How to answer interview questions to make hiring managers like you?

By the time you reach the interview phase, your prospective employer already knows a lot about you. They know your previous experience. What they don’t know is whether they want to work with you.

After you interview for a position, you may obsess over whether you gave the interviewer the “right” answers to the questions. But rather than worrying about what you said, you might want to spend more time thinking about how you say it.

By the time you reach the interview phase, your prospective employer already knows a lot about you. They know your previous experience. They might even have recommendations that attest to your knowledge, skills, abilities, and effectiveness. They know enough about you to think that you are a good match to the position they are filling.

What they don’t know is whether they want to work with you.

That means that a lot of what your interviewer is evaluating is whether they think you will fit into the organization and people will enjoy having you around. They are trying to envision what it will be like to have you as a part of the community.

There are several things you can do to make them think more favorably about you.

You want to leave an impression that you are going to be an interested, upbeat, and engaged person to work with. That means you want your interviewer to feel good about the interaction with you.

A great way to help that along is to take advantage of the natural coordination that happens when you talk with someone else. You automatically tune yourself to what a conversation partner is doing when you converse. You match how fast they are talking. You match the pitch of their voice. You mirror their gestures. You take on their level of energy.

At your interview, lean in. Literally. Lean forward. Talk with energy. Smile. Not only does this posture convey your interest to the interviewer, it will cause your interviewer to mirror your movements. That will increase your interviewer’s enthusiasm for you when the interview is over.

Lots of research suggests that fast thinking makes people feel good. That is why listening to fast music is a positive experience. It is why people often enjoy the last stages of solving a problem when the ideas are flowing. And it is why people enjoy a really good conversation.

At your interview, try to keep the conversation moving along. Prepare your responses to typical interview questions so that you have vocabulary at your disposal to talk about your qualifications, interests, and goals. That way, you can respond quickly to the questions you are asked. Those fast responses will make your interviewer feel positively about you.

The word you want on your interviewer’s mind at the end of the conversation is “yes.” And that means that you want to make it as easy for your interviewer to be thinking about good things rather than bad ones.

The best way to do that is to focus on positive elements throughout your interview. Find reasons why you can do things rather than not do them. If you interviewer asks you about problems you have encountered, find ways to turn those problems into benefits and focus on good outcomes and what you have learned.

Research on mood and memory suggests that it is easier for people to remember information that is consistent with their current mood. If you stay focused on the positive throughout your interview, you make it easy for your interviewer to think about the positive elements of your interview than the negative ones.

Obviously, throughout your interview, you also want to actually answer the specific questions you are asked. You certainly don’t want to be seen as someone who is not paying attention or won’t answer a question. But, to the extent that you can also convey how nice it would be to have you as a colleague, you will increase the chance that the next question you are asked is “When can you start?”

Art Markman, PhD is a professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin and Founding Director of the Program in the Human Dimensions of Organizations. Art is the author of Smart Thinking and Habits of Leadership, Smart Change, and most recently, Brain Briefs, co-authored with his “Two Guys on Your Head” co-host Bob Duke, which focuses on how you can use the science of motivation to change your behavior at work and at home.

The Future of Work Is About Enhancing Humanity, Not Replacing It

Automation threatens the jobs of more than 800 million, “mainly people in the front line and middle managers,” Julien Lesaicherre, EMEA director, Workplace by Facebook, told a 200-strong audience at the Future of Work Summit today.

“Automation can change the world. This will impact the lives of millions of people, but also automation is reshaping business. In ten years 40% of the Fortune 500 won’t exist. We will have to change, we will have to adapt, we will have to evolve the way we do business,” Lesaicherre stressed.

He emphasised the need to use technology to “enhance” people, not replace them. “If you read the news today, it seems like having a lot of people is a liability. I think having a lot of people is an asset, but you have to use them properly and enhance them,” Lesaicherre explained.

He cited how Apple have done this in stores, where staff are given the equipment to check stock, make sales, place orders — all from a customer-facing position.

By 2020, 50% of the workforce will be millennials, but Lesaicherre was quick to point out that it is “not about the technology they use, it is about understanding how they want to work.”

