Archive for July 2011
In an ever changing and highly competitive job market, staying relevant and focused on career planning has become crucial. Businesses are increasingly seeking employees who can add value to their operations.
Here are some of my top tips for staying relevant in an ever changing jobs market:
- Develop your key strengths: Identify and leverage your core competencies, for example your qualifications and other accreditations, work experience, expertise, talents and general interests.
- Self investment: To progress in any organisation and to give you an edge above others, upgrading and supplementing your existing skills and expertise is crucial.
- Knowledge is power: In a dynamic and ever changing world, it’s important to be in tune with the changing market. Keep up with industry news and trends by reading relevant publications (on and off-line), keeping in touch with key contacts and attending networking events. Social networking is also a good way to connect with your industry and learn up-to-the-minute news.
- Fill the gap: Identify your weaknesses and increase your worth by overcoming them through training and development.
- Nurturing relationship: In today’s networking age, fostering a good relationship with your colleagues helps to create a pleasant and efficient work environment. Furthermore, it will boost your career longevity in any organisation.
- Organisation goals: Identifying long term goals and objectives and fitting into succession planning will help you stay relevant within your firm.
Social networking sites are more popular than ever and are increasingly important tools for job seekers and employers alike. When you are looking for a job or positioning yourself for career growth, it is important to have an online presence where you can showcase your skills and experience. However, use your common sense and don’t let your social networking get you into trouble! Here are some of my top tips:
1) Create an online presence
Establishing a company website and/or LinkedIn profile is always a good start. Have you ever tried Googling yourself? Is the available information supportive of your professional image/reputation? Can your target audience access your profile?
Associate yourself with like-minded individuals or professional groups; this will help build your status in your industry. By joining industry forums you will also gain access to market updates and be able to exchange ideas with industry counterparts.
3) Be professional and consistent
Does your online identity correspond to your CV? What do your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and pictures say about you? What valuable connections could you make through these sites? Ensure you have applied the appropriate privacy settings to your profiles. You would not want your boss to see embarrassing photographs of you drunk the day before your annual review!
1) Post funny information on your profile
While it might be good for entertainment value, I would advise not putting random, useless information on your online profiles. For example, some real life LinkedIn examples include: ‘Winner at life’ and ‘Going to be unemployed’ as job titles, and “Common sense” as a specialty. Comments like these are certainly not going to get you very far.
2) Forget the fine print
Before posting those scandalous holiday pictures onto Facebook, you may want to consider the following:
“By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing.”
3) Forget to update
Always remember to update your profiles with any promotion, new qualifications or other important work-related milestones. These are always worth highlighting. But remember, no one needs to know your hangover status.
So, you’ve secured an interview for your dream job! How do you guarantee that you perform your best during the meeting?
Being selected to interview with a company is not a test. It is the opportunity for the employer to find out more about your experience, skill set and personality; also for you to find out if this is the right role for you. It is essential that you take some time to prepare and practise, so that you can demonstrate why you are the most suitable candidate.
1. Be prepared
Re-read your CV and the job description before the interview, so you have a clear idea of the role, responsibilities and the type of person they are looking for. Research the company thoroughly and learn about their corporate vision, successes, competitors and regional/global coverage. Also be aware of their recent events/news.
2. First impressions count
Dress appropriately; smile and shake hands firmly with your interviewer. Make polite conversation and remember eye contact is important.
3. Be clear and specific with your answers
Do not simply read through your entire resume, give a snapshot of your experience and significant achievements. Highlight your experience that is most relevant to the role that you are applying for. Be prepared to talk about your strengths and weakness and answer questions clearly and specifically.
4. Why are you the best person for the job?
You need to demonstrate that you have the qualities or transferable skills they are seeking. Be prepared to share your experience, abilities and skills. Also explain why you are interested in joining the company.
5. Be positive
Employers will be wondering about your ability to work as part of a team so refrain from talking negatively about your current/previous manager or colleagues. Employers are looking for motivated professionals who are looking for a challenge.
