Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What Does Your Facebook Page Say About You?

Below is a video from Youtube called “How Not To Suck At Facebook” that I first saw in my Personal Branding class with Dr. Bret Simmons.  It is a great clip about how to set up your Facebook page so you don’t jeopardize your career or any future opportunities.

It is becoming more and more common for an HR Representative to check a potential candidate’s Facebook page before offering them a position.  Have you taken a good look at your Facebook page recently?  What does it say about you?  Now is the time to really look at your online presence with critical eyes and make some changes. 

First of all, you need to take a long hard look at your photos and decide if you really want everyone to be looking at them.  If you are looking for a place to store photos you can make a Snapfish or a Flickr account, but you really don’t need to post pictures of you highly intoxicated at last night’s party on your Facebook page.  Human Resources will see these pictures and will take them into great consideration as they compare you to the other candidates.  Your judgment skills, level of responsibility and overall common sense will be questioned as they search through your entire page. 

It’s also extremely important to be aware of what you are writing and commenting on other peoples’ walls and photos.  Again, this reflects you, and although one Facebook post doesn’t seem like a fair judgment of a person, it happens.

So take a moment to revamp your Facebook page so you don’t ruin your next job opportunity for what you have posted online.  Remember, just because you make your profile private doesn’t mean no one will ever be able to access the information and once you post something, there’s no taking it back.

5 Qualities a “Star” Employee Possesses

Many applicants feel like a degree or certification in their field of interest is sufficient and is the first thing a recruiter will look for.  I disagree with this.  I think a degree is an amazing accomplishment (I wouldn’t be getting my MBA if I didn’t think it was important) but if the individual lacks some important personal qualities then the degree may not be good enough.  Below I have developed a list of five qualities I look for in the candidates I interview.  The list is in no particular order; I feel all five are equally important.

Commitment -> Responsibility, loyalty and dedication.  This will help the employer believe you will stay at the company more than just a few months and during your time there you will give your best effort in each task you take on.  Your past employment record can help show your level of commitment and if you don’t have a long work history, you can show your commitment level through various clubs or teams you have been a member of. 

Initiative -> Act on your own, plan and execute.  Unless your manager prefers to micro-manage, they will hope you are able to take initiative and get things done without being told.  Once you have learned your duties, start trying to learn more.  Take a class or attend a seminar to broaden your knowledge; it will be so impressive when someone has a question/problem at work and you are able to answer/solve it.

Good communication skills -> Convey a thought or feeling, teach, and understand.  Being able to articulate your thoughts is so important.  Whether it is written or spoken, you must be able to get your points across. In my mind, listening and understanding also falls into this category.  You have to be able to listen to instructions and then complete the task.

Passion -> Emotion, desire and enthusiasm.  If you show up to work every day with a positive attitude and truly enjoying what you are doing, you will be much more successful.  Your enthusiasm will wear off on your co-workers and the work environment will be more pleasurable for everyone. 

Ability to get along with others -> Respectful, friendly and willing to help.  It is so important that you get along with your customers and co-workers.  Trust me when I say that your manager does not want you in their office every other day to discuss your relationship with others.  That is the type of drama that was supposed to be left behind when you graduated from middle school. 

What are some other qualities you think a “star” employee would possess?

7 Things You Can Do To Have The WORST Interview

The best feeling when you are searching for a job is receiving the phone call or email saying you have been selected for an interview.  Congratulations, you have passed the first step!  Now comes the hard part; now you need to go in for the interview to convince a complete stranger that they should select you for a position.  Try to relax and be yourself, but be careful, you don’t want to be the next “nightmare” interview everyone is talking about that next day.  Here is a list of 7 things that have happened to me during my time interviewing that have made want to walk out of the interview. 

Arrive late – It is an accomplishment to be selected for an interview, so don’t lose an opportunity because you arrived late.  If you don’t know where you are going use MapQuest to locate the building, or just call the office and ask for directions.  If you still don’t feel comfortable with where you are going take a test drive; go check it out the day before the interview to ensure you know where you are going.  Leave early to give yourself time in case there is traffic or construction.  I understand things happen, but if something comes up and you can’t make it to the interview call right away to let the office know, hopefully they will let you reschedule.