For Lesaicherre, this is about working as a community and he demonstrated how companies are using Workplace by Facebook to facilitate this.

These changing working practices were picked up by James Poulter, head of Emerging Platforms & Partnerships at the Lego Group. He described how the Danish toy brick giant wanted to recreate the family feel of its Denmark HQ in its workspaces.

Matt Hancock MP, UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Poulter explained: “It’s been described as ‘hot-desking on steroids,’ but it is more than that — it is about finding the right environment to do the work you’ve got to do.”

For Lego, this means creating a variety of environments. “We have open spaces, meeting spaces and quiet spaces — as well as one eating space, no eating at your desk. This creates a culture that is much more unique. It forces a leveling of the workplace.”

The idea of a more level workplace was picked up on a panel on the impact of technology on leadership. Rachel Coldicutt, CEO of Doteveryone UK, said: “In a mission-driven world, it is important for leaders to let their employees be who they are and build on their strengths.”

It is no longer a matter of leading from the front, as Priya Guha, ecosystem general manager at RocketSpace UK tech campus, explained: “Some of the best leaders are ones that can both see in a strategic way but alongside that the ability to ‘trust their guts.’ It’s the ability to do that that turns some ordinarily successful people into really fantastic ones.”

Without doubt, technology, especially automation and AI, will have a profound effect on future workforces; a point that was acknowledged by Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport Matt Hancock in his keynote address. “The risk is not that we remove jobs, because that is the nature of business. The risk is not adopting new technologies and failing to create the jobs of the future,” he told attendees.

As a government, he explained: “We need to support the disrupted, as well as supporting the disruption. We want to redeploy not unemploy people.”

From left-right: Amrit Dhir, Google; Rachel Coldicutt, Doteveryone; and Priya Guha, Rocketspace.

The Summit also heard about the potential of technology to encourage diversity in the workplace. In a passionate presentation, Angela Evans, UK business group lead of Microsoft 365, said: “Our mission is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more.” She attempted to demonstrate the headway Microsoft was making in helping overcome disability using technology.

Helen Rosethorn, a partner at Prophet, said of the demonstration: “I was struck immediately how technology will help underrepresented people make better headway in the workforce.”

She discussed future skills and the need to readdress what the word “skills” meant in an era of constant change. “I am concerned how we are thinking about what skills mean. The phrase ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ is much harder to answer these days.”

Guha stressed that while we don’t necessarily know what the jobs of the future will be, we could teach them “how to be adaptable and embrace change”.

While people in tech were generally optimistic about the future, event chair techUK President Jacqueline de Rojas questioned whether automation will increase diversity.

Anastasia Dedyukhina, author and founder of Consciously Digital, replied: “It is data bias that is the issue. They key to overcoming this is diversity in the data we use.”

Guha agreed, but added: “I like to look for the opportunity.” She cited the example of FemTech. “When there was just 50% of the population designing products in this context [of bias], then there is a whole market being missed out.”

“The rise of FemTech is astonishing. There is a whole area that has just been missed and there are people who are going to make a lot of money out of it.

Governing the use of AI and automation, Dominic Holmes, a partner in employment law at Taylor Vinters, stressed that when you are using AI to decide whether someone is promoted, hired or fired, you need to be careful, adding that all these tools needed to be used ethically.

The future of work, according to today’s panel, looked bright as long as technology was applied ethically, as suggested by Holmes, and used to enhance humans rather than replace them.

Armed with the right training and tools, robots aren’t replacing humanity any time soon.

— Niall Hunt, Digital Transformation Lead – Content and Communities, Informa

How To Help Build Employees’ Career Paths So They Don’t Quit

Budgets, hiring freezes, and lack of career pathways can all inhibit employee development. Here’s the workaround.

American workers are worried about their career futures, and they are ready to quit if need be.

This is according to the findings of an October 2017 survey released by the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence, which found that nearly half of U.S. workers are worried about how their jobs are changing. And, without supervisor support for career development, less than half are motivated to do their best work.

