Guide to Investment Banking: Part 1of 3

freedigitalphotos.com

freedigitalphotos.net

A job in investment banking remains one of the most enduring and sought after positions within the financial sector due to the potentially eye-popping financial rewards for key players.

But, those long-term rewards combined with recent banking industry changes have also made investment banking one of the toughest and most fiercely competitive fields to crack into within the financial services sector.

“They’re definitely unique jobs,” says Richard Deosingh, the regional manager in the New York office of Robert Half, the giant professional staffing agency. “It’s very fast-paced, and it’s not at all your typical 9-to-5 position. It’s long, long hours with big returns, if you can get into it.”

And that “if” is the biggest hurdle for those who have their hearts set on a career in investment banking.

What Is Investment Banking?

Investment banking is non-retail banking that generally serves corporate clients, governments and major institutional investors.

Household checking accounts and handy sidewalk ATMs are not the norm for these financial firms and clients, thank you.

Over the years, due to major regulatory changes and global market forces, the investment banking sector has changed a lot — so much so that someone who started out in investment banking in the 1970s, 1980s and even the 1990s can barely recognize the industry that it’s evolved into today.

Before major regulatory changes in the late 1990s, investment banks were usually smaller partnerships that were more associated with raising capital for IPOs, private placements, bonds, and giant merger and acquisition deals, among other things. As a result of these regulatory changes, today’s investment banking units are often housed inside giant banks that have separate retail banking operations.

In the modern era, investment banks are often huge publicly traded institutions that provide a host of investments services, including corporate finance, trading and research analysis.

However, the “core” of investment banking, strictly speaking, is still associated with raising capital and providing advice on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) — and that’s precisely the field many young investment banker wannabes often want to crack into when they think of careers in this lucrative sector.

A Day in the Life of an Investment Banker

Every job within an investment bank varies, usually depending on the seniority and specialties of individual personnel.

But if they’re all rowing together, the collective goal is to find and raise capital for clients, as well as come up with strategies and solutions to secure capital under the best terms possible for major IPOs, private placements, bond issuances, and M&A deals.

And all those deals are usually, at minimum, measured in the multimillion- and multibillion-dollar ranges. They most definitely don’t fall into the category of routine retail or small-business loans.

The jobs entail long, grueling hours of research into individual companies, industries, markets and even the entire economies of countries and continents, as investment bankers and their small armies of researchers try to measure the potential value and sizes of various transactions.

Investment bankers and their team members will also spend long hours on:

  • Courting potential clients
  • Traveling across the country and globe to research and secure deals

Ultimately, investment bankers are not only savvy about negotiating mergers and acquisitions and raising capital, but they must also be good with clients. In the end, they are salesmen and compete fiercely against each other for very high-stakes corporate business.

One important consideration: Investment bankers are on call 24/7. If a company makes a sudden move over a weekend to buy another firm, all members of an investment banking team had better be ready — on any day, at any time.

“It is a great business for the right person,” says F. Mark D’Annolfo, a former investment banker who’s now managing director of the Stephen D. Cutler Center for Investments and Finance at Babson College. “It is very entrepreneurial, and the work is often highly interesting and intellectually challenging. However, since these jobs often involve a great deal of travel and long hours, they are not for everyone.”

About the AuthorJay Fitzgerald is a business journalist based in Boston. Over the years, his articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, the Boston Business Journal, the Boston Herald and other publications.

When, and How, To Bring Up Salary in an Interview

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

There’s no telling when the salary discussion may come up in an interview, but bringing up your desired salary too soon could be a risky move. It’s important that your are able to present yourself, your abilities, and what you can contribute to the company before your price tag.

Employers want to get a sense of your salary expectations as early in the job interview process as possible. They will often press you to name a specific salary number or salary range. Avoid this for several reasons:

1.If you name a figure in response to a question about your salary expectations, it could be well above what the employer had in mind, and your interviewer’s thoughts will shift to another candidate.
2. If the figure is too low, you’ll be stuck with less than what the employer was planning to pay—and you may even come off as less qualified to boot.
3. The employer knows the responsibilities of the job better than you and therefore is better qualified to assign it a dollar amount. Once that happens, you are in an excellent position to discuss why you could bring more to the position than someone else.
Here is an example of how to avoid naming the salary first—even when explicitly challenged by the employer to do so:
EMPLOYER: Do you have a minimum salary figure in mind?
CANDIDATE: I have several opportunities I’m considering, and each one is a little bit different, so I’m taking all of the circumstances into account. Would you mind giving me some idea of the salary range for this position?

