Archive for Career Transition

Stop selling yourself short – Top 10 tips for your search

Business CardIt’s almost cap and gown season, time for recent grads to look for a job. With the economy slowly on the rebound, their prospects look better but… these 10 critical tips still stand regardless of the state of the job market. Grads can feel an unsettling sense of urgency in their search which doesn’t help them in their search because they come across as desperate. Listen to this 20 minute radio interview  to learn the top 10 tips for recent grads. To help you or your grad get any experience they can to put on their resume, how to stand out from the crowd, and approach their search with confidence.

Watch Video Here

Hallie Crawford
Career Transition Coach

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ResumeHere is a great report recently from CareerBuilder.com regarding the language you can and can’t use in your resume. This was also reported on the Today Show March 13, 2014 with several good points. Some of the jargon people want to use on their resume means nothing or tells the reader nothing. How many times have you seen or read a resume and not understood what the words meant – or felt like they sounded like fluff? It happens too frequently. When you are writing or revising your resume be very careful to avoid jargon. Ask a friend or family member to review it for you.

Here are some of the terms to avoid:  Go-getter (27 percent), Think outside the box (26 percent), Synergy (22 percent). Great advice… show them the results you provide, demonstrate how you are a go-getter or how you work well in a team, don’t just use the jargon. Read more from this report here.

Hallie Crawford
Job Search Coach

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

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Interview QuestionsI’ve been asked by many clients lately how do I answer those strange interview questions like if I were an animal what would I be? We have all heard horror stories about difficult interviews. One of our clients in Baltimore, Jeff, said he had participated in an interview where he felt they were truly testing his ability to answer questions under stress. They changed the schedule on him several times and asked him to speak to multiple people he wasn’t prepared for. Here are some of the questions I wanted to answer for you regarding odd interview questions (excerpted from the things clients typically ask me) and how to best prepare for them. Read more in our next blog post this week, this will be broken into 2 parts:

Is using strange interview questions  in the hiring process becoming more common?

It is, as employers try to come up with new ways to effectively vet out employees. With so many more applicants per job opening, there are more qualified applicants per opening than ever. It becomes even more important to find ways to determine the right fit. I also think the standard typical what are your strengths and weaknesses questions just don’t cut it anymore because they don’t give enough insight into an employee’s behavior, how they think, and what their work performance might be like. Behavioral interview questions are becoming more common. Employers want to understand how an employee thinks, performs and reacts in order to determine if they’re the right fit. 

Are these kinds of questions used to trick people or to see if they can think quickly on their feet?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Some companies do ask trick/tough questions to stump an employee to see how they perform under pressure. Other times the employer truly is trying to get to the bottom of an element that’s important to the position that they don’t just want to ask a yes or no question to. Too many people might just say yes in order to land the job when it’s not completely accurate, or the issue they’re trying to vet out is more complicated than a yes or no closed ended question. Plus employers don’t want you to just say yes you can do something or explain it, it’s much more insightful to have you tell them about a time or situation that demonstrates the skill they’re wanting. Then they can see how that skill was applied.

What are some examples of these questions?

  1. What would your current/former boss say about you that’s positive and negative? [This could be used to find out strengths and weaknesses and how you handle them now, if you are self-aware and pro-active about managing both.]
  2. Why are you leaving your job? [This could be used to find out what went wrong if anything, why you want their job and how you handle a situation where things aren’t working out.]
  1. Tell me about a time when you failed in a professional situation. [This could be used to determine how you handle problem solving and failure.]

Do employers always get the answers they need from them?

If the candidate doesn’t have an answer, stumbles and doesn’t give a good example of what they were actually looking for or hedges and answers another question no, they won’t. Or if the question was not well formed and doesn’t address what they’re actually looking for, it won’t work either. But the majority of the time, it gives the employer information about you and your communication skills, even if it doesn’t divulge what they were specifically looking to find out.

Hallie Crawford
Job Coach

P.S. How do you know if your resume is good? Take this Resume Quiz to find out how to keep your resume out of the trash can.

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Career AdviceI was very honored to be featured in the most recent issue (Feb 2014) of Atlanta Magazine in the cool jobs section. Here is some quick advice for some of the common questions people are asking these days excerpted from this article:

Do I need to use social media for my search? And if so – how much? At my age the last thing I want to be doing is posting selfie’s on Instagram and photos of my lunch. Social media can help your search enormously these days so yes – you need to use it. But it doesn’t have to be the way your teenage daughter uses it for example. Start with LinkedIn, which keeps it completely professional. Update and finish your profile, make sure it is 100% complete including a professional looking photo! And start with that. You don’t have to venture into any other mediums until or if you decide to. It’s better to have a complete and engaging profile in one arena, than halfway done profiles in several. That’s ineffective. Remember that employers and recruiters are actively searching for candidates on LinkedIn every day. You can also look at profiles of people in your industry to see what you might need to be competitive – and you can review profiles of those in the jobs you want to have, to determine where you may need to beef up your skills or experience base. Also remember, employers are going to Google you whether you like it or not, so know what comes up in a Google search using your name.

