How to Show Your Personality at an Interview

How to Show Your Personality at an Interview

Employers want to know that you are qualified for a position, but they also want to know how well you’ll fit in with the company culture. The only way to assess this is to get a sense of your personality. Thus, the more personable you are and the more you connect with the interviewer, the better your chances of being selected for the job.

So, what’s the best way to showcase your personality during an interview? Basically, relax and be yourself. But if that sounds scary, go ahead and read the following tips for letting your personality shine during a job interview:

1. Come prepared and relaxed.

By coming into the interview feeling calm and collected, you will be able to focus on letting your personality, rather than your nerves, come through. Practice answering common interview questions beforehand to boost your confidence. Find a friend or colleague who’s willing to act as the interviewer and read the questions to you so that you can practice answering out loud.

Also consider employing some relaxation techniques (like deep breathing or meditation) right before the interview. Coming to the interview relaxed and prepared will help you to feel at ease and to focus on putting your best foot forward.

2. Greet each person you meet with a friendly handshake and warm smile.

First impressions are extremely important, so demonstrate confidence right away. Stand tall, make eye contact, and give a firm handshake and a smile when you meet the interviewer. Managers want to hire people they’ll enjoy working with, so show you are approachable and have a positive disposition.

3. Be aware of your body language.

After the initial greeting, you want to continue to appear confident. Posture is important so don’t slouch. Stand or sit up straight and try to avoid any nervous habits (tapping your foot, biting your nails, etc.) that could make you appear nervous and unprepared.

It’s also a good idea to avoid crossing your arms, as this makes you look unapproachable. Staying calm and still with good posture is a great way to demonstrate your confidence and approach ability.

4. Don’t go into the meeting looking to deliver a stand up routine.

Don’t be afraid to show your sense of humor. If appropriate, laugh at yourself or a funny comment the hiring manager makes, but avoid sarcasm, off-color remarks, or inappropriate jokes – this isn’t the time to show just how edgy you are. Just be friendly, witty, and personable, but don’t get too far away from who you are. And don’t forget – a genuine smile can go a long way towards demonstrating your friendly personality.

5. Give specific examples from your past experiences when answering questions. 

This will not only give you a chance to support your answers with examples, but it will give the interviewer a sense of how your personality has helped you achieve success in the past. For example, describing a specific time when you successfully led a team project will demonstrate your confidence and leadership more than a hypothetical situation.

6. Avoid negativity.

When answering questions, don’t dwell on your negative experiences. For example, if the interviewer asked why you left your most recent position, don’t dwell on what you disliked about your previous job or blurt out how much you hated your boss. Instead, talk about the positive experiences you had, and discuss how you can help this company. Stay focused on what excites you about the job at hand.

7. Keep in mind that interviewers want to see the real you and how you react under pressure.

By remaining honest but polite, and by appearing composed during the meeting, you’ll highlight your strengths and ability to work well as part of a team, even in trying situations.

 

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Tips For Achieving Your Career Goals

Tips For Achieving Your Career Goals

When you prepare yourself correctly for the job you want or the accomplishments you want to achieve in your career, you’re already halfway there. We all have different ambitions and targets. The road can be long and sometimes tough. So, here are our top 10 tips to inspire you in your search for success:

1. Power of planning

A well though out plan will give you direction and structure. Make a plan and write down what you want to achieve in a given period, say six months, and break this down to a week-by-week schedule. Whether it’s a long-term or short-term plan, make it detailed and try to stick to it. Good intentions will always give you good focus.

2. Persistence and patience

It’s simple. When you take your time to work hard for something, you often get rewarded. Stick protectively to your big plan and work at making good even better. Rise to the challenges you set yourself, face each hurdle as it comes and grow in confidence. 

3. Work it

Hard work is gold. Whether you’re taking time to craft a covering letter for the job application you’ve had your eyes on, or researching the company that’s just invited you in for an interview, make your work work for you. The more you put in, the better the chances of career doors opening for you.

4. Critical is good

The feedback and criticism you receive can sometimes be distractive. But other times it can be invaluable career advice and actually help you to make you do the task at hand better. Listen carefully and respond in a positively fashion.

5. True passion

When you love what you do or want to do for a living, you’ll be naturally inspired to reach your career goals quicker. Find something you are interested in or enjoy, research the possibilities and make your plan of action. This may even involve enrolling on a short course to get you exactly where you want to be.

