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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Did you Interview for the Job Interview?

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How many hours did you spend researching that last car or flat panel tv you bought? How many hours did you spend practicing for your job interviews? We all know that many jobs and perhaps careers are won or lost during the interview process. You have a Great resume, Great cover letter and Great attire. Win win win. Not so fast. If you did not prepare for the interview this will put you at a competitive disadvantage. So why not prepare? It really is pretty easy. Just requires some practice and time.(Editor's Note)

Lies We Tell Ourselves About Job Interviews
Guest Contributor: Michael Neece, CEO, InterviewMastery.com


I present frequently to groups large (200+) and small on job interview skills, and I am constantly amazed at the harmful lies people tell themselves about job interviews.


Few will argue about the importance of having a great resume; after all, it is the resume that generates job interviews. But nearly all job seekers minimize the importance of their own job interview skills. Minimizing the importance of interview skills reduces the probability of getting the job offer because it is only through an exceptional job interview performance that you'll get hired.


17-to-one is the ratio of job interviews to job offers during a recession. During a recession, the average applicant will interview for 17 different opportunities before he/she gets one job offer. When job openings are plentiful and candidates are in high demand, the ratio drops to 6-to-1, meaning it takes only 6 interviews to get an offer during the good times. The lesson here is that without interview skills, you'll waste 6 to 17 job opportunities before you get good enough at interviews to get an offer. (Article Continued Below)

Below are six lies (assumptions) we tell ourselves about job interviews:
"I'll do great on my job interviews because…"


1. I'm Great at My Job.
The skills required to get the job are fundamentally different from the skills required to do a job. If you have ever looked for a job you know this all too well.


2. I'm a Good Communicator
Being a good communicator is a good start, but most of our business communicating is one-on-one or in a setting where you are talking about work. During the job interview, you are often speaking with multiple interviewers and responding to thought-provoking questions about you and your talents. Convincing an interviewer of your abilities is a unique situation in the world of business communications.


3. I've Interviewed Hundreds of People
Being an interviewer is different from being interviewed. Just ask anyone who has been interviewed recently. I consult internationally to organizations on interviewer skills. I also present to thousands each year on job interviewing for the job seeker. While the interviewer and the interviewee are in the same room, each is playing a different role that requires different skills to be successful. It's a bit like dancing. One person leads while the other follows. The skills to lead are very different from the talents needed to follow. When each partner does his/her part, they dance beautifully. When the job applicant has the skills, he/she facilitates a conversation and usually gets the offer.


4. I've Had Many Practice Interviews
Learning by trial and error can teach you a few things about effective interviewing, but it wastes a lot of great job opportunities. Besides, practicing the same unproductive job interview ritual will only make you comfortable with ineffective habits that can really hurt your career.


5. Interviewers Have Interviewing Skills
Having traveled internationally to train interviewers, I can state with certainty that over 95% of interviewers are unskilled and have had no training on effective interviewing. That is exactly why interviewers still ask totally irrelevant and bogus questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” When an interviewers asks you one of these questions, you know they are completely unskilled at interviewing.


6. The Most Qualified, Get Hired Most of the Time
Eleven years as a recruiter taught me one truth about the job market: the most qualified person never gets hired. The reason is that who is the most qualified is a matter of interviewer opinions, assumptions, and personal bias. Additionally, a job description is actually a collection of guesses as to what the prerequisites are for a specific job. A job description is a way for the hiring manager to say, “I want to hire someone who has already done, many times, what I want him or her to do for me.”

To secure a great job, you can either continue lying to yourself and go through 17 interviews before you get an offer, or you can invest the energy to learn successful job interviewing and significantly increase your odds of getting a great job sooner.

Whether you try Interview Mastery or another job interview program is irrelevant. What really matters, is that you improve your interview skills. Common advice is everywhere on the Internet, but this common wisdom will only get you common results.

If you don't want to invest any money in yourself, at least make a list of the interview questions you expect and those that you fear. Then ask a former colleague to mock interview you using the questions you listed. Record the mock interview using audio or video. You may be surprised at how you actually sound.Remember, the job interview is the most important moment in your job search and in your career.

While your resume may get you to the interview, it is your job interview skills that will secure the job offer. Preparation and practice make all the difference in your performance because the most qualified person rarely gets the job. It's the person who interviews the best who wins the job offer.

Good luck on your next interview. You're going to be awesome!


Do you need to improve your interview skills? Learn More Here.



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    What Can You Do To Keep Your Resume Out Of the "B pile" ?


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    Whatever Happened to my Resume?

    Astronomers define a black hole as a region of space from which nothing, including light, can escape. I have often heard job seekers refer to the application process as a “black hole where resumes go, never to be heard from again.” Did you ever wonder why this is? Considering the frustration that can result from the online application process, I would like to shed some light on what really happens when you apply online. Not only will this provide you with an effective strategy to increase the odds of getting your resume into the right hands, but it might actually increase your level of sympathy for the HR professionals around town – ok, maybe just a little!