In most cases, a hiring manager isn’t going to drop you from consideration just because you dodge the initial salary question successfully. In fact, you may have a better chance at getting the job offer in the end because you had the opportunity to go through your value-increasing presentation first; other candidates who name a salary early in the interview process may never get the chance to present themselves fully, because the manager may be turned off after hearing their asking price.

Small Business Or Big Corporation? How To Know What’s Best For You

ID-10024928

As you go through the job searching process, you will find that there are all types of company sizes within every industry. Although you may be completely confident on the exact industry you want to pursue, you may find yourself wondering whether a large or small company is best. The answer really lies with you and your preferences, strengths, and personality.

Whether you’re looking for your first job or your fifth job, your colleagues and the environment you’ll be in everyday is crucial to the long-term career path you will take. So therein lies the question, “What’s the right company size for me?”

To answer that question, check out some of the job factors below and determine what seems to best suit you overall:

Culture and Processes

In a large company, there are a lot of team members that may be dispersed through different parts of the country and even the world. For this reason, the culture and processes in larger companies tend to be more rigid and defined to ensure everyone stays on the same page. Individuals that excel in this type of culture appreciate following processes and clear expectations.

In a small company, teams will be more agile and less defined. You will get to know team members in the company very closely in a relaxed culture that has likely been built organically. Personalities may be strong and opinionated, but each individual will undoubtedly be working toward the same clear goals of the company. For this reason, strict internal processes will be less important and are many times somewhat lax.

Management

In a large company, you will have a dedicated team that works directly with one or two managers who are in charge of all the team members. It is unlikely that you will interact with, or talk to, management that is above your direct manager(s). The company’s vertical hierarchy helps keep those in high-level positions focused on the bigger picture for the company, and the managers focused on making sure the big picture is delivered.

In a small company, upper-level management, all the way up to the CEO, will often interact and even collaborate with all levels of the team. This can provide an invaluable experience that will help you gain knowledge and skills from top leadership in the company.

Personal Growth

In a large company, by focusing strictly on your major tasks each day, you can easily become an expert in whatever you’re doing. This type of expertise can provide great opportunities later on in your career. Advancing within a larger company generally has defined process, which makes it easy to know what you’re expected to do in order to advance.

In a small company, career advancement does not generally follow a defined process, but naturally happens over time. Because all of the team members work with you on a daily basis, upper management is able to see your growth firsthand. Advancements may come in all different forms — increased responsibility, a new title, or a pay increase.

The opportunity to shift your career focus may also be something that can happen in a smaller company. Because of the agility and flexibility a small company requires, you may happen to stumble upon something that interests you more than your current job and find yourself shifting your career focus.

This is your career path, so choose your steps carefully. There is no right or wrong answer for working in specific company size; you may excel in one and not the other based on your personality, strengths, and preferences. Regardless of which fit is best, choosing the path and environment that’s right for you will ultimately help you advance in your desired career path.

What do you think? Do you prefer a small or large company? Why?

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

 

8 Ways to Bomb Your Interview

 

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

1. Go Casual

 You have this interview in the bag- who cares if you’re wearing jeans! You’re Gen Y! Steve Jobs doesn’t wear suits!

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”  – Mark Twain

I’m not suggesting you show up to your interview naked (although that would certainly end your interviewing excursion. Mission accomplished!) Ask the recruiter ahead of time, on the phone or email, about the company dress code. If asking is uncomfortable for you, play it safe with dress pants or slacks and a nice shirt and tie; or skirt and blouse. Even at a “laid back” start-up would be impressed with your professionalism. Better to be over dressed than…well, naked.

2. Arrive Unprepared

 You emailed your resume – certainly the hiring manager had time to memorize it, or at least to print it and bring copies with him. Right?

Bring copies of your resume to the interview. And having a quality notebook or leather-bound portfolio in which to take interview notes will add to the impression that you’re a professional. The more you know about the company and industry before the interview, the better. Do your research to learn the company’s history, major competitors, market niche, products, etc.

3. The Weak Handshake

This is a time-honored first impression killer. The interviewer enters the room. They greet you warmly, smiling, and extend their hand to grasp yours…this can be an awkward moment if you over-think it. Will your hands meet correctly? Will they land slightly askew, resulting in that quasi-handshake, half high-five event?

Use a firm handshake to indicate confidence and potential strength of character.  And definitely make solid eye contact with the interviewer! That will display some competence and social ability.

