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Many of you may be wondering: what’s the deal with Sulley, the job search bulldog? Let me explain his back story, as well as why he is so relevant to job searching. His expertise and will resonate with many, and he already seems to be developing quite the fan club, wiggling his way into the hearts of many, as he did with our family.

We had recently lost my beloved pug, Cheechee, who I adopted at 5. He was 13, kicked cancer twice, and passed away of a variety of health complications, coupled with old age. Our house seemed very quiet without the old guy around, even though we have a few other animals. So, we began looking online to see who was available for adoption, and even started looking at breeders.

My heart was set on another pug (of course), and my husband wanted another bulldog to keep our elderly bully company. So, we looked and looked… and out of the blue found an ad for “This Dog” at Animal Control. They could have branded him better, making up any name as many shelters do, and chose not to. The photo was blurry and sad. The brief summary had explained that he was picked up as a stray, and gave no information about his personality or health condition.

Off we endeavor, on an hour journey, to meet this nameless English Bulldog. When we get to Animal Control, we find a sweet, loving bully, in quarantine for multiple health issues. His ears have terrible red wounds, the fur on his back is balding, he has an eye infection, and is on 2 antibiotics! This poor dog was wandering the streets, but was licking my husband and son through the jail cell, while I was on a line to prequalify to adopt him.

The guys fell in love right away, and I didn’t want another puppy, so he seemed like a good compromise. I agreed, and we were told that if nobody claimed him in 3 days, he was ours. I was cautiously excited, and ran down there again when I got the call that he was ready to come home. This mangy bulldog nearly bowled me over, never mind hugging my son. He was so happy to have owners again and couldn’t stop hugging us.      

We bought him a new collar with a bow tie on it and he was very proud, prancing in circles. When we brought him to the lobby, he hugged every single person there! (The lady in white slacks was the only one not pleased to formally meet him.) He jumped in the car, demanded pets, and kissed me the entire hour home! My son was cracking up, and by the time we got home, I was head over heels in love with this fat, farting dog!

Since he has been a member of the family, we found out he knows “sit” and “paw”. We feel terrible for the family who clearly lost this beautiful dog. After quite a bit of ointments, eye drops, and other medicines, his fur has grown in beautifully, and he is show dog quality! All for $20 and a lifetime commitment to the little guy. He is eternally grateful, and gives hugs and kisses all day. We affectionately call Sulley our shadow, since he follows us everywhere!

How many times has a manager looked over a resume because it was missing a minute detail, instead of seeing the incredible potential a candidate has, if “groomed” a little? How many candidates have passed on sending a resume because they didn’t have one little detail in the job description?

We have a lot to learn from Sulley, the bulldog with the worst presentation at the pound, but with the best attitude out there! Sulley will be sharing tips on Get Hired and Beyond’s facebook page regularly at www.facebook.com/gethiredandbeyond. He may even help me guest blog from time to time.

The moral of the story: there’s a home for every dog and a dog for every home! Don’t get down if you haven’t found the right next career move for yourself. It’s out there! Don’t think of yourself as the dog no one wants because then you really won’t find a home!!!

 
 
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Why are you waiting to update your resume? Are you thinking you are stable at your job? That can only update your resume right before you send it out? Are you waiting to practice interviewing until you have an interview time on your calendar?

If so, you are too late!

Let me explain...

If you wait until you are laid off or actively seeking a job, you are selling yourself short in a variety of ways. First, you are not adding valuable information to your resume in real time, thereby forgetting important details, such as the topic you presented, the old and new software you worked with, and the training you completed. You are missing portions of valuable work experience which set you apart from other employees. A company knows what your general job description looks like. Yet, they have no idea how you have made the position yours, by adding the personal touches only you provide to personalize your role. Secondly, you are not tapping into the hidden job market, networking, thereby passing up what could be your dream job. Everyone is always in the market, unless you own your own company. Even then, there could be enough of an offer to potentially interest you. You cannot explore opportunities if you are not refreshing on paper, thereby reinforcing, your strengths to yourself. Think about it.

Like anything else, interview practice takes time. It takes a lot of effort, rehearsal, and practice. You won't get the luxury of time, if you are scrambling to meet with a job coach the day before your interview. You are already going to be nervous, and are not going to be focused enough to absorb all the information about the company, the position, and how to most effectively answer questions.

I have seen people from entry level to C-level make the same mistake, time and time again.

The last minute is too late! If you wait until the car is empty to fill up with gas, you're going to be pushing it to the nearest gas station. And where I'm sitting, in South Florida in July, that just doesn't seem pleasant. Refuel. Give yourself a little bit of time. Stop scrambling. You will make a better impression!

 
 
If you do not reach a deadline, get tangled up in a great deal of minutia, or simply dropped the ball in an area, man (or woman) up! Let the boss know what happened in a humble and professional manner, and take the initiative to resolve the issue via a proactive approach. Come up with solution prior to meeting with your supervisor and offer it in a confident and friendly manner. Nobody is perfect, and nobody expects you to be. However, being a responsible employee involves accountability for areas you may fall short.

