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What Is the Best Way to Describe Yourself in a Job Interview?

It can be difficult to talk about yourself in a job interview. A lot of people feel uncomfortable discussing their strengths in an interview because they feel like they have to be good at sales to sell themselves.

Or, they feel like they’re bragging and they were taught it’s rude to brag about themselves. I always say it’s not bragging if you can back it up.

But if you still feel uncomfortable describing and selling yourself, here are six ways to do so without it feeling like bragging.

1. Use Others’ Words

If it feels awkward for you to talk about your strengths, try instead to use other people’s words. Think about the feedback you’ve received in the past from your supervisor, co-workers, or customers. What are the good things they’ve said about you and your work?

Then, word your responses to interview questions with the phrase, “My co-workers always comment on how I…” Or, “My supervisor says I’m good at…”

2. Give Examples in the Job Interview

Always use examples to illustrate what you say you’re good at. Do this by telling a story about a time when you’ve performed a certain task or skill, focusing on the positive results from your efforts.

Your stories are unique to you, and therefore set you apart from the other candidates who possess the same skills. Your stories are what make you memorable.

It’s best to organize these stories using the CAR method as described in my blog post “The Secret to Answering Behavioral Interview Questions.”

3. Exhibit Problem-Solving Skills

Show your problem-solving skills since you’re likely being hired to solve a specific problem.

If you can figure out before the interview what the main problem is they want the new person in the position to solve, come up with some ideas on how you would go about solving that problem.

Or, prepare a case study to share about how you’ve previously solved a similar problem in your past experience.

4. Show and Tell

Provide some tangible samples of your past work in the form of a professional portfolio. You can put together a hard copy of your portfolio to take with you to the job interview, and also have a digital format you can link to from your LinkedIn profile and resume.

When putting together a professional portfolio, remember to always choose quality samples of work over quantity. Also, make sure you’re not including anything your previous or current employer would consider to be confidential.

For more information on how to prepare a case study or present a professional portfolio, check out my on-demand program The 3 Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers.

5. Be Positive in the Job Interview

Always describe yourself in a positive light, even when asked about your weaknesses. Be honest, be humble, and show how you are overcoming or compensating for your weaknesses.

Then, know when to stop talking about your weaknesses (always keep this topic brief).

*Stay tuned for my upcoming blog post on how to answer the interview question, “What are your greatest weaknesses?”

6. Make It About Them

Focus on what’s most important to your audience, not necessarily what’s most important to you.

This requires knowing your audience and what they’re looking for most in a candidate. The list of required skills from the job ad is a good clue to what they’re interested in discussing.

Talk about those skills and how you’ve demonstrated them. Don’t spend too much time talking about a skill you have that’s not listed as a strong requirement for the job.

Also, make sure when answering questions (or when asking questions of your own), you present your thoughts in a way that shows you’re putting the company’s best interest above your own.

For example, when asked why should they hire you, don’t babble on about why the job would be good for you. Instead, talk about why you would be good for them.

I once had a client who, when I did a mock interview with her and she answered this question, she said they should hire her because it would be the next best step for her career and it would be a closer commute for her. We quickly corrected her response to show what she brought to the table that would benefit the company instead.

Another example is, instead of asking if a company provides work-life balance for their employees, ask, “How do you support your employees in ways that allow them to give their best to their jobs and the company?” This shows you’re not just thinking about yourself.

Job Interview Finesse

Interviewing can be tricky and nerve-wracking. It’s a delicate balance of putting your best foot forward and also making sure to interview the company, all the while remembering to put yourself in their shoes. With the above tips and other tips in this blog, you’ll learn how to handle the interview process with finesse!

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How To Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

It’s time to stop comparing yourself to others! Comparing yourself can be destructive to your self-esteem, detrimental in the pursuit of your purpose, and downright depressing!

Yet, you probably find yourself playing the comparison game quite often. Does it tend to happen most when scrolling through Facebook or Instagram? Yeah, that’s what I suspected.

We all know logically that (most) people only post their best moments in life on social media, and edit out their worst moments. But emotionally it’s hard for us to remember this. As a result, we end up comparing our worst to someone else’s best, while forgetting others also have a worst.

If you don’t learn how to stop comparing yourself to others, you will never reach your own potential.

So how can you stop? Let’s look at the following case study to find out.

Stop Comparing Yourself (A Case Study)

Artists of any medium (performing artists like dancers, actors, singers and songwriters and visual artists like painters, sculptors, and photographers) tend to be much harder on themselves and compare themselves more to others than non-artists do.

