6 Great Tips to Landing an Interview

 

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The emphasis for most job seekers is on how to clearly communicate strengths to the potential employer.  While that is critical, the way in which you focus on skills, experiences, and talents has to appeal to the needs of the hiring manager and corporation in order to get an interview.  One of the most productive strategies to facilitate this “match” between you and the company is to do a little background research.

1) Research the Company

Use the Internet and local resources to find out all you can about the organization.  Most communities have a business section of the newspaper or perhaps a separate publication. The Chamber of Commerce may also have company profiles.  It’s not just major corporations you want to investigate; it can also be helpful to analyze changes among small, local businesses.  Which ones may be expanding? Which ones are on the decline?  Target your energy toward those most likely to render positive results.

2) Local Networking

Expand your research to look for networking opportunities.  Most papers continue to have local news about social events and the “movers and shakers” in attendance.  Perhaps there are some opportunities for you to become involved in the same organizations and meet these individuals outside the office.  Most sources still report that networking continues to be a job-seeker’s strongest key to opening employment doors.

3) Cold-Calling

Okay, you’ve identified the best potential prospects within your target market.  Now, you must get ready to start calling.  Be organized. Rank your contact list from those companies that are most appealing to those that are least interesting.  Include phone numbers, email, snail mail, and the identified contact person.  Set it up like a log so you can keep notes about conversations, such as the day you called, the outcome, and any follow-up plan.  You don’t want to appear disorganized by calling the same person within a couple of weeks!

Prepare a script for phone calls, including your selling points, but more specifically, have responses ready for potential objections. That’s the beauty of phones – no one can see you’re referring to your notes.

Typical examples of objections include:

“I’m very busy” or “We’re not hiring”…

I understand, however, in researching your organization, I feel I can positively impact your bottom line perhaps without the investment of a salaried position, at least at the outset.  May I send a proposal?

“You need to talk to HR”…

Whom should I contact? I’m happy to provide a resume and an outline of my proposals to improve sales or maximize employee productivity to keep on file.

4) Dropping by

Take a resume and a brief bio of your highlights that align most closely with the organization’s current mission.  Here is where your research pays off.  Brainstorming about potential special projects or ways your unique skill set can benefit the company’s new direction can set you apart.  This approach is an expansion of old ideas about cover letters – showing the company you have gone beyond just “doing your homework” to actually envisioning yourself within their corporate mission.  Companies typically need people with vision and initiative, and they will take notice.

Don’t try to make an impression by leaving your glossy 8×10 headshot, using fancy fonts, and colored paper.  Take a professional approach. Attach your business card and make certain you use your best contact information – which means staying away from anything related to a current place of employment or an informal email address.  Include your bio or project proposals.

5) What is your brand?

Think of yourself as a product. What are you trying to “sell” to the employer? What is it about your “brand” that can optimize the company’s bottom line?  These are points to emphasize in any brief contact you have with the organization.  This can be the brief bio you provide, a voice mail, or an email message, all of which should contain a consistent message about strengths, skills, or that special project you are offering. This is not a time to be secretive, coy, or too concerned about proprietary rights.  If you have a great idea and the company actually usurps it, you have dated documentation of when you provided this to the company.  In that event, you have a very different scenario on your hands.  What you want to focus on is your initiative and willingness to be a team player even before you become a part of the team.  Hopefully, you can lessen the odds of any negative outcome by conducting thorough research that includes some information about the company’s ethics, relationships with staff, and orientation toward innovation and intellectual property.

6) Stay Positive

Keeping up your energy level and a positive attitude are important aspects of your job search, though a bit less tangible.  Be aware of the energy you project when you enter a room.  Even though it can be easy to slip into the doldrums if you have not been able to achieve the results you want as quickly as you would like, it is critical that you maintain a positive attitude.  Perhaps doing research about the company has energized you about new possibilities.  Remember to keep up your exercise program, leisure activities, and friendships for rejuvenation.

Your positive attitude is the strongest asset you can display to potential employers.  If contacts at your target organizations remember their interactions with you in a positive way, you are more likely to get a return call.  Do your research and put your plan in motion to get that interview!

