the job as possible. Otherwise, it may not get picked up by the applicant tracking systems companies use to screen resumes or the recruiter who reviews it.

You Don’t Need to Include All Your Experience on Your Resume: Some job seekers put decades of work experience on their resumes. Unfortunately, that’s not going to impress anyone. It dates you, it’s too much information, and it may be too much experience for most job openings.

You Can Include More Than Full-Time Employment on Your Resume: If you’ve been out of work, you don’t want your resume to look like you haven’t done anything since you were laid-off. There are other things besides your employment history you can use to bolster your resume.

Dress Like a Manager or a Successful Person in Your Profession: Maybe appearances shouldn’t matter so much, but they do. The first few minutes of an interview are when you get to make that critical first impression. Be sure that you’re dressed appropriately for the type of job and company you’re applying to. Here’s appropriate interview attire for a variety of different jobs and work environments.

Be Yourself at the Interview: Rehearsed answers, fake smiles, and saying what you think the interview wants to hear instead of what you actually believe, mislead the employer. Employers want to know who they’re hiring and that’s the person they expect to show up for the first day of work.

Storytelling During a Job Interview Is an Excellent Way to Share Your Experience and Skills: One way to show the employer what you’re actually like is to tell a story. When you’re asked questions during a job interview, relay the specific skills and experience you have, as well as how you handled the situations you’re asked about. The more concrete information you provide, the more the hiring manager will know how qualified you are.

Never Say Anything Bad About a Previous Employer: One of the most common interview mistakes is badmouthing your boss or co-workers. The first thing the interviewer is going to think about is what you will say about their company when you’re moving on.

You Should Send a Thank-You Note After a Job Interview: It’s important to follow-up after a job interview. It’s a way to show your appreciation for being considered for the job. It’s also a way to reiterate your interest and share anything you neglected during the interview.

Networking Is an Essential Component of Successful Job Hunting: Most jobs are found through networking, whether it’s online or in-person. You never know who can help you find your next job unless you tell your connections that you’re looking for a job.

References Can Make a Big Difference in Getting Hired: References are important, and employers check them. Get recommendations from bosses, co-workers, clients, subordinates, and suppliers. Store them on sites like LinkedIn and share them whenever possible. If you’re worried about getting a lousy reference from your supervisor, work on getting some personal references you can add to your credentials.

It’s Acceptable to Apply for the Same Job More Than Once: You applied for your dream job, and you didn’t hear anything back from the company. Then later you see the job posted again. A “do over” is fine but be sure that you’ve carefully matched your qualifications to the job requirements in your resumes and cover letters. Also, check LinkedIn to see who you know. You might be able to get a referral the second time around. Here’s how to find contacts at a company.

Bonus Tips

Polish Your Shoes Prior to Your Interview: This one’s an extra, but, yes, hiring managers do look at your shoes. If you don’t have shoe polish, a leather or multipurpose cleaning wipe will work. It’s important to look your best from head to toe!

Pay Attention to the Details: Job hunting can feel like you’re playing a multitasking game to try to keep up. There’s so much you need to pay attention to when you want to impress a prospective employer.

Source: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/tips-to-help-you-get-hired-fast-2059661

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Seniors from both college and high school will be setting out to look for jobs soon. However, the education system doesn’t typically leave students ready to face the working world.

Landing a job in spring would be the ideal outcome, but graduates may not really be sure how to get employed. The critical aspect of landing a job, regardless of whether you’re leaving high school or college, is being prepared. You should have a firm grasp of what kind of a job you’re looking for and find out what the requirements for that position are.

To help, 13 experts from Forbes Human Resources Council share their insight into what high school and college grads should be doing to land a job in spring, and why those elements are of such importance.

1. Network And Practice Interviewing

Graduating can be an exciting and stressful time for seniors. It can be easy to forget the basics of job searching — networking and interviews. Remember to keep your contacts as you collaborate on projects or work with teachers for possible future letters of recommendation or job referrals. Also, practice interviewing with friends or teachers to help you be prepared for when the time comes. – Kelly Loudermilk, BuildHR, Inc.

2. Know What You’re Passionate About

Really putting thought into what they are passionate about is important in identifying the right job or career. College and high school counselors can assist with personality profiles, but talking with friends and family about what you are good at and drawn to will also help. My advice: try things! Don’t wait until you are sure. Take chances and try various options. – Diane Strohfus, Betterworks.com

3. Learn To Expand Your Personal Boundaries

The ability to set appropriate boundaries rises as a key marker of psychological well-being because we’re constantly being pulled in multiple directions. The challenge for young people is that moving into work life requires shifting personal boundaries to include the needs/demands of colleagues and team. This is a key factor for success. – Leeno Karumanchery, PhD, MESH/Diversity

4. Do Your Leg Work

Research a few companies you’re interested in and contact their HR to see if they have short-term intern programs or job shadow days. Get your foot in the door by showing eagerness to take a paid or unpaid opportunity to work in your field of interest. Potential employers are impressed by candidates that are proactive and enthusiastic. The experience will also help build your resume. – Regina Romeo, CPS HR Consulting

5. Identify Company Values You Can Get Behind

Job vacancies are at an all-time low and the fight for top talent is on! You will have a plethora of employment options. Start now to identify five to 10 companies that enact values that resonate with you. Do you value trust, hard work, efficiency? Find companies that value the same and their management philosophy will be well-aligned with your needs. Share this during the interview process to impress. – Christine Wzorek, White Label Advisors

6. Find A Mentor And Create A Plan

It can be difficult figuring out your next steps in this exciting time of your life. It’s important to set yourself up for success by preparing in advance. Network as early as possible and start planting the seed in your areas of interest with those you meet. Find a mentor already in the workforce, and create a plan for yourself with actionable steps to reach your goal by graduation. – Charles Ashworth, Copper

7. Identify What Makes You Unique

Help employers understand why you stand out from the crowd by focusing on accomplishments or attributes that make you unique and of which you are exceptionally proud. Be willing to take risks and put yourself out there. If employers aren’t connecting with who you are, those are not employers with whom you want to align yourself. You have a right to find an employer who values you! – Sherrie Suski, Tricon American Homes

8. Build Your Professional Brand

It is important that college seniors be aware of how to brand themselves in a professional manner and be aware of how they act and speak to their new environment. This may mean a social media audit, the way we dress to an interview, the way we conduct ourselves at a networking event. Branding is also about how I speak and what I speak. All the lingo of school should be left in school. – Tasniem Titus, Dentsply Sirona

9. Globalize Your Thoughts And Actions

Today’s workforce is global and multicultural. High school and college seniors can get a head start by participating in global projects and study-abroad opportunities or simply seeking a mentor globally. By demonstrating global thoughts and actions, the seniors can create a clear differentiation and announce their readiness to be successful leaders of the future. – Vineet Gambhir, Summit Partners

10. Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts

Recent graduates, go clean out your social media closet! You can bet that employers are looking at this, and if your social media looks like that of half the young people I know, it’s in dire need of an overhaul. Hide the accounts you don’t want people to see, delete embarrassing photos, get rid of any radical commentary and generally look like someone an adult wouldn’t mind employing. – Tracy Cote, Genesys

11. Make Your Resume Real-World Ready

It’s critical that employers can envision candidates as successful employees. Students with relevant internship experiences stand out for me. Employers can understand that you needed income, but if all you’ve got on your resume is bartending and babysitting, it’s harder for them to understand how you’ll contribute in their environment. – Joyce Maroney, Kronos Incorporated

12. Close Your Skills Gap

Whether it’s high school or college, students should prepare themselves for graduation by either volunteering or taking internships during holidays and vacation periods to bridge the gap between formal education and workplace needs. Students who demonstrate the skills and outcomes for which employers are looking will certainly stand out once they are ready to enter the workforce in any season. – Dr. Timothy J. Giardino, Cantata Health & Meta Healthcare IT Solutions

13. Improve Your Communication

Use every opportunity to practice your communication skills. About 70% of what we do in business relates to written and oral communication. Speak up in class every opportunity you have. Seek out chances to give oral presentations in front of peers. With experience, your skills will only improve so the key is seizing every opportunity you have to become a better communicator. – Heide Abelli, Skillsoft

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2019/11/25/getting-ready-to-join-the-workforce-13-tips-for-high-school-and-college-seniors/#2d71f60234a8

jobactive

Use this guide to build your job application skills and help you get your next job.

Qualifications

Employers will check your qualifications match the job they are hiring for. The types of things they look for include:

  • education level
  • certificates
  • licences
  • demonstrated industry or job experience

There are ways for you to boost your qualifications. You can contact your employment services provider or check out myskills to learn more about the jobs and qualifications in demand and how to get them.

Experience

For some jobs, your level of experience is very important. An employer might not have the resources or time to train you and will need you to hit the ground running.

When you apply for a job take a good look at what the employer is asking for in the job ad. Do you meet the minimum experience level needed? Have you done that type of work before?

On your resume and in your interview you have to clearly outline how your experience matches the job so the employer knows you have what they need.

Get details about the skills different jobs need and how to get them at the find a job blog

Interview

Your job interview is normally the first time an employer meets you. First impressions matter. You have to be prepared, dressed properly and show enthusiasm.

To boost your interview skills, practice talking about your work history and your achievements with someone before your next interview. You can also search for practice interview questions on the internet.

You can get more tips to improve your interview skills from your employment services provider or check out Job Jumpstart.

Suitability

The job market is competitive. Employers get a lot of applications from a lot of great candidates. Sometimes a different person is a better fit for the job you applied for.

Don’t be disheartened. It does not mean you are not right for another job. Pay attention to any feedback you get from employers, your provider and other people you trust. A small change to your resume, application or the way you present yourself at interviews could make the difference next time.

Job Jumpstart has heaps of tips to help you boost your chances at getting a job.

Attitude

It can take time to build experience and qualifications. Getting the right attitude is something you can do right now.

Employers need to know you want the job. You communicate your enthusiasm by:

  • showing interest in the job and the person interviewing you
  • being friendly
  • making good eye contact
  • being prepared
  • having good posture and personal presentation

Sometimes nerves can get in the way of showing your great attitude. Before your next interview, practice answering questions with a friend, your provider or someone you trust.

Appearance

Face to face customer service is common in lots of jobs, so what you wear and how you present yourself at an interview is important.

If you look messy or you don’t smell great, an employer won’t feel comfortable letting you represent their business. Before you go to an interview make sure you:

  • shower
  • shave or tidy up your facial hair
  • brush your teeth and hair
  • put on deodorant
  • wash and iron your clothes

Little details make a big difference. We’ve got some videos that can help you figure out what to wear to an interview.

Resume

Employers take about six seconds to decide if they want to keep reading your resume. If the first thing they see is a spelling error they will not keep reading.

Here are some things you can do to improve your resume:

  • Ask someone to proof read for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Make sure it is up to date with your latest work and education experience.
  • Double check your contact details are correct.
  • Check your format – is your resume set out in a way that makes it easy to read?
  • Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for.

You can get more tips from your employment services provider, or check out our job search tips to see how to make your resume and cover letter great.