Jessica* was no exception. I met Jessica when I was giving a presentation on the topic of personal branding at the Nashville Arts & Business Council. She was a songwriter attending the event along side various other artists, including everyone from graffiti artists to jewelry makers.

After I led the group through the three phases of my personal branding program, Jessica broke down in tears. She quickly let the group know her tears were happy tears.

She explained how she’d been comparing herself to all the other songwriters in Nashville since she moved to town to pursue her passion for music. And now, this program helped her see she doesn’t have to compare herself to her competition. She said it taught her how to better pinpoint her own uniqueness.

Jessica felt relief and was freed from the damage she’d been doing to her self-esteem with unnecessary comparison.

How you can stop comparing yourself to others

While artists might compare themselves more to their peers than you do, I’m sure you find yourself doing so more often than you’d like. So what are some things you can do to stop?

One, when you get the urge to pick up your phone and start scrolling and comparing, instead put your phone down and go find something to do that will make you forget to check your phone.

This could be something you enjoy so much you easily lose yourself in it. Like, reading a new book, taking a walk, writing in your journal, making something with your hands, trying a new hobby, etc.

stop comparing yourself

Two, realize everyone has a unique way of doing the same things others do. When you do those things in your own unique way, no one else can do them like you can. It’s like having your own thumbprint on your process.

Three, discover the things you’re good at and how you do them uniquely. If you need help discovering what you’re good at, I encourage you to check out my personal branding program for yourself. You can go through it in one of three ways:

  1. Purchase the paperback book on Amazon.
  2. Get the book for free with purchase of the on-demand video course.
  3. Get personalized one-on-coaching to help you with your specific needs and questions on discovering your unique skills and developing your personal brand.

Restore your self-esteem by being productive in the pursuit of your passion and purpose instead of wasting your time comparing yourself to others!

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*Name has been changed for privacy.

stop comparing yourself

Sunday Inspiration: Don’t Confuse Happiness With Merriment

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

Don’t confuse happiness with merriment. Merriment comes from joy, not happiness, and understanding this is crucial to your emotional well-being.

There are times when we can’t and shouldn’t be happy—when people are hurting, going through tragedy, or losing jobs and loved ones. In the face of injustice happiness is inappropriate, if not impossible.

Yet the joy that comes from knowing that you are unconditionally loved and accepted by God enables you to remain joyful. That’s because:

  1. Happiness is external; joy is internal.
  2. Happiness depends on outward circumstances; joy depends on inward character.
  3. Happiness depends on what happens to us; joy depends on who lives within us.
  4. Happiness is based on chance; joy is based on choice.

So today—choose joy!

Source: https://sacrificebeyondprice.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/experience-it/

How to Stop Networking for Good Contacts and How to Be One!

I’ve written many times about networking and the importance of making sure your efforts are a balance of give and take instead of just take. But today I want to dive deeper into this subject and focus on the “give” by teaching you how to be a good contact for someone else.

In doing so, you’ll not only grow your own network naturally and organically, but you’ll also increase the quality of your contacts and professional relationships.

5 Ways to Stop Networking and Become a Good Networking Contact

1. Be the one making the introductions

Instead of wondering who your contact can introduce you to, try and think of someone you can introduce him or her to that would benefit both parties. Who in your current network would be a good resource for someone you’re trying to connect and build a rapport with?

Make sure whoever you introduce your new contact to is someone who will never make you look bad with their own behavior. This means you should think of someone who not only will be a great resource but also someone you’ve known long enough you can trust them to represent you well. Because after all, who you refer reflects back on you.

This is why networking takes time. You may have to first prove yourself as a trusted contact before someone will introduce you to their contacts. Be just as discerning in your own introductions to maintain your reputation.

2. Share something of interest

Share something you read you know would be of interest to people in your network. This could include simply tagging them in an article you saw on LinkedIn or sending them the link in an email with a personalized note.

When you take an interest in someone else’s interests, you endear yourself to him or her. It also shows you’re willing to contribute to the relationship.

3. Be a resource and give your own advice

A lot of my clients feel like they don’t have anything to offer in return to someone who seems to be further along in their career or seems to have more knowledge or expertise than them.

This is not true!

The people you want to connect with don’t know everything about everything. Surely there’s something you know how to do or knowledge you have which could be helpful to them.

For instance, I have a mentor who’s also a career coach with more years of experience than me. I learn a lot from her. But every time we meet, she always says to me, “You’re such a wealth of information!”

