July 20, 2009

My last post…

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:48 pm by jannyf

…well, this is the end of the line for Your Interview Coach.  After contemplation, I have decided to end this business and go down a different path.

I am returning to school – keep your fingers crossed that I am accepted into the HIM program at IRSC.

I am returning to a full-time job. I don’t know what that is yet, but I need to look out for my family and take care of them.  For us that means a steady income and health benefits.

Everything in life is a learning experience and I have learned from this experience. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur.  I believe your heart has to be 200% into what you are endeavoring to do in order to be successful.  I also think that in a two income family, one needs to be stable.  In our family, that’s me.

I wish everyone the best of luck in their own endeavors.


June 29, 2009

Why did you leave your last employer?

Posted in Interview Tips, positive outlook, Treasure Coast tagged , , , at 12:17 pm by jannyf

This question is a guarantee on any job interview.  As an employer, we want to hear what you have to say about your sudden availability.  As an interviewee, you need to know how to answer this question.

How you answer this question sets the tone for the rest of the interview.  For example, if you were bored or burned out from your last job, the employer will have some concerns as to whether you will become bored at this job, and rightly so.  Employers want to hire someone who is motivated!  If you left under circumstances that were not so favorable, you need to know how to explain this situation so you can land the next job.

Here are 3 possible answers to that question.  Read through them and see which answer you think is the best:

  1. My position was eliminated when the department was restructured.  I really liked my job and my fellow co-workers.  It wasn’t a surprise when the work began to dwindle.  I was offered a severance package, and I accepted it, as did everyone else in my department.  I hope to find a position similar to that one.
  2. I am looking for a new challenge. I have been with my current company for two years now and don’t find the work as interesting as I once did. I am looking for a company where I can take on new challenges and grow. My current job is dead-ended for me.
  3. Since there are no advancement opportunities within the company, I have decided it would be a good time for me to look outside. I have set some career goals for myself that I could not achieve at that company. What I am looking for is a job with a bigger company where I can contribute, but also move on a career path that has more responsibility.

Which one did you chose?  Answer #1 is the strongest answer of the three.  The interviewee uses a sandwich approach in answering this question:  start with something positive, explain the situation (which was negative) and end it with something positive.  The situation was totally out of his/her control and the interviewee kept a positive attitude about it.

Answer #2 is the weakest answer you can give.  It’s pretty trite and a common answer.  Plus, it almost sets a negative tone from the interviewee’s perspective.

Answer #3 is the strongest or weakest – it’s somewhere in the middle.  As an interviewer, I would have a few follow up questions for this job seeker, like, ‘What are your career goals and how do they fit into this company?’, or ‘how do you think you can contribute to this company?’.  As the interviewee, you better be prepared for these follow up questions.

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer to this question.  Honesty is always the best policy, as the cliche goes, but be positive and upbeat about your circumstances.  Maybe you were fired, but what did you learn from it?  Again, being prepared for this and other tough questions is what makes you stand out against the other job seekers in the market.

Until next time, keep your chin up, stay active and stay healthy!

June 26, 2009

The new way to find a job – use Twitter & Facebook

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 10:40 am by jannyf

Time magazine recently posted this article on using social media to find a job.  Check it out:


June 18, 2009

Research – it pays off!

Posted in Job Searching tagged , , , , , , , at 9:48 am by jannyf

Greetings everyone!

I feel a positive change in the air – sure the price of gas is up, but I feel like people are out and about, cautiously spending their money, finding some work, and enjoying life.  Let’s stay on the roll!

By now you should have completed your skills inventory and developed your Q statements.  Hopefully your resume is coming together.  Have you started to think about where you want to work?  Sure, we can all check out Careerbuilder.com or Hotjobs.com and so is every other unemployed person.  But, you are different!  You have unique skills that you can quantify and have proven results.  You need to tell an employer that they need YOU on their team!  How do you do that?  Start with some basic research.

Research separates the hired from the not hired.  Knowing what the company is all about allows you to flatter the interviewer and also:

  1. Find out whether or not it’s a place you want to work
  2. Discover what skills the job or the company most values
  3. Ferret out as much as you can about the company culture and mission in order to  align some of your competencies to fit the company’s style & goals
  4. Impress the employer when he or she asks:  “Tell me what do you know about our company, and why would you like to work here?”
  5. You can make intelligent queries when the employer asks you: “Do you have any questions about our company?”
  6. Give you an advantage because your competitors for this job are NOT researching the company to the degree that you are going to.

How do you begin with your search?  If you have Internet access at home, you can sit right there and start your search!  If you do not have access, visit your local library for free access.  Obviously a company’s website will provide a wealth of information – their mission and values, their products and services, and their news releases.  Look at the ‘feel’ of the company’s site.  What is the design like – modern or more classic?  Is their a company slogan?  When was the company founded and how large is it?  Who is the CEO?  Is there a photo of the Executive Team and is it all male?  These are some clues that can give you an idea about the company and how it may operate.