6. Get informed

Go online and find out about your career. Investigate the area, contact people by phone, talk to friends and family, and generally be as active in your pursuit for information as you can. It’s all out there. The more you find out about a particular area, role or company, the more clued up you’ll be to fine tune your aspirations and targets.

7. Rewards

Enjoy your hard work. Enjoy your achievements as you get closer and closer to your career goals. And enjoy your free time too. Working long hours to fulfill your ambition deserves daily and weekly rewards and treats.

8. Steady your ship

Achieving career goals isn’t a sprint. It’s always a marathon. Pace yourself and don’t get distracted from doing the simple things right. Strive for a good balance between work, some healthy and stimulating exercise, such as a brisk walk to the park, and a nutritious diet.

9. Positive mindset

Believe in yourself and what you are capable of. Criticism can knock you off your career journey. Sometimes it can inspire it. Most times, it’s about how you accept it. Make honest targets, stay focused on your plan and reach high.

10. Set the pace

Ambition is what you want it to be. Set yourself new goals, especially when you accomplish one, and keep your plans fresh, achievable and inspired.

 

 

 

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3 Perfect Ways to Wrap Up Your Answers in an Interview

3 Perfect Ways to Wrap Up Your Answers in an Interview

3 Perfect Ways to Wrap Up Your Answers in an Interview
3 Perfect Ways to Wrap Up Your Answers in an Interview

After submitting your job application and waiting an agonizing amount of time, you’ve finally landed an interview for a position you’re absolutely thrilled about. Congratulations! If you’re serious, you’re probably going extraordinary lengths to research the company, talk to current and past employees, and prepare stories for those pesky behavioral questions you’re likely to get in the interview. That’s great!

But, even with the most prepared interview candidates, I’ve found that a lot of people still make one critical mistake. They’ll deliver absolutely fantastic and relevant stories, and I’ll be completely hooked—all the way up until the end with, “and… yeah” or just an awkward pause.

So, how exactly can you prevent yourself from flubbing the end of your answer? Practice definitely makes perfect, but rarely will you be able to prepare for each individual question the interviewer will ask. With this in mind, here’s the plan for how to conclude an interview response that’ll get you through most interview questions.

Option 1: Connect to the Position or Company

When a hiring manager asks, “What’s your greatest strength?” or “Tell me about yourself,” he or she really means that plus, “and how that will that benefit me and my company?” Knowing this, one great way to conclude an interview answer is to relate it back to the position or company.

Something like this would work well: “…and that’s why I’m actually so excited about this position—I think it’ll be a great opportunity for me to use my knack for detail-oriented work,” or “…and that’s in fact what drew me to apply for this position: the chance to contribute to a company that values transparency.”

Option 2: Summarize and Get Back to the Question

You won’t always be able to bring it back to the position or company (nor should you—it’ll start sounding too formulaic), so here’s an option that will almost always work: Summarize and go back to the original question. This is especially effective if you have a tendency to be a little long-winded, as it’ll show that you were focused on answering the question all along.

For example: “So, in general, you could say I take a very lead-by-example approach to leadership,” or “Going back to the original question, I do make every effort to learn about and see the issue from the other person’s point of view before taking any action when faced with a conflict.”

Option 3: Ask Your Own Question

Lastly, to mix it up a bit, you can try finishing some of your responses with your own questions. After all, an interview should be a two-way street. And, the best part is, you’ll likely make a better impression and build better rapport with your interviewer if your interview feels more like a conversation than a Q & A session. (Unless, of course, the company is a bit more buttoned-up and clearly has a script of prepared questions to ask. Then, just let them do their thing.)

So, if you’re asked how well you work in a team setting, you can talk a bit about how you do, give an example, and then wrap it up with a quick question like, “As I said before, working on teams really helps me be more productive and creative. Actually, while we’re on the topic, can you tell me a bit more about how the team operates here?”

Now that you have an idea of how to finish up a response to an interview question, it’s worth practicing this a few times before the big day. The idea is that you should be able to use these general rules of thumb even when faced with an interview question you’ve never heard of before, but, as with all things related to interviews, a little practice never hurts.

 

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How To Repair Your Reputation At Work After A Mistake

How To Repair Your Reputation At Work After A Mistake

 

Firstly,  nobody’s perfect. Maybe you’ve made a mistake at work so egregious that you feel you’ll never truly recover from it. Whether you missed a deadline that caused the company to lose money or you shared information about a co-worker that caused him or her to feel betrayed, a big mistake or failure at work can be frustrating to others and cause damage to your reputation.

