Category: Out-of-the-box career advice


How to Know What Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

I’ve previously written on the importance of asking questions of your own when interviewing for a job. Not only do they help you make a wiser decision when it comes to multiple job offers, they also help you win the interview!

But with various interview processes, and the latest changes in the way we work due to the pandemic, there are more questions to consider asking in your next job interview.

Interview process-related questions

I’m currently working with a client going through a lengthy interview process. It includes tests, writing assignments, personality assessments, and several rounds of interviews. So far, she’s made it through every hoop to the final round.

But specifically, the personality assessment hoop can be a tricky one. While it’s not illegal for employers to require you to take a personality assessment during the hiring process, it does open the company up to potential liability. Even the creators of the popular DISC assessment do not recommend it for pre-employment screening. The reason is because it doesn’t measure aptitude, skills, or other factors critical to the position.

So, if you find yourself having to take a personality assessment in a job interview, I advise you to ask the same questions I advised my client to ask:

  • What is the test measuring?
  • How will you use the results in making hiring decisions?
  • What weight will it carry compared to other decision-making factors?
  • Are the results used to determine best fit for the company culture, or for the job role?
  • Are the results going in my file?
  • Will you share the results with me and interpret them?

Pandemic-related questions

The current pandemic has changed not only the way we work, but also the way companies hire. I’ve previously written about possible questions the candidate should expect in interviews during and after the pandemic.

Now I want to share questions the candidate should also ask during and after the pandemic. These questions include:

  • How has your company changed for the better since the pandemic?
  • How has it changed for the worse?
  • Which adaptations will you keep after the pandemic has passed?
  • What is the projected outlook for the company and this industry based on the effects of the pandemic?
  • How have you supported your employees during the pandemic?

These questions will help you determine more about the company’s culture and how it adapts to crises.

Conclusion

Never forget, the job interview is a two-way street. You should always have questions of your own prepared. Doing so shows your interest in the company and helps you make better career decisions.

If you need help preparing for your next interview, let’s talk!

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How to Avoid an Epic Fail When Networking

Networking often feels awkward, and can sometimes backfire, even with the best of intentions. Add to it the awkwardness and limitations of a pandemic, and you’ve got yourself a potential epic fail.

We’ve all failed at least once in our networking strategies. This week, I want to provide some tips to help you try some new and different approaches to avoid an epic fail.

Stay tuned for next week when I share some out-of-the-box interview tips!

Successful networking strategies

One of the most successful strategies is to spend more time doing it! Job seekers should spend 80% of their job search networking and only 20% actually applying to job ads. However, most job seekers have this reversed.

But to be successful, you also have to understand the etiquette involved in networking. Check out these previous posts for five tips most people fail to implement.

1. Avoid appearing desperate on LinkedIn

Every job seeker knows it’s important to be on LinkedIn, but they don’t know how to keep from looking desperate. Recruiters can detect desperation just from a job seeker’s profile, and will steer clear.

Click here to learn how to avoid looking desperate on LinkedIn.

How to Stop Looking Desperate on LinkedIn

2. Create a more inviting elevator pitch

An elevator pitch, created from the same old cookie-cutter approach, will make your listener want to pitch themselves down an elevator shaft!

Instead, click here to try a more inviting and less annoying approach.

The Best Way to Write a Successful Elevator Speech

3. Don’t ask, “Can I pick your brain?”

Leading your networking conversation with this common question can quickly result in an epic fail.

For a lot of professionals, this question is a trigger. To them, it’s code for, “I want to take from you your years of knowledge, advice, or contacts, without giving anything in return.”

This is not a good way to start off on the right foot.

But good news! There are appropriate ways to start a conversation with a potential new contact. Click here to learn how to do so using proper etiquette.

Why “Can I Pick Your Brain?” Is the Wrong Approach

4. Become a good networking contact yourself

Instead of just trying to find good networking contacts, you might also have better luck by serving as a good contact yourself.

To learn five ways you can give back and contribute more to your networking relationships, click here.