“Job-skills training is a shared responsibility between leaders and employees,” says David Ballard, PhD, assistant executive director of the APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence. “If you want to have a healthy high-performing workplace, and if you want to succeed as a business, you have to do this.”

If you don’t, chances are your employees will jump ship. A 2015 survey by Gallup found that when 93% of Americans advanced in their careers, it was by taking a job at another company. Just 7% took on new opportunities within their current organizations. When they walked out the door, they left with institutional knowledge and a hit to their previous employers’ culture and employee morale.

But whether it’s due to hiring freezes, small development budgets, or simply not having a clear development path, many companies struggle in their effort to develop employees. The APA survey found that while 61% of employees say their employer offers development opportunities for career and soft skills they’ll need in the future, roughly half of those surveyed say they don’t have adequate time for career development activities, or that their employer doesn’t provides career development activities sufficient for advancement.

However, it doesn’t take a formal program for employees to work on the skills they’ll need to remain relevant and advance their careers. Business leaders can integrate development into everyday activities to help improve employee satisfaction and retention, while keeping their own talent pipeline full. Here’s how.

The first step in creating an effective employee development plan is to find out about the employee’s career goals and match them with your organization’s needs, says performance improvement consultant Julie Winkler Giulioni, author of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go. Those conversations should focus on three areas, she says:

Hindsight. The employee’s background and what they have accomplished in their careers so far. “This is the baseline information you would need in order to have a development conversation with anyone,” she says.
Foresight. This includes looking outward and forward at the needs of the organization, as well as asking questions like: Where is our industry going? What’s going on in the bigger picture of the world?
Insight. Then, explore where the first two conversations intersect. Where do the employee’s skills and interests intersect with where the company and industry are going? Where does it make sense to focus development efforts to ensure the two are aligned? That is where the greatest satisfaction for both is going to be in the long run, she says.

Your organization likely has many opportunities on a day-to-day basis for employees to grow within their current roles, says Diane Belcher, senior director, product management at Harvard Business Publishing in Boston. In her day-to-day practice managing her team, she looks for learning opportunities everywhere. For example, when she and her team come out of a meeting, she asks them what they learned and how it can be applied to their roles, or how they can apply what they learned to better serve clients.

“Even when there’s not a budget for a formal learning program, you can think about every opportunity as an opportunity to learn. It’s about building time for reflection, time for questions, and making sure that leaders are playing the role of coaches, and sharing their stories about what they learned during the course of their career,” she says.

Ballard says that when employees do find time and resources for formal learning programs, getting the most value out of them requires workers to share information. The transfer of learning by discussing, presenting, or writing what they got from a development opportunity so it can be shared with others extends the value of the company’s investment, he says.

As many companies move to flatter organizational structures, lateral moves are becoming more popular and can be another way to build skills without taxing employees, Belcher says.

Beverly Kaye, founder of Career Systems International, a Los Angeles-based career consulting firm, and coauthor of Up Is Not the Only Way: Rethinking Career Mobility, suggests using “career calisthenics”—reaching up, down, and out. That means looking for mentoring or shadowing opportunities, stretch assignments, and other learning opportunities throughout the organization.

Is there someone higher up with whom you can connect employees to work on a stretch assignment or use as a mentor? Are there opportunities for them to learn new skills from their peer group? And are there opportunities for them to mentor those who are newer to the organization? Kaye says that this type of connection throughout the organization keeps information and knowledge flowing, and creates a culture where development is not only encouraged, but expected.

“What are the short-term experiences someone on your team could experiment with?” she asks. “They can be small [experiences], and then you come back to your job.” Those experiences promote growth and keep employees interested in their new roles.

Employment attorney and HR consultant Sharon Reese, principal consultant with The Gunter Group, a Portland, Oregon, management consulting firm, says it’s also important to give people a measure of autonomy with their discretionary time so they can use it to develop key skills. One organization with which she consulted invited employee input into the board’s organizational strategy so that workers would have a say in the initiatives and programs on which they would be working. That kind of ability to control at least some of their work helped create a highly engaged workforce.

“There’s usually tremendous room to be creative around your rewards and recognitions programs,” she says. And that often includes how you let people choose where they spend at least some of their time.

