Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Job Search Tips

Ok, it’s officially summer and the 4th of July is coming (my favorite holiday if you were wondering...LFOD baby!).  The sun is finally out and vacations are starting actually happen.  Alas, the summer is also one of the hardest times of the year to network and get a job.  All those things we love about the summer make finding a job slow and painstakingly annoying as things get rescheduled and pushed out to make sure the whole team is around.  With that, before I go on my vacation....I give you a few tips and works of wisdom for the summer job seeker.

Lower expectations - Take a deep breath, relax and understand things will be a little slower this time of year.  Nothing you can do about and you’ll be better off just chilling out.  Don’t change anything you do but realize it will just take more effort and time to accomplish your goals.

Amp up the networking - Summer is a great time to network.  Let’s be honest, everyone is looking for an excuse to enjoy the why not take advantage of that and do a little networking.  Coffee outside at Starbucks?  Sounds good to me!!  All joking aside, with interviews and offers taking longer in the summer.....the best way to keep momentum w/ your job search is to network like a crazy person.

Look beyond the postings - As we all know by now, in the current economy most jobs are being filled without ever being posted.  So, in the words of those dudes from must go deeper.  Ping your network, do that networking thing and aggressively poke around to find roles that aren’t posted out on the web.

Refresh - Simplest tip of them all.  Use the summer to refresh and recharge your job search.  Recognize things slow down and take advantage of this time to make sure you are not burnt out by an endless quest for kick-ass work.  Having a great attitude will get you a long way during your job, enjoy the summer and knock whatever interviews you do have out of the park.

Ok, that’s it, short post by me this week.  I’m taking the next week off for some RR and work around the house (hello 8 yards of mulch).  Good luck with the search and until next time....

Oh, if you are looking for more summer of the best....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Interview tips for the rest of us.....

Ok, so loyal readers will know that most of my interview tips focus on engineering type roles. Well, I can’t code....not a lick. So, I thought I’d spend a few minutes talking about some interview tips for the rest of us. Those non-technical masses who must prepare a little differently for an interview. Here you go, how to prepare for that non-technical role you are dying to get!

1) Study - Take time to study the company. What’s the business model? How are they doing? Any current issues that might impact your decision? You should know all this stuff. Take some notes, print some articles and bring them with you. Why? Well, you want to be able to have an intelligent conversation with your interviewers. If someone asks you how you feel about better know what XYZ is!

2) Cliff Notes are for smart people - Remember Cliff Notes from High School? Everyone always associated them with slackers and cheaters? Well....maybe, but not this time. You are going to create your own cheat sheet of notes to bring to the interview. Trust me, I do it for any interview and look at is as a must have when it comes to interviews. What is on this list? Examples of things from your work for example:

- A successful project you’ve worked on
- An example of your leadership skills
- A time you had to learn something new
- Data and more data (sales quotas, hiring goals, etc)

Basically, anything you want to make sure you stress should be on this sheet....the worst thing you can do is leave an interview saying “I wish I told them about....”

3) Know your audience - If you know who you are meeting with (sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t) take a few minutes to do some Google searches (ahem, shameless plug) and check them out on LinkedIn. Why? Well, you don’t want to say something stupid or offensive just because you didn’t do your homework. True story: I was once asked how I felt about hiring people from 2nd tier schools. I went on the explain how I believe people go to school for different reasons and that you can find diamonds in the rough if you look hard enough at these schools. Good answer on my part, this person attended a lesser known school and agreed with me. You’ll thank me for this tip during your next interview.

4) Who do you know? - Tap your network for a few insider tips. Now you may not have any contacts and that’s fine but if you have someone on the inside just spending a few minutes with them can be invaluable before your interview. Another true story: I had coffee this morning with a person interviewing for a role with Google. Great guy, mutual former colleague made the connection for us. Could I help him prepare for the interview? Absolutely not, but I could share some insights on what I love about the company as well as give him 20 minutes to soak in the atmosphere and have a little coffee. I’m guessing he felt much better when the interview started than he would have without our short chat.

5) Relax - Take a deep breath and go rock the interview. That’s the biggest and best tip I can give you. Seriously, I meet a lot of people and they are so nervous the interview is over before it begins. If you aren’t relaxed and comfortable you’ll have a hard time explaining why you are a great fit for the role. So....chill out, you’ll be fine.

That’s it, I hope these help....if you have any other tips you’d like to add I’ve love to hear them. Until next time, happy hunting!

For anyone looking for more tips/tricks you can also try this book!