 

Source: https://jobsearch.gov.au/jobseeker-info/guide-to-build-job-application-skills

fya

Ok team, Listen here. There is something really important we need to chat about. The Foundation for Young Australians (that’s us) released a new report that analysed 4.2 million job ads from the past 3 years and have sussed out what skills are most wanted by employers.
The great news is, you probably already have a lot of them, you just might not realise it.

The report, titled New Basics, is the latest in our New Work Order series that looks at the critical skills we all need to succeed in the changing world of work.

We can all agree that this kind of BIG DATA is a BIG DEAL so we’re going to break it down for you so you can make your next job application really stand out.

Here’s the skinny on which skills had the biggest increase in demand over the past 3 years:

Digital literacy is up by 212%
Creativity is up by 65%
Critical thinking is up by 158%
Presentation skills are up by 23%
Not only is the demand for these skills increasing, but jobs that want people with these skills are offering more cash as well. So if you want fat stacks, you’re going to need to know how to do these things.

When compared with similar jobs that don’t request these specific skills

Jobs that ask for presentation skills will score you an extra $8,853 / year
Jobs that ask for digital literacy will hand over an extra $8,648 / year
Jobs that request problem solving will cough up an extra $7,745 / year
Long story short, it’s pretty clear that learning these skills is well worth your time.

What this means in reality is that young people can no longer only rely on technical skills they might have studied for (think engineering, architecture, accounting, medicine) but they also need to be armed with a toolkit of what we call ‘enterprise skills’ to get the best jobs.

The great news for you is that you have most likely already developed and demonstrated these enterprise skills, you just need to be able to package them up in a way that makes it clear to future employers that you’ve got what it takes to get the job done.

When you’re working on your next job application or in an interview, here are some hot tips for selling your enterprise skill set:

Digital Literacy – demand up by 212%

The great news about this one is that a lot of young people already know a lot about this.

We know what’s #trending and have sussed out that virus is bad and viral is good. We have first hand experience of what might make one app great and another really clunky.

To talk about this skill in your resume you might want to mention if you run your own Instagram account, if you’ve ever promoted an event online, built a website or if you’ve used excel to input data about any given thing (best hot chips in your city, how much homework you need to do, budgeting etc).

Creativity – demand up by 65%

Lots of people are probably reading this one and thinking ‘But I’m not creative’. Dear friends, that is simply not true. We have all done creative things, trust me.

If you’ve ever had to present an assignment in a visual way? That’s creative. Ever built a Power Point presentation or video? That’s creative. Ever faceswapped on Snapchat with a couch cushion? That’s v creative (you weirdo).

You might present yourself creatively in the way you dress, the music you listen to or your Tumblr layout.

Critical thinking – up by 158%

This one sounds way fancier than it is. It is probably something you do all the time without realising.

If you’ve ever thought about how something could function better or more efficiently in your workplace or school, that’s critical thinking.

If you’ve ever been able to look at an issue in the media and see a different side of the story, that’s critical thinking.

If you’ve ever been able to reflect on a party you’ve thrown and realised that you definitely didn’t nail the good cheese to cracker ratio, then you’re a critical thinker.

Presentation skills – up by 23%

This one is kind of obvious. By nature of attending school at some stage you’ve probably had to present in front of groups.

If you can’t think of something formal you might think of a time you trained someone new at your casual job or when you inspired your sports team with a killer half-time rev up speech. It could even be when you addressed a group while planning a school assignment. Any time you’ve communicated clearly, you’ve presented!

Wouldn’t it be nice to learn about these employable skills in school?

Now, while we think it’s super important that you know how to sell yourself and your enterprise skills, we don’t think it’s only up you.

We think that the results of this report speak pretty loud and clear and that enterprise skills like digital literacy, critical thinking and project management need to be taught in schools. From primary school, and all the way through to uni.

We’re also keen to see young people properly exposed to the job skills they’ll need; so we’re talking great work experience placements and immersive on job learning.

If you’re thinking that it would have been nice to learn a little more about these skills in the classroom, maybe show your teacher this article? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

 

Source: https://www.fya.org.au/2016/04/20/here-are-the-skills-you-will-need-to-succeed-and-earn-big-buckaroos/?gclid=CjwKCAiA5JnuBRA-EiwA-0ggPQQ9EqVdCu88ILsEoSLhoOTAivgV3qUEIZ_3oTMbFoSA2JDVAFjdshoC5_IQAvD_BwE

resume

If your resume is missing just one keyword, it could be the difference between getting an interview or not. How do you know what the keyword is? Keep reading.

We know looking for a job is hard. Getting a job is even harder. There’s eight people out of work for every job that’s advertised. Depending on the job, there’s often 25-200 people applying for the same job as you.

When you apply for a job, your resume ends up in a stack of other resumes on the desk of the person looking to hire you.

How to spot keywords in a job ad

It’s hard to impress your future boss with a piece of paper. But, there is a way to get the edge over the other people in the stack. The secret is finding out what the boss is looking for – the keywords – and make sure you put those in the resume. Take a look at this job ad:


At first glance, you may think the business is looking for someone with experience with truck tyres. Keep reading and you’ll see they want someone who can work in a fast paced environment. They need you to be physically fit and to be able to confidently use hand tools. They also want you to have a reliable vehicle and to live locally.

How to use keywords in your resume

The words I have put in bold are your keywords. As simple as it sounds, put these exact words in your resume, exactly as they are in the job ad and your resume will stand out. It ticks all the boxes the business is looking for and you are more likely to get an interview – and more likely to get the job.

Why are keywords more important than ever?

More and more, a computer will read your resume first. Its name is Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). A computer program will scan your resume for keywords. If you have the right keywords in your resume, you’re more likely to get to the top of the pile.

The only way to impress a robot is to do exactly what it wants you to do. You could have all the right experience. You could have all the right skills. Unless you write them in the same way the robot is looking for, it could shunt you to the bottom of the pack.

All the more reason to scan job ads for keywords and customise your resume with those exact keywords. The more you do it, the better you get. You need to do this for every job you apply for.

Practice right now! Go to jobactive.gov.au, search for a job that’s right for you and highlight the key words. It’s easy once you know how.

 

Source: https://findajob.blog/2019/08/12/is-your-resume-missing-the-keyword-to-unlock-a-job/

Quartz

There’s a common piece of career advice that will stall your career if you’re not careful. It often comes from a well-meaning person—a friend, family member, or close mentor who wants the best for your career:

In order to secure your job and position yourself for bigger, better roles, you need to “make yourself indispensable.”

In reality, making yourself indispensable is the best way to keep yourself where you are in your job, rather than advancing.

When you’re so amazing in that one role that most people can’t imagine you doing anything else, they won’t want you to do anything else. Your manager relies on you so much that they won’t part with you, and you’re at risk of being pigeonholed.

I remember being in a management discussion about how we could backfill a role that was about to be open. Another manager suggested we promote Steven, but his boss jumped in and said, “Don’t touch Steven—I need him right where he is!”

None of us dared suggest Steven for other roles after that. Steven was about to be stuck in his role for a while without knowing it. One day he would look back and wonder how he went from being a star to being passed over for better roles.

This effect is often made worse by another piece of well-meaning advice: “You’re doing a great job, just keep doing what you’re doing”. This is what managers often say when they are too nice (or too lazy) to come up with feedback that will help you develop.

While that feels reassuring and can even make sense in the next quarter or two, it does nothing to prepare you for the next level. How can you grow if you don’t know how to change? If your boss is telling you that every year—to stay where you are, just keep doing what you’re doing—then it’s time to get some proper feedback to help you move forward (or a new boss!).
Could that be happening to you right now?

How to avoid the “indispensable” trap

So, how do you perform highly without getting caught in the workplace equivalent of Groundhog Day? And how do you free yourself if you’re already in the trap?

The key is to be indispensable for what you can become, and not for what you currently do. Here are four ways to do that.

Help others see you in a different light. Show people that there’s more than one dimension to your capabilities. So if they mostly see you doing “behind-the-scenes” research, invite them to a meeting where you’re “on stage” presenting. Take on new challenges. Let others know you have the interest and potential to do more. How could you demonstrate you can learn and grow beyond your current role?

See yourself in a different light. The longer you stay in the comfort zone of the role where you’re indispensable, the harder it will be to envision yourself doing something else. And that will color your behavior. Instead, challenge yourself to see yourself in a different light. Look for opportunities where you can learn, stretch, and develop new capabilities. What does You 2.0 look, feel, and sound like?

Prepare for the next level. The best way to do this is to continually invest in yourself and your development. Make time to learn new things. Identify the experiences and skills you want to have. Talk to others about what it takes and the things they wished they’d done to prepare themselves. Then go explore how you can do those things. What would prepare you for the next level in your career.

Make yourself moveable. Building a bench of talent beneath you is the best way to ensure that senior managers feel comfortable moving you to the next level position you aspire to. Remember, you don’t want to end up like indispensable Steven. Who could step into your role when you move up? If you can create your own backfill, managers won’t feel as anxious promoting you.

Don’t risk stalling your career by being so indispensable in your current role that you can’t move onward and upward when you want to. Be known for being indispensable for your potential, not your performance.

 

Source: https://qz.com/work/1721147/why-making-yourself-indispensable-is-terrible-career-advice/

 


linkedin

Long gone are the days where you’d stay in one job for life: it’s now the norm to jump between jobs and even careers every few years.

LinkedIn research shows 70 per cent of Australians would consider a career change, while two in five Aussies have worked in two different industries over the last five years.

And if you’re looking for that job change, a clean, up-to-date LinkedIn profile could be the difference between being shortlisted or being overlooked entirely.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance, LinkedIn Australia’s career expert Shiva Kumar revealed the top tips to take your profile to the next level and make the most of the professional networking website.

“First and foremost, you have to get the basics right,” he said. Make sure your profile has these two non-negotiable must-haves ticked:

A professional photo of yourself; and

Your current job title and industry.

“These are all simple but important aspects that help to tell a compelling story about who you are as a potential job candidate.”

And before you even begin your hunt, ensure that the ‘Open to opportunity’ setting of your LinkedIn profile is switched on to ensure recruiters get the message you’re open to opportunities, Kumar advised.

LinkedIn Australia career expert’s top tips for a killer profile

1. Say where you’re based

“Recruiters rely on location information to find candidates,” Kumar said. “You’ll stand out by as much as 23 times more if you include the city you’re based in in your profile.

“Often times recruiters will use advanced search based on location, so the more details you have the more likely you will be found and connected to your next opportunity.”

2. Have your elevator pitch ready

If you’re wanting to attract and capture the attention of recruiters or potential bosses, say a few words about yourself and what you do to make yourself memorable.

“Adding a summary of 40 words or more, makes your profile more likely to turn up in a future employer’s search,” Kumar said.

“A good tip is to ensure your summary includes keywords featured in desirable job descriptions for your field.”

3. Let your skills do the talking

Job titles will vary from organisation to organisation, so it’s a little tough to know what to search for when you’re job hunting.

“By listing all of your skills on your profile you are more likely to attract recruiters and show up in the right talent searches,” said Kumar.