Bad-mouth your previous manager/co-workers – This makes me question your loyalty and integrity, is that what you are going to say about my company when you leave?  Also, it seems like you are just blaming things on other people rather than taking responsibility for your own actions.  Your previous co-workers are your scapegoats for why you are no longer at the company.

Ask no questions or come unprepared – When I give you a chance to ask me some questions, ask!  If you say you have no questions it comes across like you don’t care or you didn’t do any research ahead of time.  Come with 2-3 questions and this shows you really are interested in the position.

Tell inappropriate jokes or make advances at me – Interviews are stressful and sometimes you won’t know how to fill a silence, but please do not tell a joke that you wouldn’t feel comfortable telling your mother.  Even though the joke may be very funny, an interview is not the right place.  Also, PLEASE do not ask for my phone number as your question at the end of the interview, that’s just awkward for both of us.

Answer “I don’t know” to 9 of the 12 questions asked – This shows me that either you don’t know how to articulate an answer or you don’t really care about the job.  You don’t have to answer the questions right away, stop and think about the answer, we are not in a rush.

Lie during the interview or on your application – Be honest at all times.  You may have the best interview and be the best qualified candidate, but if I find out you lied I will not select you.  I can Google your name and find out the truth so be upfront with me.

An interview is very subjective so if you do something to annoy, upset or just tick the interviewer off, you can be sure you will not be selected for the job.  Think before you speak and be professional. 

Have any tips for what not to do in an interview, please feel free to comment.

Is That Really The Right Job For You?…

In this economy, where jobs are hard to come by, some job seekers “settle” for the first available position.  Sometimes this is for good reason; bills need to be paid and the individual can’t be too picky waiting for their dream job to open up.  The problem becomes how long these people will stay in the positions they forced themselves into.  How do you judge whether a company is the best fit for you?

It is important first and foremost to ensure the company you are choosing to work for shares your core values and beliefs.  You don’t want to get into a position and then realize your goals and underlying principles do not align.  So ask questions; every interviewer should allow you some time to ask some questions, so use your time wisely and ask questions about the company culture, goals and objectives, and overall values.  If you do not ask these questions from the start you, and the company, will be highly disappointed upon realizing you really weren’t a good fit for the position. 

During your alloted time for questions, be sure to also ask about specific tasks and functions for the job you are applying for.  Again, this helps reduce surprises once you are in the position.  Sometimes the job descriptions you see in the paper or on the internet are quite vague and don’t clearly describe exactly what will be expected of you.  It is important to get a clear set of expectations for the job so you know if you have the skills needed, if the job will be challenging enough for you and the type of impact your job will have on the rest of the company.  Leave the interview with as much information as possible, allowing you to make the most educated decision on whether or not you would like to accept the position.

But before you accept or decline a position, try to picture yourself waking up every morning going to that job.  Does it excite you?  How about does it make you feel depressed?  When you come in for the interview, speak with the receptionist at the front, say hi to people as you leave; these will be the people you will be working with everyday.  If the other individuals in the office seem supportive, friendly, hardworking, and motivated, then that can be taken into consideration as you make your decision. 

If you have a bad feeling when you leave the interview, don’t force it.  Certain aspects of a company just can’t be changed, so if they don’t seem right for you then look elsewhere.  As I stated about, if you force yourself into a job without the proper preparation, I can guarantee you won’t last very long.  Going through the application/interviewing process is not easy, so take the proper steps so you don’t have to do it more than necessary. 

Not only does the company need to analyze and critique the candidates, the candidates need the analyze and critique the company.  Find the best fit for you.

Resume Makeovers

Picture this:  An HR Representative sitting at their desk, staring at a pile of over 100 resumes.  It has already been a long day and they are trying hard to motivate themselves to look through the resumes.  You now have a few minutes to catch their eye and give them a reason to continue reading.  Is your resume too long, too sloppy or how about just too boring?  If you answer yes to any of those questions, odds are it will be gently placed in the round file or possibly the shredder.   If you answered no, then odds are your resume will be place on the small stack that passed the first cut, which is the goal of a resume, to win an interview.

So how should your resume look?  In the end it is up to you what type of format you want to use, but here are a few ideas to keep in mind.  First of all, your resume needs to be professional.  At a quick glance it will give the employer an idea of the effort you will put forth for the rest of your work and if your resume is done with little effort it will be very obvious and it will be an immediate turn off, trust me.  It shouldn’t be typed in different colors or in a font that is nearly impossible to read; use a size 12, black, basic font.