4.  Your Cell Phone Rings 

This is an easy one to forget since most of us are so completely tied to this little electronic second brain. Turn your phone off (completely off!) before the interview.  If you forget and it does ring, DO NOT answer it, or even consider sending a quick text while the interviewer’s head is turned. This is more inappropriate and annoying than couples who hold hands at the gym! The hiring manager will definitely notice your lack of social etiquette.

5. Your Eyes Glaze Over, Your Shoulders Hunch, You Yawn…

Your body language communicates loudly. Maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Sit forward- it shows active interest with your full body. Nod your head at appropriate times and ask questions throughout the interview. An interview should be a two-way conversation. Give your interviewer time to explain the opening and the company culture, but jump in with quality questions. By “quality questions” I don’t mean: “How long is lunch in this office?” or “I have a vacation with my boyfriend coming up soon. Is that ok?”

6. Show Me The Money!

You’re just starting out in your career – you’ve already earned a big salary! You should bring that up right away, right? Wrong.

Discuss the position first and foremost. Sure, being paid for your time and skills is how capitalism works! But focus on the job details first- discuss compensation afterward, once you and the recruiter agree that you’re the right fit.

Before the interview, research your industry’s salary rates and the cost of living for the area.  You’ll be prepared to negotiate a salary that will cover your living expenses and enable you to set aside savings for emergencies. Having a job is only great when you can afford to pay your bills. Being underemployed is just as hard as being unemployed.

7. Be Really Un-Friendly

With the exception of very technical positions, employers interview for skills, but they hire for personality. Most entry level skills can be learned through on the job training. The interview reveals if you will be a good fit with the manager and their team. (I once got a job where the interviewer was a big golf nut. I play golf, so we talked about golf the entire interview).

Don’t use polite manners, smile or have an engaging and articulate conversation with the interviewer – avoid these as they will most certainly encourage the hiring manager to consider you further.

8. The Follow Up

Your best chance of not being hired is to blend in with the tens, or sometimes hundreds of other applicants… like job seeking camouflage! Don’t fall into the forgotten pile- send a follow up letter after the interview; at the very least an email to thank the interviewer for their time and add a few memorable points from your discussion (maybe even a question or two that you thought of after the interview). Better yet, send an old-school hand-written letter.

Most interviewees send resumes and wait… or interview and hope. If you don’t want to get hired… don’t stand out.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at YouTern.

About the Author: Dave Ellis, is an original member of the YouTern team and instrumental to its success… in fact, he’s so awesome there wouldn’t be a YouTern without him (and he might have written this bio himself). In his spare time, Dave volunteers, rescuing and rehabilitating sea lions and baby elephant seals.

How to Ask Your Boss for a Promotion

bigstock-job-interview-isolated-on-whi-10384142-300x199

Asking for a promotion is a terrifying, nerve-wracking experience that everyone should do at least once in their career.

The mere thought of approaching an intimidating boss and asking them to give you more responsibility is enough to give any person goosebumps.

“What if my boss says no?”

“What if my boss fires me for asking?”

“What if my boss thinks less of me for asking?”

What if? What if? What if? You can think about hypothetical scenarios until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll never know what will really happen until you actually do it.

When you finally do gather the courage to take the next step, here are some helpful tips about asking your boss for a promotion:

Asking for a promotion is a terrifying, nerve-wracking experience that everyone should do at least once in their career.

The mere thought of approaching an intimidating boss and asking them to give you more responsibility is enough to give any person goosebumps.

“What if my boss says no?”

“What if my boss fires me for asking?”

“What if my boss thinks less of me for asking?”

What if? What if? What if? You can think about hypothetical scenarios until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll never know what will really happen until you actually do it.

When you finally do gather the courage to take the next step, here are some helpful tips about asking your boss for a promotion:

Be Knowledgable

You can’t build the nerve to ask your boss for a promotion and then walk into their office without a plan — if you want a better job, you have to prove you’re ready to take it on.

Do some research on the job you’re looking to get and tell your boss why you think you’d be a better asset in that position. Know your previous accomplishments and the contributions you’ve made to better the company up until this point, and show you’ve done work that has gone beyond the tasks of your current position. Giving examples of how, in your current position, you’ve demonstrated the skills needed for the job you’re trying to be promoted to is a fantastic way to show your boss you’re the right person for the promotion.

And even though you shouldn’t be talking about negotiating salary until after you get offered the job, you should still research the pay you’re looking to get from websites such as Salary.com, lest the conversation should turn to that and you’re totally unprepared.

