The Key To A Successful Interview is Preparation

The Key To A Successful Interview is Preparation

No matter how qualified you are, what great school you attended, or how amazing your experiences, you cannot go into a job interview and just wing it. People do not hire statistics or qualifications they hire people. They hire people they like, people who inspire them, people who impress them with potential. Use these tips to set yourself apart from the pack at your next interview.

 

Who is interviewing you?

Find out the name of the person interviewing you beforehand. Discover what you can about them. Check them out on LinkedIn. Google them. Have something you can say about them in conversation. While you’re at it do the same thing for the company.

 

Practice makes perfect

Get online and find a list of the most common interview questions and how to answer them. Once you’ve figured out what you want to say get yourself in front of a mirror and practice your answers. Take note of your facial expression. Check to see that you look relaxed and confident.

 

Remember they have your resume in front of them so don’t just repeat what you wrote down there. Expand with stories of how you made a difference in your previous job or at school. Provide qualitative evidence. Productivity increased by 25% during the 8 months of my leadership.

 

Have a few off-resume things you can throw in there to humanize you. A hobby or a volunteer initiative you partake in.

 

Plan your route before hand

Don’t just plan your route to the interview an hour before you’re scheduled to arrive. The day before check what traffic is usually like at that time. Ensure there aren’t any road closures. Make sure you plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early.

 

Google yourself

Before starting your job search, you should absolutely Google yourself. If there’s anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see then get rid of it. Make sure your online image is as professional as the person who walks in for the interview.

 

Make a good impression with everyone you meet

From the receptionist to anyone you meet in the hallways or elevator, smile and present your best self. You don’t know who is in charge or who has who’s ear. Plus although you always want to present your best self, it’s doubly important in interview situations.

 

Dress like you already have the job

Imagine yourself already in the position. How do you dress? How do you hold yourself? Embody that person. Be that person.

 

Prepare copies of your resume

You never know when you might need a hard copy of your resume. You might be interviewed by more than one person. The person interviewing you might only have your resume on the computer and need a hard copy. By having extra copies on hand you give the impression of a person prepared for any situation.

 

Turn your phone off

Of course you realize your phone should be off during the interview, but what if while waiting in the lobby scrolling through your phone you get distracted and forget to turn it off? Set a reminder to turn it off five or ten minutes before the interview starts so you don’t forget.

 

Listen to the questions

Prior to the interview you will have practiced answers to questions you anticipate. Once you think you know what they are going to ask you might be tempted to launch in with your amazing answer. Wait. Listen carefully to what they are asking and what they are saying. Ensure you are answering the question they are asking. If during your conversation you realize they are interested in things different from what you prepared, revise your answer accordingly. A conversation is as much about listening as speaking.

 

Finish with flair

No interview is over until the thank you note has been sent. Highlight something memorable from your interview, something that made you both smile or that wowed them. Reiterate your interest in the position and wait for the acceptance!

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Maintaining Motivation During A Long Job Search

Maintaining Motivation During A Long Job Searchacebook

Some people luck out on their job search and land something in their field early on. For others the search can feel unending. When you’re met with difficulties and disappointments on a consistent basis it’s hard to stay motivated. But take heart, all job searches eventually come to an end. In the time between this time and that, here are a few tips to help keep your spirits up.

 

Get re-inspired

When our road is long sometimes we lose sight of why we set foot on it in the first place. A great way to get back in step with yourself is by talking with someone who has already accomplished the goal you’re after. Ask them if you can take them out for coffee. Pick their brain. Listen to their stories. Ask their advice.  Or if there’s no one you can talk with personally find a book about someone who has traversed a similar path and read about their journey.

 

Hearing someone else talk about how they accomplished their goals makes the whole prospect feel tangible. Remind yourself if they did it, you can too.

 

Accomplish other goals

Even if you haven’t been able to accomplish the get-a-job goal there are still plenty of other goals you CAN accomplish. Get to it. Make a list of things you want to get done and go about accomplishing them one by one. Accomplishment makes you feel good about yourself. Give yourself lots of reasons to feel good about yourself!

 

Give yourself a break

An unaccomplished goal staring you in the face every day it feels like a starving monster demanding all your attention. You can feed it all day long, but it will never get its fill. That’s why, no matter how much it roars, sometimes you just have walk away. Take breaks. Go for a coffee. Go for a walk. See your friends. Cook yourself a meal. Take time each day to do things you like. It may feel like you’re wasting time, but in realty you’re taking care of yourself mentally and physically. The monster will be waiting for you when you get back. When you’re in a better place you’ll be more inclined to feed it better, more nutritious food – which will ultimately get it out of your life sooner!

 

Create a routine

Following a routine every day helps to free up brain space for things you actually want to be thinking about. Put the things you do every day on autopilot and tackle the things that require full brain power with a full brain.