4. Avoid buzzwords such as ‘motivated’

How much have you stumbled across the profile of someone who claimed to be an “influencer” or an “entrepreneur” or “enthusiastic” or a “team player”?

Avoid overused yet less valued words like the plague if they’re not actually adding anything to your profile – recruiters see the same descriptors in every profile day in day out.

“What they really want is to understand your capability for a certain role,” said Kumar.

“Let your experience do the talking; show who you are, don’t tell. Add visual examples of the work that you did.”

5. Showcase your interests

An active LinkedIn profile can speak volumes for you: share content that you enjoy like an interesting video or a thoughtful news story, or even a particularly impressive presentation through regular updates, said Kumar.

“With as little as a sentence, updates help get you noticed, and they are a great way to interact with and engage your professional network in conversations.”

Tick all these boxes – and don’t forget to set up job alerts – and you’ll be in good stead to catch the recruiter’s attention, Kumar said.

 

 

Source: https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/linkedin-australia-career-expert-top-profile-tips-200053689.html

ING

An $11 million ING bank call centre has been approved for Wyong, with the potential to house 600 staff.

Central Coast Council has voted in favour of the four-storey development at 4 Dulmison St, north of the Pacific Hwy, opposite the Wyong Golf Club.

The land is currently occupied by a car park, as well as the North Grounds Cafe.

The creation of jobs and attraction of high-profile business to Wyong was the clincher for approval, despite the building exceeding height limit restrictions by 4.1 metres.

ING will relocate the bank’s 350 staff from the existing ING operations in the Tuggerah Business Park, while making room for an extra 250 staff at the premises.

ADW Johnson senior planner Adam Crampton told councillors ING had outgrown the Tuggerah premises it has been based at since 2002.

He said the bank was attracted to the Wyong site due to its space for carparking and the nature of the vertical building was to keep staff close together and ensure tight security.

“They are choosing to remain on the Central Coast providing employment for up to 600 people, an investment of $11 million with an extremely long lease,” he said.

Councillor Kyle MacGregor said the development “is in the public interest” however there needed to be a traffic management plan for the area.

“It’s important that we are attracting high quality businesses, but it is important we are looking at traffic concerns,” he said.

Councillor Greg Best said approving the ING development would ensure council could “land these economic giants”.

The applicant, known as Dulmison Ave Pty Ltd, indicated public art would soften the impact of the height and tell the industrial story behind North Wyong.

The ING office and call centre is intended to operate 24-hours a day in three shifts.

 

Source: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/central-coast/ing-call-centre-to-house-600-staff-approved-for-wyong/news-story/cd281a2e94bf6a6ede166aa81d6810a6?fbclid=IwAR3PfdSCO4HYINoMa9vewk3C2Bkzy57fLioJMhTHx_QUAJoQLaX1kOiZ5cs

1

We’re all looking for ways to improve ourselves—at least that’s what the thriving $10 billion self-help industry seems to imply.

But as popular and alluring as the principles of personal development may be, many of us still have only a fuzzy understanding of it. Even fuzzier: How to turn personal growth into professional gains.

At the same time, there’s an undeniable overlap between the two—after all, our personal strengths and weaknesses affect us at work, too. And there are ways in which growing personally and working on ourselves can make us more effective at work.

If that still feels a little murky, we get it. Read on to learn exactly what personal growth is and get concrete ways to leverage it in your career.

What Is Personal Growth Anyway?
Personal growth or development is difficult to define, in part because it’s, well, personal. Broadly speaking, personal development is an effort to improve yourself, the outcomes in your life, or how you experience life, explains Sumayya Essack, a career-change coach and founder and owner of Curate the Future.

“Personal growth is the process of growing stronger, more confident, and more effective as a person and an agent of change for your own life,” says Kathy Caprino, a career and personal growth coach. More specifically, it relates to “how you see and perceive yourself, interact with others, engage with the world, and envision your future and your possibilities.”

It affects you in both concrete and more abstract ways, including emotional regulation, communication abilities, well-defined boundaries, decision-making, and personal satisfaction and positivity.
Where Personal and Professional Development Meet

At first glance, personal growth can seem a little vague compared to professional development goals. “Career growth tends to focus on tangible performance-related goals, such as raises [and] promotions,” Essack explains. It may also emphasize hard skills, which depending on your field could include things like data analysis or proficiency in a certain language or type of software.

However, if you think of personal and professional growth as two circles of a Venn diagram, there’s a healthy overlap between them. “Your career success and enjoyment of your career aren’t just the result of domain-related skills and knowledge. It’s also a result of what you bring to the table as a person,” Essack says.

Things we think of as soft skills—such as communication style, self-motivation, and how you relate to other people—fall into the area of overlap. And these skills greatly impact our ability to get things done at work. Developing them can help you become more effective in your career, and maybe even nab a promotion.

4 Personal Development Goals That Can Help You Get Ahead at Work
Even if you’re sold on the benefits of personal growth for your career—where do you start? In large part, it’s up to you.

“At the root of all personal development is becoming aware of what’s happening in your own mind and becoming aware of how the thoughts you’re thinking affect your emotions, behaviors, and results,” Essack says. If you can identify a result you’re unhappy with or, conversely, one you want to achieve, you can work backwards from there to determine the underlying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors you should address to make the change you desire.

For example, are you constantly struggling to get tasks done? Maybe you need to work on focusing better on the task at hand in order to become more efficient. Eager for a promotion? Perhaps you need to build better relationships to get there. Whatever area you choose, work on it in small doses.

While there are many ways you might implement personal growth into your career development, here are four examples of areas to improve, as well as advice for tackling them:

1. Build Emotional Intelligence
Solid emotional intelligence can help you forge strong working relationships with colleagues and clients, which in turn promote productivity and strengthen your professional reputation.

The ability to deal with people and conflict is important in most any job, but perhaps especially so when you take on a management or leadership role. “Emotional intelligence means being able to understand where someone else is coming from,” Essack says. “People want to work for someone who understands them.”

How to tackle it: Focus on becoming a better active listener, which helps others feel heard and understood. “We get caught up in saying what we want to say, but communicating effectively is also about being a great listener,” Essack says.

First, show the speaker that you’re paying attention. “Put away your devices, make eye contact, and fully concentrate on them rather than mentally preparing what you will say next,” Essack says. “Then, show that you’re listening with verbal cues such as ‘uh huh’ and body language, such as nodding, smiling, and leaning forward.” Finally, ask clarifying questions or reflect back with paraphrasing. Try starting with: “So what you’re saying is…,” or “What do you mean by…?”

2. Feel Confident in Your Talents
Building confidence is a common goal of personal development, and one that has a clear line to career gains. Developing your confidence can help you land a better job, negotiate for a raise or promotion, earn credit for your contributions, and be seen as a leader, Caprino says. But confidence isn’t something that’s easy to just switch on.

Instead, look for a path to confidence by working on recognizing your talents. If you don’t fully grasp what you’re amazing at and aren’t able to speak confidently about these talents, you won’t be able to fully leverage your unique abilities, Caprino adds.

How to tackle it: Many people struggle to look inward to discover where they shine—especially if they grew up hearing that they shouldn’t brag. So instead, look outward to colleagues and mentors for help identifying your unique talents. Ask them to name any contributions that have stood out to them as well as elements of your approach to work they consider particularly effective.

3. Grow Your Motivation
Wouldn’t it be great if we could bottle up motivation and consume it like we do our morning coffee? Imagine the benefits! At work, being more motivated can of course make you more productive, but it can also help you be seen as more driven and ambitious.

How to tackle it: Until motivation is sold by the bottle, you can work on building it little by little, Essack says. Think of motivation not as a mindset or mood that randomly descends on you outside of your control, but as a behavior. We tend to assume that when we’re motivated, we’ll take action—but the reverse can be true. “First you do the behavior and have a mini success, and that’s what makes you feel motivated again. Success builds on itself,” Essack explains.

For example, if you’re intimidated by holding performance conversations with employees, you might be tempted to avoid them until the last minute. But when you successfully commit to a small action, such as holding shorter, less formal performance check-ins, you may find more motivation to improve your skills and take on longer talks.

So instead of waiting for motivation to strike, try structuring your big goals into small achievable tasks to build momentum. This way you’ll help yourself experience each one you complete as an invigorating success and feel motivated to take the next step toward where you want to be.

4. Become More Mindful
Mindfulness is a term that’s thrown around a lot today, and its meaning can be as blurry as the concept of personal growth as a whole. Essentially, mindfulness is the act of training your brain to focus on the present moment, rather than racing ahead to the future, or drifting to the past.

Research has linked mindfulness to reduced stress, improved focus, and better working memory. At work it could help you zero in on the task at hand and filter out some of the surrounding noise, allowing you to become more efficient.

Mindfulness has emotional benefits too. Mindfulness can help you respond more thoughtfully to someone instead of having a knee-jerk reaction or snapping, Essack says. “You become more aware of what’s happening in the moment, so you choose a conscious response.” Building this skill can help keep you from burning bridges with clients or colleagues when tension rises or tempers flare.

Let’s say you receive some criticism that you don’t agree with or that injures your ego. “The tendency is often to react automatically because we feel defensive, but when we cultivate mindfulness, we’re able to take a step back in the moment and respond intentionally,” Essack explains. In this instance, a more mindful approach could help to de-escalate conflict and make feedback discussions more productive.

How to tackle it: Develop a daily mindfulness meditation practice, which over time, can help you become more mindful throughout the day. Set aside five or 10 minutes a day to do a guided meditation, with help from an app like Calm or Headspace that will talk you through the process.

As difficult as personal development may be to define, investing in it can help lay the groundwork for professional success. As Caprino says, “If we don’t do the work to strengthen ourselves as people first, our careers will be a dismal disappointment.”
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/personal-development-growth-goals-at-work-examples

1

So you just landed a leadership role at a new company. Congratulations! Going in, you know there’ll be a learning curve when it comes to handling your new responsibilities. But there’s also the people factor to consider.

Being the boss of a completely new team also means influencing a group of employees you don’t know very well to work together (and with you) toward a common goal. Nerve-racking, yes. But not impossible!

Even seasoned leaders make mistakes when managing a new team. Here are four common ones to avoid if you want to make your transition as smooth as possible for both you and your direct reports.

Mistake #1: Acting Before Understanding
If you think the first thing you need to do when joining a new team is to start making changes—slow down. Yes, part of your role is to help things run better, and you were most likely hired to bring in some new perspectives and fix some outdated or dysfunctional strategies. But ignoring input from experienced team members—particularly those who have been at the company for a while—won’t win you any fans.

Instead, you’ll signal to your team that you’re only interested in running a one-person show. And it will leave you vulnerable to making bad decisions that could’ve been avoided had you gotten some context.

This isn’t to say that you need to form a whole committee to make decisions on every little thing. You’re the boss, after all, and sometimes it’s your duty to make the final call. But strive to implement changes (especially big ones) in baby steps and over time. Be receptive to (and ask for!) feedback from your team before moving forward, and communicate your intentions clearly and proactively when you do.