Set Up The Meeting Ahead Of Time

Many businesses have annual performance reviews where employees have the chance to talk about their future with the company, but if your company doesn’t offer one or you want to ask before that time comes, it’s best to set up a meeting with your boss in advance rather than ask them the question on a whim.

Setting up the meeting beforehand not only lets your boss properly prepare to talk with you about future opportunities, but also it shows you still respect their authority enough to not just barge in and blindside them.

When you do set up the meeting, either through your boss’ assistant or directly, make sure you’re transparent in your intentions so as not to catch them off guard — tell them you want to meet with them to discuss your role and potential with the company, or something along those lines.

Follow-Up

Even though you see your boss every day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still follow-up with her after the meeting. Treat your consideration for promotion just like any other job you have to interview for.

If you don’t get the promotion, tell your boss you’re still interested in the position, and ask if they have any advice for you. Make sure you don’t burn any bridges; in fact, use this opportunity to reinforce the ones you’ve already built. Now that you’ve shown initiative, your boss may be more inclined to give you more responsibility.

It may have just been you weren’t in their eyesight before, but now that they know you’re serious about progressing in the company, they’ll take more notice

Be Knowledgable

You can’t build the nerve to ask your boss for a promotion and then walk into their office without a plan — if you want a better job, you have to prove you’re ready to take it on.

Do some research on the job you’re looking to get and tell your boss why you think you’d be a better asset in that position. Know your previous accomplishments and the contributions you’ve made to better the company up until this point, and show you’ve done work that has gone beyond the tasks of your current position. Giving examples of how, in your current position, you’ve demonstrated the skills needed for the job you’re trying to be promoted to is a fantastic way to show your boss you’re the right person for the promotion.

And even though you shouldn’t be talking about negotiating salary until after you get offered the job, you should still research the pay you’re looking to get from websites such as Salary.com, lest the conversation should turn to that and you’re totally unprepared.

Set Up The Meeting Ahead Of Time

Many businesses have annual performance reviews where employees have the chance to talk about their future with the company, but if your company doesn’t offer one or you want to ask before that time comes, it’s best to set up a meeting with your boss in advance rather than ask them the question on a whim.

Setting up the meeting beforehand not only lets your boss properly prepare to talk with you about future opportunities, but also it shows you still respect their authority enough to not just barge in and blindside them.

When you do set up the meeting, either through your boss’ assistant or directly, make sure you’re transparent in your intentions so as not to catch them off guard — tell them you want to meet with them to discuss your role and potential with the company, or something along those lines.

Follow-Up

Even though you see your boss every day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still follow-up with her after the meeting. Treat your consideration for promotion just like any other job you have to interview for.

If you don’t get the promotion, tell your boss you’re still interested in the position, and ask if they have any advice for you. Make sure you don’t burn any bridges; in fact, use this opportunity to reinforce the ones you’ve already built. Now that you’ve shown initiative, your boss may be more inclined to give you more responsibility.

It may have just been you weren’t in their eyesight before, but now that they know you’re serious about progressing in the company, they’ll take more notice of your performance and consider you early on for the next promotion.

What tips do you recommend when asking your boss for a promotion?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

3 Ways to Build Your Career Path

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

As you continue to move forward in your career, it is important to take a step back and look at the “big picture.” With 70 percent of U.S. workers emotionally disconnected from their workplace, keeping your eye on what you want in your career can help keep you on track and outside of that statistic.

Whether you’re looking at what next steps to take within your company, or within your industry, it is important to think about what you’re working toward — doing what you love to do and what you’re good at doing.

Here are some ways to make sure your career path is headed in the right direction:

Identify and cater to your natural talents

Your natural talents are the positive traits that you are born with. As opposed to your strengths, which are skills that you build up overtime, your talents are things you do often — most of the time without even being aware of it.

For this reason, it can be tricky to determine what your natural talents are. Take a day or two and pay close attention to what you do. Note what seems to come more naturally versus the things that you tend to struggle with or don’t enjoy as much. There are also courses available that can help you to uncover your natural talents.

Once you’ve identified your natural talents, use that knowledge to find ways to cater to those talents in your career path. Whether it is at your current job or networking at events, show off your talents and demonstrate to others your capabilities. If you start to focus on fostering these natural talents, your career path will naturally progress in a positive direction.

Never stop looking for outside inspiration

As you progress in your career, you will undoubtedly meet plenty of people, read a lot of articles, and attend a number of industry events. For those individuals that leave an impression on you, do not lose touch with them — consider making them a mentor. For those articles that inspire you, bookmark them, share them, and integrate them into your daily life. For those events that leave you inspired to do so much more within your industry and job, continue attending and find other events like it. 