The Fine Balance of Life

The Fine Balance of Life

As life passes from day to day, we get caught up in the business of creating a life for ourselves. Earning enough to live comfortably and take care of the ones we love. And from in the middle of all that striving sometimes it’s easy to forget the things that mean the very most in our lives.

Once we’ve taken care of the essentials, for most of us the most important thing in our lives isn’t the car we drive or the square footage of the house we live in or the designer labels yelling out from our clothing. It’s the other people we share our lives with.

Greatest impacts

When you think about it, what made the greatest impacts on your life? The things you got or the things you did? Most people would answer, experiences. Times we shared with others.

Who are the people who stand out most in your memory? We’d be willing to bet it’s the ones who helped you in some way, along the way. Which means the people you impacted most were most likely the ones you helped.

The balance between give and take

Life is a fine balance between give and take. On the take side, are people who have helped us. Given us letters of recommendation. Introduced us to others who could benefit us. Paid for a year of our tuition. As we go through life, we balance that against the give side. All the people we in our turn, have helped.

The people who helped us and the ones we were able to help are the ones who make the house of our lives a home. We don’t give and take because we are keeping score or out of obligation. We do it out of a true desire to help. Because it makes us feel good. Because we can.

Time to Pay Back Student Debt?

Time to Pay Back Student Debt?

My son Matt just finished his master’s degree in education. Last week we got the diploma in the mail. Today we got the letter from student loans detailing his payback schedule – including interest accrued before the repayment date event starts!

 

According to an article about student loan debt from Forbes, student loan debt in 2019 is the highest ever. “There are 44 million borrowers who collectively owe 1.5 trillion in student loan debt.” It’s so rampant that student loans make up the second highest debt category – right behind mortgages!

 

Debt across the ages

The student loan epidemic isn’t only a problem for people just out of school. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to hear people in their thirties are still carrying student loan debt, but according to the above Forbes article, the largest increase in student loan debt comes from people in their sixties.

 

Depending on whether the student has a private loan or a federal one the interest rate will vary. My son has a federal loan so his interest rate is about 6%. His loan is for $7, 220. Luckily, it’s not huge. If he does nothing but follow the payment schedule provided by the loan office he will pay just over $80 a month for 114 months to pay it back. At that rate he will end up paying a total of $9,489 – an extra $2,269 in interest. Almost an extra third!

 

Obviously the higher the loan, the higher the accrued interest -but none of us is doomed to be a statistic.

 

Pay bi-weekly

Whether you have a student loan or some other outstanding debt, a painless way to make an extra payment a year is to pay your loan twice a month instead of once. We’re not saying to pay more (although yes, we do want you to pay more – but more on that later), what we are saying is to divide your payment in half and pay it every two weeks instead of once a month. As I said, Matt is supposed to pay $80 a month. If instead of doing that, he pays $40 every two weeks then over the course of a year he will have made 13 months of payments rather than 12!

 

Get high interest loans out of the way

If student loans are not your only debt, you need to prioritize yourself. Figure out which debt is costing you the most in interest every month. Make the minimum payments on everything then clear through the one that’s costing you the most first. Once you’re finished with that move on to the next one.

 

Review your budget

The payment amount set by the loan office for Matt is $80, but of course the more Matt pays the faster he dispatches the loan and the less interest he pays as he goes and overall. Matt’s first priority is to assess his budget. He needs to figure out much extra he can put towards that loan on a monthly basis and where that money will come from.  That might mean taking his lunch to work more often or riding his bike instead of taking public transit. It might mean he decides to move back in with me for a while to put that rent money toward the loan.

 

Student loan repayment benefits

To help deal with the overwhelming problem of student debt, many companies offer student debt payment assistance as part of their benefits package. Some will simply put money toward your debt on a regular basis, others will match payments made by the employee. Here are a few examples. A little research will help you track down more!

4 Tips To Work Healthier

4 TIPS TO WORK HEALTHIER

Have you read those studies about how sitting down will slowly kill you? They might be a little over the top, but theres truth in there. If your job has you sitting down at a desk and starring at a computer screen all day there are health risks, especially over a long period of time . If youre looking to work healthier and feel better throughout your day, weve got a couple tips that can help you out. 

Take Breaks and Move Around

Dont sit down all day. Take a break and go for a quick walk. Maybe you can walk around your office building if its nice out, or just run down to the coffee room and grab a drink of water. Getting up and about keeps your body in motion and the blood moving. You should also do stretches. This doesnt have to be big obtrusive stretches thatll get you weird stares in the office, just small ones at your desk will help.

More Water

Chances are, youre not drinking enough water. You should be having about 10 cups of water or beverages a day. Coffee and tea count! If youve ever experienced that 3 oclock wall of tiredness, its usually caused by dehydration. So keep drinking water and youll feel more awake, alert and healthy.

