Tip Tuesday: Remember to Smile in Job Interviews!

“I was asked once how we taught all 1700 employees who worked at one property to smile. We didn’t teach anyone anything. Instead, we hired people who were already smiling.” – Arte Nathan

There is a lot of advice floating around the internet about how to be professional & sell yourself to showcase your skills for a job interview. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, often the deciding factor between a job offer and no job offer is your attitude and your personality – it’s if the person interviewing youwants to work with you. Sometimes it can be something as small as a warm smile that will put you ahead of competition!  As much as people will throw around the term “sell” yourself, you need to keep in mind that you’re not a product. You’re a person. Someone who your potential employer will be spending eight hours a day with, five days a week for the foreseeable future. Like anybody, they would much prefer to spend that time with someone they like.

Don’t get us wrong, skills are great – your qualifications are what got you called into an interview in the first place, and they’re important. But you’re there because they know you’re qualified – now they want to figure out what kind of person you are, and how you would fit into the position. Remember, everyone they’re interviewing is qualified. There are twenty people with resumes just as good – or better – than yours in the running. So stand out – this is about you as an individual now, not your skills. Be friendly and authentic, and show them why you in particular deserve the job more than anybody else they’re interviewing.

What do you offer no one else does?

Do your best not to freeze up from the nerves of trying to remember all that advice you’ve heard about handshakes and eye contact and tiny details. Forget all that. Just be confidant, relaxed and natural. Eye contact, smiling, posture and all sorts of other positive body language cues will fall into place naturally if you’re genuinely comfortable and confidant.

So take a deep breath, relax, and remember that your interviewer is a person just like you, and you don’t need to feel intimidated. Treat them like a person – ask them briefly about themselves, maybe joke with them (if the situation is appropriate, you don’t want to appear as if you don’t care – just that you’re confidant, and comfortable enough to show your sense of humor.) Be friendly, smile, show that that you’re both qualified for the position and a generally good person to be around.

If you strike up a good connection with them, they’ll remember you. If you make them laugh, they’ll want to see more of you. When it comes time to consider who gets the position in the end, you can bet you’ll be near the top of that list.

Tip Tuesday: Spring/Summer Work Attire

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It’s getting warmer and you know what that means…spring and summer work attire!
 
But don’t wear just anything to work. Just like we’ve been preaching from the start,
keep it professional. Avoid wearing pants higher than your knees or tops with spaghetti
straps to work.
 
Instead, ladies who choose to wear sleeveless shirts should make sure
it covers the whole shoulder. For pants, capris or loose sundresses/skirts
are also appropriate.
 
Men should wear golf shirts instead of t-shirts.
 
Enjoy the sun!

Resume Writing for Beginners (Part 1): Resume Formats & Fonts

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If you’re applying to your first job and you have no idea how to begin writing your resume, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve split up this series into two parts. Learn about formatting, fonts and appropriate length a resume in part one.

 

Before we begin, there’s no right or wrong way to write a resume. Some employers prefer a certain format over another. We will help you with the fundamentals and you can decide how you want to lay it out.

 
Resume Format

The format sets up the feel of your resume and is sort of like a first impression of yourself to the employer. For example, if the format is messy and hard to navigate, the employer might think that you are unorganized. However, if all the information on your resume is neatly formatted, it shows responsibility and is overall visually appealing.

 
Margins:

When formatting your resume on the computer, make sure your margins aren’t too wide. People widen their margins so they can fit more information on the page. Just because all your information looks like it fits on one page on the computer, doesn’t mean it will when it’s printed. Sometimes the words might bleed off the page when employers print your resume. To make sure this doesn’t happen, save your resume as a PDF file or do a test print to see what it looks like.

 
Make sure your resume is NEAT!

This means no clutter and lots of white space so employers can easily navigate through it.

Resumes often get tossed in the trash because it looks messy and hard to read at first glance. Everything must be consistent. For example, if your employment dates are italicized, it should be italicized throughout the whole resume. If each previous job title is bold, make sure they’re bold the whole way through.