Mistake #2: Constantly Talking About the “Old Job”
Do you find yourself saying all too frequently, “At my old job, we…”? Maybe you’re trying to prove yourself by bringing up your old wins. Or you may just feel comfortable referring back to a time when everything didn’t feel so foreign. (Being the new kid on the block isn’t easy.)

Here’s the thing: Your current team will quickly tune you out if you’re constantly talking about how things were done at your previous company. They want to see that you’re able (and willing!) to adapt to a new environment, and that you can competently lead and work with their unique skill sets.

Yes, you achieved great things in your last role. But don’t get caught living in the past—it’s time to focus on creating new wins with what your new team has to offer.

Mistake #3: Hiding in Your Office
Closing your office door or hiding behind your monitor can give off the appearance that you’re not interested in being there for your employees.

You may think, “I’ve told my team they can come to me any time with questions.” But as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and it can be intimidating for employees to knock on a new boss’ door. There’ll be times when you’ll need (or want) to close the door, and that’s OK—but make sure this doesn’t create a barrier between you and your team.

Make a conscious effort to show your employees that they’re welcome to come seek guidance or share concerns. Literally keeping your door open helps, so does providing “office hours” or popping your head out every few hours or so to see how everyone’s doing.

If you work in an open office, try to avoid wearing headphones all day, and when you can, sit near your team. You can also schedule weekly touch-base meetings with your direct reports so you have dedicated face time with them on a regular basis—and so that they know they will always have the opportunity to discuss something with you.

Mistake #4: Believing You Don’t Need to Know the Details of Your Employees’ Work
Some people think that the role of a leader is to just tell others what to do and set expectations. But there’s more to it than that. You can’t hold employees, especially new direct reports, accountable if you don’t fully grasp what their roles entail and how they approach their work.

While you don’t need to know all of the nitty gritty details of their responsibilities, you want to do more than just care that tasks are getting done. Understanding the “how” of operations and the “whys” behind how your employees tackle them will make both you and your team function better. You’ll be able to better manage them knowing their strengths, weaknesses, and preferred forms of communication, and they’ll feel more comfortable around you and motivated to do great work with the knowledge that you’re invested in their success.

Take the time when you’re just starting out to talk to each employee individually to learn about what they do, what their current challenges are, and how their tasks fit into team or company goals. You can even ask the following questions in your next one-on-one:

What challenges are you facing that are making you less productive?
What’s missing from the team that will help make everyone’s life easier?
How do you like to receive constructive feedback?
What are you hoping to learn from me that will support you in your role?
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
Or you can have them fill out this user manual so you have all the information you need about their working style.

Mistakes are going to happen when you’re starting a new job, whether you’re a manager or not, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get things “right” the first time. Even just reading this article means you care deeply about being a good boss to your new team—and that’s a great place to be in!

Most importantly, make sure you enjoy this new beginning—because it’s one more phase in your career that will help you grow and become the kind of leader you want to be.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/common-mistakes-starting-new-job-boss?ref=recently-published-1

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When you’re starting a job search, your goal is to make your credentials strong enough to get you selected for a job interview. Once you get to a job interview, you can sell yourself to the interviewer by confidently making the case that you’re an exceptional candidate. Before that though, what’s on your resume and cover letter is going to be the pitch that gets you picked for an interview.

One of the best ways to achieve that goal is to brand (or rebrand) yourself if necessary, so you’re a close match for the jobs you’re targeting. What does this mean? And how do you do it?

What’s in a Brand?

Branding (if you haven’t worked on creating a brand yet) or rebranding (if you’re considering a job or career shift), means deciding what professional path you’re on and tailoring your credentials, expertise, and what’s visible to network connections and prospective employees, to match that brand.

How to Get Started

The first step in creating or reinventing your brand is to determine what you want that brand to represent. What type of job would you love to have? Would you like a new job in a similar role or the same job in a different industry? If so, that’s a relatively easy brand update. If you’re looking for a career change, you’ll need to invest more time and energy into rebranding yourself.

Check yourself out. Google yourself and check the results before you start making any changes. You will want to see how the current information available about you reflects your professional persona, and ensure that it clearly reflects where you are in your career and where you want to go next. Look at it from the viewpoint of a hiring manager to see what narrative you are sharing about your achievements and aspirations.

Make a plan. It’s important to figure out how you’re going to get to where you want to be. Does your career need a makeover? Do you need new skills or certifications? Or can you tweak your brand and update it so it’s a fit for where you want to go next? Make a list of what you need to do before you get started. There are things you can do at your current job to position yourself for success in the next one. If your career needs a major overhaul, it will require more planning and a bigger investment of time.

Upgrade your credentials. Are you short on the skills you need to make a successful brand switch? If you can carve out some time, it can be easy to gain the skills you need to bolster your qualifications. There are many free and low-cost classes you can take to get the career skills you need. Once you’ve upgraded your skill set, take on some freelance projects to create a portfolio of skills related to your rebranding objective. You can add those skills to your resume and LinkedIn, and refer to them in your cover letters.

Be careful. As with a job search when you’re currently employed, be careful about the changes you make that are visible to your current employer. For example, if you’re working in sales, you don’t want your Twitter feed to be all about product development. Gradually mix in the new topics if you’re using social media for business purposes. Make sure “Share with network” is turned off while you’re updating your LinkedIn profile if you’re connected to current colleagues. If you make changes slowly and carefully, it’s easier to stay under the radar.

Create a Branding Statement

A branding statement is a short and catchy statement that encompasses what makes you a strong candidate for a job. Writing a branding statement can help you to capture the essence of what you want to accomplish in the next phase of your career. Taking time to write your own statement will help you to focus on what you want to accomplish with your branding or rebranding.

Add a Branding Statement to Your Resume

Adding a branding statement to your resume is a way to show employers how you can add value to the organization if you were to be hired. Don’t use the same branding statement every time you use your resume to apply for a job. If your branding statement isn’t a perfect match for the job, take the time to tweak it so it reflects the attributes the employer is seeking. As with all job search materials, it’s important to show the employer how you’re among the best-qualified candidates for the job.

Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Also, update your LinkedIn profile. It doesn’t have to match your resume exactly, but it should be close enough to pass scrutiny because employers will check it. Take time to write a summary that’s informative, reflects your career interests, and will grab hiring managers’ attention.

Check Your Other Social Accounts Too
Is the message you’re sending to recruiters and networking connections consistent? When they look at each of your various public social media accounts will they get the same impression? Consistency is important when you’re using social media for career development. Using the same professional photo across platforms will help to build your brand.

Rebrand Yourself (Carefully)

When you’re thinking about a major job shift or a career change, rebranding might be in order. Rebranding is something you should do slowly and carefully if you’re currently employed. You don’t want to advertise to your current manager, other employees of the company, or clients that you’re rebranding your credentials and seeking new opportunities. That way you won’t jeopardize the job you have, and you can move on when you’re ready.

GRADUALLY CHANGE YOUR LINKEDIN PAGE

Making small changes over time will be less noticeable. For example, you could gradually change your LinkedIn profile by reworking some of your job descriptions to fit better the brand you’re aiming for. They should still reflect what you did at each job, but the focus can shift.

UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN HEADLINE

The headline section of LinkedIn is designed for short, descriptive text. Use that to highlight the skills you have that match your goals. Again, don’t get too far off-base from your current role if you’re employed. If you’re not currently working, you’ve got some more flexibility in how you write your headline.

REWORK YOUR RESUME

Another option is to keep your LinkedIn job descriptions brief and vague. Instead of changing LinkedIn, you can tweak your resume to match better with each position you’re applying for. There won’t be a noticeable difference to current or prospective employers. There are small and simple, but very powerful changes that you can make that can have a big positive impact.

Use Your Cover Letter to Explain

What’s in your cover letter is between you and the hiring manager reading it. Employ your cover letter to tell the story of your career pivot. Write a targeted cover letter that highlights your strongest accomplishments and assets that qualify you for the job, helping to convince the hiring manager that you’re well worth interviewing.

Start All Over Again

Rebranding your career isn’t a one-time deal. Technology changes, the economy goes up – or down, in-demand skills change over time, and most people’s career aspirations change along the way. The average person changes jobs 10 -15 times over their career. Your career will most likely shift over time too.

As you gain additional work experience, take a course, or otherwise learn new skills, add them to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Tweak your job descriptions as you move forward so they reflect where you are going, as well as where you’ve been.

By making some slow and steady changes your rebranding will be a work in progress, and you’ll be able to use your brand successfully to boost your career.

 

Source: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-brand-yourself-for-the-job-you-want-4583968

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There’s a whole lot of talking about yourself that goes on in an interview. One of the most stressful parts might be when a recruiter or prospective boss asks you to tell them about your strengths and weaknesses.

You’re bound to hear, “What would you say is one of your weaknesses?” or “What’s your greatest strength?” or both in virtually every hiring process you’ll ever go through. While that might be frustrating—really, every time?!—it also means that you can anticipate the questions and craft thoughtful answers that will impress the interviewer.

In other words, with just a little bit of preparation, you can master the art of selling your strengths without sounding conceited and talking about your weaknesses without undermining your candidacy.

Why Do Interviewers Ask These Questions?
Before you get started planning your responses, it’s helpful to understand why interviewers are asking these questions in the first place and what they hope to get out of them.

“All interviews are about getting to know somebody,” says Muse career coach Angela Smith, founder of Loft Consulting. “I know some people feel like the interview is trying to trip them up or put them in an awkward position, but at the end of the day it’s really about getting to know the person so that you can make the best decision that you can,” she adds. “When I ask those questions, that’s where I’m coming from.”

In this case, the actual strengths and weaknesses you bring up probably matter less than how you talk about them. “I’ve done a ton of interviews over the years and when pressed for it, I can’t really remember the answers,” Smith says. That doesn’t mean the questions aren’t important at all, it’s just that what an interviewer is evaluating likely goes deeper than which specific strength or weakness you cite. They’re trying to understand what kind of employee you’d be and how you’d carry yourself in the role.

“For me it’s: Are they honest? Do they have self-awareness? Can they own their stuff in a professional and mature way? Is this someone that we can have growth and development conversations with? Are they going to hit a wall [when] it comes to giving them feedback?” Smith says. “How they answer that question really tells me the answer to all of those other things—and those are the things that matter.”

5 Tips for Talking About Strengths and Weaknesses in an Interview
Okay, that’s all great in theory, but what do you actually need to do to discuss your strengths and weaknesses successfully?

1. Be Honest
One of the most important things to get right when talking about your strengths and weaknesses in an interview setting is honesty. It might sound trite, but it’s also true. An answer that sounds genuine and authentic will impress, while one that sounds generic, calculated, exaggerated, or humblebraggy will do the opposite.

A boss doesn’t want to hire someone who can’t recognize and own what they bring to the table as well as what they need to work on. You’ll be a better employee if you can understand and leverage your strengths and acknowledge and learn from your weaknesses. So you want to show in the interview that you’re capable of that kind of self-reflection.

2. Tell a Story
Here’s another cliche you shouldn’t discount: “Show, don’t tell.” Anyone who’s ever taken a writing class—whether in seventh grade or graduate school—has heard it. You should keep it in mind when answering just about any interview question, and it’s certainly helpful here.