Of course, while all of these stretch assignments and extra work can be great learning opportunities, it’s important to ensure employees don’t feel like you’re simply getting extra work out of them without the trappings that come with advancement, such as new titles, raises, and bonuses.

If those aren’t in the budget, the incentive might be to take away some of their more rote work. “Managers have to be realistic as they’re inviting new responsibilities and activities into someone’s role. They have to figure out how to offload other things to make room for it so it doesn’t become punitive,” Giulioni says.

That way you can help create the job they want instead of watching them find it at another company.

Gwen Moran writes about business, money and assorted other topics for leading publications and web sites. She was named a Small Business Influencer Awards Top 100 Champion in 2015, 2014, and 2012 and is the co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010), and several other books.

Why diversity and inclusion leadership is about more than meeting numbers

Fostering a work culture that emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion is a business imperative, not just a moral or ethical one.

A more diverse work force will put any company into a stronger position to grow and innovate. It will attract top industry talent and help businesses connect with customers.

And, of course, it’s the right thing to do.

As part of one of the most diverse countries in the world, business leaders in Canada need to act now and embed diversity and inclusion practices throughout their organizations and leadership teams.

How can organizations reinvent the standard for diversity and inclusion and truly lead on this front without embracing and valuing the differences – including race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation – of their work force?

As business leaders, we know that exceptional storytelling is the central underpinning of effective leadership and the way customers see your brand. All good storytellers agree you must first understand your audience.

Who they are, where they come from, what experiences have shaped them and what matters to them? How do they want to be spoken to, what vernacular is comfortable, what cadence captures their attention?

You can’t tell an effective story or brand narrative to your customers if you only value select points of view. This is why a commitment to diversity and inclusion leadership means more than just a number, a department or even an objective. Diversity and inclusion efforts must be embedded into the very DNA of an organization so that its brand narrative can be authentic, meaningful and distinctive.

A McKinsey study shows, “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.” Another study showed that diverse companies had 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over a three-year period than non-diverse companies did.

If we don’t embrace an inclusive culture, it is impossible to speak genuinely to our customers. To lead from the top on inclusion and reinvent the standard of diversity, here are a few best practices business leaders should drive toward.

Get unapologetically real. Unconscious bias is alive and well. Instead of treating it like the proverbial elephant in the room, it’s time to acknowledge that our personal experiences inform how we see the world. Recognizing the reality of unconscious bias is a critical first step in working to reduce it in the workplace. Providing diversity and inclusion training, using technology to eliminate biased language in job listings, ensuring that underrepresented colleagues have a voice and that there are opportunities at all levels of the organization are all ways to build a more inclusive, less biased work environment.

Establish unimpeachable credibility. Your talk must match your walk. I’m proud to be a female leader at a company that is reinventing the standard for diversity and inclusion efforts. HP has the most diverse board of directors of any technology company in the United States, including five women among the 13 board members – almost 40 per cent. Several are from South Asia. In Canada, our leadership team is more than 60-per-cent female with diverse backgrounds across the entire team. Your commitment must shine through in everything you do.

Invite and empower vocal diversity champions. Give your most passionate and active employees the resources and tools to bring diversity leadership across the entire organization at the grassroots level. Equip them to have sensitive conversations and make it safe to discuss what matters to them. Then reward and celebrate them. Give your employees meaningful benefits, such as work-life balance programs, diversity and inclusion awards, an open and collaborative workspace, employee resource groups to share like-minded experiences, goals and values. Highlight how the organization values and directs diversity efforts to drive new business, fuel innovation and attract and retain top talent.

Lead by bold precedent. If you want to change how things are being done, take big, brave leaps. For instance, challenge your partners: our chief marketing officer asked each of our advertising and PR agency partners to submit a plan to increase the number of women and minorities in key creative and strategy roles. He also announced that HP would donate $100,000 to #FreeTheBid, an initiative aimed at increasing the number of female directors in advertising by pledging one in three competitive bids will go to a female director. Our global legal leadership team launched a “diversity holdback” requirement that allows HP to withhold up to 10 per cent of all amounts invoiced by our law firm partners for so long as the firm fails to maintain diverse staffing in our legal matters.