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

5. Protect yourself from toxic professional relationships

You’ve probably heard the popular networking advice, “Never burn a bridge.” But I also say, “Never stay standing on a bridge someone else has lit a match to.”

While it’s important to maintain good networking relationships, you should also protect yourself from the toxic ones. Especially if they could hurt your other professional relationships.

Click here to learn how to recognize toxic relationships in your professional circles.

Never Say Never: How to Know When You Should Let a Bridge Burn

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Is Your Resume Not Working?

Maybe it’s time to approach résumé writing from a different angle

If you’ve sent out hundreds of résumés and still aren’t getting interviews, maybe it’s time to re-think your resume.

Most job seekers approach résumé writing from the wrong perspective. They think their résumé is about them, when in actuality, it’s not.

To learn some fresh ways to write your résumé so you can grab the reader’s attention and land more interviews, check out the following out-of-the-box strategies. They’ll work well with the unique job search strategies I shared last week.

Stay tuned for more out-of-the-box strategies for networking and interviewing! 

Out-of-the-box résumé writing strategies

1. Show how you can meet the employer’s needs

Your résumé should be more about speaking to the employer’s needs than your own. A lot of people’s professional summary only lists what they want from the job. Instead, job seekers should talk more about what they have to offer the company.

Showing how you can help meet the employer’s needs will grab the reader’s attention. To find out how to do this, check out my post, “How to Write a Résumé: Make It About THEM, Not You.”

How to Write a Resume: Make it About THEM, Not You

2. Know what you need to delete from your résumé

You only have so much space to work with on a résumé. Therefore, it’s just as important to know what to take off your résumé as it is to know what to add to it.

For instance, if there’s something you’ve done in past jobs you know you never want to do again in future jobs, delete that particular duty from your résumé.

For 12 more items you should remove from your résumé, check out this free video, “What NOT to Share On Your Résumé“.

Resume Help

3. Don’t forget to include your side hustle

If you have a side hustle, either in addition to your current job or as your current means of income, include it on your résumé! Doing so will tell employers a lot about you.

For instance, it will show them how you possess many of the skills they’re looking for, like creativity, adaptability, and more.

Click here to learn how to best market your side hustle on your résumé.

Should You Share Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?

4. Protect your résumé from ageism

Unfortunately and sadly, ageism still exists in the workforce. If you’re running into road blocks with your résumé because of your age, click here for tips to keep you from giving away your age on your résumé.

These tips do not encourage you to lie about your age. Instead, they’re about helping you get your foot in the door for an interview, so you can show employers the benefits your skill level would bring them.

How to Gain a Little Protection From Ageism (Part 1)

5. Feel more confident about your résumé

As you apply the tips from the previous suggestions, you’ll feel more confident about your résumé and your skills.

But, there are probably some more things you still don’t know about how to write an attention-grabbing résumé. Click here to find out what they are so your résumé will stand out above the competition and land you more interviews!

Think You Know How to Write a Resume? Think Again!

Want someone to write your résumé for you?

Now, paNASH has a certified professional résumé writer on staff to write your résumé for you. Dr. Denisha Bonds can provide you a properly-worded and uniquely-designed résumé to help you succeed in your job search!

Click here to request a quote.

paNASH Adds New Career Coach and More Services

Stay tuned for next week when I share several out-of-the-box networking strategies!

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Are Your Job Search Strategies Not Working for You?

Maybe it’s time to try something different.

If you’ve been at your job search for a while now and still aren’t seeing results, maybe it’s time for some new or different job search strategies.

You’re probably familiar with the Albert Einstein quote,

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So why keep doing the same thing in your job search if you’re seeing the same poor results?

I always try to provide new and different job search strategies for my clients. Something other than just the typical and often outdated advice found on the Internet. This helps them stand out above their competition and see improved results in their job search.

Now don’t get me wrong, consistency is important in your job search. But you don’t want to waste your time being consistent with job search strategies that don’t work.