“Anytime you can have a real-life example or a concrete example, it’s a good idea. It just helps to contextualize the response a little bit,” Smith says. “We just understand concepts and situations better with a story. So if you can tell a story that supports your thesis, then it’s always helpful.”

Talk about a time your strength helped you achieve something in a professional setting or when your weakness impeded you. For example, if you’re talking about how you’re calm under pressure in a fast-paced environment, you might tell the interviewer about that time you delivered a revamped client proposal after a last-minute change of plans. If you’re admitting that your weakness is presenting in front of high-level executives, you might start by briefly describing the time you got so nervous presenting your plan for a new marketing strategy that you weren’t able to effectively convey your (thorough and pretty brilliant) approach and your boss had to step in and help get the plan approved.

Not only will sharing a real example make your answer stand out, but it’ll also make it sound thoughtful and honest and highlight all those other characteristics interviewers are actually looking for.

3. Remember to Get to the Insight
An answer that’s genuine and includes an illustrative anecdote is a great start, but it’s not complete until you add some insight. This goes for both strengths and weaknesses but looks a little different in each case.

When you’re talking about a strength, the last beat of your answer should tie whatever skill or trait you’ve been discussing to the role and company you’re applying for. Tell the interviewer how that strength would be useful in this particular position at this particular company.

So going back to the revamped client proposal example, you might add, “Since things move quickly at [Company], this would allow me to come in and earn a new team’s confidence and foster a trusting team culture while also ensuring we’re all hitting our goals and delivering high-quality work.”

In the case of a weakness, “tell me how they’ve grown from it or what they’ve done to accommodate that or what they’ve learned from it,” Smith says. “Really showcase your growth trajectory, your learning curve, what you’ve done as a result of the awareness of that weakness,” she adds. “It gives you an idea like if I hire this person and they’re here, this is the kind of problem solving or growth that I can expect to see from them.”

So if you were the candidate with the presentation snafu, you might talk about how you sat down with your boss to make a plan to improve your public speaking skills, and how the next time you had to present to the execs you knocked it out of the park.

4. Keep It Short
You don’t have to devote half the interview to these answers. You can keep your response relatively brief and focused on one or two strengths or weaknesses, depending on how the question was phrased. To add to our list of overused-but-handy phrases: Think quality, not quantity. Don’t dive in and rattle off a litany of things you think you’re good or bad at without explaining anything. Instead, narrow it down and go into detail.

5. Don’t Sweat It So Much
While you definitely want to prepare and do your best to nail your answers, try not to stress too much. “Don’t panic,” Smith says. “I have never known an employment decision to come down to how someone answers those questions,” she adds. “It’s just one data point connected with a whole bunch of other ones. So don’t give it too much weight.”

How to Answer “What Are Your Strengths?” in an Interview
The key to talking about your strengths in an interview is to use the opportunity to demonstrate that you’re the best fit for the role, the team, and the company.

Smith recommends reading carefully through the job description and learning as much as you can about what the company is up to and what the culture is like. Read various pages on the organization’s website, take a look at its social media accounts, and catch up on some recent announcements and news coverage if applicable. Use what you’ve learned to identify which of your strengths is most relevant and how it will allow you to contribute. Then make the connection inescapable. “Every answer should position you to help them see how you can solve a problem” and help the company achieve its goals, Smith says.

At the same time, you don’t want to go overboard. “It’s such a fine line. I always tell people not to worry about bragging, but you also don’t want to come across as cocky or too full of yourself,” Smith says. Give a confident and honest assessment that does your skills justice, but don’t let yourself veer into hyperbole.

What It Might Sound Like
If you’re applying for an operations role at a startup, you might say:

“I’d say one of my greatest strengths is bringing organization to hectic environments and implementing processes to make everyone’s lives easier. In my current role as an executive assistant to a CEO, I created new processes for pretty much everything, from scheduling meetings to planning monthly all hands agendas to selecting and preparing for event appearances. Everyone in the company knew how things worked and how long they would take, and the structures helped alleviate stress and set expectations on all sides. I’d be excited to bring that same approach to an operations manager role at a startup, where everything is new and constantly growing and could use just the right amount of structure to keep things running smoothly.”

How to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?” in an Interview
While you’ll definitely want to tie your strengths to the role and company you’re applying for, you should avoid that approach when talking about your weaknesses. “You don’t necessarily want them associating a weakness with their company or with what they’re looking for,” Smith says. For example, if the job description for a sales role lists excellent verbal communication skills, you shouldn’t say one of your weaknesses is thinking on your feet during phone calls, even if you’ve worked hard to improve and feel more than competent now.

It’s the same advice she’d give someone writing a cover letter when applying for a job for which they have most, but not all, of the qualifications. Focus on the requirements you do bring to the table, not on the ones you don’t.

Instead, prepare a couple of standard options to choose from and in each interview, talk about a weakness that doesn’t obviously impair your ability to perform the core functions of the role. Make sure you admit the weakness, pivot to the insight, and end on a strong note. “If someone can be honest and have the self-awareness to answer that question, I think that says a lot about their emotional intelligence and their professional maturity,” Smith says.

Her last piece of advice? Don’t pick a “weakness” like “I’m such a hard worker” or “I’m too much of a perfectionist.” Going down that route will backfire, because it comes off as disingenuous, oblivious, or immature—and none of those are qualities that’ll get you the job.

What It Might Sound Like
If you’re applying for an engineering job, you might say:

“My greatest weakness would probably be waiting too long to ask questions to clarify the goals of a project and to make sure I’m on the right path. I noticed in one of my first coding jobs out of college that I would get an assignment and, because I assumed I should be able to work independently, I’d waste time going down a particular road that didn’t 100% align with the ultimate goal and then would have to spend additional time making changes. After it happened once or twice, I started asking my manager more questions about why we were adding a particular feature, who it was intended for, what about the previous functionality had made for a poor experience, etc. And especially for bigger projects, I would reach out when I needed a gut check to ask follow-up questions as well as to share the work I’d done so far and what I was planning to do next. In the long run, it meant I could finish projects faster and do better work.”

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/strengths-and-weaknesses-interview-question-answer-examples?ref=recently-published-1

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When you’re getting ready for a job interview, it’s always good to try to predict which questions an interviewer might ask. If you’re like most people, you’re fully prepped to field queries about what you know and the experience you have, like “Tell us about your responsibilities in your current job” or “Explain the strategy you used for [project on your resume].”

But don’t stop there! Recruiters and hiring managers also often ask behavioral questions, which can help them get a better idea of your personality and your soft skills. This could include questions like, “What type of work really excites you?” or “Tell us about a time you were frustrated by your colleagues.”

An even more sophisticated example that may not initially seem like a behavioral question is “What do you like least about your job?” Because it can be a bit of a “gotcha” question, you’ll want to craft your response with care. We talked to a few career experts and got their insights to help you avoid the pitfalls and answer it the right way.

Resist the Temptation to Vent
Even for those of us who genuinely love our careers, “What do you like least about your job?” is a question that we could easily wax poetic about over a few rounds of drinks with friends. But an interview is not the time to dish about, for example, how your boss is not nearly as smart as you.

That’s because this question isn’t really about discovering what you dislike, points out Conrad Woody, a partner at Odgers Berndston, an executive search and recruitment firm. More likely, it’s a test of how you would respond to an invitation to vent. “The interviewer wants to know if you’re the type of person who will go negative when given the opportunity,” says Woody.

Your answer should not leave the interviewer believing they could be your next gossip victim if things don’t go well. Speaking negatively of your current employer ends up reflecting poorly on you, not the company. If you must vent, save that for your friends—ideally not ones you work with.

Focus on New Opportunities
A great way to answer this question is to talk about a responsibility or duty you’d get to have at your new job that your current role doesn’t offer. For example, if the job you’re interviewing for requires that you deliver presentations to large groups, you could share that you wish your current job gave you the opportunity to flex the public speaking skills you’ve honed at your local Toastmasters club.

Alternatively, you can speak about a responsibility at your current job that simply isn’t challenging you any longer because you’ve mastered it. Just make sure that whatever it is, it isn’t a duty that’s integral to the job you’re interviewing for!

Frame the Answer in a Positive Way
No matter what you talk about, always take the opportunity to turn the negative into a potential positive with your new employer. “You don’t want to focus too much time on something you hate or don’t like,” says Tamara Rasberry, an HR Manager in Washington, DC. “Even when you briefly mention something you don’t like, highlight that you are well-versed in it but that it simply doesn’t challenge you anymore or utilize all of your strengths.”

By quickly pivoting to how your current role was a necessary and informative building block for your next career move, you show your ability to find the silver lining and do what needs to get done.

What This Looks Like
Need some inspiration? Consider these sample answers:

The “It Was Fun While It Lasted” Answer
By concentrating on the positives of the new employer, you can avoid mentioning anything explicitly negative about your current job:

“While I enjoyed working for a large law firm because I was able to gain experience across several subject matters, I’d prefer to bring all those learnings to your firm because I believe that your singular focus on the entertainment industry would allow me to have deeper impact.”

The “I’d Rather Be Doing Something Else” Answer
This answer briefly mentions a current responsibility, but focuses on the opportunity the new job would provide:

“In my current role, I’m responsible for drafting media lists to pitch. While I’ve developed a knack for this and can do it when it is necessary, I’m looking forward to a job that allows me to have a more hands-on role in working with media partners. That is one of the things that most excited me about your Account Supervisor position.”

The “You Asked, So Here Goes” Answer
There is of course, always the bold option, which is to speak more bluntly and directly about something not-so-great about your current role or company. But again, you’ll want to end on a positive note that spotlights your enthusiasm for the new job:

“My current company acquires new business through traditional methods like cold calling and direct mail. I’m impressed with the digital, email, and social acquisition campaigns you have implemented and how they reflect a more modern, innovative approach. While I am flexible enough to succeed in a diversity of work environments, I’m eager to work for a company that embraces change.”
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/what-do-you-like-least-about-your-job-interview-question-answer?ref=carousel-slide-0

26 05 19

When your job search seems to be stuck and you’re not getting the contacts from employers you were expecting, it’s even more important than usual to make sure that you stand out from the job searching crowd.
You will need to show the hiring manager—at a glance—that you are a candidate who definitely should be selected for an interview.
What can you do to get noticed? It’s not as hard as you might think. Your application materials have to be perfect, of course, and you will need to use your connections to help get an “in” at the company. You’ll also need to actively market your candidacy and yourself, rather than waiting for a new job to find you.

Write a Targeted Resume

Taking the time to edit or rewrite your resume so it matches the qualifications for the job you’re applying for will show the hiring manager that you have the credentials for the job and should be considered for an interview.

Write a Targeted Cover Letter

Write a cover letter that shows, at a glance, why you are a strong match for the job. Don’t repeat your resume, rather link (list or use bullets) your relevant skills to the skills the employer is seeking. Highlight your professional qualifications that match the hiring requirements. You only have seconds to catch the hiring manager’s attention, so use them wisely.