Embracing diversity of ideas, perspectives and experiences has the potential to unlock innovation and growth. Business leaders must reinvent the standard of diversity and inclusion to make a difference in their organizations, marketplace and community.


Source: MARY ANN YULE | President & CEO, HP Canada Co.
OCTOBER 26, 2017

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Job Seeking Pitfalls – 4 Signs You Are Trying Too Hard

Job seeking is tough. It requires being thoughtful, prepared, organized and politely persistent. At times, a candidate’s well-intended efforts can turn into an annoyance for the hiring manager and become the reason a company does not pursue them further. Here are four signs you are trying too hard and are at risk of being rejected.

Showing up too early. Yes, it is critical to be on time for an interview. The general rule of thumb is to arrive at the building 15 minutes early. This ensures you have time to find parking, collect your materials and thoughts and potentially check in with security if it is a large building or company. You should enter the lobby of the office five to seven minutes before your interview time unless instructed differently.

Why only five to seven minutes? First, many small or midsized offices have a greeting area that is in the general workspace (or pretty close to it). Arriving early obligates an employee to stop what he is doing earlier than planned to either greet you, get you set up in a conference room, make conversation with you or to work silently while you are staring at him for an uncomfortable period of time until your interview. It may also make the interviewer feel like she should change her schedule to meet with you earlier – as opposed to letting you sit idle for 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, the very early candidate often passes his time by looking at his phone. Although we all use our phone to kill time, it is not seen as professional or powerful to be hunched over reading social media when your interviewer walks in the room. Arriving too early puts you at risk of falling into the idle time trap.

Excessive or pointed follow-up. You should follow up after applying for a job or completing an interview – but not aggressively or with pointed questions. An email after applying to verify your information was received or a thank-you note within 24 hours of an interview work well. After that, you should take a more calculated approach. Ideally, you can find out at the time of submittal or interview when decisions regarding next steps are likely to occur. For example, “Thank you for meeting with me today, Bob. I am very interested in the role. Can you tell me about the timing for selection or when may be a good time for me to follow up?” In the absence of this guidance, five days after an interview is acceptable for a polite, “Thank you for your time last week. I enjoyed learning more about the Customer Service Manager role and am very interested in continuing in the process. Please let me know if I can answer any additional questions or provide references. I appreciate your consideration.”

Emails or messages like, “I haven’t heard back from you regarding the Customer Service Manager position. Can you give me an update?” tend to make the recipient feel guilty or annoyed. Guilty or annoyed people usually avoid the source of their discomfort. Although there is a time for being direct when you would like to hear back about a role, a more ingratiating and positive approach works best.

Being a yes man or woman. Managers hire professionals with whom they have a rapport. Rapport is established with a healthy balance of back and forth conversation and trust between the parties. People who quickly agree to everything that is said can seem too needy and disingenuous. When you try too hard, you evoke a human instinct of concern as to why you need to try so hard. Are you hiding something? Are you lacking in your own thoughts? In short, being too eager to give the right answer comes across as false. “Chemistry is what you are talking about,” says Monster interview expert Marky Stein, author of “Fearless Interviewing.” “Having a natural conversation essentially makes the interviewer feel comfortable, and therefore makes him or her like you. It’s the human element. It’s all about the chemistry.”

Too intense – vocally and in experience. It can be tricky for an interviewee to balance representing his background confidently without coming on too strong. Talking too loudly, laughing too quickly or representing your background as “transformational” or “exceptional” cause concern for most interviewers. Hiring is about minimizing risk. No one wants to feel duped, so the overly intense communicator or someone with too grandiose experiences and accomplishments is viewed skeptically. The challenge of coming on too strong is that once the audience distrusts you, there is no coming back. You can be enthusiastic, passionate and accomplished provided you are also authentic, engaged and responsive to your interviewer’s body language.