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Author: Alesia Benedic

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7 Strategies to Showcase Your Unique Value to Employers

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Although the job market is opening up a bit, it remains very competitive. In a tight job market, only the most unique individuals stand out. The first strategy to help separate yourself from the pack is a resume update, even if your resume is only a few years old. Attract positive interest by revamping your resume with the following tips to showcase your value to employers.

1. Replace the tired objective statement with a value outline.

A value statement is the optimal opening for your resume. It is a professional summary that outlines how you can bring value to the company. Gather all your best points in this “introduction.” It is your first impression to hiring managers. Be certain to use current terminology as well as traditional skills of value to employers, such as increasing profits, building productive teams, or streamlining operations to reduce costs. Although the value outline will not include a specific objective, the areas highlighted communicate your career goals and personal brand to the reader.

2. Re-evaluate work experience in your resume.

Remove work experiences more than 10 to 15 years old. In addition, experience that focuses only on basic technical skills, such as MS Office Suite, adds little value to any resume. Regardless of the final length of your resume, space is limited. Replace any older work experiences with more recent and relevant entries targeted at your specific career goal. These unique offerings will set you apart from the competition.

3. Use current keywords.

Keywords trigger interest in your resume for hiring managers and prospective employers, spurring them to pluck your resume out of the pile. The initial screening process has also been automated by many employers and jobsites with search tools, so if you don’t have the best keywords, your resume may not ever be seen by human eyes!  Of course every industry has its own set of keywords, but typical examples may include such phrases as business intelligence, global branding, or compliance audits.

4. Emphasize your personal brand.

Borrowing the marketing industry’s branding approach is another important tool in communicating your unique value to potential employers. Brainstorm the top 5 ways in which you have excelled during your career. Compare those skills to current needs and trends in your field. If your skills do not parallel current professional needs, you may need to pursue training to strengthen your personal brand and subsequent appeal to employers. The ideal personal brand can float your resume to the top of the “to-call” list by highlighting your unique value.

5. Research prospective employers thoroughly.

To increase the effectiveness of your resume and showcase your value, your resume must show how your skills and experiences not only add value to the potential employer, but also how you can help them accomplish their next “Big Initiative.” Use the Internet and explore business pages to discover important projects and align your experience accordingly.

6. Be ready to give specifics about past accomplishments.

Include statistics in your descriptions of past achievements. How did you help your employer reach quantifiable goals? As you prepare your resume, create effective summaries of your successes. Think of the process as telling a brief story, including the problem, your part in the solution, and the outstanding outcome. Using a storytelling approach helps you minimize jargon and display your ability to communicate complex subjects to any audience.

7. Streamline your resume.

Use bullet points to showcase accomplishments and special achievements. Organizing your resume by pulling out points of emphasis makes it easier to scan quickly for important skills and experiences that provide the details to support your value and personal brand. You may use a separate bullet point for each special project that highlights a different skill, cost-saving outcome, or profit-generating strategy.

Overall, avoid being too wordy or too focused on details that don’t emphasize your value to the employer. Make the most of your resume by carefully selecting those keywords and accomplishments that consistently highlight the value outlined in your initial summary. Your resume will be more effective and will help the reader remember the unique personal brand that sets you apart from the competition in a tight job market. Showcase your value to move toward that new job!

By Alesia Benedict

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Impress Hiring Managers by Showcasing Your Strengths

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Database Intern, San Francisco, CA
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Competition for job openings continues to be fierce. But you can set yourself apart by smartly displaying your strengths, specialized training, and accomplishments to beat out the competition! Use the ideas below to develop your plan to showcase your strengths.

Flaunt Professional Development Activities

Perhaps you aced the latest company training session, or sought out additional educational activities on your own. Maybe a graduate project translated into thousands in savings or local exposure for the company. Flaunt those accomplishments in your resume and cover letter to set yourself apart from other candidates who lack such initiative.

Highlight Certifications

Certifications, licensure, and train-the-trainer experiences are uncommon accomplishments typically reserved for high-performance staff. Simply listing certifications and licensure raises your background above the competition because the additional effort required to achieve professional standards is well known and is recognized as well beyond most candidates. Likewise, being singled out to train trainers is another example of high-level performance.