6. Remember your body language
Sit upright and try to maintain good eye contact. During the interview, do not fold your arms and lean back or look to the floor. Many people cannot think and control their body language at the same time, which is why you need to prepare.
7. Expect the unexpected
Your interviewer may try to catch you off guard. It is impossible to plan for every difficult question, such as “How would your manager describe you?” but try to appear relaxed and in control. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question if necessary but do not evade it.
If you are unsure of a particular question, or what you’re interviewer is asking you, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
9. Ask questions
This is also your chance to ensure that you have a clear idea of the role, the team, career progression for the role, training provided and culture. Leave the meeting with a clear decision as to whether this is the right job for you.
10. Get a good night’s sleep
Be as relaxed as possible on the day by having a good night’s sleep the night before. Plan your journey in advance and aim to arrive at your destination at least 10 minutes early.
Best of luck for your interview! For more tips please ask us for our interview guide.
Recently, Karl Stefanovic, host of the ‘Today’ morning TV show in Australia had the chance to interview the Dalai Lama. At one point he attempted the following joke which turned out to be an EPIC fail.
Let’s treat this as an example of a bad question, and what NOT to say in an interview.
Since my last blog post, my good friend got called in for a first interview with the HR team for his dream job. In his words he ‘bombed’ when he was asked ”What is the share price of our firm today?”
He had absolutely no idea (he should have read my interview tips blog post!). Overall the interview went well enough for him to have a second interview with the hiring manager, the MD for that business division.
I caught up with him for a coffee as he was after more advice prior to this next interview. He’s keen to make a good impression, so he asked me ”What are the best questions you’ve ever received that I can ask the MD?“
It got me thinking, like Karl Stefanovic, at times we are all tempted to make an impact, break the ice, or ask that ‘killer question’ in job interviews or business meetings. I do feel that there is a right time and place for asking the right question, be it in business or in life.
My feedback to my friend was that he should show an interest and passion in the job and the company; as he is meeting the MD he should focus on asking more strategic and ‘big picture’ questions. He should also listen carefully to what the MD says during the interview, as there are questions that will arise naturally during the course of the meeting. I do feel it’s never a good idea to make the interviewer feel uncomfortable by asking a question that they can’t answer, or to come across as being too overeager by asking too many questions.
My friend’s final interview will happen towards the end of July; so let’s hope he gets the job.
Until next time!
Sally was contracting at a top tier investment bank on a rolling three monthly basis, and ended up disappointed when somebody else was hired for the permanent job she wanted. The permanent role was won by Nancy, another contractor for a different team at the same bank. Nancy worked harder at her temp job, often staying late to finish work. Her manager responded by creating permanent position.
“I knew I’d be good at the job and liked the work,” Nancy said. “I just needed to show them how much.”
If you are contractor hoping to be hired full time, or have your contract renewed, there are things you can do to improve your chances. Here are some of my top tips:
- Become a source of ideas by really understanding the needs of the company and figure ways to apply your talents to this end. Be proactive!
- Be punctual and friendly, replace the office coffee with a gourmet blend or do anything else to increase your visibility in the office. Small gestures can make lasting impressions.
- Work your way into the everyday office culture so co-workers think of you as a colleague and somebody they can rely on. Participating in workplace functions such as office parties, picnics or lunch outings can help build your internal relationships and overall career network.
- Where possible, get involved or even volunteer for company-supported activities like charity work. Even if you have to sacrifice some of your personal time, these can be great opportunities to interact with your superiors and other co-workers in a casual setting. It also will allow people to connect the hard-working temp from the office with a real human being who’s easy to get along with.
- Don’t pester everyone about becoming a full-time employee. Deliver your best work and let your actions sell you. Keep note of your accomplishments and bring them up when it’s time to discuss your temporary contract.
- Being on the inside gives you a ‘foot in the door’ and an advantage over external candidates when applying for full-time jobs. But don’t get complacent and always have a back up plan.