And your reputation matters. In this digital age, insights about your work reputation appear on search engines and social media, which explains why 69 percent of employers research candidates online before making a hiring decision. Among the people you work with every day, you want to build a reputation that truly represents you and your capabilities. But how do you recover after you’ve let the company or your co-workers down? Here are five ways to repair your reputation and overcome mistakes you’ve made at work.

1. Take responsibility for your actions

Your reputation can be damaged by poor judgment or failure to deliver on a commitment. However, it can be repaired by taking ownership of your error and accepting accountability for the consequences. Nobody likes to work with someone who blames others for their mistakes. It’s one thing to acknowledge that market conditions prevented your team from meeting its sales goal, despite a great plan and a strong effort by the team. It’s another thing to blame your boss if you took on a project and didn’t complete it. Everybody makes mistakes and sometimes fails at the tasks they were given. When you take responsibility for your shortcomings, you allow others to establish trust in you and set the stage for repairing your reputation.

2. Apologize

“I’m sorry” can deliver a lot of weight when said in the right context. However, apologizing is not just about uttering those two words. You need to deliver your apology in a way that shows you possess genuine remorse; no “fauxpologies” or “I’m sorry if you feel that way … ” It’s better to have a reputation for apologizing than for being unrepentant.

Help yourself after a work failure by expressing an attitude of apology, even if you don’t really “feel” it or don’t think the failure was entirely your fault. For example, if you were due to give a presentation to the executive leadership team but arrived late because your printer jammed or you got stuck in the elevator, still apologize and tell your manager you’re sorry you didn’t make it into the boardroom on time. When you show others you can apologize, even for the things that may not be fully under your control, you can more effectively recover from the mishap and save your reputation in the process.

3. Do great work

Sometimes you make a mistake that has such negative implications that it may feel like you’ll never recover. In this case, taking accountability and apologizing doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of reputation repair. However, even if you’re the in-house attorney who failed to do proper due diligence on a company acquisition, causing a deal to fall through, there is still hope.

Perhaps the only way to repair your reputation is by going the extra mile and doing your best work and more. To make restitution for previous mistakes, you’ll need to look for opportunities to let your positive work outweigh the negatives from the past. For example, you can volunteer to lead a new initiative, offer to help your manager with a key project, and bring added value to the team in a multitude of ways that allow them to regain their trust in you.

4. Find a mentor

A mentor can be invaluable in helping you navigate the challenges of overcoming a failure at work. If you’ve lost the trust of a colleague or can’t seem to earn your team’s respect, a mentor can provide real-time coaching and guidance to help you rebuild your credibility. In addition, if your mentor happens to work in the same company, they can also help to talk up your strengths and remind others of the value you add.

5. Put the failure behind you

When you’ve done everything you can to rebuild your reputation after a serious misstep at work, eventually you’ll have to put the past behind you. If you remain mired in regret over your prior actions, you’ll miss out on opportunities to continue the good work that earned you a strong reputation in the first place. Some of the ways you can move on include showing a willingness to talk about your past mistakes without becoming overly emotional and reflecting on past errors with a healthy dose of humor.

Changing people’s perceptions of you and your work doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, not everyone you work with will be your cheerleader or possess the willingness to look beyond your mistakes. The key to repairing your reputation after you’ve created a problem or made one worse is using a variety of methods that will help others to see your potential for redemption. When you take ownership, apologize, and do your best work, you can look beyond your most recent failure and begin to patch back together your reputation at work.

 

 

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Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting a Career

Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting a Career

When you are selecting a career there’s a lot riding on your decision. You want to pick an occupation in which you can be successful for many years to come. While you can change careers, doing so can be effortful. It is easier if you don’t have to do it too often. That means you should pick something that is not only suitable for you, but also can support you financially far into the future. Increase your chances of making a good decision by avoiding these very common mistakes.

1. Listening to People Who Tell You That You Should, or Should Not, Do Something:

Many people think they should have a say in what career you choose—your parents, your friends, your significant other. They don’t. In most cases, your decision will have little impact on the other people in your life. You, however, will have to deal with your choice for years to come. Make sure the career you choose is something you want to spend your day doing.