 

Length of resume:

Nowadays, employers receive so many applications that they don’t have time to look through everything on your resume. People have short attention spans and when they see that a resume is more than two pages long or it’s just way too cluttered with information, they won’t even give it a chance. If you’re just starting out with minimal experience, keep it to one page. After a few years, you can expand it to one and a half to two pages max. Resumes that are more than two pages long are usually the ones that are written for positions such as directors, senior managers, vice presidents or CEOs.

 

Fonts

The type of font you use ties with the neatness and visual appeal of your resume. or is too small, Don’t try to be too fancy

 

Types of font to use on your resume:

Stick to readable fonts like Times New Roman or Arial. If you use a font that is too hard to read such as cursive fonts, the employer will not bother and again, toss your resume into the trash.

 

Font size on your resume:

The safest thing to do is to keep the standard “12 size font”. Eleven or 11.5 size font is acceptable too. Just don’t make it too big or too small. You don’t want to give the hiring manager a hard time looking at it.

 

Part two of Resume Writing for Beginners will be posted tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Tip Tuesday: Wearing Skirts to Job Interviews

Ladies, if you’re going to wear a skirt to a job interview, make sure that it is conservative and not tight-fitted. The most important rule of thumb when choosing to wear a skirt is that it should be knee-length or longer. If possible, pair it with black tights. In terms of color, black is always the way to go but any neutral color will do.

Remember that you are trying to make a good first impression to your employer, not your friends at a party.

 

Lets Talk Salary…

The burning question…”What are your salary expectations?”

You’d be surprised how many people don’t know how to answer this question. Two reasons: 1) Money-talk is awkward no matter what.  2) Fear of rejection if given too high or too low of a number.

No matter what, the salary question will always be awkward. There’s no right or wrong answer but it’s important to prepare for it if you want to be valued for your skills and past accomplishments.

Here are some suggestions to answer the tough salary question with confidence in an interview.

What not to do when asked about salary

Never say, “I don’t know”: Just like with any other interview question, you never want to give the impression that you’re clueless. This shows that you’re not prepared and didn’t do your research. Saying “I don’t know” in general is an opening to a disastrous interview.

Never say, “It’s up to you or “whatever you want to give me”: Employers can take this two ways: either you have low expectations of their company or you’re a pushover. And obviously you don’t’ want them to think either of that. When you say “It’s up to you” or “whatever you want to give me”, you’re giving the employer control and leeway to give you whatever they please – and this can backfire because some employers can take advantage of this and underpay you.

What to do when asked about salary

Research the position/field you are interviewing for to get a clear understanding: To avoid all those statements above, it doesn’t come any clearer – DO YOUR RESEARCH! You’re looking up interview questions and preparing for the interview anyway. So why not find out the average salary/hourly wage that people in that position are currently making? Glassdoor.com or your country’s government website is the best way to find this. Try to study the annual trends and how it has increased or decreased over the years and months.

Always give a range, not an exact salary number: After conducting some research on how much people in your industry and position get annually, monthly and hourly, come up with a range between five and ten. For example, you can say between $15 to $20/hour or $40,000 to $50,00 a year depending on experience. This will allow the interviewer to have some leeway with you and reach a middle ground.

Use your common sense: Be smart and know the level of your position. Don’t expect a ridiculous amount of money if you are applying for a junior position. For example, IT positions can make over $100,000 a year, but not when they first start out. So be reasonable.

5 Mistakes People Make During Video Interviews

Video interviews usually occur if the candidate is located in another country, state or city from the company. However, any company or organization can conduct video interviews even if they’re located right down the street from you.

If you are freaked out by job interviews via Skype or any other form of video conferencing, it’s really not as stressful as it sounds. Just treat it like any other in-person interview. Here are five common mistakes people make when they’re being interviewed on webcam.

1. Not technologically prepared
Your worst nightmares about job interviews will all come true if you don’t prepare. The worst thing is for your laptop, mic or webcam to not work when it’s time for the interview.

