January 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Year, New Interviewing Skills

Recently I taped a segment for an upcoming HGTV show.  The focus - interviewing successfully.  It seems that this economy is requiring all of us to become interview pros.  With a plethora of candidates to choose from, hiring managers are looking for reasons to weed people out.

To avoid this fate, it's imperative that you Soul Search, Research and Job Search before your next interview. If you do, you'll not only have more job offers but have more fun interviewing!  Yes, fun!


Follow these tips to get beyond the interview and land the job:

-Soul Search and go after jobs that fit.  Most people check the want ads or online job boards and choose positions that fit their past experience.  But what if you didn't like your last job(s)?  If your heart's not into it, don't even waste the interviewer's time.  Spend that time instead on making a list of the skills you have that you WANT to utilize and the industries or fields that are of truly of interest.  Even if you haven't worked in a particular field before your skills can transfer so don't be afraid to go after what you want.  Not sure where to start?  Try the Occupational Outlook Handbook which lists various careers across various industries!

-Research to target the right employers and positions.  It sounds difficult but finding employers in a given field can be as easy as an internet search.  Online job board Indeed.com lists job openings by industry as well as by location so you can see which industries are hiring and where.   Once you've found a potential employer go to their website and learn as much as you can about the products/services they make, the # of employees, how long they've been in business, recent news about them and corporate goals and objectives. This will help you not only target the right employers for you but also help you answer the dreaded interview question - What can you tell us about our company?

-Job Search with the right attitude.  It's not enough to just dress the part, have a copy of your resume, be on time and prepared for the standard "why should I hire you" question.  You'll need the attitude "x factor" to land the job. That means, being someone the interviewer wants to work with and better yet, someone the interview can't imagine not having on the team.  To do that takes presence.  You need to relax in the interview and approach the situation as if you're making a new friend - a friend you'll want to keep whether or not you get the job.  Understand your "new friend's" biggest challenge that he/she would most like the person hired into this position to solve.  Offer ideas and support to the interviewer (and even follow-up with relevant articles) on that problem to demonstrate that you are already a resource even before being hired.    

By Soul Searching, Researching and Job Searching you can get better interview results and not only land a job but also a job you can be excited about!  With the Wall Street Journal recently reporting record job dissatisfaction, it's time we all did our part to reverse this disturbing trend!

Share your favorite interview tips below and post any questions you have about how to interview effectively.  You can also check out my free video on How to Ace the Job Interview.  I look forward to your comments!  You can also tune in live Tuesday Jan 12th at 3:30pm EST to SIRIUS 112 / XM 157 where I'll be answering career questions live at 1-866-675-6675!


Posted by maggie at 12:11 AM
Friday, January 22, 2010

Land a New Career With the Help of a Mentor (Guest Post by Brian Kurth)

Brian Kurth joins me today 4pm ET/1pm PT on my radio show Making a Living.  I'm excited to hear his tips on how to find your perfect mentor and have asked him to write a guest post.  Enjoy and here's to you getting the mentoring you need to have your dream job!...

Changing careers can be scary.  The unknown always generates anxiety, and the “what if’s” can be terrifying.  But, what if you had some help from someone who “had been there, done that” to guide you in the right direction?  What if you had a chance to “test drive” a new career before you take the leap?

At any age or current career level, figuring out what ‘you want to be when you grow up’ is a lot easier with the help of a mentor. I’ve seen an architect become a baker; an engineer become a country music songwriter; a marketing executive become a corporate humorist and financial services executives become winemakers and the list of examples goes on and on. Mentorship played an invaluable role in helping these people reinvent themselves and make educated, experienced-based decisions in the choice of a new career.  

So where are these mentors?  They are everywhere.  They are people who are passionate about what they do and eager to share their experience and insights.  Do your research, learn as much as you can about your dream career and the organizations and businesses in that field.  Then make some contacts.  You will be surprised how many people are open to talking with you about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it.  

For example, Jeff Harvey, a recent client of mine, was a stockbroker who wanted to find an encore career that would allow him to “give back” as a social entrepreneur and angel investor.  Specifically, he wanted to help in finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disease from which his grandson suffers.  But where do you start with such a lofty goal? 

Jeff did the research to find expert mentors in the field.  He met with angel investors to pick their brains and also discovered Dr. Fred Sachs who was doing research in finding a cure for this disease by using tarantula venom (for real!) at The State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. The two connected….Jeff found his mentor, who ultimately also became his business partner.  

Today, Jeff meets weekly with Dr. Sachs and his team.  Using his background in finance, he has helped the group form a company called Rose Pharmaceuticals, and they have started clinical trials.  His dream of becoming an angel investor in a social entrepreneurial firm has been realized.

In my opinion, mentorship is at the core to career transitioning.  It allows for an incremental, in-depth, hands-on, ‘test the water’ approach to first discovering what you want to do and then finding out if the water is too hot, too cold or just right. You probably wouldn’t buy something as important as a car without checking it out first….how does it drive, what are owners saying about their car?  Right?  

So, if you are looking to change careers, invest the time to check out what kind of features, both good and bad, a new career offers by test driving it with an expert behind the wheel to show you how to take the curves and arrive safely.   

Make 2010 the year of your personal and professional test-drive.  Get ready to be in the fast lane for career transition.

Brian Kurth is the author of Test-Drive Your Dream Job – A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding and Creating the Work You Love (Hachette 2008) and is the founder of the career consultancy and mentor recruitment firm, Brian Kurth + Company, and VocationVacations.

(Photo compliments of Inno'vision.) 

Posted by maggie at 6:22 PM