2. Following in Someone Else’ s Footsteps:

You may be haunted by your parents’ expectations to go into the same occupation they are in. You may know it as the one that helped put food in your mouth, kept a roof over your head and even paid your way through school. As hard is it is to do, ignore the pressure you may feel to please your mom and dad. Remember, and if necessary, remind your parents, that they made their own choices and now it’s your turn. What was right for them may not be for you. In the long run, there’s a good chance they’d rather see you happy in a career of your own choosing than unhappy in one you picked to please them.

3. Not Doing Your Homework:

Don’t choose a career without taking the time to learn about it. In addition to a job description, you should make sure to gather information about typical job duties, educational requirements, earnings and job outlook.

4. Not Talking to Those in the Know:

Your homework isn’t complete if you skip talking to someone who currently works in the career field you are considering. Those who are engaged in an occupation can provide you with a truthful account of what it’s really like to work in it. If possible talk to a few people to avoid individual biases.

 5. Going for the Money, Honey:

Bringing home a paycheck is important, but the size of it isn’t actually a great predictor of job satisfaction. In other words, you can make six figures but if you hate what you’re doing you’ll find it hard to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Look for a balance between making enough money to support yourself and work that fulfills you.

6. Ignoring Who You Are:

Your personality type, interests, values and aptitudes make you better suited for some occupations than others. These traits are intrinsic, which means you can’t change them. If you don’t take them into account when selecting a career, there is an excellent chance you will wind up in an occupation that is unsuitable for you.

7. Not Considering Location, Location, Location:

Jobs in certain occupations are concentrated in specific cities—New York or Los Angeles for example—or in certain types of locations—such as cities versus rural areas. If you live somewhere that doesn’t offer many opportunities in your field and you aren’t willing to relocate, you will have trouble getting a job.

8. Not Looking Beyond a “Best Careers” List:

Lists that tell you what careers have the best opportunities of the year, decade or whatever, can be a helpful guide when it comes to selecting a career. However, making a decision based solely on one of those lists is a terrible idea. Even an occupation with a great outlook can be a bad fit, so you have to scratch below the surface to find out whether you and a career are a good match.

9. Ignoring the Future:

While you shouldn’t make your choice solely on an occupation’s appearance on a “best careers list,” to ignore employment outlook is careless. There’s a good chance you don’t have a crystal ball that can tell you with certainty whether an occupation will grow, or at least be stable, during the course of your career. However, you can do more than hope for the best. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics makes predictions about the outlook for most occupations. You should consider whether a career has a promising future before you begin to prepare for it.You can at least eliminate something if its future looks bleak.
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How to Make a Career Choice When You Are Undecided

How to Make a Career Choice When You Are Undecided

With thousands of options, how will you pick a career that’s right for you? If you don’t have any idea what you want to do, the task may seem insurmountable. Fortunately, it isn’t. Put enough thought into it, and you will increase your chances of making a good decision.

1.  Assess Yourself

Before you can choose the right career, you must learn about yourself. Your values, interests, soft skills, and aptitudes, in combination with your personality type, make some occupations a good fit for you and others completely inappropriate.

Use self-assessment tools, often called career tests, to gather information about your traits and, subsequently generate a list of occupations that are a good fit based on them. Some people choose to work with a career counselor or other career development professionals who can help them navigate this process.

2.  Make a List of Occupations to Explore

You probably have multiple lists of occupations in front of you at this point—one generated by each of the self-assessment tools you used. To keep yourself organized, you should combine them into one master list.

First, look for careers that appear on multiple lists and copy them onto a blank page. Title it “Occupations to Explore.” Your self-assessment ​indicated they are a good fit for you based on several of your traits, so definitely consider them.

Next, find any occupations on your lists that appeal to you. They may be careers you know a bit about and want to explore further. Also, include professions about which you don’t know much. You might learn something unexpected. Add those to your master list.

Now get some basic information about each of the occupations on your list. You will be thrilled you managed to narrow your list down to only 10 to 20 options!

Find job descriptions and educational, training and licensing requirements in published sources. Learn about advancement opportunities. Use government-produced labor market information to get data about earnings and job outlook.

4. Create a “Short List”

At this point, start to narrow down your list even more. Based on what you learned from your research so far, begin eliminating the careers you don’t want to pursue any further. You should end up with fewer than two to five occupations on your “short list.”