Review Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Customer satisfaction ratings are gathered in many different fields, from sales to healthcare. Course and training evaluations are another form of customer satisfaction surveys. If your company doesn’t use any kind of satisfaction ratings, look at this measurement from the opposite side – reduction of consumer complaints. Outstanding customer service across internal and external divisions is a highly valued skill.

Applaud Your Own Accomplishments

Review your experience in terms of traditional achievements such as exceeding quotas, but also highlight teamwork awards and yes, even employee-of-the-month kudos! The key is to include details about your performance that set the foundation for those awards, presenting accomplishments in terms of value for the employer. For example, what did you do that others did not? What happened as a result of your performance, idea, or strong customer relationships? List positive outcomes across all levels, for example:

    · Increased morale

    · Higher profit margins

    · Streamlined procedures

    · Fewer absentee days

Outline Technological Innovations

Did you re-vamp a website to increase traffic and sales? How about automating manual records with a spreadsheet program? You may consider these routine activities, but such accomplishments definitely distinguish you from the crowd!

Explain Team Contributions

Did you make the boss look good? In what ways did you anticipate a change that allowed your manager to come out on top? What projects, programs, or initiatives did you manage? What trends did you forecast? In what collaborative projects did you participate? Examples may include:

    · Spearheading highest earning United Way Campaign in company history

    · Garnering community support for employee recognition event

    · Identifying new B2B partnerships

Show Your Career Progression

Do your resume, LinkedIn profile, and personal website tell the story of increasing responsibility throughout varied positions? Think of your business card and resume as promotional pieces for your personal brand. What do these say about you? Do they invite the reader to engage with you and learn more about your career progression?

Avoid Negative Distinction

Even though distinguishing yourself from the tight competition is a plus, you also have to be conscious of how you will be perceived. You don’t want to set yourself apart in a negative way. Photos of yourself, brightly colored paper, and unusual or colored fonts are all examples of how you may damage your personal image rather than strengthen it.

Think about the image you want to present to impress hiring managers and showcase your strengths. All the aspects discussed above contribute to the employer’s first impression of you. When that impression is positive, they absolutely want to learn more about you. A polished resume will stop the hiring manager from sifting through the endless pile of candidates and get them to call you! Showcase your accomplishments and distinguish yourself from the competition to impress hiring managers and land that new job.

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Establish Personal Brand for Job Search Success!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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Many job seekers attempt to use a functional format to emphasize specific skills or to cover up problems with the resume, such as job gaps, brief employment periods, or multiple jobs in a short time period. Or you may be trying to brand yourself, in modern terms, with the functional approach. Personal branding is a great idea, but be aware, the functional resume is not the way to create your brand.

Even though branding is a popular marketing concept for corporations, the transition to personal branding isn’t always as easy to establish. Brainstorm for a minute. Think of a professional you admire, whether someone in the media or in your own company. Analyze what makes their brand so easily identifiable. Now apply that analysis to your career. How do others consistently describe you? What is your specialty niche?

Identify Basic Skills

Make a list of your unique skills, training, or professional experiences to start. Review your career progression to tease out all the basic skills that align with the types of positions you are seeking. These skills form the foundation of your qualifications for positions and most likely equate with the “responsibilities” section in a job posting. These basic skills may not define your passion or your brand, but are important in helping you qualify for a position.

Categorize Unique Talents and Experiences

Next, match skill sets with your current career goals. Do you want to relocate abroad for your career? Mine your job history for global or international experience. Even if you did not travel, you might still have amassed experience in the international arena. Did you have sales accounts in Mexico or Canada? What about Pacific Rim accounts? Have you assisted in business development on the ground? Did you locate factories or suppliers overseas? These unique experiences can help you formulate your brand.

LinkedIn (Branding Profile)

LinkedIn is a great place to begin establishing your personal brand. The profile has specific sections regarding your education, key experiences, and areas of professional emphasis. Think about how you want to use this professional site. Are you trying to connect with others? Gain referrals? Get a job? The goals you have for the use of this professional networking site will reflect your emerging personal brand.