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BOL), there are 6 job seekers for every opening. This is the worst ratio on record since the government starting tracking these numbers in 2000 and compares to a ratio of 1.6 to 1 in mid-2006. To gain an understanding of how this imbalance affects the hiring process, let’s take a look at what happens when a new job is posted.

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    Today, each new job posting elicits an average of 300-400 resumes. Some companies use software that automatically screens resumes for relevant key words. However, most ( ex.San Diego companies) use an actual person to screen resumes. Therefore, assuming the average HR professional spends 20 seconds reviewing each resume, they are committing over 2 hours to the identification of the top 5-10 resumes. Multiply this by 10 or 20 positions – the average number of openings managed by each HR professional - and they wind up spending 20 – 40 hours just screening resumes!

    And for those of you who know people in the HR profession, screening resumes is far from their favorite pastime! Keep in mind that this same individual is most likely responsible for tracking and organizing these applications through their applicant tracking system (ATS) which, in some cases, is nothing more than a file folder, an excel spreadsheet, ACT! or a simple Outlook file.

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    It is now time to divide the resumes into the proverbial “A pile” and “B pile”. In some instances, there are literally two piles and in other cases, applicants are tagged as “hot prospect” (A) or “reject” (B) in the ATS. The all-powerful “A pile” represents candidates that were referred by an employee or “friend of the firm” and in some cases, it also includes the top 3-5% of online applicants. These “A pile” candidates will receive further consideration and perhaps even a phone call. The dreaded “B pile”, however, consists of the remaining resumes that will never again see the light of day! Unfortunately, if you were not able to secure an introduction into the firm, if you did not customize your resume to include the relevant key words, or if your resume does not offer that initial “wow factor”, chances are you will be sent to the “B pile”.

    Once these piles are created, depending on the company, the HR professional will take one of two steps: she will either present these “A candidates” to the hiring manager for review or she will conduct an initial phone screen (in today’s market, the majority of first interviews are conducted by phone). Now the fun really begins! The next challenge facing the HR professional is whether or not the hiring manager provided enough detail and metrics to evaluate the applicants.

    Assuming the answer is yes – and this is a big assumption – the HR professional then presents his recommendations to the hiring manager to determine which candidates will make it to the holy grail of job search – the in-person interview! Now the waiting begins. This waiting period may span from a few hours (not likely) to several weeks (a bit extreme). Once the decisions are made, the process continues with interviews, feedback, questions, more interviews, references, salary negotiations, background checks and finally – hopefully – an offer.

    Meanwhile, back on the resume front, for those individuals whose resumes did not make it to the “A pile”, your poor resume is still sitting all alone in the company’s ATS, on their desk, in a file folder or in someone’s inbox. The odds of you getting an email – or heaven forbid an actual phone call – thanking you for taking the time to apply are minimal at best. In fact, while a few “best in class” companies will respond to each and every applicant, the average response rate to an online job application is less than 5%!

    The first question, then, becomes: what can you do to ensure your resume doesn’t wind up alone in the “B pile”?

    1. Apply only to those jobs where you possess 85% or more of the requirements.


    2. Customize each resume to include every key word that is mentioned in the job description.


    3. Develop a headline that provides a “wow factor”, uniquely defining your area of expertise.


    4. Create 3 or 4 key sentences at the top of your resume to highlight your Unique Value Proposition (UVP).


    5. Focus on promotions, results and direct contributions, not responsibilities and tasks.

    The second question, and the one rarely considered, is: what can you do to ease the pain of the HR professional?

    1. Focus on securing an introduction to the company through a mutual colleague; contact the hiring manager and/or HR professional to leverage the contact and get yourself on the radar screen.


    2. Clearly indicate how your skills match up with the job requirements – don’t make them search for your relevant skills.


    3. If you are unable to secure an introduction, call the HR professional and/or hiring manager 2 days after sending your resume, to ensure it was received; during this call, acknowledge that you are aware of the volume of resumes they have received, and request “5 minutes to provide 3 factors” that will demonstrate your fit for the position.


    4. Send a thank you/follow up card by mail to the HR and/or hiring manager reminding them of the “3 factors”.


    5. Develop a campaign to follow up with the HR and/or hiring manager on a weekly basis.

    While the job market continues to have its challenges, developing and maintaining a consistent strategy will greatly increase your odds of getting your resume into the “A pile”. Today’s job market is about visibility and differentiation

    Guest Contributor:Ken C. Schmitt
    Turning Point Executive Search

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    Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    Weird Job Wednesday: The Most Valuable Player

    Being a professional mascot might not be long-term, but if you want to be the "most valuable player," love sports and are enthusiastic and athletic, than this just might be the job for you!   

    The first Sports Mascot, as we know them today,was the San Diego Chicken (the Padres) - he earned $2 an hour in 1974!


    Today, 95% of professional sports teams have a mascot. Salaries vary depending on the size of the team, but full time mascots can earn a base salary between $25-55,00. Part-timers are paid per game, approximately $150. 

    If you are interested in becoming a sports mascot, sign up with a professional talent agency or go to the Interns Over 40 Sports Jobs Page and see what's listed! 

    To see more weird jobs, go to pinterest.com/internsover40



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