Build Your Professional Brand

Sometimes, recruiters Google candidates even before they schedule an interview so be sure to build your professional brand. You will want to make sure that everything they find when they search and everything related to you on the professional and networking sites (like LinkedIn and Facebook) is information that is presentable to the public. Also, be sure to edit your profile on LinkedIn so your connections know you are available for career and/or job opportunities.

Use Your Connections

Do you have connections at the company you just sent your resume to? If so, use them. They may be able to give your resume a boost and help you get an interview. You can also use your connections to find out more about the company. I know one job seeker, for example, who was able to connect with an employee at the company he was interviewing and get the inside scoop on the job and the company — before he set foot in the door.

Be Proactive

Remember that old saying “He who hesitates is lost” — it’s true. Employers don’t wait forever for applicants to submit their resume (I know more than a few people who have waited too long to apply and lost out on what could have been a good job), so when you find a job listing that’s a good match, apply immediately. Set up job search agents on the job search engines and/or job banks so you get new positions via email as soon as they are posted online. Again, don’t wait to apply.

Unstick Your Job Search

If your job search seems to be stuck, try some new initiatives to get it started, so you can get back on track to find a new job, sooner rather than later.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice before you go for an interview. Review typical interview questions and research the company so you are well-prepared to interview. Have interview clothes ready (dry cleaned, shoes polished, etc.) so you’re ready to interview professionally at a moment’s notice. That way, your first impression will be positive and that’s the impression you want to make on everyone you meet when you’re job searching.

Send a Thank You Note

Don’t forget to follow up with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the job. Most candidates don’t bother, but those that do are more likely to get hired.

 

 

Source: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-be-a-compelling-candidate-2059756

1

While it’s tempting to measure career growth and success solely according to the number of rungs we scale on the corporate ladder, management isn’t the only path to a satisfying career. Being a manager comes with responsibilities that don’t appeal to everyone. Even worse, managerial work could take you away from the aspects of your job you love most.

But just because you don’t have any interest in presiding over a team doesn’t mean that you’re destined to stagnate—or that you have to grudgingly heave yourself up to the next level. In other words, you don’t always have to move upward to move onward.

We asked professionals who’ve blazed a trail off the management track to fill us in on four ways you can continue to evolve professionally—minus the supervisory duties.

1. Look for Opportunities That Offer In-Role Advancement
Not all growth involves taking a step up. Certain roles offer opportunities to stretch yourself within the same position, through a greater variety of projects, more prestigious assignments, deeper work, or more responsibility. When hunting for your next non-managerial job opportunity, consider point-blank asking about what growth looks like within the role rather than what’s beyond it.

While working as a media agency VP, Nathanael Yellis realized managing a team came with some emotional costs. Being on-call as a resource for his direct reports—as well as being beholden to his own manager’s schedule—took away from the time and energy he was able to spend with his family. So he set out to find an individual contributor role that still offered in-role growth.

Yellis ultimately found it within his current position as an Inbound Consultant for HubSpot. There, not only does he have more direct control over his time, but he can still develop his career without stepping up to a managerial role. “I have promotions available to me that come with increased status or customers who are more critical to HubSpot’s success,” he says. “As I continue to grow in the role, I’ll have the opportunity to work with larger companies in a wider variety of industries.”

Because he’s customer-facing, he’s able to establish clear boundaries for when and how he interacts with clients, such as deciding he isn’t available for conference calls between 5 and 8 PM. “Beyond that,” he says, “not having to make the emotional commitment to managing people frees emotional bandwidth I have at home.”

2. Make a Lateral Move Somewhere Bigger or More Prestigious
If you’re not interested in becoming a bigger fish in a small pond, consider bigger ponds, whether that means a larger company, a greater swath of sales territory, or a more prestigious brand. In the case of Danielle Radin, the digital correspondent for NBC San Diego, the puddle-to-lake leap meant a bigger broadcast market.

While Radin had a master’s degree that primed her for the managerial track, she found that she liked being a reporter, and didn’t want to deal with the office politics that came with managing others in the newsroom. Instead of hopping up the ladder, she’s been hopping to larger markets. “In broadcast the goal is to move up to bigger markets, which are ranked by population from 1 all the way down to 209,” she explains. “I started in one of the lowest-ranked markets, 195, and was able to jump to San Diego, ranked 28.”

Of course, few fields offer quite the concrete ranking system by which to measure your growth, but other indicators, both quantitative (think: company size and potential number of clients) and qualitative (think: influence or reputation) can be your guide when you’re looking to make a lateral move.

3. Go Solo as a Consultant
Once you become an expert in your field, you can deploy your skills and experience in a consulting role. That’s what Stacy Caprio, founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing, an SEO/SEM consulting company, did.

Caprio previously worked as the search marketing manager for a finance company, but didn’t like the idea of having to be responsible for anyone else’s work but her own. She tested the waters by consulting as a side hustle and eventually made it her full-time career. When you go it alone, you can chart your own career growth with the same metrics you use to measure your consulting business’ success, such as reach and revenue.

Though the freedom of consulting is a huge perk in itself, Caprio says it’s also been more financially lucrative than her previous position. “I like that it has given me the opportunity to learn so much and be hands on in what I do, instead of just a supervisor who has no idea what her employees are doing,” she says. “It has also allowed me to make a lot more than I would have been able to make in a managerial role.”

4. Deepen or Broaden Your Skill Set to Become an Expert
If you’re not devoting time and energy to cultivating managerial skills, you can focus on honing other skills, whether that means perfecting your sales pitch, becoming a financial-modeling wizard, or mastering every project management tool under the sun.

In addition to having the tangible metric of market size by which to gauge her growth, Radin says her non-management path has given her the opportunity to improve her writing, editing, shooting, and presenting abilities on a daily basis. “Find a niche in your job that you truly thrive in, and improve it as much as you can so that you are considered one of the top in that skill set,” she advises.

While a deeper skill set is satisfying in and of itself, you can also establish a few key performance indicators to assess growth more objectively. Alex Tran, a digital marketing specialist, opted out of management to focus on the more hands-on aspects of her career. Instead of measuring her performance according to how close she’s getting to a head-honcho title, she uses other metrics relevant to her industry.

“In marketing I am measuring our brand visibility and reputation. If we are getting more leads than we can handle, that is great,” she says. “That means we will need to expand and hire more, which is what every growing organization wants. I am a grower, not a leader.”

Stepping outside of management may give you a chance to expand your skills outward as well. When Caprio made her move to consulting, she found that she was able to extend her expertise beyond the parameters of her in-house role. In those 9-to-5 jobs she held, “my focus was 70% running paid Google and Facebook ads,” she explains. “Once I was consulting full-time, I really dove into more than just theoretical SEO, which enabled me to develop a new skill set driving more unpaid traffic to sites.” she adds. “I used this to further expand into buying my own sites and growing them, so one thing led to another.”

 

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/grow-your-career-without-becoming-a-manager

1

Work-life balance can be elusive under the best job circumstances, but when you work non-traditional hours—whether you’re in a client-facing role, you have a busy season (hi accountants!), or you’re facing a big project deadline—finding time for the people and things you love can be even more difficult.

After all, early mornings, late hours, and limited breaks aren’t exactly conducive to balance. Still, it’s possible to carve out time for what’s important to you even when your work life seems crazy. And adopting one (or more) of these expert tips can help.

1. Rethink Work-Life Balance
If you feel like you can’t find any work-life balance thanks to your non-traditional schedule, rethink your definition of the phrase, says Samantha Ettus, a work-life balance expert and author of The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction.

“Work-life balance is not about having balance every day,” she says. “It’s about creating a balance that feels manageable over the course of time—a week, a month, a year.” The problem comes when you expect balance every day—and judge yourself accordingly. “That’s just not how life works,” Ettus says. “We all know there are days when you start at 7 AM and end with a client dinner at 10 PM.”

2. Set Boundaries When You’re Less Busy
Even the most demanding work schedule likely ebbs and flows—an off season or a time between projects. Take advantage of these slower periods to set personal boundaries, as much as possible, with clients and co-workers.

Will you have to stay later sometimes? Yes. Is an occasional 5:30 PM meeting inevitable? Of course. But in general, once you start setting boundaries, people will respect them—and it may be easier to keep them going when things pick up again.

3. Embrace Micro Actions
If your work schedule doesn’t allow for blocks of personal time, embrace what LoVerde calls “micro actions”—activities that fit into bits of time during your day that are so small it’s easy to discount them. Don’t.

For example, LoVerde says, maybe you can’t fit in a 90-minute yoga class when you’re on a project—but can you do 4 minutes of tabata? Or program your wearable activity tracker to remind you to take a 2-minute walk every hour and drink a glass of water?

Individually, those don’t seem like much, but when you add them all up, you may find you’ve gotten 20 minutes of exercise and downed 10 glasses of water by the end of the day. Not too shabby!

4. Think of Your Life as a Pie
Ettus recommends imagining your life as a pie sliced into seven pieces: career, children, health, hobbies, friends, community, and relationship. Write down how much time you spend on each slice (be honest!), and set a goal for each one.

If you’re already struggling to balance a couple of “slices” (say, career and children), adding five more can seem counterintuitive—but stick with us. “It doesn’t have to be a hobby that you do every day of your life—a once-a-month book club still contributes to balance,” Ettus says. “People who live in all of their slices are the ones who feel more productive and fulfilled, so make sure you set goals for each area.”

5. Become a Quitter
As busy as you are, you’re probably wasting time each day on things that don’t contribute to your work-life balance in a meaningful way. LoVerde recommends quitting the things that get in the way of what you want. Who among us hasn’t lost 20 minutes mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, when we could have been texting a friend or meditating?

6. Build in Rituals
The findings of a 75-year Harvard study show that good relationships are the key to keeping us healthy, happy, and successful. Of course, relationships may occasionally take a backseat due to a busy season at work. But if there’s no down time in your future, then you must build in ways to stay connected with family and friends, Mary says—and the way to do that is to build in rituals, such as FaceTiming with your kids when you miss bedtime or a daily lunchtime text with your partner.

“You have a limited amount of willpower every day,” LoVerde says, “so building in rituals that help you stay connected to what’s really important will help you when you have to work strenuous stretches.”

We can’t promise that you’ll be able to find the perfect work-life balance all the time. But if you follow this advice, you’ll be on your way to creating more time and space for yourself and those who matter most.

 

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-maintain-work-life-balance?ref=carousel-slide-1

24.03.19

As a job seeker, your jobactive provider can help you to:

  • write a résumé
  • look for work
  • prepare for interviews
  • get skills that local employers need
  • find and keep a job.

What help can I get?

jobactive providers have the flexibility to tailor their services to your assessed needs to help you get and keep a job.

Your jobactive provider will meet with you to help you find work and develop a Job Plan that could include:

  • activities to help you get skills that local employers are looking for
  • help for you to overcome or manage non vocational issues where relevant
  • looking for up to 20 jobs each month—your jobactive provider can tailor this number to your circumstances and local labour market conditions
  • Work for the Dole or another approved activity (such as part-time work, part-time study in an eligible course, participation in accredited language, literacy and numeracy training or volunteer work) for six months each year.