Next, your resume should be original.  It is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to market yourself, so it should be aimed at your specific situation/career.  Don’t open up Microsoft Word and copy the template they have.  You can use the template as a reference, but add some of your own flavor to the resume, after all it represents you.  It should be personally professional; you want the Rep to feel like there is a human being attached to the resume, but they do not need to know your entire life story.

List your accomplishments.  At first you may feel like you are “tooting your own horn”, but this is your chance to share your special talents with the employer.  You want the employer to realize that you are someone special and it would be a mistake to let you go.  You will then list all of your work experience that will serve as a back-up to your accomplishments. 

Alongside your paper resume, you may consider using different social media tools to act as an online resume.  Again, this is a creative, innovative way to share your information.  If you have a website or a blog, list the link on the resume, it is impressive and will likely move you up the pile towards to top of the stack.

So, based on your current resume, would you hire you?  If not, it’s time for a makeover, for your resume that is.

Photo Credit

Tough Conversations No One Wants To Have

I came into the Human Resources field knowing I would have to branch out of my comfort zone and do things I had never done before, but there is one topic I hope I never have to address.  I dread the day when I have to have a discussion with an employee regarding one of the “tough” topics; you know, personal hygiene, inappropriate dress, unwanted flirtatious behavior, etc.  After coming back to reality I now realize that it is inevitable that I will encounter this type of conversation at some point in my career, so I have come up with a few ideas I feel will help make the conversation a little easier.

  • First of all, these types of conversations are awkward for everyone involved, so don’t make it harder than is has to be by dragging out the conversation.  Get right to the point and let the employee know exactly why you are having the meeting.
  • As you explain the issue in discussion, be sure to get as many facts as possible; sometimes the employee is not at fault or isn’t even aware of the problem.
  • Allow them to ask questions, but never disclose the names of the employees who brought the issue to your attention. 
  • Involve yourself in the solution.  Rather than saying, “YOU need to fix this problem”, you should ask, “How can WE fix this problem?”  The employee will most likely be embarrassed, so take some pressure off of them and offer some solutions to resolve the issue.
  • Once you have come to an agreement on a solution, come up with a timeframe in which the changes need to be made.
  • Be sure to follow-up with the employee to ensure they are taking steps to fix the problem. 
  • Last, keep your conversation confidential.  The last thing an employee needs is to be the topic of conversation amongst their co-workers.

Overall, the best mindset to have going into one of these meetings is to put yourself in the employees’ position.  Again, it is tough on everyone, so be honest but use a soft delivery.

A Job Seeker’s Friend – Indeed.com

As I was leaving work today one of my co-workers asked if I had ever heard of a website called Indeed.com; I hadn’t, so I decided to do some research to see what it was all about.  At first glance it seemed to be a basic job searching site, similar to CareerBuilder or It’s About Jobs, but the more I looked the more I was impressed.  Here’s what I found:

Indeed.com is a great search engine for jobs, allowing job seekers to find jobs posted on thousands of company career sites and job boards in one easy search.  In just 3 easy steps a searcher can narrow jobs by company, position, wage range, etc.

Step 1: Type in the ‘What’ section words to describe the kind of job you are looking for (i.e. job title, required skills or employer name).

Step 2: Type in the  ‘Where’ section the city, the State or the zip code where you want to find a job.

Step 3: Click ‘Find Jobs’.

Your job search can be narrowed to exclude items by typing ‘not’ before any word, and modified to find jobs containing an exact phrase, by putting double quotation marks around your search terms.  Once you have your search narrowed to the specific position you are looking for, you can create a profile on Indeed.com in order to receive emails when similar job postings show up.  If the specific job you are looking for appears on the list of open jobs you can click “Apply” and you will be taken directly to the company website to complete the application process.

“Indeed was selected by Time Magazine as one of the Top 10 Websites, by PC Magazine as one of the Top 100 Classic Web Sites and by PC World as one of the Best 50 Websites.”

You can visit their blog for more information and to keep up on specific hiring trends and receive tips for completing a job search.

If you have personally used Indeed.com and have any feedback I would love to hear from you.