Archive for September, 2008

Spotlight on Networking

Did you know losing contact with former co-workers can be detrimental to your career health?

Most people, despite promises made at the time and loads of good intentions, lose track of those they have worked with. This can be caused by the sheer pressure and rush of modern day life, or a sense of awkwardness at making contact again. But since 70% to 80% of employment opportunities are sourced through friends, colleagues and staff, it is imperative you stay in touch with people you have worked with in the past whether it is that person who has left the company, or you were the one to leave.

After all, you never know when they may be able to assist you in finding that ideal role, or if you will be the one to give them the boost they need.

Here’s to writing powerful resumes.

Beverley Neil

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September 19, 2008 at 4:36 am Leave a comment

How to Irritate a Recruiter

In the past I have written about candidates who – believing the unemployment rate to be low – believe they don’t have to worry about their resume being ‘stand out’. [see Can You Take It Easy in Today’s Employment Market posted in August, 2007]

A number of recruiters have expressed to me their disappointment in the standard of resumes they are receiving and voicing the belief that clients just aren’t trying as hard. One recruiter even told me that at times they ended up calling no one in as the standard of the resumes were so poor – that there was nothing in them that aligned any of the applicants with the advertised position.

Understanding all this I couldn’t help but appreciate the sentiments, and also chuckle at the wording, of this blog post written by a frustrated recruiter – it is a definite must read – http://blogs.hrmtoday.com/featured-stories/resume-rantings/

Enjoy – and above all – learn.

Here’s to writing powerful resumes.

Beverley Neil

September 15, 2008 at 11:24 pm 1 comment

Blondes in Pursuit of Nobel Prize

Well, this has absolutely nothing to do with resumes, but it has a lot to do with a very interesting humanitarian based, women’s networking organisation which is launching in the U.S. – and it’s all about Blonde Power. 

As the forerunner they have launched a t-shirt (more designs to come I believe) celebrating blonde power and calling for blondes to unite to make an impact for good in the world. Check out the t-shirt site at www.blondeshappen.com. The ‘parent’ site is in its fledgling stages and can be viewed at www.blondesinc.com Be sure to watch the slide show on the Reflections page and check back in the future as the organisation grows.

Though their focus is very seriously on helping others – they also intend having a strong focus on fun – and shopping! As part of the fun focus they have adopted the catch cry “Blondes in Pursuit of Nobel Prize!”

I’m not blonde myself – but I’ve sure had enough ‘blonde moments’. I guess that qualifies me as a potential member when they open their books.

As Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Here’s to writing powerful resumes.

Beverley Neil

September 10, 2008 at 11:07 am 1 comment

Surviving Interview Questions

Interviews can be stressful and it may be that you flounder on one of the questions and don’t answer well.  Don’t let that unsettle you. Pass over it and move on to the next question. You can still win the job if you show that you are able to recover well and maintain your focus.

To list exactly the questions you might be asked would be impossible – there are literally hundreds of possibilities, however, some questions on the most likely list include:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What is your most significant accomplishment?
  • What things most motivate you?
  • Are you happy with your career progress to date?
  • What is the most difficult situation you have ever faced?
  • What jobs have you enjoyed the most / the least and why?
  • Why did you leave your last position?
  • If money was no object, and you wanted to work, what would be your ideal position?
  • How do you handle people that you don’t get along with?
  • What is your major weakness?
  • How would this position fit your overall career plan?
  • What three adjectives best describe you?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What aspects of your career have prepared you for this particular job?

And so on and on…..

Put yourself in the position of the interviewer. Make a list of the skills, proficiencies and character traits that you think he or she will be looking for. How do you meet these criteria?

Practice your interview ‘answers’. It might be best to time yourself, as answers should not take much more than a minute. Don’t talk yourself out of a job. Keep to the point and answer the question – no more!

There is a story that a HR manager asked an applicant: “Do you work better as an individual or as a part of a team.”

“I work well as an individual or as a team member,” the applicant replied.

“Pick one,” said the HR manager.

“As an individual,” replied the applicant.

The HR manager replied: “We work in teams here.”

Sometimes you just can’t win. But you can always do your best.

Here’s to writing powerful resumes – and shining through your interviews

Beverley Neil

September 8, 2008 at 2:33 am Leave a comment

Ever Lost Your Poise At An Interview?

Most people find their poise completely deserts them at an interview – their body won’t coordinate and even something as simple as ‘where do you sit’ becomes an ordeal.

That all-important question – “Where do I sit?”

Often you will find yourself waiting in a meeting room until your interviewer/s join you. You look around and wonder where the best place to sit is. Sometimes the best option is not to sit at all. If there are pictures of note, awards, certificates or other material lining the walls or displayed on shelves then take the opportunity to browse. It shows interest in the company and can be a great starting point for conversation.

When being interviewed by a recruitment agency, they frequently have offices with views overlooking the city and surrounds. It is amazing how gazing out a window for a few minutes can calm your nerves, and once again provide a great icebreaker remarking on a point of interest.

In both instances you are in an excellent position to move forward and greet your interviewer/s with a confident smile, level eyes and a confident handshake. Should you choose to sit, be sure to sit where the door is easily accessible, where the desk is not between you and your interviewer/s and where you can rise comfortably and, once again, greet your interviewer/s with a confident handshake.

How do you move?

If you are not sure where to sit and it is not obvious, simply ask. Sit down neatly, do not sprawl about upon a chair or sit upright and rigid, do not fidget with your hands or repeatedly cross your legs. These are big asks as natural nervousness will threaten to take over and it is easy to do all these things without even being aware that you are. 

Try to stay in touch with your body.  Your facial muscles will naturally tense up and you may end up with a false rigid smile.  Therefore, try to stay in touch with your facial muscles as well, relax your cheeks and allow your lips to soften.

Here’s to writing powerful resumes.

Beverley Neil

September 5, 2008 at 2:26 am Leave a comment


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