Make sure you test all your equipment a week or two before the scheduled interview so you have enough time to fix it. Test your webcam on Skype with your friend for about an hour (or however long you think your interview will be) and see if your mic works. You should also check the clarity of your camera. The Wi-Fi connection is also very important because the Internet can determine how clear or blurry you will appear on camera. The faster the connection, the less delay your motions and voice will appear.

If you have trouble with all of the above, go to a friend or relative’s house with a good Internet connection or borrow someone’s equipment.

 2. Bad surroundings or background
Just because you will be at home during the job interview doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be aware of your surroundings. Yes, the interviewee knows you are home but you should also clean up the background that he or she will be seeing on camera. For example, don’t sit in your bed with the laptop on your lap and your favourite teddy bear beside you with a KISS poster on your wall – that looks unprofessional. A better background to display would be in a room with bookshelves or just a blank wall. Something that will make the interviewer take you more seriously.

3. Inappropriate attire
Just because you don’t have to meet the interviewer in person, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to dress up. Any kind of job interview is just as important as the next so you must wear appropriate attire. (See “How to Decide What to Wear to a Job Interview”)  

4. Inappropriate Skype name
Lots of people look over this because they’ve had Skype for so long and they forget that their username is there. Just like your surroundings, your username must be professional and not “Baby_Gurlxoxo”. If you are unsure whether or not your name is professional enough, make another Skype account and use your full name.

5. Bad posture
You will most likely be sitting in a chair with the laptop on your desk in front of you. Slouching or sitting back and rocking your chair is a no-no. It’s unprofessional and disrespectful. Sit up-right with your hands on the table and look straight at the camera lens. This shows engagement and interest in the interview and position you’ve applied for.

You may be an amazing candidate with all the qualifications and experience. But whether you like it or not, the interviewer will most likely judge you based on everything they see in the camera frame. So make sure nothing inappropriate is in view and that you look presentable.

Good luck!

Pure Octane employee promoted in less than a week

Jesse Chadwick gives a customer their first-hand experience with the Power Pod 360 which is one of the products Pure Octane helps to market and promote.

It only took Jesse Chadwick four days to be promoted at Pure Octane Talent after he was hired on board last month.

Chadwick accepted an entry level marketing associate position with the firm in October and was bumped up to a trainer in less than a week after he started.

The 29-year-old says the owner of Pure Octane Talent, Andre Zahrebelny, believed in him and therefore wanted to take a chance on him.

“He [Andre] said that I seemed confident so he just wanted to keep moving me through,” Chadwick said. “I enjoy being a trainer because I get to teach people.

“And as you teach, you also learn things about yourself.”

As a trainer, Chadwick helps new employees transition into the entry level position and teaches them how to market and promote their clients’ products to customers during daily showcase events inside Canadian Tire.

“It’s [trainer and entry level position] not just a sales position but it’s a teaching position,” he said. “Whether you are starting in the entry level position or promoted to a trainer, you have to educate costumers on the products that you are promoting.”

Just like many current entry level candidates who are currently working in the showcase event business, Chadwick is certain that he has found the right career path.

After graduating from Centennial College in Toronto for automotive mechanics, he packed his bags and moved to Japan to teach English for a year. He then spent seven more years in the country working in construction, a banquet hall and a bar manager where he trained several other bartenders.

Eight years later, he returned to Toronto and was employed by the Keg Steakhouse & Bar. But he was looking for something more. So he began sending out his resume and landed with Pure Octane Talent.

“I took this job because this company gives you the opportunity to work for yourself and be your own boss,” Chadwick said. “I want to be an owner of my own company for showcase events one day.”

Chadwick also said that he chose Pure Octane because of the variety of customers he meets everyday which keeps him positive.

“There’s so many nice people out there,” he said. “There’s a lot of grumpy ones too but I focus on the ones who are nice to you.

“I think we should take care of those [nice] people and help them out because that’s what the job is about.”