This is because I share with her some of the technologies I use to help me run my coaching business more efficiently or ideas I use to get more views of my blog. Most of them are ones she hadn’t heard of before. Therefore, I’m providing valuable information for her instead of just taking her advice without offering anything in return.

So think about things you have knowledge of that have been helpful for you. Then, when you see someone with a need for those things, tell them about it!

4. Be a good listener

Sometimes, others just need someone to listen. Especially if they’re usually the one doing all the listening. Giving them a break from listening and letting them talk can be a great relief for them. It’s probably the simplest and easiest way to serve as a good contact for someone else.

5. Show interest

Show genuine interest in others by following their social media updates and commenting on them. You don’t have to “like” or comment on every one of their posts. But do so for the ones you find most meaningful.

This shows you’re staying connected to them, paying attention to what they’re doing, and supporting them, even when you can’t do so more directly.

Conclusion

When you follow the above tips, you’ll start to build a strong network that’s not just based on quantity of contacts but also quality of contacts. And you’ll also be viewed as the type of quality contact people are excited to introduce to their contacts!

Want to learn more networking tips? Get my latest e-book Secrets to Networking With Ease and Confidence for free when you purchase my on-demand program The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively.

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Will You Please Just Tell Me What’s Going to Be on the Exam?

Back to School!

It’s back to school this week here in Nashville! I remember when I was in school, especially in college, I didn’t have the appreciation I have now for education. I remember only caring about what I needed to know for my exams, and not much about anything extra.

But, there was always that one older (non-traditional aged) student in my college classes who would ask questions about stuff we didn’t need to know for the exam. You probably had a classmate like her too.

I remember rolling my eyes and thinking to myself, “Quit asking so many questions so we can get out of class early!” But now, I would so be that student if I was back in college again. I totally would.

Lifelong Learning

The older I get, the more I love to learn. I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way. So many people grow in their appreciation for knowledge and learning as they get older. I guess this is why George Bernard Shaw said,

“Education is lost on the youth.”

Lifelong learning and continuing education is very important. And not just for satisfying a thirst for knowledge or broadening your knowledge base. With changes occurring rapidly in the way we work, it’s necessary to learn new approaches to the job search in order to keep up in today’s job market.

In doing so, sometimes we first need to focus on the basics and learn (or re-learn) the nuts and bolts (i.e. the stuff we know will be on the “exam”).  This includes the nuts and bolts of writing a resume.

The Nuts and Bolts of Resume Writing

I get so many clients who haven’t had to write a resume in about 10-20 years. Things have changed since then, despite all the outdated resume advice still floating around out there on the Internet. There are new resume writing basics today’s job seekers need to learn if they want to successfully land more interviews. This includes how to get their resume through the resume-filtering software to a pair of human eyes.

Not too long ago, I taught a continuing education class on resume writing. Many of the students in my class were surprised at how many new “nuts and bolts” things they needed to know for their resume (the “exam”).

Now I’ve taken the same info from the class I taught, and packaged it into an online course called Resumes That Get You the Interview: Surprising Secrets to Getting Your Resume Noticed. It’s perfect for anyone who only wants to learn the nuts and bolts of how to write a marketable resume for today’s job market.

And for those of you who want to learn more than just what’s going to be “on the exam,” there is a copy of my e-book Get Your Resume Read! included for free with your purchase of the on-demand program.

Welcome Back to School: Resume Writing Course Preview

Want a course preview? There are five lessons/episodes in this on-demand program:

back to school

In addition, there are several downloadable handouts to help you create the best resume possible for your unique career situation:

  • The paNASH Resume Makeover Guide
  • Chronological Resume Sample
  • Skills Resume Sample
  • Targeted/Hybrid Resume Samples (for career change and for executive level)
  • E-book: Get Your Resume Read!

So if you just want to learn what’s going to be “on the exam” or you want to know more, I invite you “back to school” by registering for Resumes That Get You the Interview for $87. You can work at your own pace and skip around so you can get to the parts you care about the most.

A recent user had this to say:

“While going through the videos and handouts, I kept blurting out ‘Ah, that’s good advice!’ every two to three minutes. That’s how much information I learned – something new every two minutes of watching! Thank you Lori for this program. I can say it is worth the money!” Chris D.

What’s NOT Going to Be on the Exam

In addition to the on-demand program, here’s a recent video I posted on LinkedIn describing one of several things you should NOT include on your resume:

Want to learn more about what not to include on your resume? Click here to purchase the on-demand program now.

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