Prepare Your References At The Beginning of Your Job Search

Prepare Your References At The Beginning of Your Job Search

You are on a job search. You will most likely eventually be asked for references. The time to prepare for that is now, before your interviews start. Not in a knee jerk response for a request.

 

The basics

At minimum a potential employer will want to confirm you had the job you say you had. They’ll ask about your dates of employment and title. They might also ask what you were like as an employee. Were you punctual? Did you take initiative? What was your attitude like?

 

If you provide a reference that will only give the basics, then don’t expect any fireworks on the part of your prospective employer. You want your references to be able to speak highly and positively about skills and experiences, but you also want them to hold credibility. The singing praises of your cubical mate aren’t going to get you far. The same words from a supervisor are good. If your previous boss is willing to vouch for you that’s even better. If you are a recent grad a professor can attest to your abilities and drive. In general, you want to have two or three professional references you can count on as references.

 

Credibility factor

When thinking about people we could call on as references, it’s important to consider how much weight their words will carry. If your reference is an expert in something related to what you are applying for that’s amazing. Someone who has seen you do (and excel at) a variety of different things will be able to speak confidently about your abilities.

 

Prepare them well in advance

The time to let someone know you are including them as a reference is early on in your job search. Give them time to think about you and what you can bring to the table. When you know they might be called on, give them a call. Let them know the kind of job you are applying for and the sorts of things you would like them to focus on. Confirm when it would be convenient for someone to contact them so they have time to give the reference their full attention.

 

Now that you’ve prepared your references, go out and get yourself in a position to need them!

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To Do and Not To Do Following a Job Interview

To Do and Not To Do Following a Job Interview

You had a job interview and you’re pretty sure everything went well. You had done your research and had noteworthy things to say about the company. You showcased your accomplishments well with quantitative examples of how you brought your experiences to bear in your last job. Now that the job interview is done, should you just sit around and play the waiting game?  Not quite. There are things you still need to do and others you should definitely not do.

 

Thank you

The thank you note isn’t something you  do post interview. It is the final step of the interview.  Always do send a thank you note. Whether you think the interview was a success or a failure, send it. Within twenty four hours of the interview.

 

Follow up with references

Do remember to follow up with your references. The last thing you want is for an excited prospective employer to call up a reference and for the reference to have to scramble for something to say!

 

Use social media as a sounding board

Maybe the interview didn’t go as well as you hoped. Or you weren’t impressed with the company or the person interviewing you. That is information you either keep to yourself or possibly tell a close friend in private. It is absolutely not anything you should ever post on social media for the world at large to see. If there is anything you wouldn’t be very happy for a potential employer to read that you said or did, do not put it on social media for someone to find. Make sure your online presence is a professional as your professional presence.

 

Maintain professional interactions

Following the interview, you may want to follow up with the prospective employer. Maybe they seemed really eager and you can’t understand what’s taking so long. Beware of being too aggressive in your follow up. Also, don’t take the chill vibe you felt during the interview as an indication that it would be alright to get all informal during your post interview follow up.

 

All interactions with prospective employers must be as professional as they were the first moment you stepped through the door the first time.

 

Until you have an offer in hand keep looking

Based on your amazing interview, you might think you’ve got this whole job offer thing all sewn up. Until someone contacts you with an offer you are as unemployed as you were before the interview. Don’t sit back and wait for an offer that may never come. Stay proactive and ensure one does come!

 

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!

Take The Time To Make The Most of Your Next Interview

Take The Time To Make The Most of Your Next Interview

You’ve already got your next interview scheduled. You might think you’ve got what it takes to go there and wing it. If so you’ll most likely be knocked off your perch by others who took the time to prepare.

 

Write down the most relevant things you want to convey at the interview

There are things you want to ensure the person doing the interview knows about you. If you just think about them, there’s a spectacular chance they’ll fly out of your head when you come face to face with the interviewer. If you write them out before hand and read them a few times before the interview, they’ll dance out of your mouth at the appropriate time like choreographed works of art.

 

Take timing into consideration

There’s a thing called decision fatigue that comes over people as the day wears on. Essentially everyone has a finite amount of decision making capacity throughout the day. As the day wears on decisions become harder to make and the quality of decision making deteriorates. When booking your interview do your best to get yourself scheduled earlier in the day when the interviewer is still at their decision making peak.

 

Invest in business cards

You might think the only people who carry business cards around are the ones who already have jobs, but that’s not necessarily the case. Rather than thinking of it as a business card, think of it as a calling card. Something to set you apart from the other candidates. A tangible reminder of who you are and what you’re all about. Include your name and all your contact information and a line or two about what you do. It’s a great way to make an impression and ensure the potential employer remembers who you are!

 

Create a field of positivity around yourself

Do all your homework in advance. Research the questions you think they’ll ask and your answers in the days before. Don’t do any more preparing the day of the interview. Go in knowing you are qualified and experienced and ready to take on new challenges. Ensure you arrive well before the interview, cool, calm and collected. Radiate positivity. Leave them wanting more!

On The Job Hunt? Clean Up Your Digital Footprint!

vOn The Job Hunt? Clean Up Your Digital Footprint!

With graduation vastly approaching, now is the best time to tighten up your online presence AKA your digital footprint. Everything you’ve ever done on the internet is probably still there and might not paint you in the best light. So before you send in those applications, spruce up those cover letters, and schedule interviews, make sure you are aware of how your online presence presents you.

What’s a digital footprint anyway?