Instead, be consistent with what’s working for you. Then, get rid of the strategies that don’t work, and replace them with the following out-of-the-box strategies. Test which ones work best for you, and then tweak them for your unique situation. You’ll likely see more positive results in your job search!

Stay tuned for more out-of-the-box strategies for résumé writing, networking, and interviewing!

Out-of-the box job search strategies

1. It all starts with your personal brand

You may wonder what your personal brand has to do with your job search. Well, the answer is, a lot! Understanding your personal brand, and how to articulate it properly, can result in new career options, a more focused job search, a marketable résumé, authentic networking relationships, and more solid answers to interview questions.

On the other hand, not understanding your personal brand can land you in a job you never wanted, or keep you in a career path you’re trying to escape from. You’re especially at risk of this during a vulnerable point in your career, like many people are right now due to COVID layoffs.

To learn more about better understanding and marketing your personal brand, check out my post, “How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand.”

How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand

2. Know what recruiters are thinking

Since part of the personal branding process involves knowing who your audience is, it’s important for you to put yourself in their shoes.

For most job seekers, one of their audience segments is recruiters. Do you know how recruiters think? Do you know how to respond appropriately to the ways they think?

In my post, “7 Things You Need to Know About Recruiters,” you’ll learn how to anticipate what recruiters are thinking and how to be proactive in marketing yourself to them.

7 Things You Need to Know About Recruiters

3. Don’t go where everyone else is going

When most people first come to me, they’re frustrated because they’ve spent so much time applying to jobs on all the popular job boards, but with no luck.

This is because those job boards are saturated with other job seekers. They’re also saturated with a lot of old job postings, and even postings by scammers and spammers. In fact, I recently heard from someone who became a victim of identity theft after he responded to a fake online job ad.

Therefore, you shouldn’t spend nearly as much time applying to jobs online as you should networking. In fact, you should only allot about 20% of your job search efforts to applying to jobs. So what are some better and safer alternatives to the popular online job boards? Click here to find out.

What Are the Best Alternatives to Online Job Boards?

4. Gain more experience in new and different ways

If you’re currently unemployed and don’t have the experience needed for the jobs you’re applying for, use your time to gain the experience and skills to make you more employable.

How do you gain this experience when you can’t get hired without it? While this often seems like a catch-22, there are several ways to build your résumé while you’re unemployed. Click here to find out how.

How to Get Experience When You Can’t Get Hired Without It

5. Develop the most in-demand skills

While gaining more experience, you’ll also want to develop the skills employers want most in an employee. Many of these skills are the same skills which also make entrepreneurs successful.

You’ll find a list of those skills in my post, “Why You Need to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)“.

I published this post a little over a year ago, before we’d even heard of COVID-19 or could imagine the impact it would have on the current job market. I wrote it during a very good market, but the advice still applies today. Especially for those who’ve suddenly found themselves out of work due to the pandemic.

And my guess is, due to the coronavirus, the statistic in the post for the number of independent workers in 2020 is much higher than originally predicted.

Whether you’re forced into working for yourself, or you’re searching for a job, you need to develop these in-demand skills to be successful.

Why You Need to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)

More out-of-the-box job search strategies

Stay tuned as I share more out-of-the-box job search strategies in the coming weeks. This will include unique résumé writing, networking, and interviewing advice.

And don’t forget! You can get 20% off paNASH’s career coaching video resources starting on Cyber Monday. Discount is good through Friday, December 4th. Use the discount code CYMON20.

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More Coaches’ Advice For a Successful Career

Part 2

Last week, I shared with you the first five of ten rules for a successful career. These rules were garnered from the advice of some of the world’s greatest athletic coaches, as highlighted in the recent documentary series, The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life.

This week I’m sharing the remaining five rules, one from professional soccer coach Jose Mourinho, and the final four from NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion coach, Dawn Staley.

5 More Rules for a Successful Career

1. “Understand your audience.”