Hiring happens when there is trust, respect, and rapport with someone who is qualified and interested. Actions that erode trust, respect and rapport result in disqualification during the interview process. The key is to be politely persistent and engaged but to be thoughtful in your approach and to maintain authenticity.


By Robin Reshwan, Contributor |Oct. 10, 2017, at 11:06 a.m.

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How to Choose a Career That’s Best for You

As U.S. News unveils its Best Careers of 2011, it makes sense to think about whether one of the jobs on the list is a good fit for you.

Of course, since we all have different skills, interests, experiences and expectations, there’s no one career that’s best for everyone. So how do you choose the career that’s best for you?

Whether you’re trying to decide where to look for your first job or pondering a possible career change, here’s what you should consider when thinking through this important decision:

What are your natural talents?

We all have natural talents, certain tasks that come easy to us. When we use our natural talents, time moves fast and we tend to receive compliments for our abilities. Knowing where your natural talents lie is key to choosing the right career. Of course we’re capable of doing other things, but those other tasks usually feel more like work. What do you always enjoy doing, and how can those skills be applied to a job?

What’s your work style?

Each of us has a preferred work style, even if we don’t realize it. That style can sometime conflict with a career choice. For example, a flexible work environment might allow you to deliver projects on various dates, while a structured environment would require specific deadlines and strict guidelines. What works better for you? In which environment do you tend to thrive?

Where do you like to work?

What’s your preferred work location? Your preference could vary from a small regional office to corporate headquarters to a home office, an airport hotel in Buffalo or a beach suite in South Florida. How often do like to work away from home? Do you mind traveling for your job? If living out of a suitcase makes you cringe and you need a consistency in your workplace, avoid careers that require a lot of moving around.

Do you enjoy social interaction?

Do you like working with others or as part of a team? Are you motivated by the needs of others and your ability to provide a solution? This is critical because some people shy away from that connection and would rather deliver value behind the scenes—without the complications of interacting with colleagues and clients. Know your social needs so you can choose a career that matches them.

How important to you is work-life balance?

Do you value a short commute and a home-cooked meal every night? Do you live for weekends out at the soccer field watching your kids play? If you need those creature comforts on a regular basis, pick a career that will give you the time to enjoy them. Look for jobs with regular hours and little to no requirements to work overtime or on weekends.

Are you looking to give back?

Some careers have a component of giving back, where the beneficiary of your hard work is not a corporation’s bottom line but rather a sick child, an endangered species or the planet’s air quality. If it’s important to know that your hard work makes a difference in the world, this could be a significant driver in your career choice.

Are you comfortable in the public eye?

Certain careers encourage or even require employees to have a public persona. You may become known in your local community. If you’re a spokesperson, that recognition could extend to a nation level. Or if you serve as your company’s representative at trade shows or special events, you may become known in that niche community. How does this strike you—as an opportunity or an obligation? If you thrive on recognition and the chance to build a personal brand while promoting your company’s work, look for careers that allow you to stand out front.

Do you deal well with stress?

Some of us thrive on big deadlines, or being on the hook for important projects. We like being the glue that holds everything together. In this role, people trust you and expect that you’ll suck it up and deal well with the pressure. Of course, we all have different stress thresholds. If you thrive under the gun, you may do well in a high-stress career. But if stress makes you want to run the other way, look for jobs that are more laid-back.

How much money do you want to make?

As you look forward in life, what are your expectations for money? You might be single now, but maybe you hope to become your future family’s breadwinner. Or maybe you’re part of a successful two-income family and need to decide whether you’re comfortable living on less or compromising on other career aspects, like work-life balance, to earn a better income. If money is the reward you seek, there are careers to match.

If choosing a career feels like too much pressure, here’s another option: Pick a path that feels right today by making the best decision you can, and know that you can change your mind in the future. In today’s workplace, choosing a career doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stick with that line of work for your entire life. Make a smart decision, and plan to re-evaluate down the line based on your long-term objectives.

Recognize that you’ll change as time rolls on. Your needs for money, freedom, balance, and recognition will change with you. But for now, think through each of these ideas, and you’ll be well on your way to choosing a career that’s best for you.

