Monday, August 1, 2011

Cut to the Front of the Interview Line

The question is, “How can you make yourself stand out when there are so many other candidates looking at the same job?”

The answer is to “focus” – focus on what makes you unique.

Let’s assume that you have an outstanding resume and that you make it to the top of the stack of resumes of people to be called for an interview. You, and maybe nine or ten other equally qualified people for the position, that is.

Because companies have so many candidates to choose from, they are interviewing more people so that they can select the “best.” When you are lucky enough to be invited to an interview, it is essential that you be ready to sell yourself, to let the interviewers know what makes you unique, what added value you can bring to the position—in other words, why you are the best person for the job.

•Step 1
List the skills and experiences you have that would be required in the type of job you are seeking. For instance, a technical job would focus on programs, languages, and platforms, etc.

•Step 2
Give some thought to those skills in which you excel, those that are referred to as the “soft skills.” These skills can be viewed as transferable– you can take them with you to any job you hold.

•Step 3
Next, think of the personal traits that make you unique. Maybe you never miss deadlines, or perhaps you are willing to do above and beyond what is asked, or perhaps you have a great attitude. (Don’t dismiss these traits--many people have been fired for negative personal traits rather than for lack of knowledge).

•Step 4
Make a list of those strengths and some examples of when those strengths have helped you achieve results on the job. It will be essential that you can not only identify your strengths, but that you also have examples and stories of times when you demonstrated those strengths in the past.

•Step 5
The next step is to make a list of 5 points you want the interviewer to remember about you – the ones that combined – make you unique.

When you walk out of that interview room, your interviewers may not remember all five of your points; but if they remember even two of the points that make you unique, you will be ahead of the game!

-Carole Martin

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Bigger Picture of Body Language

What your body language says is often more important than what you say verbally, especially when the two conflict. When they’re in sync, your movements are a reflection of what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling: your conscious and your unconscious. But when they aren’t, the unconscious prevails.

Why? Because while people will make themselves conscious of their words, few are conscious of their feelings and how that translates into body language, much less what that body language is saying. And in an interview, that can result in sending a message opposite what you intend.

A person who was recently fired or laid off is a good example of this dichotomy, especially when the termination takes place for reasons that have little to do with any situation the individual instigated. You did nothing to cause the severance, but you feel responsible anyway.

Since few job seekers know how to put a termination in perspective and handle it appropriately, it comes out how they move and how they conduct themselves. Almost every action is an apology. You knock gently on the door when the administrative assistant says, “Mr. Jackson can see you now.” You not only ask permission to sit, but you ask which chair. You either over explain or under answer.

Instead of speaking smoothly in a relaxed manner, your voice is too loud or can’t be heard. You say “um” or “ah” at the beginning and in the middle of your sentences. Everything about you screams insecure, even though you’re managing to articulate your accomplishments.

The result is that the hiring authority is puzzled as to how you managed to achieve so much, when your manner isn’t conducive to making things happen. It leaves him with a question about you. Hiring authorities don’t like to be left with questions; they want to be 100% confident of who they hire. So you’re out of the picture.

But this conflict doesn’t only occur with those have been dismissed by their employer. It can also happen when someone doesn’t have a degree, but has excelled in their career and frequently ends up competing with those who do. Or when you’ve been unemployed a long time, and you really need a job. Or if you’ve had your eye on being part of this company and finally you’ve snagged an interview. Or if you’re just plain insecure.

There’s a plethora of articles that list hundreds of body language cues you should pay attention to. But that’s like trying to learn the different interview styles and how to respond to each one. It’s a waste of time. You’ll spend so much time trying to remember what to do, how to do it, when to do it, if what you’re doing is correct or not, that it becomes difficult to focus on selling yourself and learning if the company is compatible with who you are and what you want.

It starts with your head. If you don’t feel confident, then stop thinking you aren’t. Find the reasons why you’re an asset to a company. List your skills and contributions. Put together a sales pitch on yourself, and then take it to heart. Actions mirror thoughts and thoughts mirror actions. When you’re thinking confidently, you behave confidently and vice versa.

At the same time, you can program one to follow the other. Pay attention to yourself, what you’re feeling and what’s going on around you. If you notice yourself shuffling in through the company door, pick your head up, put a smile on your face, and walk into the office as if you belong there, because you do. You have an interview, and they’re expecting you.

An interview is a sales presentation. You’re the product, and the hiring authority is the buyer. If you’re communicating that you’re not good enough to be hired, why would a company think differently?

- Judi Perkins


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One Resume Technique Makes You Stand Out

A Human Resources Manager, working at a Fortune 500 company, asked for my help in writing her resume. She told me: "Thousands of resumes have passed through my hands but when it comes to writing my own I have a difficult time doing it." She isn't alone in her concerns. Most people find resume writing challenging. A resume is nothing more than a slick piece of advertising, but an important piece, especially in today's job market.

Employers report that most resumes get only a 15-20 second glance. If you don't capture the reviewer's attention and interest quickly they will pass you by and call in someone else for the interview.

