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INTERVIEWING TIP: The Personality Factor in Telephone Interviews June 9, 2008

Posted by marketingtalent in Telephone Interviews.
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Personality is one of many things that seem to suffer from the fact that so many candidates take telephone interviews for granted.  Yet, the telephone interview is the first opportunity that you have to make an impression beyond a piece of paper.  It will determine whether or not you move forward in the hiring process with this company.  So get enthusiastic.

The telephone interview is more than just a conversation.  It is more than a simple review of your resume by telephone.  It is the first step in the post-resume review to determine whether there is a fit between you and the company.  Personality counts.

Now, that doesn’t mean telling lots of jokes and trying to establish rapport by talking about sports or (please no) politics.  What it means is three things:

  1. Be Professional:  As said before, this is not a chat.  This is a business meeting.  Be in an area where you can concentrate and not have any interruptions.  Prepare for it.  Have a notepad in front of you where you have some notes on the company and the job, and on some positive points that you want to make certain you include.
  2. Show Interest:  This is best accomplished through effective listening skills and insightful questions.  When faced with a golden opportunity in the form of the sentence “Do you have any questions?”, please please don’t respond with “No, I think you’ve answered everything.”  (And yes, people have been known to do this.)  It is an interview killer.  Have a number of questions prepared in advance based on research about the company and their products/services.
  3. Show Enthusiasm:  Companies are interested in people who are interested in them.  Sit forward in your chair instead of slumping.  You wouldn’t slump in a face-to-face interview (I hope).  Why do so here?  Believe it or not, your body language tends to communicate itself through your voice over the phone.  The same is true as far as having a smile or a frown on your face.  It is very difficult to sound upbeat when you are slouching on a sofa, with a TV on in the background (sound turned down), frowning at the play that was just made at third base.  Smile, sit up and forward in your chair, listen intently, and show interest in the person on the other end of the phone and the opportunity they are discussing.  It makes all the difference in the world.

So we are not misleading anyone, we are not saying that your experience is unimportant.  We are not saying that personality will carry the day regardless of what you have to say.  What we are saying is that enthusiasm and energy can be the difference-maker, playing a major part in whether you are one of the individuals that makes it to that critical next step.

Coach John

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HOW TO ANSWER: “Tell me About Yourself” June 8, 2008

Posted by marketingtalent in How-to-Answer Tips.
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This is the first of our “How to Answer” interview tips, and it seemed only logical to make it one of the first questions typically asked in an interview.  This question seems deceptively easy and is therefore also deceptively dangerous.

There are two keys to handling this question:

  1. Make the answer relevant to each specific job interview. 
  2. Make the answer brief — no more than a couple of minutes.  They don’t really want you to tell all about yourself.

Follow these guidelines in planning and practicing your answer to this question before each interview:

  • Use one sentence to summarize your career in a positive way related to this specific job.
  • Provide one or two examples of accomplishments specifically related to this position.
  • Close with a one sentence statement about a career goal that is consistent with this position and company.

For more information on this, go to Tell me About Yourself – What to Say and Tell Me About Yourself – Getting Ready.  Each of these articles, in the m-Pact Career Blog, provide additional detailed tips about handling this question.

Coach John

RESUME TIP: How Long Should Your Resume Be? June 7, 2008

Posted by marketingtalent in Resumes.
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One of the most repeated myths in the job search process is that your resume needs to be limited to one page.  In fact, it has been repeated enough times that some individuals seem to be in mortal fear of producing a longer resume.  I have (barely) seen resumes with fonts so small that you need a magnifying glass to read them.  Or where margins are virtually non-existent, all in the interest of a shorter resume.  So, how long should your resume be?

Long enough to properly represent your experience and talents to a prospective employer. For someone with only limited experience, one page may be adequate.  But for a more experienced professional, two or even three pages may be appropriate.

The content is far more important than the length, so focus on that instead.  And don’t force the content into a smaller space by manipulating font size, margins and other spacing.  Remember, your resume is an advertisement and as such should be visually appealing.  So our message here is to not sweat the length.  Stay tuned for additional tips on resume content and format.

Coach John

Launching the “Job Coach” Blog June 6, 2008

Posted by marketingtalent in Uncategorized.
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This is the beginning of a new blog.  Look for new articles to start appearing by Monday, June 9.  Our initial intent is for most of those articles to be in the form of short coaching tips. 

For example, you are not likely to find here a single article telling you everything you wanted to know about writing a resume.  Why not?  Well, for one thing, that could be dozens of pages long.  For another, some of the things we might tell a new graduate from college might be different than what we would tell a vice-president of a major corporation (and, yes, they need coaching also — although they might not be as willing to admit it.)

But most of all, we increasingly live in a sound-bite, bumper-sticker world where information tends to be more readily digested in small bites.  So that is the way that we are going to eat this elephant — in small bites.

That is, at least, the way we will begin.  However, you have the power to change that direction.  We want to be responsive to you.  We will try to answer questions that you ask us, and if you desire a different format we will even try to accommodate those desires.  We look for two way communication here, and comments and questions are welcome.  The one thing we will not tolerate is spam, and we will delete anything this is off-topic or self-promoting.  Otherwise, have at it.

Welcome to your “Job Coach” Blog.

Coach John