Jose Mourinho – Professional Soccer Coach and Manager

I agree with Coach Mourinho. You must always know your audience. And, you must take the time to understand their challenges and needs so you can best serve them. Depending on your career goal, your audience may be the hiring manager at a new company, your current boss, your boss’s boss, or potential clients or customers of your own business.

This is important when marketing your experience. It’s so important, that I’ve created an entire exercise on how to better understand who your audience is. It’s available in my latest book on personal branding, and in the on-demand video course, The Three Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers.

If you don’t take time to understand your audience and their needs, you’ll likely be passed over for your competition. Don’t let this happen to you!

2. “Create a home court advantage.”

Dawn Staley – Head Coach for the Women’s Basketball Team at the University of South Carolina (my alma mater!)

Staley did a great job of creating a home court advantage out of nothing at the University of South Carolina. When she first started coaching for the Gamecocks, there was barely any attendance at the women’s basketball games.

But through her efforts, she created a buzz which drew in more crowds. And then she created buy-in from the crowds through the excellence of her and her team’s work, turning them into fans. Now, there are just as many fans in the stands for the women’s games as there are for the men’s games.

You can do this too with your career. You can create a buzz, and attract those who appreciate your work and who’ll cheer you on and support you. In turn, you’ll attract the attention of the people who want you on their team.

Create your home court advantage by building and growing authentic relationships with your network. You’ll also want to secure LinkedIn recommendations and skill endorsements. If you own your own business, you’ll want to secure positive Google reviews from satisfied clients or customers. By doing so, you’ll grow your audience as you continue your efforts to better understand them.

3. “The 24-hour rule.”

Dawn Staley

This is another good one from Coach Staley! She encourages her players to celebrate their wins and to mourn their losses, but tells them to give themselves only 24 hours to do so.

It’s always good to set healthy boundaries, and this includes expiration dates. Your career will have some wins and some losses. But you can’t rest on your wins, and you can’t wallow in your losses for too long.

Give yourself only 24 hours to celebrate or wallow in the way you choose to, and then get back to work. This is how you keep moving forward.

4. “Growth takes place outside your comfort zone.”

Dawn Staley

You can’t expect to grow or thrive in your career if you don’t step out of your comfort zone. This is along the same lines of much of the advice shared in last week’s Part 1 post. It’s risky to step out of your comfort zone, but without risk there is no opportunity.

Stepping out of your comfort zone in your career could mean different things for different people. For some, it may mean something as small as volunteering to chair a committee. For others, it could be as big as leaving their job to start their own business. And still for others, it could be something in between, like applying for a promotion or moving over to a different role or function.

In determining which step is right for you, the key is not to step so far out of your comfort zone you end up in the panic zone. Instead, the goal is to step out into the learning zone. It’s here where you experience a significant amount of challenge, without it being so much you become overwhelmed and paralyzed with fear. It’s all about striking a balance.

5. “What is delayed is not denied.”

Dawn Staley

Coach Staley had so many good rules from the documentary, which is why four out of this week’s five rules come from her. This last one is my favorite!

Sometimes you don’t always get what you want when you want it. But just because it doesn’t come to you in your own time, doesn’t mean you’ll never get it, especially if you’re working hard and ethically for it. Your career path requires your patience. This also includes patience when you find yourself between jobs.

It can be easy to get discouraged, especially when you see others advancing in their careers faster than you. But instead, be encouraged by this truth from Coach Staley.

Grow into a successful career

It’s not just athletes who can benefit from the wisdom of a good coach. Everyone needs a wise coach for a successful career. And you not only need a career coach when you’re between jobs, but also when you’re at the peak of your career.

Do you think Serena Williams quit going to a coach once she became good at tennis? Of course not! She’s been the best in her sport for years because she hired a good coach who’s stuck with her and challenged her.

Do you need someone to help you do the same in your own career? If so, click here to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. paNASH will assess what you need the most help with at this stage of your career, so you can become and stay the best in your field!

paNASH was recently voted as one of the top coaches in Nashville by Expertise.com for the fourth year in a row!

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