Check Your Posture

Posture leads to all kinds of problems. Everything from neck and back aches to dry eyes can be blamed on posture. Mashable offers a couple excellent tips for keeping good posture at work. The better your posture, the better youll feel after a long day at the office.  

Naps

This one is tricky. There arent too many workplaces where a small power nap is okay. Even a little nap after you get home can help you replenish on sleep you might not be getting at night. It might be a little outside the box, but consider taking a power nap in your car over the lunch break if youre really feeling droopy.

Check out this actionable guide for staying healthy from Nifty Benefits

 

If you find yourself struggling to get to sleep, don’t stress– there are plenty of ways to get to sleep quickly. Whether it’s meditation or putting your phone away, a nap isn’t far away

 

The healthier you are at work, the better work youll do and the better youll feel when you get home.

Untap Your Potential With Positive Thinking

Untap Your Potential With Positive Thinking

Many of us wish we were better. Better at our jobs, or better with certain skills. The surprising thing is, most of the time, we actually are better than we think we are!

How often have you thought “I can’t do this” before you’ve even tried? When it came to applying for a job, how often have you seen a listing and said “I’m not qualified,” then didn’t even bother applying?

So often our thoughts about a thing set us up for disappointment or failure before we even find out whether or not we actually had a chance for success. You absolutely don’t know what you are capable of until you at least give something a try – with an open mind.

A positive mindset opens you up to possibilities and a willingness to try even harder than your abilities might indicate at the onset.

Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar was a salesman. An outstanding salesman. So outstanding he eventually worked his way up to Vice-President at the Automotive Performance company where he was working. Throughout his career he wrote numerous books about sales and selling and worked as a motivational speaker. Even after an injury reduced his short-term memory, Zig Ziglar continued to speak publicly and write books until his passing in 2012.

 

His books include “See You at the Top”, Zig Ziglar’s Secrets to Closing the Sale”, “Over the Top”, and “Success for Dummies”.

Positivity

According to Zig Ziglar, thinking positively is the first step in unlocking your potential. Each one of us is stronger and smarter than we give ourselves credit for. A positive attitude opens potential. A negative attitude closes it down. If you already believe you’re going to fail you are  unlikely to push yourself harder and further. You will never see where your limit is. With a positive attitude you can exceed it.

Make Sure You Are Seen As a Leader

Make Sure You Are Seen As a Leader

You’ve worked hard at becoming a strong leader. You know you’ve developed strong leadership qualities and that you can inspire others. But before you can inspire anyone to listen to you, you need to be perceived as a leader.

 

People will respond to you as a leader not just based on what you say, but how they feel about you. How you look, how you hold yourself, what you wear are all making an impression on people well before you open your mouth.

 

What’s on the outside is the first, first impression. That first impression will determine whether you will be perceived as a leader from the get-go. Or if you will have to jump over some hurdles to repair a wasted first impression.

 

Every part of your appearance over which you have any control is part of the statement about who you are. Remember, how you look, how you hold yourself, the look on your face are all creating an impression well before you ever open your mouth for the first time.

 

You have the opportunity to take full control of your appearance. Be perceived as authoritative and credible. Dress the part. That includes small details you might not normally think about like the watch you choose to wear. Rings, your shoes, your briefcase, the type of jewellery you accessorize with. How you style your hair.  Small changes affect how others perceive you.

 

Start with the outside and the inside will follow suit

In the article 5 Tips for Looking and Acting Like a Leader from Dezzain, they say, “Employees should recognize the boss when they walk into the room, simply because of the way they dress, carry themselves and exude confidence.” Perception is a two way street. If people perceive you as a strong leader they will follow you. If you perceive yourself as a strong leader you will make yourself into one.

 

In the Economist article, The look of a leader they reference research that suggests voice quality accounts for 23% of listeners’ evaluations, vs. only 11% for the content of what was being said. Also people respond better to leaders who are physically fit and who have good posture. “Good posture makes people act like leaders as well as look like them.” You want to be perceived as a strong leader? Then stand up for yourself.

 

Executive presence

If you want to lead others you need to develop an executive presence. One that inspires confidence when you walk into a room or when talking to others, whether that be in group or one on one conversations.

 

According to the Washington Post article, How to act, sound and look like a leader, executive presence is not about performance, it’s about signalling to the world that you are leadership material. “First off there’s this thing called gravitas. It’s the biggest piece of the puzzle. It’s essentially how you act. The second piece is communication skills, which is you how speak. And then finally, it’s how you look – what is your appearance? These three things together make a huge difference in terms of whether you’re given a chance.”

 

None of this meant is to discount the importance of actually becoming a strong leader. Or of learning by doing. Of being an exemplary communicator. Of leading by example. It’s to say people will be more apt to listen to what you say and work with you if they perceive you as a leader.