To help you get and keep a job, your jobactive provider can access funding to pay for work-related items, professional services, relevant training and support after you start work.

Your provider can also connect you to a range of other government initiatives. These include relocation assistance , employer wage subsidies, training, apprenticeships and help to start a business through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).

If you’re under 25 years and have been registered with your jobactive provider for more than six months, Youth Jobs PaTH can help you gain the skills and experience you need to secure a job.

Through Youth Jobs PaTH you can undertake practical face-to-face training, tailored to your needs, to improve your job preparation skills and better understand the expectations of employers. You can also undertake an internship placement of between four and 12 weeks with a business looking for new staff to show them what you can do.

If you’d like to know more about Youth Jobs PaTH, including the eligibility criteria, talk to your jobactive provider or visit the Youth Jobs PaTH page on the jobactive website.

Want more information?

  • Call the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68 or talk to your provider if you are already registered with jobactive
  • Search for a local jobactive provider on the jobactive website
  • Read the jobactive—helping you find work fact sheet

 

Source: https://www.jobs.gov.au/jobactive-help-job-seekers

1

I am so tired.

So today I decided, six years into being a mom, to invest in a little thing called “self care.” I went to get my makeup done and when the girl at the counter asked me what look I was going for, I told her, “I want to look like a person who didn’t spend all night googling Coxsackie symptoms through the cries of a screaming two year old while also panicking about a big client presentation.”

Basically, what I’m trying to say is, I get it. As a working parent you experience tons of feelings you’re not properly prepared for. Sure, you’ll get the, “Sleep now while you can”, but once that baby comes, it’s up to you to figure out how to manage it all (and make it look easy). But don’t worry, the 70% of working mothers with children under 18 years old get it, too.

We get it in the way the girl at the counter did when she picked out the heaviest concealer they had.

So, remember, you’re not alone in this. Here’s how to navigate the feelings that come with this crazy, beautiful thing called parenting.

Feeling #1
Exhaustion

Yesterday, my new babysitter started. I came home at 7PM to unfed children, one with a leaking diaper, and a house that looked like my boys had used crayons and Play Doh to get vengeance for any parenting mistake I’ve ever made.

And this was after a day of back-to-back meetings and an inbox ticking towards the triple digits.

So here’s what I did:

I ordered takeout. Immediately and without hesitation.

I put my phone in my bag and stopped looking at it (work panic avoided).

I told the kids I had to go to the bathroom, screamed into the shower curtain, and then came down smiling.

I asked my kindergartener what the best part of his day was.

I did NOT clean the house. And I was OK with that.

That last sentence is very important. Sometimes, as moms, we think that we need to do everything at once.

But I’ve let this go, and you can, too. Let. It. Go. All of it. Or at least, try to. I’ve spent way too much time comparing myself to friend’s cute Facebook photos of children in matching outfits in clean houses. It’s not real. They might have gotten it right this week, but next week they will have a messy house and unruly children. And it will be OK because we are all in this together.

The truth is, I recently realized that I spend too much time thinking about how tired I am and not enough time sleeping. So, I did something I don’t think I’ve done since my children were born. After I put my boys to sleep, I went to bed, too.

And although I didn’t do any work the night before, the next morning I felt like I accomplished more. I was more focused. It was so much better.

So, relax when you can. I’ve started listening to music and reading books on the way home from work instead of answering emails. It’s for my own sanity. Cherish those fleeting moments of “you” time and grab hold of them as tight as you can.

Feeling #2
Loneliness

Being a working parent comes with a feeling I never thought I’d have, but one I’ve heard repeatedly: loneliness. Yes, you’re constantly around kids, co-workers, and clients but the connections just aren’t the same as they used to be.

Here’s my hypothesis: Parenting is hard. You often can’t do a lot of the things you used to (like those fun girl’s trips or romantic weekend getaways). Making friends at work can be difficult (it’s not exactly easy to go out for happy hour). And many of us don’t want to admit when we need help, especially if you never had to wave the white flag before having children.

Here are some ways to combat it:

Find your fellow work parents: You know who gets it? Other parents who work at your company. Here at The Muse, we have a #museparents Slack channel. Do some digging to find your fellow moms and dads.

Put yourself out there, even just a little bit: Attend activities that match your family’s schedule. Make awkward conversation, rinse, and repeat, until you find a mom or dad friend.

Pick one day a month to be kid-less: Get a babysitter once a month to do a whole day of socializing. Maybe that means seeing an old friend, taking a day with your spouse, or attending that co-worker thing that you always say no to. Just make sure it’s something that will leave you feeling good and socially replenished.

Join a networking or support group: I believe in this so much, that I started one. With my hectic schedule I never have time for more than a few minutes of socialization, but through my online social circle, I’ve discovered that plenty of moms and dads are going through the same things I am.

Feeling #3
Overwhelmed

This is probably the most common. Why? Because as working parents we have a lot of stuff going on. And there’s studies that show being a working parent is the equivalent of working more than two full-time jobs (but you didn’t need a study to tell you that).

So, here’s how to to keep your head above water:

Accept help: From pretty much anyone who will give it. Your mother-in-law just offered to come over for an hour so you can stay late and grab a quick cocktail with friends? Let her. Your direct report said he would pitch in so you can pick up your children from childcare? Let him do it. Bottom line: Be honest with others about what you need.

Make lists: Buy yourself a notebook or planner and write everything down. Cross it off as you accomplish it. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than manually crossing something off, but do what works for you.

Say no, but not sorry: Even superheroes need a break. It’s OK to decline when a non-essential 6 PM meeting encroaches on family time. It’s OK to turn down a work event because it is just too much this week. It’s OK to take a rain check on the girl’s trip because you can’t find sitters or can’t afford it. It’s OK to not have your child in six activities and always wearing matching outfits. Do what feels right for your family, not anyone else’s.

In short, you are not alone. I know it can feel that way at the end of one of those long, hard days. But remember, even when you think you are failing, your children see a hero… and your co-workers are likely in awe of how you do it all, and make it look easy.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/feelings-you-experience-working-parent-how-to-manage?ref=recently-published-0

1

You’re in a job interview, and things are going well. You didn’t get lost on your way to the office, you made some friendly small talk with the hiring manager, and you’re nailing your answers to the questions you’re being asked.

Just when you start thinking you have this in the bag, you hear the interviewer say, “Tell me about a time when…”

Your stomach drops. You rack your brain for something—anything!—you can use as an example. You grasp at straws and finally stumble your way through an anecdote that only sort of satisfies the prompt.

First of all, take comfort in the fact that we’ve all been there. These types of interview questions are tough to answer. But, here’s the good news: There’s a strategy you can use to come up with way more impressive answers to these dreaded questions: the STAR interview method.

What Is the STAR Interview Method?
The STAR interview technique offers a straightforward format you can use to answer behavioral interview questions—those prompts that ask you to provide a real-life example of how you handled a certain kind of situation at work in the past.

Don’t worry—these questions are easy to recognize. They often have telltale openings like:

Tell me about a time when…
What do you do when…
Have you ever…
Give me an example of…
Describe a…
Thinking of a fitting example for your response is just the beginning. Then you also need to share the details in a compelling and easy-to-understand way—without endless rambling.

That’s exactly what the STAR interview method enables you to do. “It’s helpful because it provides a simple framework for helping a candidate tell a meaningful story about a previous work experience,” says Al Dea, the founder of CareerSchooled and a career and leadership coach.

So, let’s break down that framework. STAR is an acronym that stands for:

Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.
Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.

By using these four components to shape your anecdote, it’s much easier to share a focused answer, providing the interviewer with “a digestible but compelling narrative of what a candidate did,” says Dea. “They can follow along, but also determine based on the answer how well that candidate might fit with the job.”

Answering Interview Questions Using STAR
Knowing what the acronym stands for is only the first step—you need to know how to use it. Follow this step-by-step process to give the best STAR interview answers.

1. Find a Suitable Example
The STAR interview method won’t be helpful to you if you use it to structure an answer using a totally irrelevant anecdote. That’s why the crucial starting point is to find an appropriate scenario from your professional history that you can expand on.

There’s no way for you to know ahead of time exactly what the interviewer will ask you (although our list of behavioral interview questions can help you make some educated predictions). With that in mind, it’s smart to have a few stories and examples ready to go that you can tweak and adapt for different questions.

“Brainstorm a few examples of particular success in your previous job, and think through how to discuss that success using the STAR framework,” says Lydia Bowers, a human resources professional. Repeat that exercise for a few types of questions.

If you’re struggling during your interview to come up with an example that fits, don’t be afraid to ask to take a minute. “I’m always impressed when a candidate asks for a moment to think so that they can provide a good answer,” says Emma Flowers, a career coach here at The Muse. “It’s OK to take a few seconds.”

2. Lay Out the Situation
With your anecdote selected, it’s time to set the scene. It’s tempting to include all sorts of unnecessary details—particularly when your nerves get the best of you. But if the interview asks you to tell them about a time you didn’t meet a client’s expectations, for example, they don’t necessarily need to know the story of how you recruited the client three years earlier or the entire history of the project.

Your goal here is to paint a clear picture of the situation you were in and emphasize its complexities, so that the result you touch on later seems that much more profound. Keep things concise and focus on what’s undeniably relevant to your story.

“The STAR method is meant to be simple,” explains Flowers. “Sometimes people provide too much detail and their answers are too long. Focus on just one or two sentences for each letter of the acronym.”

For example, imagine that the interviewer just said, “Tell me about a time when you achieved a goal that you initially thought was out of reach.”

Your Response (Situation): “In my previous digital marketing role, my company made the decision to focus primarily on email marketing and was looking to increase their list of email subscribers pretty aggressively.”

3. Highlight the Task
You’re telling this story for a reason—because you had some sort of core involvement in it. This is the part of your answer when you make the interviewer understand exactly where you fit in.

This can easily get confused with the “action” portion of the response. However, this piece is dedicated to giving the specifics of what your responsibilities were in that particular scenario, as well as any objective that was set for you, before you dive into what you actually did.

Your Response (Task): “As the email marketing manager, my target was to increase our email list by at least 50% in just one quarter.”

4. Share How You Took Action
Now that you’ve given the interviewer a sense of what your role was, it’s time to explain what you did. What steps did you take to reach that goal or solve that problem?

Resist the urge to give a vague or glossed-over answer like, “So, I worked hard on it…” or “I did some research…”

This is your chance to really showcase your contribution, and it’s worthy of some specifics. Dig in deep and make sure that you give enough information about exactly what you did. Did you work with a certain team? Use a particular piece of software? Form a detailed plan? Those are the things your interviewer wants to know.

Your Response (Action): “I started by going back through our old blog posts and adding in content upgrades that incentivized email subscriptions—which immediately gave our list a boost. Next, I worked with the rest of the marketing team to plan and host a webinar that required an email address to register, which funneled more interested users into our list.”

5. Dish Out the Result
Here it is—your time to shine and explain how you made a positive difference. The final portion of your response should share the results of the action you took. Of course, the result better be positive—otherwise this isn’t a story you should be telling. No interviewer will be dazzled with an answer that ends with, “And then I got fired.”