I am not saying if you are a pilot and land the plane nose-down that there will not be more drastic consequences! (For my pilot friends who regularly read the blog). However, in the normal course of a non life-threatening day, take accountability in areas and ask for help when you need it. That is why teamwork exists: to assist, to delegate, to offer help to a colleague.

Conversely, when up for a promotion, identify areas where you succeeded. Highlight to your boss the big wins within the organization, and discuss the bottom line results (financial profitability, savings, new customers, long term customer retention, etc.) These are great areas to showcase when you are in an interview as well. Be aware of and proud of what you contribute to the organization. 

 

 
 
What are some good words that employers look for? Much of that depends on the field in which you are searching. However, action-based verbs are critical in appropriately and proactively describing what you did/do for an organization.

Make sure your tenses are correct. Use strong verbs such as: organized, developed, implemented, produced, increased (revenue, sales), decreased (costs, overhead), minimized, encouraged, supervised, spearheaded, designed… 

These are powerful words that make a difference! Employers are looking for such things as documented success, excellent provision of customer service, and a candidate who is boldly able to state what he/she can contribute to the overall productivity and success of an organization.

 
 
1.     You have the skills and qualifications that an employer is seeking. I am not going to hire someone with a high school diploma who bags groceries as a CEO (at least not yet). Get the experience, read the posting, and know how your qualifications fit the position.

2.     Your resume is concise, results oriented, and outlines what you can contribute to the organization.

3.     Your resume and cover letter are grammatically correct. I am not hiring “mangers” to run a department, and that is not picked up on spell check. Have a friend or a professional read over your resume and letter prior to submission.

4.     You have the software skills an employer is looking for.

5.     You are likeable, positive, and confident. Nothing gets me wanting to end an interview more than a whiner who blames the world for his/her inability to be employed.

 
 
As a hiring manager, I do not have time to be your best friend, even if you are a nice person. I am looking to hire a person quickly, so that I can get back to doing both jobs until I am able to hire someone to get the second set of roles and responsibilities off my desk. With that in mind, I am looking to spend somewhere around 30-60 minutes with my candidate, and  have him/her answer the questions that I ask.

Why do ramblers not get the job?

For starters, having been a participant in mind-numbing meetings and conference calls, no one, and I mean no one, likes the person who wants to drag the meeting out an extra 40 minutes with additional questions, commentary, or just to hear them talk. That makes most sane people want to seriously injure the person.  

Secondly, it shows that you are easily distracted and will have challenges sticking to task. It shows that you are not confident in your responses.

The last reason is that if you don’t answer the question at some point, the interviewer has no idea where you are going with your response!

So…instead of answering the question with what you think your interviewer wants to hear (like a bunch of unrelated buzz words jammed together nonsensically), answer the question directly and briefly. Then stop talking. Let the interview probe further if they are interested, or ask you another question to keep the interview moving along. Let the interviewer set the pace. Although being nervous typically encourages people to be chattier, stopping to let the interviewer know it is time to move along allows a comfortable timeliness, and may encourage a good two-way conversation between both of you. And that’s always a good sign!

 
 
Please do me a favor as a fellow human being: don’t tell me that you don’t have any weaknesses, whether in an interview or anywhere else. For starters, that’s bullshit! And it makes you sound like an arrogant jerk.

This question is asked, not to challenge your abilities, but to see how you effectively can answer a difficult question. Answering it with tact and honesty, and being prepared for it in advance, will assist you in sounding confident and professional, not cocky. Remember, people hire who they like!

Some ideas include:

(From an entry level candidate): “While I am newly licensed/graduated, I lack the experience you may find in someone more seasoned. However, what I lack in time in this career, I make up for in (SHARE STRENGTHS HERE).

(From someone with heavy experience/potentially overqualified): “While at first glance, I may seem overqualified for this position, I can provide you with flexible hours, a great deal of firsthand experience, and understand the salary range for the position. I am interested in becoming a long term player within the organization.”

Other ways to answer the question include sharing what you have done to overcome a professional weakness, or how you work now on improving an area which requires a little extra. If you research the position and find a minor area where you can be trained, that may be a good discussion point.

Please don’t tell me you are a perfectionist. That isn’t a weakness. It’s arrogance!

 
 
I am consistently fascinated by people who mock interview with me! From entry level professionals to individuals who have worked in their careers for extensive lengths of time, people don’t know what they are capable of providing to an employer. And that is a little bit scary!

I understand that you may not be best suited to the weakness question (article coming soon on how to address those types of questions). However, in the interim, you should be well aware of some benefits which you are able to offer an organization. What has your boss said about you that was positive? What did you contribute to a company? Did you increase revenue? Decrease costs? Improve customer satisfaction? What benefit will a future company receive from your work ethic, knowledge, skills, and personality?

Know a contribution that you made to a company. Share examples that make you who you are. Have a one minute sales pitch about yourself that will speak to your effectiveness and ability to go above and beyond the job for which you are interviewing.