If your reasons for finding a career unacceptable are non-negotiable, cross it off your list. Remove everything with duties that don’t appeal to you. Eliminate careers that have weak job outlooks. Get rid of any occupation if you are unable to or unwilling to fulfill the educational or other requirements, or if you lack some of the soft skills necessary to succeed in it.

5. Conduct Informational Interviews

When you have only a few occupations left on your list, start doing more in-depth research. Arrange to meet with people who work in the occupations in which you are interested. They can provide firsthand knowledge about the careers on your short list. Access your network, including LinkedIn, to find people with whom to have these informational interviews.

6.  Make Your Career Choice

Finally, after doing all your research, you are probably ready to make your choice. Pick the occupation that you think will bring you the most satisfaction based on all the information you have gathered. Realize that you are allowed do-overs if you change your mind about your choice at any point in your life. Many people change their careers at least a few times.

7.  Identify Your Goals

Once you make a decision, identify your long- and short-term goals. Doing this will allow you to eventually work in your chosen field. Long-term goals typically take about three to five years to reach, while you can usually fulfill a short-term goal in six months to three years.

Let the research you did about required education and training be your guide. If you don’t have all the details, do some more research. Once you have all the information you need, set your goals. An example of a long-term goal would be completing your education and training. Short-term goals include applying to college, apprenticeships, or other training programs, and doing internships.

 8. Write a Career Action Plan

Put together a career action plana written document that lays out all the steps you will have to take to reach your goals. Think of it as a road map that will take you from point A to B, and then to C and D. Write down all your short- and long-term goals and the steps you will have to take to reach each one. Include any anticipated barriers that could get in the way of achieving your goals and the ways you can overcome them.

 

 

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13 Tips That Will Help You Succeed At A New Job

13 Tips That Will Help You Succeed At A New Job

 

Starting a new job can be stressful and exciting. You want to make sure you succeed at your new company, so you try to make a good impression by meeting your boss’ expectations. But even though you may try to learn the ropes, it can still take some time to get acclimated to your new job’s culture. And, in fact, usually the first three months in your new position are an extension of the interview process. It’s important to show up every day ready to prove what you have promised you would deliver.

While succeeding at your new job does depend on your performance, there are a lot of other ways to prove to your boss that you deserve this position that go beyond day-to-day tasks. Below are 13 ways to succeed at your new job.

1. Be Friendly

It’s easier to work with someone you like, right? Be the type of colleague you would like to work with by being friendly with your coworkers. Make a strong first impression on your colleagues by preparing informal, conversational questions that will help you connect with them on a personal level. By always turning the conversation back on them, you show interest in learning about them as a person, not just as a colleague.

2. Ask For An Initial Review

Ask for feedback once you have familiarized yourself with your role, around week three of employment. It is best to understand expectations and make the necessary changes before forming habits. Preparing questions for both your boss and team members can ensure beneficial feedback.Asking for a review after a month of being at your job will impress your boss. It will show him/her that you want to improve and become better in your role.

3. Be Ambitious, But Don’t Rock The Boat

While it’s important to be confident, you don’t want to step on someone’s toes. Contribute and make recommendations for improvement, but do so within reason. As a new hire, you may not have the context about why a policy or process was set in place. Asking questions first will help you understand and assess processes accordingly.

4. Sacrifice Time To Build Dependability

Your boss hired you because he/she thought that you would be a great addition to the team. Make sure you show your boss that you’re dedicated by staying off your phone and getting to the office early. Take some extra time to arrive early, stay a bit later, and take shorter lunch breaks during the first month. Showing dedication as much and often as possible will help you stand out and build dependability amongst the team. An often overlooked tip is that more face time with the boss the better.

5. Network To Understand Structure

While it’s important to know your immediate team, it’s vital to connect with other people who aren’t necessarily in your department. Meet new people to learn more about the company beyond your direct role and understand how teams collaborate. This will make you better equipped to contribute and thrive in the current culture. Trying to make one new connection a day at work helps build your network to understand where you fit in in the organization.

6. Work To Enhance Credibility

The first few months at your new job are important. You need to prove to yourself and your boss that you deserve to be there. As long as you’re passionate and you have a good work ethic, then you will mostly succeed. Go above and beyond when asked to complete specific tasks so people learn to rely on you for future projects. A company can train an employee to do a skill, but it can’t teach work ethic or passion. Finishing a project doesn’t mean hop on social media, but rather be proactive and find other ways to make yourself useful.

