Categories
Coaching Life

Burn Out – It Happened To Me

 

I Reached Burn Out. Here’s my story…

Four years after my teenage daughter Jessica broke her neck it happened to me. At the time I thought burn out only happens to people who aren’t very aware, people that aren’t “strong”, people that can’t handle life. Then one February morning I woke up and started crying…for no apparent reason, or so I thought. And I couldn’t stop crying. So I called in sick to work. The next day the same thing happened. The tears spilled out and as hard as I tried I couldn’t get them to stop. Again I called in sick saying I had the flu. Why is it so hard to say you are struggling mentally? That you have anxiety, stress or depression. Somehow saying I had the flu was much easier than saying I barely could get out of bed. That I didn’t care about anything or really anybody, that I couldn’t face the world. Day 3 came and again so did the tears; my body ached all over not from the flu but from the emotional stress I was feeling. I gave myself a pep talk and said I should get over it, got dressed to go to work…and then the tears returned and so did the overwhelm, and then the anxiety. And I couldn’t do anything about it. I was exhausted and still didn’t really get why. I had never considered myself an anxious person. The simplest decisions couldn’t be made.

At this point I decided I better take the rest of the week off and called my boss saying I would be back Monday. The rest of the week passed with me in a semi zombie stage. I was still making meals for my family but doing the bare minimum. Come Saturday I thought maybe making a hair appointment and getting out of the house would help me snap out of it. I was convinced that it was just a case of the blues and that if I was strong – and I knew I could be – I could get back to my normal routine. No luck. I couldn’t face the 45 minute drive to the hairdressers; a drive I had done many times before. That’s when I knew something was really wrong. I consider myself a pretty capable person and making an appointment and getting my hair cut was a simple thing I did all of the time…yet not this week. The weekend passed in a fog, my senses dulled and my ability to do much of anything was pretty much gone. Monday came. I got out of bed but the thought of returning to work – or even getting in the car to go to work – created major anxiety. I called my boss once again saying I was still sick with the flu and I wouldn’t be in.

At this stage I realized I wasn’t going to just bounce back. It wasn’t just a “blue” or “off” day I was having. This was serious and it crossed my mind that I was mentally really not well. I faced the fact that after four years of being by the side of my daughter as her primary caregiver, during her recovery and in her adjustment to a new life living with a spinal cord injury, I now needed to take some time off. I still hadn’t named it as burn out, but I knew myself enough to know that something was really wrong with me. The normal daily things I did were either not done or done poorly. I lacked focus and was in major overwhelm. My family started wondering why I wasn’t going to work. Normally an open book I didn’t want to talk about it…not even to my closest friend.

Finally, I visited my pastor. He put it into words. You are burned out. You have been Jessica’s primary caregiver giving totally of yourself, and now you have no more to give. Your resilience is gone, your bucket is empty. I couldn’t figure out how this could occur when I had managed pretty well after Jess had been injured. I had taken 6 months off to be by her side, then returned to work believing I was “balancing” it all – or so I thought. Pastor Durwin said sometimes it can take years before these things affect you. He was right. I was still partially in denial, deciding to myself that a couple weeks off work would bring me back to normal. He urged me to think about taking a few months off and to focus on looking after me. Months sounded incredulous – and of course I was still in denial about how burned out I really was. Even with my family I wasn’t being honest about what was really going on. I feared my family might blame themselves somehow so I tried to protect them too. He also encouraged me to make an appointment with my family doctor.

My doctor confirmed my burn out and anxiety – a side effect in my case of the burn out. He concurred with Pastor Durwin to take a few months off. At first I was hesitant, worried about the judgement I might face from family and friends. In the end I realized if I didn’t look after myself things might worsen and I wanted to be around long term for my family. Fortunately, I could go on stress leave from work. And so began the mending. I took long walks, read books, something I hadn’t done in a long time, had visits with friends and slowly started to feel better. Three months later I returned to life and to work, feeling rejuvenated.

Since then I have become a coach and have coached women in various stages of burn out. My experience with burn out, though not so much work related has helped me better understand the symptoms of burn out and stress induced sicknesses.

Here’s what I’ve learned…

Burnout has many stages and symptoms vary from person to person.

Signs include:

Serious overwhelm – when everything you think of doing seems just hard…so you do nothing, or only the bare minimum.

Lack of decision making – decisions of any kind don’t come easy…instead you keep mulling over and over what to do. Your anxiety can heighten and even the smallest decisions are agonizingly hard.