Does that mean you can’t tell stories about problems or challenges? Absolutely not. But, even if you’re talking about a time you failed or made a mistake, make sure you end on a high note by talking about what you learned or the steps you took to improve.

Bowers warns that too many candidates skip over this crucial, final part of their response. “They don’t make it clear how their action made an impact—the result,” she says. “That’s the most important part of the answer!”

Remember, interviewers don’t only care about what you did—they also want to know why it mattered. So make sure you hammer home the point about any results you achieved and quantify them when you can. Numbers are always impactful.

Your Response (Result): “As a result of those additions to our email strategy, I was able to increase our subscriber list from 25,000 subscribers to 40,000 subscribers in three months—which exceeded our goal by 20%.”

Putting it All Together
It’s making sense now, isn’t it? Here’s one more question-and-answer example for some added clarity.

The Interviewer Says: “Tell me about a time when you had to be very strategic in order to meet all of your top priorities.”

Your Response:

Situation: “In my previous sales role, I was put in charge of the transfer to an entirely new customer relationship management (CRM) system—on top of handling my daily sales calls and responsibilities.”

Task: “The goal was to have the migration to the new CRM database completed by Q3, without letting any of my own sales numbers slip below my targets.”

Action: “In order to do that, I had to be very careful about how I managed all of my time. So, I blocked off an hour each day on my calendar to dedicate solely to the CRM migration. During that time, I worked on transferring the data, as well as cleaning out old contacts and updating outdated information. Doing this gave me enough time to chip away at that project, while still handling my normal tasks.”

Result: “As a result, the transfer was completed two weeks ahead of deadline and I finished the quarter 10% ahead of my sales goal.”

The STAR interview process for answering behavioral interview questions might seem a little overwhelming at first. But it will become second nature with a little practice. And make no mistake, practicing is definitely something you should do.

“Whether it’s in a mock interview or just practicing your answer in the mirror, talk through your response so that it feels natural and comfortable when you’re actually in the interview,” Flowers says.

With just a little preparation and strategy, you’ll soon view behavioral interview questions as less of a burden—and more of an opportunity to emphasize your awesome qualifications.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/star-interview-method?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-0

021218

We all face many situations that require making career decisions. Everyone will manage these in their own way, as each career is unique.

It makes sense for each of us to take as much control of our careers as we can. In doing so, we’ll be better placed to generate our own career plan and make the decisions needed to put it into action.

Learning how to make effective career decisions is crucial. It will help you to:

  • manage and take control of your career
  • adapt to change
  • take advantage of career opportunities as they arise.

What’s your decision-making style?

Decision making can be complex. To reach a choice, we need to take account of our current values, interests, aptitudes and preferences as we try to make sense of the information, ideas and impressions coming from the world around us.

How do you make important decisions? Most people have their own preferences. These can range from working intuitively and according to what feels right, to doing things step-by-step in an ordered, rational and systematic way. Some people may keep things to themselves, weighing up decisions in their own head. Others will want to involve people they know, gathering and testing out their ideas and thoughts.

Reflect on the career decisions you made when you were selecting your senior subjects at school.

  • How certain were you about your next steps?
  • How did you go about making your decision?
  • Were there any important influences?
  • To what extent was it a well-thought through, conscious decision, based on research?
  • Did you collect a lot of information and generate a range of options?

3 obstacles to effective decision-making

Making decisions that affect your career can be complex for several reasons.

  1. The consequences of a decision can be significant – but it’s usually not possible to have all the information.
  2. There may be many alternatives, each with its own set of trade-offs and compromises.
  3. Career decisions can involve complex interpersonal issues arising from the involvement from other people, including our family, partners and friends.

Given these barriers, it’s not surprising that most of us have at some stage made career decisions that weren’t entirely rational and logical. Instead, circumstances and our emotions influenced them.

Good career decisions will depend on your readiness

It’s common for people to try to make career decisions without asking themselves whether they’re feeling ready to do so. Here are some reasons why you may not be ready to make a specific career decision:

  • You may lack motivation and feel that given enough time the ‘right’ career choice will ‘just happen’.
  • You may be indecisive and confused by decision making in general.
  • You may have beliefs and assumptions that aren’t based in reality. For example, ‘I believe there’s only one ideal career for me’ or ‘I only get one chance at making a career decision’.
  • You may find it difficult to commit to a specific career choice, fearing that you may miss out on a better option.
  • You may find it challenging to balance the importance of your ideas with the importance of other people’s ideas (especially of people close to you).

Getting ready to make an effective career decision begins with self-awareness. Put some time into reflecting on your decision-making style. What do you need to find out, do or have to make this particular decision? Time? Information? Skills? Commitment? Inspiration? Support? Confidence? Other resources? How might you make, develop or find what you need?

 

Source: https://myfuture.edu.au/career-insight/details?id=a-quick-guide-to-making-career-decisions#/

1

One of the practices that contributes to Michael Phelps’ success as a swimmer takes place well before he gets into the pool. As part of his training regimen, Phelps visualizes every detail of his race—from responding to something going wrong (like ripping his suit) to crossing the finish line ahead of his competitors.

Phelps has used visualization (along with other training methods, of course) to achieve incredible things in his career, like winning 28 Olympic medals to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. But you don’t need to be a world-class athlete to borrow his tricks—and I’m living proof.

Visualization has played an absolutely essential part in hitting a number of my career goals, such as pitching high-profile clients with confidence, scaling my business to six figures, and tackling large, complex projects without feeling completely overwhelmed. My visualization practice has, in many ways, acted as the bridge between where I am in my career at any given moment to where I want to be—by allowing me to see and feel my future success before it actually happens.

“Think about building a jigsaw puzzle. Have you ever attempted to build one without having the box top to look at? It is extremely difficult to complete the puzzle without knowing what the outcome should look like,” says executive leadership coach Cynthia Corsetti. “You may fit pieces together, you may get bits and pieces of the puzzle done, but it will take longer, be more challenging, and possibly never reach completion.”

Corsetti believes the same is true of your career; the more clear and detailed you are when you visualize what you want from your career, the easier it will be to make it a reality.

Of course, while visualization can definitely help you improve performance, for the best results, you need to pair it with action. Phelps didn’t just visualize himself winning races—he also spent hundreds and hundreds of hours in the pool.

Want to give visualization a try? Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Visualization 101

What’s Visualization?

Before we jump into how visualization can completely transform your career, let’s quickly cover what, exactly, visualization is.

“Visualization is the ability to create a clear picture in your mind of the exact circumstance you wish to create,” says Corsetti. “It has also been called setting intention, attraction, and ‘positive thinking,’” she adds. It’s “an actual skill that a person can learn.”

Visualization is seeing, feeling, and completely embodying a future outcome—whether that’s snagging the corner office, completing a marathon, or buying your dream home—before it happens. By creating your desired future outcome in your mind in as much detail as possible, you can actually transform your visualization into reality.

The Science

How Does Visualization Actually Work?

When you visualize yourself hitting a specific goal, your brain interprets that imagery as reality—and, as a result, creates new neural pathways to support that reality.

“Visualization is effective at boosting performance because it activates the same regions of the brain that are activated when actually performing a task—athletic, academic, [or] anything else,” says Roselyn Smith, a licensed psychologist, hypnotherapist, and management consultant. “It actually changes the pattern of our electrochemical brain waves.”

In other words, by using visualization, you’re tricking your brain into acting as if your desired outcome—whether that’s nailing a presentation, landing a big promotion, or launching your own business—has already happened. And because your brain thinks your desired outcome has already happened, you’re more likely to take the actions necessary to align with your brain’s perceived reality.

Visualization can even cause physical changes. One study found that participants who visualized workouts were able to increase their muscle mass by 13.5% over the course of 12 weeks—even though they never stepped foot inside a gym. (Imagine how much more they’d have gained if they’d actually worked out!)

The Exercises

What Visualization Exercises Can I Do to Be More Successful at Work?

So research has shown that visualization can work. But how, in practice, do you use it to make you more successful? Here are a few exercises to get you started.

Start With Basic Visualization
If you’re just hopping on board the visualization train, you’re going to want to start with the basics. Carve out a few quiet minutes each day to sit down, close your eyes, and picture where you want to go, who you want to be, and what you want to do in your career. You can start small (like picturing yourself rocking an upcoming presentation) or go big (like celebrating your first six-figure year in business).

The key to this exercise is being as specific as possible. See what’s going to happen clearly in your mind. Home in on all the small details, from what you’re wearing to the way you’re speaking. And let yourself experience the emotions that go along with the visualization (so, for example, the sense of pride you’d feel when landing a raise or the rush of excitement you’d get when you launch a new product). The more realistic you can make your visualization, the more effective it’ll be.

Picture the Worst-Case Scenario

There are bound to be obstacles on any career journey. With visualization, you can anticipate what they’ll be—and come up with a plan so you know exactly how to handle them when they arise.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re gearing up to pitch a new project idea to your team. Visualize all the things that could go wrong—your presentation crashes, you forget important information in the middle of your pitch, your team says they’re not interested—and, more importantly, how you’ll handle them.

Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss calls this “fear-setting;” basically, you spend time imagining all the potential worst-case scenarios and how you’d navigate them. This way, you’ll be prepared and have a game plan if and when it happens, and you’ll be much more likely to succeed as a result.

Focus on Specific Skills or Goals

As the previously mentioned study showed, practicing a task in your mind can yield measurable results—even if you never practice that task IRL.

Want to become a better public speaker? Spend time visualizing yourself speaking to large crowds. Want to increase the number of potential clients you speak to each day? Picture yourself hitting the phones and connecting with tons of prospects each day. The point is, the more you practice the skill in visualizations, the better you’ll be at said skill in reality.

Write it Down

Have a hard time visualizing things in your mind? No worries! Writing down your visualizations can be just as effective as picturing them in your head—perhaps even more so.

“I have my clients write a story that describes in detail what they want their future to look like—down to the pictures on the wall of their office,” says Corsetti. “Adults learn by using all their senses. By writing the exercise they are using their thoughts as well as the physical activity of writing which seals the idea and makes it more concrete.”

The Next Steps

What Else Do I Have to Do?

Clearly, visualization is a powerful tool. But here’s an important reminder: If you want to see real results, you need to pair it with tangible actions. You can visualize yourself calling up 100 client prospects a day—but if you never actually pick up the phone, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for.

It’s “more than just ‘think about it and it will happen,’” says Corsetti. “You see, when you visualize yourself as a leader, or as an entrepreneur…you have to start to respond [and act] as you would in that role.”

So, for example, if you’re visualizing yourself landing a coveted promotion, in addition to picturing yourself in this new role, you need to start acting as if you’re already in it, whether that means taking on more responsibility, mentoring newer members of your team, or logging extra hours at the office.

And when you pack this one-two punch—visualization and action? “Opportunities begin to present themselves. You attract people and circumstances that will help you get there,” Corsetti explains. “It literally steps up your game on a daily basis.”

Visualization is like a roadmap for that old saying—if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Because the right exercises can help you imagine the career you want. And with that vision, plus the corresponding actions, you can start making it a reality.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/visualization-exercises-boost-career