Look again at the company’s mission statement.  What key words can you pull out of it?  Do they match any of your personality traits?  If not, then this may not be the company for you!  If it sounds like a match, then you need to pursue them!

You should do this for 30-40 companies.  Start making a list and then next week I will discuss how to begin a job search that really works!

Remember, I offer a FREE 10  minute interview analysis.  Visit my site at www.intcoach.com and click on Job Seekers on the top navigation bar.  There is a short form on that page for you to complete and e-mail me your toughest interview question that you would like help with.

Until next time, keep your chin up, stay active and stay healthy!

June 16, 2009

25 Ways to Sabotage Your Job Search

Posted in Interview Tips tagged , at 5:40 am by jannyf

I came across this great article from CNN.com.  Check it out!  These are some great tips that you don’t want to miss….


Happy job hunting!

– Jan

June 3, 2009

What are your Q Statements?

Posted in Resume, skills inventory, Treasure Coast tagged , , , at 7:12 am by jannyf

“Q statements?  What’s that?”, you ask. 

Q statements are quantity statements.  They are statements that measure an exact action or accomplishment you have performed.  You tie these statements into the skills lists that you have built from my previous post.

For example, you could say, “I’m a good communicator.”  Or, you could say, “I have lectured to more than 12,000 people worldwide on the topic of personal finance, and I have worked individually with clients from19 to 90 years old.”

Which of those 2 statements provides a mental picture?  Which one will you remember?  Using specific facts and numbers actually demonstrates your skills, and this is the kind of clarification that provides the listener evidence and the scope of it.

Remember – you are not bragging – you are providing facts!

Interviewers/hiring managers are looking for candidates who can help their businesses.  They want facts.  If you do not provide them with data, they will ask you for it.  You will come across as a stronger candidate if you are prepared, and you will make a better impression. 

Let’s look at some other examples:

  • I maintain a caseload of 65 patients.
  • I built a prototype that could tolerate 15 percent more stress than its predecessor.
  • I introduced an on-site safety program that decreased worker’s compensation claims by 18 percent in 1 year.
  • I ran a bicycle repair and sales store with 17 employees and gross annual sales of $193,000.

What did you notice about all of these statements?  First, they contain an action verb – verbs such as ran, introduced, maintained.  Second, they end with a number, whether monetary or a percentage.  The ‘formula’ for a Q statement looks like this:

Verb + (who, what, when, where, how) + Result = Q Statement

Start practicing your Q statements, and I want you to share them by posting them in the comments section of this post.  In today’s competitive market, you need to have the edge over other candidates.  Take the time now to prepare several Q statements for each of your skills.

May 15, 2009

Have you completed your skills inventory?

Posted in Interview Tips, skills inventory, Treasure Coast tagged , , , , , , at 6:40 am by jannyf

Being prepared for an upcoming interview is the secret to success.  You have to get a leg up on the competition and show the employer why they should hire you.  One tip I would like to share is completing a skills inventory on yourself.  Remember, 90% of employers say that the primary reason they do not hire a candidate is because the interviewee could not clearly state his or her skills.  You need to know your skills well enough that you can verbalize them in the interview process.  You do this through a skills inventory.  Let’s look at the components of a skills inventory:

  1. General skills – skills that can be found in every industry.  These include things like managing, filing, communicating verbally or in writing, budgeting, etc.
  2. Job-Specific skills – abilities that you need to succeed in your particular job in your particular industry.  For example, if you are a computer programmer then some of your job-specific skills include computer languages and platforms.
  3. Personal Traits – these are the personal characteristics that you possess.  There are a huge list of traits, but some to help you get started include charismatic, balanced, ambitious, intelligent, detail oriented, ethical.
  4. Competencies – these are clusters of skills and they are very quickly becoming the criteria upon which all employees are judged.  Some of the most valued competencies include:  flexibility, adaptability, problem-solving skills, interpersonal communication and ability and willingness to learn.
  5. Your Gift – this is about who you are instead of what you do.  Here are some questions to help you discover your gift:  What is the most compelling thing about you?  What do people compliment you on?  What is a quality, under any circumstance, that you would never give up?  What quality would you like people to remember you for upon your death?

Grab a few sheets of paper and start listing out your answers to this skills inventory.  You must be able to communicate to the interviewer what your skills are and provide backup as well.  List examples that demonstrate these skills.  Practice out loud with your spouse or friend.  In my next blog post, I will discuss how to develop powerful answers using your skills inventory.

Remember, I offer a FREE 10  minute interview analysis.  Visit my site at www.intcoach.com and click on Job Seekers on the top navigation bar.  There is a short form on that page for you to complete and e-mail me your toughest interview question that you would like help with.

Until next time, keep your chin up, stay active and stay healthy!