Inspiration is an important part of any successful career — it’s what motivates you to go above and beyond your job description. In the end, your career is not about the quantitative, but qualitative. It is about the quality relationships you build, the people that inspire you, and the actions that you learn from. The things that inspire you most will guide your career path in a less noticeable but very impactful way.

Take a look at where you are right now

Take a moment to step back and look at your current professional situation. Two important things you should ask yourself are: “Do the people I’m surrounded by everyday continually inspire me to be better?” and “Does the prospect of getting further in a career similar to what I’m in excite me?”

Moving ahead in your career is exciting, but remember to slow down now and then, take a step back, and see the big picture. Consider if you’re in a place that you enjoy spending your days and see a future in. If you’re doing what you love, and it is catering to your natural talents and strengths, it is likely you’re on the right path and it will naturally guide your career in the right direction.

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

 

3 Interview Myths

112156723

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images.

When it comes to the job search process, job seekers often have false impressions about how things work.  The interview is no exception, and understanding a few common misconceptions about the process can help you do a much better job – and hopefully put your mind at ease!  Read on for 3 big interview myths:

The Most Qualified Candidate Gets the Job

Okay, this is untrue for a myriad of reasons, with jobs going to individuals who know people on the inside, to those who simply reach out at the right time, and so on.  Bear this in mind during your interview, because it’s important to understand that you need to be professional, personable, and on your A Game at all times.  You can be the most fabulous job candidate on paper and in reality, but if you don’t bring confidence to the table, the job could go to someone who had better people skills and impressed the interviewer.  Conversely, if you know your resume may be lacking in certain areas, make up for it by giving a winning interview.

The Interviewer is Prepared for…the Interview

There are several reasons why an interviewer may not be prepared for an interview.  For example, this could be their first time interviewing a candidate and they may be nervous.  Or they could be bogged down with extra work – perhaps the reason they are hiring someone in the first place – and so they haven’t devoted proper time to preparing for the interview.  Thus, the more prepared you are, the easier the interview is for everyone, and the better impression you create.  Decide what you want to tell the interviewer beforehand, and do your best to find ways to mention your past achievements and what you can bring to the table.

The Interviewer will Ask All the Necessary Questions

Again, the person interviewing you might be distracted and might miss some important points. Or you might be speaking with a hiring manager who doesn’t know as much about the job as the person you will be working for, so the interviewer may not ask all the appropriate questions.  Thus, it is your job to bring up skills and qualifications you have that are specifically pertinent to the job, so that the person interviewing you can report these back to the individual who makes the final decision.  If they are the person who makes the final call, make the choice easier for them by addressing every aspect of the job description in a way that paints you as the perfect candidate.  There may be things that you want to bring up that the interviewer never asks about – if this is the case, don’t brush them aside.  Find ways to work these points into the conversation.

Interviews can be nerve-racking for individuals on both sides of the table.  And at the end of the day, an interviewer is just another human being.  If you can enter the conversation confident, prepared, and personable, you’re sure to impress.

Unemployed? 7 Ways to Improve Your Resume

resumeunemployment

If you’re unemployed and worried about dust collecting on your resume, there’s no need to panic.

According to CareerBuilder, 85 percent of employers said they’re more understanding about post-recession employment gaps. Whether it’s been six weeks or six months since your last job, it’s important not to stress about the space in your resume. There are endless opportunities to help you fill in any gaps due to unemployment — you just have to know where to look.

But keep in mind that just because employers are more understanding about unemployment doesn’t mean you automatically receive a free pass. It’s up to you to be proactive during your unemployment to gain experience and improve your skills. If you want to quickly land a job, it’s essential to develop your skills and gain experience to compensate for the time you had off from work.

If you’re unemployed and want to strengthen your resume, here are some tips to help you fill in the gaps:

1. Take a class or attend a workshop.

One thing job seekers don’t realize is that their career is more than just having a job — it’s about being a lifelong learner, too. If you’re looking to brush up on your skills or learn a new skill that’s in-demand, this is a great time to take advantage of the opportunity to enroll in a class or workshop. Your skills require constant development as you advance in your career. As you search for classes and workshops, try to enroll in those which will provide you with the most up-to-date training. This will be a sure-fire way to catch the attention of employers by adding an in-demand skill to your resume. Plus, you’ll be able to keep your skills fresh so that when you return to work, it doesn’t feel like you missed a beat.

