Posted on: March 29, 2008 3:54 am

How to Get the Job

First, let me express that my last item was directed at employees who just don't seem to get it.  They wonder why they can't get anywhere or aren't given more hours, etc.  Well, it's because they don't seem to have good work ethic as defined in my list.  If you want to move up at your job or be recognized, those are things employers look for. 

When it comes to hiring, there are also things employers look for.  The first step is the resume.  It should be on 1 page and easy to read.  When I say easy to read, I mean your potential employer should be able to pick out each job, and everything should be aligned.  Different fonts and bullet points will accomplish this.  For instance, I have each of my jobs in italics with my responbilities individualized with bullet points.  This way, anyone looking at it will be able to tell where one job ends and another begins.  Your responsibilites should also be concise.  Assume your interviewer is very busy, and you need to get your point across before they say to hell with it.  Nobody wants to read too much.  Whatever you do, do not put anything on your resume you haven't actually done.  It's ok to exaggerate a little, but you have to be prepared for someone to ask you questions about everything on your resume.  On that note, leave room for questions.  Put in things that will peak someone's interest.  For instance, instead of saying you increased sales by such and such percent by doing such and such, only say you increased the sales without telling how you did it.  This will probably prompt the interviewer to ask you how you did it giving you the opportunity to sell yourself.  Along with the resume comes the cover letter.  This actually isn't necessary unless asked for in an ad.  If it is, make sure you only include things that aren't in your resume.  No point in being redundant, and even better, you get to mention all the other stuff you've accomplished.  You also want to state why you want to work for them, and why you'd be an asset. 

Interviews are tough, no doubt.  The most important thing is to be yourself.  Try to look at it as a conversation between 2 people rather than an interrogation.  Start off with a firm handshake, a smile and eye contact.  Smiling and eye contact is important throughout the interview.  Be honest about everything.  You'll wind up tripping yourself up if you aren't, believe me.  Be prepared to answer why you left every job on your resume.  Also, be prepared to answer why you're looking for work at that point.  If you got terminated, tell them that.  They're going to find out somehow anyway.  It's true, it's illegal for your ex employer to say anything more than you worked there from when to when, but people have ways of finding out.  Besides, the right employer will appreciate your honesty, and that's someone you'd prefer to work for anyway.  The best answer you can give if you were terminated is you made a mistake.  The best answer you can give if you want to leave your current job is that there's no room to grow.  Do not tell anyone you're having a problem with management unless it's really legitimate.  Saying you don't get along doesn't inspire confidence that you have a respect for authority. 

You will inspire confidence if you've researched the company you're applying to.  How better to show how much you want the job than by being able to talk about it.  It shows genuine interest, and it also shows you went out of your way to prepare yourself.  Asking questions also shows your interest.  Now, one thing you don't want to do is take over the interview.  Yes, the idea is for an employer to find out about you, but they don't need your life story, and like I said, it's supposed to be a conversation between 2 people, not yourself.  The whole idea of an interview is to sell yourself as someone who is more competent than anyone else they've interviewed, more motivated and more likely to fit in.  Exude confidence.

As a finishing touch, make sure you get your interviewer's card.  Use it to send a thank you note or email saying you appreciated the time they gave you and how much you enjoyed meeting them.  Bring up specific points you spoke of in the interview to show you listened, and remind them specifically of you since they probably spoke with many others.  Let them know how sincerely interested you are in the job and look forward to hearing from them.  If it's a job you especially want, it's really ok to follow up with a call.  Sometimes, employers get sidetracked, so when you call, you're reminding them of you, a person they might really want, but haven't had a chance to call.  If they tell you they haven't made a decision, take the hint and move on.  They might tell you they hired someone else, so at least you'll know.  Whatever the case, one call doesn't hurt, and might in fact help.  Assertiveness and aggressiveness, to a certain degree, are qualities an employer will appreciate. 

Lastly, understand that the hiring process can usually take up to 2 months in companies.   A lot of places put you through online personality tests as well.  Do not let those stress you out.  Just answer the questions honestly.  Don't second guess yourself wondering what answers they want.  There aren't any.  Those tests are really just to determine that you're not antisocial and/or a sociopath.  If there's a job you especially want that's taking too long, call them up with a fib.  Tell them you've gotten another offer, but you're really interested in them, and you want to make sure you have all your options before you make a decision.  It works, trust me. 

Good luck!


Category: General
Posted on: February 16, 2008 12:35 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2008 12:38 pm

Survival of the Fittest in Corporate America

My first job in the big city of Manhattan was so exciting.  I did the whole commute thing, wearing the sneakers with my suit to be more comfortable before I got there everyday.  I stayed at that job for awhile because it was fabulous.  How much better does it get than being able to watch sporting events at work?  The people I worked with were also great.  My boss not so much.  He was completely unprofessional.  He talked about inappropriate things and had affairs with employees even after he got married.  He created an environment where everyone felt like they could say or do anything when you really can't or shouldn't in the workplace, especially nowadays in the era of sexual harrassment.  Thing is, he was the boss, and at the time, I found it hard to play by his rules.  I'm not saying his rules were right, but when you work for someone else, they have to be.  Now, whenever I have an employee who can't seem to follow a rule, I have a private conversation with them.  In that conversation, I always say, "if you don't want to follow someone's rules, you should work for yourself."  I wound up leaving because there was nowhere to go there, but also because I found his rules repulsive.  My only regret is I didn't get out sooner. 

My next job was as corporate as they come.  It was a big transition because I was used to doing whatever I wanted, and now I had to get things "approved."  What the hell was that all about?  I knew what I was doing.  Why did someone need to check up on me?  Yeah, my previous job didn't prepare me too well for this.  What it did teach me was how to keep my mouth shut though.  I have never been a yes person, and my first job brought that out.  It caused many an argument between myself and my boss.  When I entered corporate America, I vowed to keep my mouth shut until I knew what was what.  I went about my business and performed my job well with no complaints or controversy.  That attitude served me well because it got me promoted twice within 2 years.  Then, I didn't have to be a yes person all the time because I'd gained credibility.  My opinion was respected because I hadn't argued about everything.  You have to choose your battles in work and life, or else you become the boy or girl who cried wolf. 

I still work in corporate America at the best job I've ever had.  I can honestly say I love it.  What I've learned over the years is balance.  You can still be true to your nature and beliefs while working for someone else.  You just have to get to know that someone else first.  Then, you're able to get your point across in a way they understand.  That goes for any employees you have working for you too.  You can't go into a new job like gangbusters or else you might alienate people and burn your bridges before you've built them.  You need allies at a job, not enemies.  It's important to choose those allies carefully.  Unfortunately, you can't trust everyone, so you have to start out by not trusting anyone until a select few step forward as proven people. 


Category: General
Tags: career, job, people
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