Archive for February, 2008

Career Advice from a Comic Book?

In the March 3rd issue of BusinessWeek, Susan Berfield wrote about a new career advice genre:  the comic book.  Berfield explains that many business publishers have been adjusting their products to be read in limited time slots, such as a two-hour plane ride.  The comic book appeals to those who don’t have time for too many words on one page.

Due out in April, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko:  The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need, by Daniel H. Pink, who also wrote Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind, is targeted to college students.  Pink says, “College students are making all kinds of assumptions about their careers that are just wrong.”

Berfield reports that there are six lessons in the book:

  • There is no plan.
  • Think strengths, not weaknesses.
  • It’s not about you.
  • Persistence trumps talent.
  • Make excellent mistakes.
  • Leave an imprint.

All interesting points.  I am curious to see how Pink elaborates on them in his book, which is touted to be a useful and entertaining work that can be read in an hour.

Seeking career advice targeted directly to you?  Keppie Careers will write your resume and coach you through the job hunt maze.

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Prepare for Your Interview

There are many things to consider as you prepare for an interview.  The most important thing is to remember that the interview is another opportunity for you to SELL YOURSELF!  Your resume got you in the door, the interview is your chance to show the employer that you really  have what it takes to join their team.

  • Conduct a thorough self-assessment. Review your education, experience, interests, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses and values.
  • Study your resume. Be able to support everything with specific examples, as you will be asked to elaborate on some of them during the interview.
  • Analyze the position for which you will be interviewing. Be able to describe how you will fit in and be able to contribute to the organization. Think about how the job will enable you to reach your professional goals and what you have to offer!
  • Research the organization. Leave no stone unturned.  Learn as much as you can about the organization’s culture and values, as well as specifics such as size, products and services. Hopefully, you have done some informational interviews before you were offered the job interview.  Speaking with employees of the company and people in the same profession is invaluable preparation for job interviews. 
  • Know how your experience, education and interests relate to the position and anticipate possible questions.  (I’ll post more about interview questions soon.)  This knowledge will allow you to answer why, when and where questions, and reflect your self-confidence and your ability to communicate and relate to others effectively.
  • Practice Interviewing. Talk to people in the field, and even your friends. Discuss techniques and practice in front of a professional. If possible, arrange a mock interview. (Keppie Careers offers mock interviews.) 
  • Acknowledge all preliminary correspondence promptly. This includes verifying the specifics of your interview including date, time, place, individuals conducting the interview and an itinerary.  Don’t make the mistake a friend made and assume an out-of-town interview will be over the phone when the employer expects to see you in person! 
  •  Clarify who will bear the costs of necessary transportation, meals, and overnight lodging, if applicable.  Find out what receipts you will need to provide and who will make the arrangements.

Remember:  If you appear prepared and competent in your interview, you will be perceived to be a prepared and competent employee. The reverse is true as well!

Stay tuned for more about preparing for an interview!

Keppie Careers will assist you with your job search.  We offer resume writing, career coaching, mock interviews and more!  www.keppiecareers.com

Interview Warning Signs

When a company is hiring, an applicant should assume that they (the company) are on their “best behavior” during the process.  So, if arrangements are disorganized, interviewers seem unfriendly, people around the office seem unhappy or disgruntled, someone makes a snide remark about the boss or HR is unclear about the position’s duties – consider yourself forewarned.

In Watch for Interview Warning Signs, Liz Ryan echos this sentiment for BusinessWeek.

So often, job seekers, maybe desperate for a new opportunity (or any opportunity) or dazzled by a high salary, close their eyes to all of the red flags raised during the process.  DON’T DO IT!  If you aren’t treated well and with respect during the interview and negotiations, assume things will only get worse once you are on the payroll.

You can almost guarantee that the red flags you noticed but ignored during the process will come into play as an employee.  Unfortunately, the reverse guarantee isn’t true.  If everything smells like roses and proverbial harps play before you are hired, it is no guarantee that you’ve landed at Utopia, Inc.  Remember, everyone is on their best behavior!

Keppie Careers can help you land a new job!  Need help with your resume?  Practice interviewing?  www.keppiecareers.com

Thinking of Looking for Your Second Job?

In a recent piece for the online Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Garone raised some key points for those who are considering making the move to their second job.  Of note:

Update your resume and interview style. It sounds like a given, but a first-timer’s resume is likely to list internships and college leadership roles. Now you’ve got experience and you’ll need to make sure it shows. “The resume definitely needs to change to emphasize your accomplishments,” says [career and life coach] Mr. Steve Piazzale. …Your resume bullet points should demonstrate how you used your skills to solve problems and produce value at that first job. “With a first job under your belt, you can also use them as stories of value during interviews,” offers Mr. Piazzale.

This advice is key.  So many people forget that the resume they used right out of school isn’t going to be the right choice now that they have actual “work experience.” 

I’ve been asked to be a featured expert reviewer on the resume review site razume.com.  This site offers job seekers the opportunity to post their resume and request advice from the Razume community.  Anyone can offer a critique or post a resume for free.  Resume posters delete their personal information and select a user name so resumes are anonymous.  This is a great service for those who want to request feedback from trusted friends or relatives around the country; job seekers can post resumes and advisers can use a series of useful online tools to make comments and suggestions.