 

A digital footprint encompasses all of your online activity. Everything from likes, comments, online purchases, and social media posts are all connected to your name on the internet. Every time you post something online, websites collect all of your information by installing cookies on whatever device you’re using. They can gather your login credentials, IP address, and any other personal information about you available online. All of these tidbits of information add up to your digital footprint. Whether it’s good or bad is up to you…

 

How do I clean up my digital footprint?

 

There are several ways to change and edit your digital footprint. As long as you take the time to be tedious and do your research, your footprint will look a lot cleaner and hopefully represent you in a more professional way. Get started with some of these tips:

 

Make strong & secure passwords:

 

It’s important to make strong and secure passwords to keep your digital footprint in check. These strong passwords can also enhance your online privacy. Create complex passwords that don’t include any personal information about you that people already know or could publicly see online. For example, any birthdays, birth years or even nicknames could easily be guessed by someone who has seen your information online. Try to use symbols and numbers to mix up your passwords, making them harder to guess. This includes using caps, @ signs, 0 instead of O, and so on. Don’t forget to change your passwords every couple months to ensure you are keeping your information secure from hackers.

 

 

Google yourself:

 

This may feel cliche or unnecessary, but don’t worry, it’s not. Google yourself using your full name and the shortened version of your name, if you have one. For example, try searching “Michael Owens” and “Mike Owens” to make sure you don’t miss anything that might be listed under your name. Pay attention to any questionable written content you wrote maybe in college or even earlier in your career that might get brought up during the job hunt. This can also include any of your social media posts. Check the first couple pages of Google to make sure everything you see is positive and professional. Don’t be afraid to try other search engines as well (Bing, Yahoo, etc.) so you can be sure all the information about you matches up.

 

Implement changes:

 

Now that you’ve done all the preliminary work to enhance and update your digital footprint, it’s time to start making the necessary changes. Assess your social media accounts first, since those will be the first area your future employers will most likely look into. A recent study showed that 54% of employers found content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate. Make sure your usernames are appropriate and professional; “@sarahlovesbeer” should not be something a future employer sees when searching your name.

 

Browse through any old photos of you to see if any need to be removed from your profile or hidden from public view. Read through tweets and any status updates or location check-ins that you might not want future employers to see. Now is the perfect time to adjust your privacy settings if you haven’t in a while. There is always the option to make your social profiles private which means your personal information will be hidden from the public, except for a small profile picture and your name.

 

Taking the time to clean up your digital footprint should be just as much a priority as updating your resume. It’s essential to show the best version of yourself, and that starts with your online persona. Follow these steps to enter the job hunt ready and prepared for a successful future!

Cracking Open The Door Of Your Next Potential Employer

Cracking Open The Door Of Your Next Potential Employer

You’ve been researching companies in your field and you’ve found the one you really want to work for. You jive with the company culture, you believe your skills and experience would be a perfect fit for the employer. One problem. They aren’t currently hiring.

 

Create your own opportunities

You may not be able to snap your fingers and create a job out of your profound desire to be there, but you can certainly track down the contact information of someone who currently works there. Or a recruiter with a relationship with the organization.

 

Open a dialogue

Step one contact the person and ask them if they’d be willing to have a coffee with you to talk about the company. Let them know you are not specifically looking for a job (even if you are) but that you are simply looking for information. Most people are willing to give half an hour to an enthusiastic (not obtrusive) seeker. In general people like to help others, even strangers when they can.

 

Ask specific questions about the company. Inquire into their career trajectory. See if they have any advice regarding things you can do to expand your career potential in general and specifically within the context of this particular employer. Have a list of questions ready before hand so you don’t waste the opportunity.

 

Thank them for their time

Following your discussion thank them for their time and leave. Follow it up with a thank you note and leave it at that. Don’t follow up or pester them. You got what you needed from them and left a good impression of your go-getting self.

 

If something comes up they will likely contact you to let you know. Your career search is all about connections and networking. Leave a likeable, professional impression. People want to work with people they like!

The Ins and Outs of Thank You Notes

The Ins and Outs of Thank You Notes

Everyone knows the job interview isn’t over until the thank you letter is written and sent. But sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what to say. Then there’s the sending. Email or mail mail? Hand written or typed? This is your last impression. You want to make sure it’s a memorable one!

 

Essentially the thank you letter is like a feel good, post interview highlight reel. You get to quickly reiterate the skills/experiences you discussed during the interview. Bring up an interesting point of discussion you shared and say one more time just what a good fit you are for the job.

 

When to send it

Since you’ll be talking about things that happened during the interview you’ll want to ensure you send the letter within 24 hours so you are still fresh in the interviewer’s mind. The best way to ensure it arrives in good time is to send it via email. A way to make sure you stand out even more is to also follow up with a written thank you note. If you go that route make sure you touch on different points in the second note.

 

Notes on the note

A thank you note shouldn’t be long. Your first priority is thanking them for their time. After that find something of interest from the interview to highlight. An interesting point of discussion you had or something about your skills/experience that stands out for this particular job. Try to mention something that will help them remember your interview in particular. Reiterate how excited you are about the job and say again how much you would like the position. Ensure your contact information is part of the note.

 

Note: Even if you think the interview went badly it’s important to still send a note. It’s good practice for you and it will leave a professional impression with the interviewer.

 

If after the interview you decide this job really isn’t for you, send a note anyway. Tell the interviewer how much you enjoyed meeting them and hearing about the opportunity, but let them know it’s not for you.

 

Who to send the note to

Obviously you’re sending the thank you note to the person who interviewed you, but what if you were interviewed by numerous people? If it was a group interview, you can go ahead and send a thank you to the team. If you were individually interviewed by more than one person then each of them gets a separate note. Ensure you are collecting business cards as you go so you have the correct spellings and titles of each person!