When do I bring up salary? It’s simple, hold the question or discussion until the end when the employer is about to make an offer, or already has or to quote Barrett Brooks (author of career blog Living for Monday) from this article which I think is a perfect way to put it, until you “sense some sort of commitment from the employer.”

Do I really need to take a coding class in order to land the job I want in the high tech world? Before you make the leap into any class or invest in education, make sure first – that’s the job you really want. Is it your dream job, is it the right fit, is it the next best step towards your long term career goal? Make sure the answer is yes. If there’s hesitation, vet that out before you make the investment. Second, ensure that the class will tangibly impact your search or career progression. Ask recruiters whether it’s worth your time. Talk to friends in the industry to find out if it’s a must have or not. Vet it out before diving in.

Hallie Crawford
Atlanta Career Coach

P.S. Is your clock ticking towards retirement? Check out our Encore Career Coaching services to help you define your life – on your terms.

Categories : Career Transition
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LinkedInOne of the best actions you can take to build a powerful and current LinkedIn profile is to collect recommendations. These are real testimonials from colleagues who can attest to both your hard and soft skills. If these messages can amplify the value you demonstrate through your experience, should you include them on your resume?

I say yes. Depending on how much white space you have on your resume, current length, and number of past relevant positions, I suggest including two or three, each about one sentence long. Note that this is purely a style and content option that may or may not fit your personality and industry.

Here are some guidelines:

  1. Make sure the recommendation is extremely positive. Do not include even a neutral message if it is not clear and favorable.
  2. Only include recommendations testifying to relevant skills. For example, if you are transitioning to a customer facing, account management role, do not choose a message that highlights your quantitative engineering skills from your last position.
  3. Do not over-use recommendations or sacrifice the clean organization and readability of your resume to accommodate the extra words.
  4. Use only a phrase from the recommendation as opposed to a paragraph. Choose the most relevant, powerful sentence so that the message is only one to two sentences long.

Where should you put the recommendations? Since they are testimonials giving depth and weight to your performance in specific jobs, I suggest including them below the bullets under jobs listed in the experience section. You can make them distinct and smooth by formatting them in italics within quotation marks.

Finally, be sure to include the name and position of the person who made the recommendation. If you place them anywhere other than below the job they belong to, definitely include your job title and company to which they refer.

Bottom line, don’t be afraid to solicit and use evidence of your skills in creative ways that attest to both your hard and soft skills.

Hallie Crawford and Stacy Smyk-Santiago
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. Be sure to check out our LinkedIn Consulting Program where you can learn how to effectively leverage your LinkedIn account for your job search and ongoing professional development.

In my latest video I share two things to ponder to prepare for your job search. Here are two things to think about over the holidays to help you prepare for a career transition in the new year. How can you put yourself out there more as part of your career change plan?

Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach

Categories : Job Search
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RecruitersThis will be short and sweet today because I wanted to point you to this article directly about how to best approach recruitersWhy Recruiters Ignore You (and What to Do Differently)

Richard Kirby is a well-respected colleague with some great insights on how to give a positive impression to recruiters. Recruiters sometimes feel job seekers take too much of their time. Keep this advice he shares in mind and be positive and direct, yet professional with recruiters. Ask them how to best work with them, what method of communication they prefer and …

“DO use your most powerful tool for receiving help from recruiters and staffing professionals – mutually beneficial networking. Renew existing relationships and gain warm introductions to additional recruiters by utilizing effective personal networking techniques.”

Thank you Richard, great article!

Hallie Crawford
Ideal Career Coach

P.S. How do you know if your resume is good? Take this Resume Quiz to find out how to keep your resume out of the trash can.

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www.halliecrawford.com – Hallie Crawford, Certified Career Coach, shares three stories from working with clients who have had great success in filling the gaps in their resume using a career assessment and more. Learn how to beef up your resume even when you’re lacking work experience and transitioning into a new career.

Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach

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Our team of career coaches help people of all ages nurture their career, identify their ideal career path, and navigate their career transition. We offer group and individual coaching as well as self-directed learning products. Schedule a free phone consultation with Create Your Career Path today.