2. Consider freelance or contract work.

There’s no better way to improve your resume than gaining tangible experience. Freelance and contract work is a great opportunity; you can build your resume and earn a little income at the same time. According to a survey by Intuit, more than 40 percent of the workforce will be freelancing by 2020. Whether you choose to use freelancing or contract work to fill in the gaps, it’s a great way to utilize your time as you figure out your career path. Employers will also be impressed that you took the initiative to continue gaining experience during your unemployment.

3. Polish up your personal brand.

While you’ll be spending the majority of your unemployment searching for jobs, you also need to make sure your online presence is a reflection of your resume. Whether you spend time learning new skills, taking classes, or freelancing, find opportunities to boost your resume and personal brand. Sometimes, it can be difficult to stay motivated when labeled as “unemployed.” But if you take the time to ensure your online presence is consistent with your resume, you’ll be more likely to get yourself noticed by employers.

4. Volunteer.

Another powerful way to strengthen your resume is to do volunteer work. Never underestimate the power of volunteering — it gives you the opportunity to learn new skills, gain accomplishment stories, and give back to your community. When employers see volunteer experience on a resume, it tells them a candidate is compassionate, driven, and enthusiastic. As you gain volunteer experience, take note of your accomplishments and responsibilities. This will help you quantify the experience section on your resume and give employers a chance to see how you can make a difference.

5. Make industry connections.

Believe it or not, networking can be a great way to help you improve your resume during unemployment. Research shows that 40 percent of job seekerscredited a referral for their current jobs. Not only will you make connections that could lead to jobs, but you can also connect with professionals who could serve as a mentor. It’s always a good to have a friend or colleague who can review your resume and give you some pointers. This is especially true if you can make a connection with someone in your field — they can provide accurate advice on improving your resume to make you irresistible to employers.

6. Start a business.

If you really want to strengthen your skill set, consider opening your own business. Although starting a business is a fairly large commitment and investment, it will definitely pay off during your unemployment. Starting a business demonstrates leadership and initiative, which are two soft skills employers strongly desire. Not only will you gain experience, but you’ll also learn the skills that come along with opening a business.

7. Focus on your career goals.

When facing unemployment, it can be easy to lose sight of your career goals. Whether you’ve used unemployment to pursue other goals, or you’ve become discouraged about your career path, your career goals need to be at the forefront of your job search. It will help you know where to look for jobs, and most importantly, find new opportunities to update your resume. For example, think of a goal you’ve always wanted to accomplish, but couldn’t because you were working full-time. Take this opportunity to learn a skill you’ve never had the time to learn. By doing this, you’ll be able to accomplish your goals while adding another line to your resume.

Gaining experience and keeping your skills fresh during unemployment doesn’t have to be stressful or daunting. Just remember to focus on your goals, the skills and experience you have to offer, and improving your personal brand. This way, you’ll be able to fill in the gaps on your resume and impress an employer’s socks off when you apply for a job.

What tips do you have for improving your resume during unemployment?

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

10 “Lies” You Should Tell in a Job Interview

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

Hiring Managers ask interview questions that are designed to give them reasons not to hire job candidates. These trap questions are meant to expose any problems you’ve had in your professional career. For trap questions, sometimes answering honestly is the wrong answer.

For example: If you’re asked about why you’re looking for a new opportunity and the reason is your boss is a total jerk (see #4), it’s not going to be in your best interest to tell that to the hiring manager or the potential boss sitting across from you. The Hiring Manager is trying to determine if you’re smart enough to lie.

Here are ten statements where you might do better stretching the truth in your next interview.

1. Every job you ever had was great.

What you’re really telling the hiring manager or recruiter is that you are a positive person. We’ve all had jobs we disliked, but it’s not a good idea to talk about it. Hiring Managers will think if you hated your last job, you might hate this one. Have at least one positive thing to say about every job on your resume.

2. Every project you’ve ever worked on was successful.

Hiring Managers don’t want to hear about your failures. Since we’ve all failed at some point, the key is to talk about your successes, and spin your failures to sound like successes. If you can’t frame a failure as a success, don’t talk about it at all.

3. You’ve done this type of work before.

Hiring managers don’t want “quick learners,” they want “experienced professionals” who don’t need training. Figure out ways to make your past experience sound like what the job requires. The more examples you can give of being experienced in what the job requires, the more likely you will look like a strong candidate for the position.

4. Your last boss was brilliant.

Your relationship with your last boss predicts your relationship with your next one. Don’t tell the hiring manager what an incompetent idiot your previous boss was. Instead, tell your interviewer your last boss was great, taught you valuable skills, and was an inspirational leader, no matter how big of a lie it is. It may hurt to glorify someone you hated who doesn’t deserve it, but it’s in your best interest, and doesn’t actually help your old boss at all anyway.