There is one effective technique that you can use that dramatically improves your resume. In our national survey of 600 hiring managers, the overwhelming majority said the most important part of your resume is the SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS section. Employers reported that this was one of the very first areas they read and when the summary demonstrates solid ability to perform the job it catches their attention and they slow down and give the applicant more careful consideration.

Hiring managers also reported only about 5% of resumes received contained this key section, and I never write a resume without it. It's just too powerful to leave out. This section usually consists of four to six sentences that present an overview of your experience, accomplishments, talents, work habits, and skills. Think of it as a mini-outline of you; a highly influential summation of the specifics you bring to the job.

Here is a good example from one of the resumes I wrote for a client:


Proven track record serving as corporate counsel with eight years experience dealing with intellectual property and partnerships in a global environment. Responsible for a broad range of legal matters including: copyright and trademark protection, contract negotiations, compliance, and litigation. Led legal team in completing sophisticated joint venture negotiations that delivered millions to the company's bottomline. Recognized for superior problem-solving, project management, relationship building, and strategic planning skills.

It's easy to see by reading this brief summary how this candidate is qualified to perform as a corporate attorney. Indeed, she got several interviews and accepted a Fortune 100 company's offer, which included a very significant salary raise and signing bonus.

The SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS, which speaks volumes by consolidating the best you have to bring to the job, really makes you stand out and pulls the employer in for a closer look. Be sure that your resume has this essential section. It comes right after your name, address and career objective. One caution -- employers complain that many people lie on their resume. Exaggeration! Misrepresentation! LYING is a deadly error. Don't do it! Employers do more background checks now than ever before so when you get caught, and sooner or later you will get exposed, you'll likely be fired. Only solid facts and verifiable experience should highlight your experience and accomplishments.

- Robin Ryan


Oil & Gas Recruiter

Must have worked in the oil/gas/oil service industry in a recruiting/recruiting coordinator/HR or similar role. Will recruit for mostly Inspectors, Fishing, Field Service, and Harbanders. Full cycle recruiting. Heavy, heavy interviewing. Will post jobs on career sites . Will screen resumes and candidates and call candidates and interview. Will send resumes and follow-up with hiring managers. **Need good communication skills, verbal and written, ability to interact with all internal and external customers. The ability to function in a high paced, multi-tasked environment. Must have high levels of detail and organization

Monday, July 11, 2011

8 Resume Editing Tips

It's amazing what a well-written and nicely presented resume can do for your job search. Before you send yours out, follow this checklist to ensure you are sending out an excellent quality representation of yourself.

1.Grammar, spelling, punctuation - Use the grammar and spell check function, then print it out and read the document word for word. Spell checker doesn’t know that you meant "manager" when you actually typed "manger."

2.Capitalization - Use a manual such as the Gregg Reference Manual if you do not know capitalization rules.

3.Punctuation - Check for proper use of commas and semi-colons. Again, if you are unsure, refer to the Gregg Reference Manual.

4.Run-on sentences - Check to make sure you do not have run-ons that are hard to read.

5.Consistency - You must be consistent with your number usage (dates, money, numbers), plurals, and abbreviations. For example, don’t list one date as 8/2004 and then list another date as 3/15/2004. Also, be aware of listing software consistently (abbreviation use). MS Word and Microsoft Outlook are both correct, but not consistent.

6.Education section - When you have a degree, list only the year that you obtained your degree. When you list your dates, (i.e.: 9/1998 to 1/2002) many resume-scanning systems will not recognize that you obtained a degree, only that you attended college for a period of time.

7.Ampersands - Ampersands (&) do not belong on a resume. There are a few exceptions. One exception is a well-known company name (AT&T). Another exception is well-known industry terms (P&L).

8.Hyperlinks - All e-mail and web addresses that you list need to be deactivated in your resume. To do this in MS Word, highlight the link, go to the "Insert" drop down menu, scroll down to and click "Hyperlink", and on the lower left-hand side of this screen there should be a little button that says "Remove link", when you find it, give it a little click and voila! Alternatively, you can highlight the link, right click on it, and scroll down to "remove link" to deactivate the link.

- Jennifer Anthony


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Electronic Component Data Base - Contract

Creation\Modification of Electronic Components Database records.Export\Generation\Review of Excel reports on Electronic Components. Support Engineering, Manufacturing, Sustaining, and Supply Chain request for database updates. Coordinate Houston Centers Database activities with other global centers.Conduct\Coordinate RoHS/WEEE reviews. Engineering Change Orders generation and review for Houston Centers. Working in a team environment to facilitate team database objectives. Requirements: Advanced skills with MS Office especially Excel (macros, Pivot tables, etc) preferred. Has worked with IT systems incorporating multi level BOMs (Bill of Material). Knowledge of Electronic Components. Minimum of associates degree required or 5 years relevant experience. Team oriented, strong attention to detail.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Skilled Receptionist - Please Apply

Fun, growing healthcare related company near Medical Center looking for Receptionist/Customer Service Clerk. Will answer incoming calls, greet visitors in the front office, and assist customers with questions regarding the product they are using. Will use data entry skills to put orders into the system and track them for delivery, order office supplies, and assist management with other clerical duties. This position is one of the most important in the company but it is also the door way to a growing career within this organization. Must have experience in servicing customers over the phone.