May 13, 2009

My Trip Back to Martin County High School

Posted in Community Outreach, free tagged , , at 2:19 pm by jannyf

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking to 3 classes at Martin County High School (MCHS).  This is where I attended school and graduated in 1990.  Sure, there are some cosmetic changes to the exterior of the school, but the more things change, the more they stay the same.

For instance, they still have security guards on campus.  These are older, retired men who have to put up with teenagers.  The faces are different but they still do the same thing:  chase after you when you don’t stop at the guard station, hang out in the front office looking for coffee, and trying to build relationships with the kids.

Yes, I remember where the science wing is.  It hasn’t moved or changed, except for technology and keeping more doors locked.  And the teachers still have to deal with teenagers.  Technology may have changed, but a teenager’s attitude has not.

For instance, there are always kids who have to go to the bathroom.  I remember pulling that stunt to get out of a class for a while too.  And then there are the kids who decide to not pay attention to a guest speaker.  Although I wasn’t one of them in high school, there was always a few in my class who would sleep or work on their homework instead of paying attention.  As a guest speaker, I saw my share of eyelids and homework being worked on.

Gone are the days of blackboards and chalk dust, and now they have Powerpoint for notes.  With this generation of kids, you have to be on the forefront of technology.  They enjoyed the You Tube video I brought, but I don’t think they liked listening to me talk for the rest of the time.  When I was in high school, our guest speakers would bring props or other things to try and entertain us.  I guess as teens we constantly need entertainment.

This generation wants everything now – they are used to instant information, access and gratification.  I think if they could fast forward their lives, they would.  I have a wish list for them:

  • Life moves quickly once high school is behind you, enjoy the days you have now.
  • The ‘real world’ is not the one you see on TV – there are bills to pay, jobs to take seriously and work to be done.  Savor the freedom you have right now – once you graduate, life can consume you.
  • Take a look around at the friends you have in high school.  Enjoy your time with them, laugh alot, and take lots of pictures and document it!  As you grow older, you won’t remember all the fun you had, but the memories you print out and write about now will take you back to another place and time and restore the smile to your face.
  • You have a high school sweetheart, and the chances that you marry this person are very slim.  However, they will teach you many of life’s lessons:  respect, love, trust.  Take those lessons with you and remember the good times you had as a couple and not the nasty breakup that occurs down the road.  Don’t ever be bitter.

High school really hasn’t changed all that much.  There are new challenges for teachers in dealing with today’s youth.  But are those challenges really all that different?  Didn’t we wear clothes that were considered ‘risque’ at the time?  Wasn’t there a female teen or two that ended up pregnant?  Didn’t we have a class clown, a class jock, a burnout and the kid who was always in trouble?

The more things change, the more they stay the same……..

May 11, 2009

The April Jobless Claim Numbers Look Good or Do They?

Posted in 20256529, free, hope, interview analysis, jobless claims, positive outlook, Treasure Coast, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:58 pm by jannyf

Hope – we always have it and need to share it.  The jobless claim numbers have been reported for week ending April 11, and there was hopeful news!

The number of new claims dropped by 53,000.  What does this mean for the economy?  Well, we certainly aren’t out of the woods yet.  While these numbers are for initial claims, the number of people still receiving unemployment has risen.  This slight drop in initial claims may mean that the layoffs are slowing, which is also hopeful news. 

Here on the Treasure Coast we continue to struggle with the unemployment numbers.  There are actions you can take as a job seeker right now.  These include:

1.  Consider any part-time work you can find.  Whether it’s delivering pizzas or walking dogs, getting out of your house and engaging in activity is stimulating for your mind and a morale booster.

2.  Consider volunteering.  I know it doesn’t create an income, however, it could land you a job.  This is a great time to explore different non-profits that need your help.  Also, non-profits cover a variety of industries.  By volunteering in an industry that you have no exposure to could help you decide if you have an interest in a certain career field.

3.  Consider returning to school.  Here on the Treasure Coast we have a variety of schools.  From IRSC to MedVance to Massage School, there is some type of training for everyone.

4.  Become a Mom-preneur.  Ok, so you don’t have little ones that you want to stay at home with, however, what about that ‘great idea’ you have that you have always wanted to try?  NOW is the time to get in action.  Call the SBDC at IRSC to make an appointment with a counselor, go to the library and research your idea.  Do you think Henry Ford started with a full blown factory?  NO!  Most entrepreneurs start out of their homes and move from there.  If you have a product to sell, consider the Stuart Green Market or the Flea Market – or try both!  You don’t know until you put yourself out there. 

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the jobless claim numbers start to decrease which would indicate recovery.  In the meantime, keep searching!  And if you need some help, consider taking my 10 minute FREE interview analysis to help you on your way!

May 4, 2009

A great blog to help with your attitude!

Posted in positive outlook tagged , , at 1:14 pm by jannyf


If you are looking for a little pick-me-up and some positivity in your life, click on the link above to visit a great blog.  Bookmark it and add some happiness to your life each day!

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