Archive for Soft Skills

Interview QuestionsHow can you handle answering those tough interview questions and why do employers use them? This is Part 2 of our series on strange  interview questions…

Why do employers use these kinds of questions?

Employers use them for several reasons including, getting them to divulge something that they may not have otherwise, or had not prepared for while getting ready for the interview. It could be to see how they think on their feet but also to get answers that are not canned or prepared so they can see how they answer authentically. Some employers feel if they can catch you off guard, they’ll get a more honest or authentic answer from you.

Here are some other examples of odd interview questions…

  1. What have you disliked about previous jobs or employers?
  2. You seem overqualified for this position, how would you address that issue?
  3. They’ll give you a scenario like a client calls you with X problem and is very upset, how would you handle it?
  4. If you could be any song or animal, what would you be?

How you can prepare for these unique questions…

  1. Prepare 5 stories of success, failures, challenges you addressed and weaknesses *and how you handle or manage them now.
  2. Have 5 things you want to ensure you get across during the interview that demonstrate why you are qualified and how you can help them.
  3. Understand and be able to communicate what your soft skills are, in addition to hard skills (communication, work ethic, ability to work in a team, etc.)
  4. Be clear about and able to communicate why you want their job, what your long term career goals are and why that position fits into those goals.
  5. Identify what your values and priorities are in terms of your career, and how your work performance would reflect those

Hallie Crawford
Ideal 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.

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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.

Job SearchI really liked this article from the Huffington Post about leveraging your “maturity”, or your age when you’re looking for a new job: Looking For a Job? Make Maturity Work for You!

We’re constantly reminded about the problems with age-ism and discrimination related to that and it doesn’t help. You can’t change your age, so focus on why it is a plus or positive thing, instead of worrying about it affecting your job search. Leverage it, tout it, and be proud of the experience you bring to the table! I promise you that it is worth a lot. You get to choose the perspective you take on your qualifications, and taking a negative one certainly won’t help. So ask yourself, “Why is my age, and my specific work experience, a positive thing? How does my unique set of skills and background set me apart from other job seekers in my industry?”

Focus on the positive aspects of your situation, such as these two mentioned in the article:

  • You have market knowledge and a well-honed skill set gained over years of experience. You need less time on the job training and can hit the ground running…

  • You have life skills gained over years of experience dealing with people. Remember those soft skills are ones that employers can’t teach you and can make the difference between you being hired over someone else. They can train you on their software, teach you how to be a better sales person, but they can’t teach you to have a strong work ethic or be a team player. Your life skills that come with age are invaluable.

If you’d like more help on your job search, please contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

Hallie Crawford
Dream Job Coach

P.S. Are you frustrated with your job search? Check out our FREE REPORT: ”Take Control of Your Career Transition: Uncover Hidden Opportunities”.

 

 

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IndustryIt is important to consistently stay in touch with your peers in your industry, not just for networking purposes but to rejuvenate your interest in your field. I was excited to attend a CTI workshop recently, and this workshop really rejuvenated my interest in coaching. CTI is a coaching school that I attended years ago, and being back there with my fellow coaches for this workshop was like coming home for me. I felt like I was with “my people” again, and it renewed my energy and enthusiasm for being a coach. This is really something I think we all need to do. We can feel stale sometimes when we’ve been doing the same thing for a while!

I also wanted to mention to you a cool benefit I’m happy to give you. From that workshop, I have $200 off coupons for CTI’s core fundamentals course. If you would like one, I’m happy to mail it to you. They can be used anywhere in the US and would be useful for anyone wanting to improve their leadership skills, management skills, and relationship skills inside and outside the workplace. Just let me know! Here’s the CTI website to learn more: www.thecoaches.com

Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach

P.S. If you are looking for career fulfillment, check out this FREE REPORT: ”4 Keys to Career Fulfillment and Effectiveness”.

 

Job SearchA key element to spicing up your job search is to ask for information. After working with many career coaching clients recently, I’m finding that people aren’t using the right networking strategy for their job search. Here are some key tips to spice up your job search:

  • Informational interviews are resonating and helpful in your jobs search. Talk to the people in your network who work in an industry you want to be part of. Ask them for 15 minutes of their time to learn more about what they do. Don’t ask for a job, ask for information.
  • Go places where people are, such as professional associations. Instead of going to job fairs and places where people are unemployed, this can be a great way to make connections and learn more about your preferred industry.
  • A good networking strategy is critical and includes LinkedIn. Update your  LinkedIn profile right away if you have not done so in the past 3 months. People still don’t get on LinkedIn and use it effectively. 80% of recruiters are searching here. We have a career coaching client who upgraded her account to paid and is reaping the rewards of seeing the actual traffic to her account. There are many ways to use this actively to run your search.
  • Soft skills are important, and another area that job seekers often don’t fully understand. Soft skills are skills that an employer can’t teach you like work ethic, management skills, or your ability to work in a team.

I hope these tips are helpful to you. If you are motivated and want to spice up your job search more, contact us today to set up a complimentary consultation.

Hallie Crawford
Ideal Career Coach

P.S. A great way to receive free help regarding your career direction is to our Free Monthly Newsletter. Check it out today!

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I was honored to be featured on TV in Macon recently where I discussed the importance of Soft Skills in a tough economy. There are so many people who are unemployed, that the employers can pick whoever they want. The way you can stand out is to focus on your soft skills. What do you have to offer in this tough job market?

You can watch the news segment here: http://www.41nbc.com/blogs/coreen/8813-career-coach-urges-you-to-promote-soft-skills

Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach

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Check out my latest YouTube video where I discuss a study that was done several years ago of about 1,000 recruiters who were surveyed to find out what is important in a prospective candidate. What do Employers look for? Recruiters and employers said the top things they felt were important for prospective employees are the soft skills. The soft skills are things that employers can’t teach. Keep this in mind in your job search.

Hallie Crawford
Career Transition Coach 

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Watch this video as I discuss a recent article about soft skills being the #1 thing employers are looking for. Your past work experience and your talents matter, but your ability to be a team leader or effectively communicate are just as important. Always remember in your job search and your job interviews that you have to focus on your soft skills just as much as your hard skills.

Read a copy of the article here.

Hallie Crawford
Career Transition Coach

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