5. You’re currently working.

Hiring managers think in terms of supply and demand of candidates. If you’re employed, you’re in demand, and if not, there might be a reason. If you are unemployed, there are ways to fudge it. The easiest is to “self-employ,” either by labeling yourself as a self-employed “consultant,” or a new entrepreneur building your own business. Another technique is to volunteer at a not-for-profit, and list this position on your resume. You can also say you’re currently going back to school to get a better degree, but need to put it on hold and go back to work for financial reasons. The key is not to sound like your are doing nothing.

6. You love to work late.

What you’re really saying is you’ll work late if the company needs you to. If they ask why, say that “if you have to work late, then it’s a really important assignment, and it makes you feel good to know you can contribute more when it’s important for the company.” Employers don’t want someone who sprints for the door at 5pm, and refuses or resists working overtime when the situation demands it.

7. Every co-worker was great.

You’ve never had a single interpersonal problem with a coworker, not one fight, ever. Of course we all have, and the hiring manager knows it. The candidate who talks about past interpersonal problems, or even worse uses them as excuses, is the wrong candidate. Once again, past problems predict future problems in the eyes of a hiring manager.

8. You learned a lot in college.

More specifically, you’ve learned a lot that has prepared you for this exact job. Be prepared to cite the classes and skills you picked up which relate to the job requirements. Don’t invent classes or fake your degree, but show that what you’ve learned in college has prepared you for this role.

9. You almost never get sick.

We all get sick occasionally, but if asked, tell the hiring manager that you’re the type of person who leads a healthy lifestyle, and rarely calls in sick. Even though hiring managers aren’t really supposed to ask about this, some do, especially if you’re an older worker, or show signs of being unhealthy. Whatever you do, never discuss any past medical issues, unless absolutely necessary.

10. You have no personal problems.

We all have problems, but the key is not to discuss them in a job interview. Key examples are financial problems, family problems, and especially legal problems. Personal problems have the potential to affect a job candidate’s work life, and hiring managers are keen to avoid hiring people who have them.

 

5 Job Search Tactics You Need To Stop

freedigitalphotos.net

Ever had a really great interview or found a job posting that seemed like an absolute perfect match? Then, after landing the interview, you may figured you were a shoe-in for the position. So you sat back and waited for the offer letter to come through.

But nothing ever came.

There are currently 6.7 million job seekers in the U.S. and, although job prospects are getting better, the reality remains that there are still a number of qualified candidates looking for jobs in a limited job market. The position you were perfect for likely had at least 20 other perfect candidates apply for the job as well. The bottom line? In order to be successful in your job search, you just can’t afford any slip-ups.

So, if you want to land your next job, stop taking part in these job search tactics immediately:

Proceed your job search based on fear

If you’re looking for your first job out of college, or a job to replace one you just lost, it can be very easy to go into panic mode. Although unemployment numbers have steadied recently, when you’re looking for a job, each hour you don’t hear back from a promising lead can feel like an eternity.

As you’re waiting for ‘eternity’ to end, it’s easy to begin to panic. Your body immediately goes into survival mode and you experience the “flight or fight” impulse. This stops you from thinking objectively and leads to more rash decisions and bad job search outcomes.

What you should do: If you realize you’ve started to enter panic mode, take a breath, close your eyes, clear your mind, and get your focus back on what you started out doing: landing a job. Next, update your resume and cater it to the positions you are applying. Then, utilize all the available job search options, including checking on your network through LinkedIn. If you see one of your connections works at a company that you’re applying to, ask them if they can make an introduction. This will significantly increase your chances of getting the interview.

Once you are armed with knowledge, a support system and the appropriate materials to market yourself to potential employers, your “fight or flight” impulse will subside. With this knowledge and preparation, you can overcome the fear and get hired.

Skip the follow-up

You were not only able to get your foot in the door, but you also nailed the interview. Good for you. Now what? While it is a huge deal to get your foot in the door and have a great interview, this isn’t where the job “courting” process stops. Following up not only shows you are truly interested in the position, but it also shows you have the ability to follow through with work.

What you should do: You need to continue to show your enthusiasm for the position by immediately sending a handwritten thank you note (yes, these still exist!) after the interview. You should also send a more thorough follow-up email to include memorable parts of the conversation, reasons you’re excited to work for the company, or areas where you think you would create value within the position after having heard more about it.