7. Find A Mentor

While this might be hard to do in the beginning, it’s always a good idea to find someone who you can go to when you need career advice. Strong leadership is the foundation for a good company. Finding the right mentor to inspire, motivate and provide strategic direction will lead you on the path to success.

8. Connect With Your Team

It’s rewarding to bounce creative ideas off of one another and come up with activations that demonstrate originality and innovation. Embrace the opportunity to connect with your team. It will stimulate professional growth. It’s easy to get inspired at work when you surround yourself with creative people. Introduce yourself to your teammates so they can feel comfortable enough to come to you when they want to collaborate. You’ll succeed at your new job if you know you can work well with your colleagues.

9. Communicate With Others

In the first few weeks of a new job, it’s important to understand how things are done. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s a great way to learn the ropes so you can become a better team player. The best way to acclimate yourself to your new job is to ask questions, express when you’re confused, and share your ideas.

10. Listen

Being successful at a new company doesn’t mean that you always have to bring new ideas to the table. It’s just as important to listen to your boss’s feedback so you can improve your performance. Proving yourself doesn’t have to be proactive. Listening is a great way to improve your work performance and minimize any misunderstandings.

11. Be Resourceful

While it’s normal to ask questions to figure how things work, your boss and colleagues will appreciate it if you try to figure things out for yourself. Doing this can show them that you’re resourceful. Don’t rely on your manager or co-workers to help with every task you’re given. Utilize your resources, whether it’s the Internet, office files, or company manual, to figure out how to get your job done. Seek guidance along the way if you want to ensure you’re on the right track.

12. Observe Your Surroundings

It’s important to get familiar with your surroundings at the office so you can become comfortable working there. You’ll most likely produce better work if you feel at home at your new job. While it’s important to focus on your work, it’s also critical to observe your colleagues and the office culture. At this point, you’ll be able to do this subjectively before you get wrapped up in your day-to-day responsibilities. This will help you easily adapt to the new environment.

13. Be Confident

One of the best ways to succeed at a new job is to believe in yourself. Build enough confidence so you can deal with negative feedback and explain your pitches to your boss without being shy about them. A strong handshake, eye contact and steady voice can go a long way. Don’t compare yourself to your colleagues. Instead, recognize your strengths and play up those attributes.

Remember one thing, your boss hired you for a reason. Don’t let your self-doubt prevent you from succeeding. All you need to do is be ambitious, form true connections, and show initiative.

 

 

 

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4 Tips for Restarting Your Career After a Long Break

4 Tips for Restarting Your Career After a Long Break

There is no doubt that coming back from a career break is a unique challenge, but with a positive approach and a finely tuned job search strategy, you should be able to pick your career up where you left off with relative ease.Here are some tips that will help you in restarting your career after a long break.

 

1. Start Networking to Access the Hidden Job Market

Sources suggest that as many as 80 percent of available jobs are never publicly advertised. These “secret” openings comprise the “hidden job market” – and the only way to tap into this market is by networking smartly.

Two to three months before you plan to return to work, start talking to friends, family members, former coworkers, and so on, about potential opportunities they may know of. Chances are that at least one of them will know about — and maybe even refer you to  an unadvertised job opening. If you can get into the running early  and with a glowing reference  then you greatly increase your chances of landing the job.

2. Get Plenty of Recommendations

Even if your network can’t help you find a position in the hidden job market, it can probably help you find the next best thing: an influential inside contact who can vouch for your character and skill.

Having an influential contact on your side is a great thing, as studies show that people who are referred are twice as likely to be called to interview and 40 percent more likely to be offered a job.

If you do find a strong contact at a company you’d like to work for, consider sending in a “speculative application,” using your reference boost your appeal and get on the employer’s radar.

However, you don’t want to just drop the reference’s name. Rather, you want to ensure that the reference is actually attesting to a particular skill or valuable business quality that you possess. If your reference is just a flashy name, your speculative application won’t garner any attention.

3. Emphasize Your Transferable Skills

Many employers (and job seekers) wrongly assume that long-term unemployment always leads to a loss of skills. The reality, however, is that a long break away from the workplace can actually boost your skills.

For example, a survey from CareerBuilder found that taking a career break to be a stay-at-home parent for a while helps people develop some highly valuable skills. More than 66 percent of hiring managers surveyed by CareerBuilder said that parenting skills can be very relevant to the corporate world.

