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 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!