Credit author: Tim Tyrell-Smith 

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11 Job Search Tips for Recent Graduates

If you’re newly graduated and unemployed, it’s time to get serious about your job hunt. The longer you’ve been out of school, the more difficult it can be to get a job.

Job searching isn’t intuitive. It requires you understand some basic rules of engagement. To get you started, here are some best practices you should know about as you enter the job market.

Create a customized resume for each job. It is faster and easier to use the same resume for each job, but, it won’t work. One of the biggest mistakes you are making by using the same resume for every job is that your resume misses the mark. Recruiters use keywords to search the applicant pool and if you haven’t used them, your resume won’t show up in search results.

Specify your internships. It isn’t helpful to use a generic job title “Summer Intern” for that awesome experience you had. It was a valuable job and the job title should partially convey that. Use the department name or type of function such as “Accounting Intern” or “Marketing Intern.” Even if your internship wasn’t glamorous, you still have valuable work experience and you want to convey that to future employers.

It’s who you know, not what you know. You are more likely to land an interview and a job if you are referred. Keep this in mind as you schedule your job search activities. You’ll want to spend more time having conversations with people than sitting behind your computer filling out online applications. One final word: Few people care about your CGPA. It isn’t all that relevant in the real world of work.

Leverage the alumni network. You share a special bond with people who graduated from your school. Leverage your common experience to get questions answered or get referred for jobs at their company. LinkedIn makes it easy to find alumni. Just go to your school’s page and click on the “find alumni” button. You should also check with your school’s alumni office. They may offer an alumni database, meetups or events.

Tap family friends. Your parents, aunts, and uncles all have friends. Notify your entire family that you are looking for a job and mention some of the companies you are interested in. You never know who your family may know. Also, ask your college friends to share your message with their parents and family.

Know why you want the job. Recruiters want to hire someone who really wants to do the job and who wants to work for their company. Be ready to explain why you are interested in all the jobs you apply to. Also be ready to answer why you are choosing the career path you are choosing. The right answer requires you construct a genuine yet informed answer.

Master your pitch. When someone asks you what you do, and they will, you need a 30-second response. A short, easy-to-understand answer helps the person you are talking to understand how they can help when you are networking. Don’t overwhelm them with too much detail. Focus on the one or two most helpful pieces of information you want them to know. You have time later in the conversation to answer any questions or include additional information you want to share.

Set up your voicemail. Even though you may not like voicemail, many recruiters often prefer to call you rather than wait for you to respond via email. Make sure your voicemail includes your name and telephone number so recruiters know who they’ve reached. And don’t let your voicemail box get full. If a recruiter can’t leave you a message, they’re likely to move on to the next candidate.

Audit your social media. If you are using Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook, they are all fair game for recruiters to snoop. Go through your updates and make sure to delete posts mentioning guns, politics or alcohol. Check to make sure you haven’t insulted or bad-mouthed companies or people and watch out for profanity. Your accounts don’t need to be sterile, but they do need to be rated G for general audience. You don’t want to offend or turn off potential employers.

Boost your LinkedIn activity. Having a shell of a profile on LinkedIn is a rookie mistake. Take time to enhance your profile and present yourself as a worthy candidate for the roles you are interested in. If you’re unsure of what those may be, at least highlight your professionalism and potential. You can also stay in front of your LinkedIn network by sharing one relevant news article as a status update every day!

Prepare for interviews NOW. You need to seriously brush up on your interviewing skills! You won’t be able to wing it. Practice answering the tough interview questions out loud, not in your head. Questions like: What do you know about our company? Why should we hire you? Tell me about yourself and the many “Tell me about a time when …” scenarios. You only have one shot at winning over the interview team, so prepare and practice now!

Your first job is only your first step. You will change jobs, careers, and companies many times throughout your career. But the biggest challenge at this point is landing a job without a lot of experience. You need work experience, so any job is better than none. And if you don’t love it, at least you know what you don’t want to do. There’s no such thing as the perfect job; keep an open mind and take note of what you don’t like so you don’t make the same mistake twice.


By Hannah Morgan, Contributor |July 26, 2017, at 11:04 a.m.