Join Professional Organizations that Mirror Your Desired Direction

Another important resource for broadcasting your brand is professional organizations. Research those organizations that align with your current career goals. You may need to conduct a broad search, such as “business development professional organization,” to discover new groups. Many professional organizations have useful member sections online to post your career interests or job search goals. These resources are a great way to solidify your personal brand.

Branding Strategies in Your Resume

Finally, consider how you will present your personal brand in a resume. Remember, the functional format may seem like the logical way to present a consistent brand, but most hiring managers prefer a chronological approach. In addition, the functional resume can be confusing to readers as they try to place your accomplishments with different companies or create a time frame of your work experience. The chronological approach provides a history of how your personal brand has become more defined over the last 10 to 15 years. A chronological approach is straightforward and provides a clear sense of what you have been doing professionally, an important component of your brand. You don’t want to raise questions in the mind of the reader about potential employment gaps, which is often the case with a functional format. Your personal brand will be clearly highlighted in a work history that describes your career progression in terms of skills and increasing levels of responsibility.

Establishing a personal brand requires complex planning and a clear direction just like any successful marketing campaign! Identify your strengths and align those with your goals for effective personal branding. Then spread the word and watch the opportunities grow!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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Doostang News November 15: How Social Networking Sites Can Help You Land Your Next Job

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You’re likely aware of the necessary precautions to take when posting certain information to your Facebook or Twitter profile.  After all, a scandalous picture or status update can doom your chances of bagging a respectable job, especially as more and more hiring managers take to social networking sites to screen prospective employees.  Even though these platforms started out as tools for the youth to connect and share information, they’re slowly starting to lose their youthful flavor.  In fact, social networking is one of the most effective ways to find and land a job these days, and here’s why:

Connect with Relevant People

The open nature of online networking gives you access to a multitude of people you wouldn’t have had the ability to contact otherwise – people who may just hold the keys to your future.  After a little bit of research to determine who the hiring managers and other key figures are, you can then track these people down on websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.  It’s not unusual to reach out to people you don’t know on a social networking site, especially if you introduce yourself in an appropriate manner.  If you don’t have a friend in common that can make the introduction for you, start off with an initial dialogue that explains who you are and what you’re looking for.  It’s best if you can offer something that the other person might need, like an article relevant to their interests or an introduction to someone they might like to get to know – after all, social networking sites are all about sharing information and connecting with people, so they’re liable to appreciate the gesture.  Establish a good rapport with your contact first, and then go ahead and ask about available positions; if there aren’t any, stay tuned, because hiring managers often turn to their networks with opportunities before posting them on job boards.  Moreover, a human connection will be more likely to ensure that your application is actually seen by someone, instead of disappearing into the digital vortex that is online resume submission.

Build Your Personal Brand

No matter what a search result yields when you enter your name, it’s nice to have control over this content.  So another way to use social media to your advantage is to become an avid producer of content that is helpful to others.  Doing so conveys that you are current, involved, and in the know.  You may find that others approach you with opportunities once you gather a following on a blog or various social networking sites; alternatively, you can use this content to supplement your job applications.  You can also use this material as a conversation starter, reaching out to others with articles you have written that they might find interesting.

Be an Active Community Member

Take advantage of the enormous Twitter community and start reaching out to people and having conversations.  Twitter allows you to communicate and share information with everyone from your neighbor to Lady Gaga, so sign up today and start conversing with key players in your target industry.  Once you become embedded in the community, you can also reach out to followers who now know and trust you, and seek out opportunities.

Get “Linked In”

Many individuals spend hours crafting the perfect Facebook profile, but stop short when it comes to filling out a page on LinkedIn.  However, it’s important to take the time to upload your resume, gather references if you can, and connect with as many people as possible.  Since the premise of the website is to establish an online professional network, you won’t seem awkward or boring when you reach out to people with career related matters.  Another feature you should take advantage of is LinkedIn groups – join the ones that are relevant to you and become an enthusiastic contributor.  The more involved you are, the more likely you are to stand out and garner opportunities that become available.

Networking is a crucial part of the job search, and online networking makes that process much easier.  Staying up to speed with various social networking sites is sure to make a world of difference in a job search, and is something every job seeker should pursue to some degree.

Stay connected,
The Doostang Team




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