Many users of this site are seeking their second jobs.  A significant number of these job seekers fail to move their “Education” section to the bottom of their resume once they have a position and enough experience under their belt (and no specific reason to keep Education on top).  Many also still list their high school diploma, even when they have a bachelor’s degree. 

School activities and awards also play a prominent role in razume’s unrevised resumes.   For a first job out of school, these may be valuable and important.  After that point, some very prominent awards may remain on the resume, but college awards should not be a main focus of the resume beyond the first job.

There is no fail safe “one size fits all” advice for resume writers, but most job seekers will want to make these changes and more to their job seeking documents before seeking their next job.  Otherwise, they will appear less experienced than they may be and jeopardize their chances for an interview.

Keppie Careers will help you update your resume.  We also offer mock interviews to help you get market ready!  www.keppiecareers.com

Fired for Posting a Dilbert Comic at Work

Have you heard the story of the man who was fired for posting a comic that his bosses thought ridiculed them?  They caught him on video surveillance posting the irreverent “Dilbert” comic and fired him:

Click Here to see the video.

Employees beware!  It doesn’t take much to get fired…Dilbert author has this advice:  “Stick with Garfield.  No one was ever fired for loving lasagna.”

Your boss has no sense of humor?  Need  a new job?  Keppie Careers will write your resume, guide your search and provide clarity about the job hunt:  www.keppiecareers.com

Read Any Good Books Lately?

One of of the best parts of writing a blog is joining a community of bloggers and sharing ideas, opinions and sometimes games!  Today, Anita Bruzzese, blogger, columnist and author of 45 Things You Do that Drive Your Boss Crazy tagged me in what she calls a “new meme being passed around the blogosphere.”  

Anita describes the rules:

Find the book nearest to you, go to page 123, go down to the fifth sentence and then type the following three sentences. After that, you pass the message along to other people you want to bug… uh, get to contribute.

Anita’s contribution:
Of course, the book nearest me is my own, “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy…and How to Avoid Them”:

Anything that has a “those people kind of edge to it should be ommitted from your language in the workplace.  Speak up if there a problem. If you find something a coworker says is insenstive, take the person aside and calmly say, “You know, you’re giving all women a bad name when you make sweeping, derogatory comments about men.” Focus on the behavior, not the person. Calling someone a racist or a bigot won’t get you anywhere — it will just erect more barriers.”

My contribution:
I have been reading a soon-to be-released book by Tamara Erickson, published by Harvard Business Press – Retire Retirement:  Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation.  This optimistic book takes a look at opportunities and changes that may be coming to the workplace as boomers reach retirement age:

Request a lateral move.  Lateral moves are a particular subset of fresh assignments that allow you to develop new skill sets, thus providing even greater scope of experience, and enhance learning more, than a new assignment based on your existing skill set.  Ideally a transfer sideways would be based on some mix of new knowledge and existing strong capabilities. Expect options to move laterally to become more common; with the changing shape of the workforce, vertical promotions – advancement up the hierarchy – will occur less frequently.

Stay tuned for a full review of Erickson’s book on this blog!

I’m going to pass this game on to some friends at Secrets of the Job Hunt:

Chris Russel of Jobs In Pods, Phil Rosenberg of Recareered  and Sam Blum of Razume.

Please, join in!

Keppie Careers will help make your job search possible!  www.keppiecareers.com

More Rules for Job Hunting in a Recession

Did you watch ABC’s Nightline last night? There was a story about Dale Kloefkorn, an out-of-work, 40-something data analyst with long hair.  The network hooked him up with a coach to see if he could give his job search a jump start.  The coach, Peggy Klaus, who wrote The Hard Truth About Soft Skills, (read more on soft skills here) suggested that there are several points to consider to make yourself more marketable, especially in a recession or when you are out of work.

1. Don’t be overly modest.
It’s all about self-promotion!  If you can’t articulate what you have to offer, how are you going to find an opportunity?  You need to know yourself to sell your skills.

2. No job is completely secure.
Don’t assume that your job is safe – you never know the way the pink slips will fall.  If it looks like your department is in danger, step it up and see if you can avoid being a casualty.

3.  Don’t be a “paycheck player.”
If you see yourself as a cog in the wheel, it is easier to pluck you off the payroll.

4. No job is perfect.
Don’t be too picky when job searching.  Consider new possibilities, different fields and realize that there may not be one job that has the perfect combination of attributes. Limiting yourself will not yield the same offers as being open minded.

Finally, it is important to note that Dale did cut his hair to freshen-up his image.  The fifth rule could certainly be “Appearance Matters.”

ABC reports that, after the meeting with the coach and re-working his resume and posting it online, the candidate heard from 11 recruiters and had one promising interview. 

So, a mini-makeover, attitude adjustment and a revised resume did the trick for Dale.  Could it do the trick for you?  Keppie Careers is here to help!  Visit www.keppiecareers.com for information about our services.


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