If you’re wondering whether it’s really necessary to send two follow-up notes, it is good to consider the industry in which you are applying. According to a CareerBuilder survey, the bulk of IT hiring managers say they prefer email thank you notes more than any other industry surveyed, while the majority of those in the financial services say it’s not preferred, but still okay.

Perhaps you could consider trying something creative if it is makes sense. For instance, tie in your thank you note with an article that pertains to a conversation you had during your interview. This will show you were really paying attention and you are up-to-date on what’s happening in the industry, without feeling too pushy or invasive.

Display a poor or negative online presence

With social networking sites at our fingertips 24/7, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain the professional/personal line online. However, make no mistake about it: employers will look at your social presence. And if you aren’t representing yourself professionally online, how can you expect them to trust you to represent their company? You can bet inappropriate comments, postings, and conversations online will be a detriment to landing a job.

What you should do: Even before you begin the application process, you need to check your online image. Do a quick Google search of your name and see what comes up. Make sure you are not associated with anything that may make the organization question your professionalism or ability to perform. If there are undesirable images, conversations, or things you are tagged in, take them down or turn them to private.

Moving forward, always err on the side of caution. If you really want to post photos from the fun weekend you had, dedicate one channel to sharing those types of things and then set your profile to private so only your close friends can see them.

Once you’ve cleaned up your channels, include the social media links on your resume or portfolio you want the employer to check out. This way the interviewer knows where to look and you can be sure they don’t find the wrong person. This way you can use your savvy social media knowledge and positive online presence to your advantage.

Provide unreliable references

While it can be very powerful to provide references, this can also be a detriment to one of the final steps in getting the job. Ensure your references are going to be able to speak highly of you and reflect on some of your biggest accomplishments. If you include people who can’t speak to your work experience, they should be able to describe your character.

If your references can’t do any of these things, they could actually hurt your chances of getting the job. Keep in mind the employer is taking time to call each of the contacts you’ve provided to them. If they do this and they are ultimately left with no satisfying impressions of your skills and character, it can be very frustrating.

What you should do: Always tell your references they could be contacted by a potential employer on your behalf and explain what position and company it will be in regards to. When you’re talking to them, discuss some of the accomplishments or points you highlighted in the interview or on your resume and let them know a little about the organization. This will help your references be prepared no matter what the organization asks them and these professional and personal connections will reflect very positively on you.

Use out of date techniques on your cover letter

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am a job candidate desperately trying to land a job with your company, and based on my stellar research skills and obvious commitment to the company (after all, I found your name…oh wait…), I believe I would be a great fit for the position.

Ok, this may be a bit excessive, but if you turn in a cover letter not addressed to anyone, not only are you displaying your lack of understanding of the times by including “Sir and Madam,” but you are also showing you aren’t able or willing to take the time to actually find the hiring manager’s name. In today’s world, finding a name is usually fairly simple, so if you aren’t willing to do that, what else might you not be willing to do once employed?

What you should do: Stay away from “old-school” cover letter language and ambiguity. If you can’t come up with a name for the letter through an online search, pick up the phone and call the organization and ask for the name of the hiring manager. Once you know the name of the person, you can also customize the letter slightly to highlight some things you might have in common with them, including your alma mater, hobbies, or previous employers.

If this sounds like a little too much work and you’re considering ditching the cover letter altogether, think twice. According to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, “employers not only expect thank you notes, but cover letters as well. Approximately one-third of hiring managers say a lack of cover letter will likely result in them not considering a candidate for their open position.” So, you’re welcome to submit your resume without your cover letter…and watch it be lobbed into the black hole of resume submissions.

Blindly apply to job postings

With thousands of job postings listed across hundreds of career sites, it is tempting to spend a few hours posting your resume to anything with a few keyword matches and call it a day. The problem is this eventually becomes a big waste of your time. When you begin submitting that many resumes, keeping up with all the companies you applied to — maybe multiple positions within the same company — can be very difficult to keep straight. And how are you supposed to truly know the requirements of each job?

What you should do: Finding a job is very similar to dating. You need to take the time to get to know the organization, the hiring manager, and the requirements of the position. Do your research: check out the company’s website, do a general Google search of the company, and take a look at the employees on LinkedIn.

Then, ask yourself things like, “do I want the same things they do?” or “will their culture suit my preferences?” Quality over quantity in this case will give you a much better chance to get to the finish line. And the fact of the matter is that they aren’t going to hire you without doing thorough research on their end, so why should you accept the position without doing yours?

What other job search tactics have you tried or observed that should be formally put to rest?

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president ofCome Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice fornumerous outlets.