Some examples of highly valued parenting skills include:

  1. Patience
  2. Ability to multitask
  3. Time management
  4. Conflict management
  5. Problem-solving
  6. Empathy
  7. Mentoring
  8. Negotiation
  9. Budgeting and finance management
  10. Project management

Despite the value of these parenting skills, just 8 percent of parents mention these skills in their applications, meaning many parents are missing a great opportunity to impress prospective employers.

So, if you are a parent returning to work after a long break, make sure to play up your highly valuable parenting skills during the application and interview processes.

4. Emphasize What You Have Learned

As mentioned above, a career break can be a great way to develop new skills. No matter what those skills are  or how you learned them  be sure to emphasize them in your resume.

For example, perhaps you did a little freelance work while you were away from your career, and this has helped you develop greater levels of business acumen. Or perhaps you used your free time to teach yourself a new language or some coding skills.

Whatever the case, you want to be positive and give employers the impression that your life away from the workforce has benefited you. Moreover, you want employers to know that you’ll be able to pass along these benefits to them  if they hire you.

 

 

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Tips To Rehearse For An Interview

Tips To Rehearse For An Interview

 

Rehearsing is one of the best ways to prepare for a job interview. A mock interview with a professional is one way to learn and practice interviewing skills. Another is to use an online interview preparation tool. Both of those are fee-based options, but you can still practice even if you can’t afford professional assistance.

1. Do-It-Yourself Interviewing Practice

There are a number of ways to prepare for an interview at home without the help of a professional career counselor or coach or a fee-based service.

You can practice interviews all by yourself or recruit friends and family to assist you.

2. Know the Interview Process.

 If you’re new to the workplace or haven’t interviewed in a while, know what will likely happen during the interview so you don’t get any surprises. Make sure you understand how a job interview works so you know what to expect.

3. Practice Answering Interview Questions.

The simplest way to prepare is to create a list of common interview questions and answer each question out loud. The more you practice, the more you will be prepared to respond during an actual job interview.

4. Use Flashcards.

Write the questions down on flashcards. By shuffling the flashcards, you will become comfortable answering questions in any order.

5. Record Yourself Practicing.

If you have a webcam, video camera or tape recorder, record your responses and play them back. Assess your body language (if you have a video camera) and your answers to the questions.

How are your posture and eye contact? Are you fidgeting? Are your answers too long-winded? Do you sound confident? If you do not have a video camera or tape recorder, practice in front of the mirror.

6. Recruit a Friend or Family Member.

You can also give a list of questions to a friend or family member and have them interview you.

Ask your practice interviewer for constructive feedback. Practicing with a friend or family member will provide you with a comfortable, safe environment for honing your interviewing skills and receiving feedback.

7. Dress the Part.

One way to make a do-it-yourself practice interview seem more like an actual job interview is to dress in interview attire. Not only will dressing the part makes you feel like you are heading to a real job interview, but it will also give you the opportunity to make sure that your interview clothes are in order and you’re ready to go.

8. Set Up an Interview Space.

It will also feel more like an actual interview if you set up an interview space. Even if it’s your kitchen table (cleared of clutter) with a chair on either side, one for you and one for the interviewer, it will set the scene for your practice interview to be more formal.

Practicing your interview skills will help reduce stress during your actual interview, and will allow you to focus on connecting with your interviewer rather than struggling to come up with answers. The more familiar you are with the types of interview questions you’ll be asked, the better prepared you will be to interview.

Taking some time to practice will boost your confidence and help you ace your job interviews.

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10 Reasons Why Qualified Candidates Don’t Get Hired For The Job

10 Reasons Why Qualified Candidates Don’t Get Hired For The Job

In an ideal world, the job would go to the most qualified candidate. However, there are many reasons why you might not get hired for a job – even if you have all of the skills and experience to successfully do the work. Sometimes an internal candidate has the edge, or another applicant has a friend on the hiring committee. Other times, candidates simply kill their own chances of getting hired.

Here are ten reasons other than your qualifications why employers won’t hire you.

1. You aren’t very savvy on social media

When you’re looking for a job, social media is more media than it is social. Remember that anything you publish has the potential to be broadcast to unforeseen audiences. Even if you have strict privacy settings, it is possible for someone inside your network to copy and share photos or posts.

Employers will Google you and look you up on social media sites. In a Workopolis survey from 2015, almost half  (48%) of companies said they have turned down candidates based on what they see on their social profiles. Here at Workopolis, we recently looked up a candidate whose Facebook profile picture revealed him wearing only a sock (Not on his foot). Your profile picture isn’t private. Choose it wisely.

A sales manager shared the story of a candidate with a brilliant resume who interviewed well, but who didn’t get the job because he was smoking or holding a bong in what seemed like every photo ever taken him.

2. You’ve got a bad attitude

We’ve all met candidates who come into an interview and start complaining about their former boss or coworkers, they grumble about their past work as if this will show why they’re motivated to make a change. It doesn’t show that at all. It just makes them look like complainers. Employers want to hire upbeat, positive team members.

And then there are the strange attitudes. The story of Franklin Worthington the Third, who referred to himself as such on his resume, and who spoke of himself in the third person. “When Franklin takes on a project, Franklin succeeds.” Franklin didn’t get the job. And given that there is so little chance of the employer mistaking you for your ancestors, you can leave “The Third” off your resume.

3. You don’t do any research

Not doing your research can cost you the job. Employers want to hire candidates who know about their industry and its challenges, and who have thought about ways that they can contributed to the company’s success. If your first question to the interviewer is, “So, what does this company do?” you won’t be getting the call. And hiring managers do get asked that very question.

4. You smell bad

Smokers often use a cigarette to calm their nerves. And job interviews can be nerve wracking. However, if you walk into the interview right after having that cigarette, the chances are that you are going to reek of smoke. That can be a turn off for many people.

The last thing you want to do in a job interview is give the employer a reason not to like you. The same goes for heavy cologne or perfume use. You never know who has allergies, sensitivities or simple distaste for the scent. Play it safe, go in clean and fresh.

5. You’re sloppy

Proofread your resume and cover letter. Misused words, spelling mistakes and typos all make it look like you can’t write properly, you don’t pay attention to detail, or you just don’t care that much. Any of those can keep you from being hired.

6. Your resume makes you seem like a weirdo or a pain

A Toronto recruiter is still puzzling over the man she didn’t hire who had an otherwise strong resume until he listed his interests as “a passion for guns and stuffed owls.” Keep all of the information on your resume relevant to the job you’re applying for. There’s no need to list hobbies or interests.

Another recruiter  received resume that stated in the objective statement: “Must be for a company that highly values diversity and sustainability.” It’s not that the employer didn’t value those things, it’s that by making it the opening line of the resume, the candidate made himself look like he’d be a pain in the butt to work with. You need to show an employer why they would want to hire you in the first place before you start making demands about their values.

Another candidate closed his resume with the line, “Given my obvious qualifications, if I am not selected for this position, I expect to be informed of why.” I imagine they’re still waiting for that phone call.

7. You’re desperate

While it’s good to be enthusiastic about the role, employers are turned off by candidates who seem simply desperate for a job. It’s a fine line: you have to play it cool, but not too cool. Display confidence without being cocky.

8. You have no references

If you can’t find people who will speak well of your work and professionalism, you’re in trouble. I’ve told the story before of the candidate who handed over a typed list of three references, and then she pointed to the first one and said, “But don’t call this one.” After a few seconds thought, she added of another, “Better not call this one either.”

One candidate gave a recruiter three reference letters. Because the font type and style of all three were very similar, the recruiter decided to call the recruiters to verify. It turns out that the letters were indeed fake. However the worst thing about the story is that all three people called said that until they heard of the bogus reference letters, they actually would have been happy to recommend the candidate.

Trust your references. Tell them about the job you’re applying for and ask if they would be willing to recommend you for it. If you can’t use your former boss, find someone else at the company that you worked with. (If there’s really no one out there who will speak well of your work, then references likely aren’t your biggest problem.)

9. You don’t look the part

A job interview isn’t a fashion show, and you don’t have to be a super model. For the most part it’s enough to look well groomed, professional and respectful. This means dressing up a little more than you normally would to show that you care and that you take the interview seriously.

10. You have unrealistic salary expectations

Of course you know how much money you’d like to earn – and what perks you’d like to have from your employer. But if your expectations are unrealistic, or you’re too demanding or inflexible, it will turn employers off. Do your research, find out the salary range that jobs like yours pay in your area, and be willing to negotiate for the best deal you can get.

Finding a job is hard, and the competition can be fierce. But if you keep getting turned down for jobs that you know you’re qualified for, maybe it’s time to make sure that you’re not inadvertently acting in one of the ways that repels most employers.

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