Reduced, little or no motivation. Normal things that made you happy don’t do it for you now. You may not even want to get out of bed. Depression.

Physical Symptoms: Headaches, neck and back pain, digestive problems, physical sensation of exhaustion, feeling of overwhelm, tears.

Sleep: troubles sleeping or difficulty going to sleep or waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to return to sleep.

The Mayo Clinic states burnout comes in various forms and can be caused by: (1)

Lack of control: This is an employee’s lack of influence on decisions that affect their job. Examples include hours of work, which assignments they receive, and an inability to control the amount of work that comes in.

Unclear job expectations: Examples include uncertainty over what degree of authority an employee has and not having the necessary resources to complete work.

Dysfunctional workplace dynamics: Examples include working with an office bully, being undermined by colleagues or having a boss who micromanages your work.

Mismatch in values: If personal values differ from the way an organization does business or handles employee grievances, it will wear on employees.

Poor job fit: An employee working in a job that doesn’t fit their interests and skills is certain to become more and more stressed over time.

Extremes of activity: When a job is always monotonous or chaotic, an employee needs constant energy to remain focused, leading to energy drain and job burnout.

Having lived through burn out and seen my clients in various stages of burn out here are some of my recommendations on what to do if you are experiencing signs of burn out:

Seek professional help: Start with your family doctor who can rule out any other causes of your symptoms (or contributing causes). Enroll with a counsellor, coach or therapist to help you work through the root causes and develop a course of action.

Reach out to friends and/or family: your support system can be wonderful – but you have to ask for help and tell them what’s going on for you. Ask for what you need…maybe it is help with the kids, or an empathetic listening ear.

Exercise: research indicates that physical exercise can be helpful in reducing some of your anxiety and stress experienced with burn out.

Self-care: Make time for you. Depending on your stage of burnout this might mean taking time off as I did, and/or making time for things you have enjoyed in the past: art, music, seeing a movie, reading, prayer, meditation, journalling, time with your pet or others.

It’s taken me a very long time (nearly 8 years since I experienced burn out for the first time) to share this part of my life, and I think that’s because of a couple reasons. Perhaps the biggest being the fear of judgment; however, I’ve reached the stage in my life where I feel confident enough in myself and my experience that I can share my journey and hopefully help a few people that are currently experiencing burn out, or are fast approaching a burn out, recognize the signs and know that they are not alone.

Another reason I have spent so much time ruminating over this piece of my past is because it makes me vulnerable. As women, we are constantly battling the societal assumption that we are weak and overly emotional, and sometimes being vulnerable feels like weakness. I can now confidently say – that is a lie. Being vulnerable is one of the most powerful things you can do. It takes strength and courage and means that you are willing to admit that you aren’t perfect but you are open to growth. I no longer want to hide this piece of myself. If people judge me, that is their choice, if they think I am weak that is their struggle. I care about myself enough to be kind to myself, and I hope that each and every one of you will do the same.

(1) Mayo Clinic, “Job burnout: Understand symptoms and take action” (2008) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/burnout/WL00062(accessed January 11, 2010).
Mary Kruger is an Internationally Certified Business & Career Coach. She inspires people to reach their potential and goals through positive support, challenge & accountability. Send her an email to set up a complimentary session to discuss how Mary can support you with reaching your goals. Email: [email protected]
Categories
Coaching Life

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Do you ever have that feeling where you have so much to do you don’t know where to start? I know I do. When life throws so much at us we don’t know where to begin we’ll often dig in and then we don’t do anything. Sound familiar?

Here’s a couple of tips to help with that overwhelm.

1. Set some intentions for the day.

What do you really want to accomplish today? What is important?

2. Take tiny steps

Overwhelm often happens when we think we have to do EVERYTHING so instead we do almost nothing! Small steps towards a common goal is still progress. Hugh Culver, one of my favourite coaches says if you do 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week towards a goal, in one year that’s a week of work towards that goal. Isn’t that amazing? It always blows me away how little time can accumulate into big things! What’s one thing you have been putting off doing because of lack of time? Maybe it’s researching a new job, organizing those family photos or that recipe file (yes I still have recipe cards). Whatever project you want to tackle try the 10 minutes per day and see what happens.

3. Gain some focus.

Focus on one goal and write it down. Research shows writing down what you wish to accomplish and looking at it daily can help you make progress towards your goals.

4. Be aware of distractions

When you find yourself getting distracted ask yourself: Are these the things that are most important to spend my time on now? Will this help me work towards my goal?

5. Ask yourself who do you want to be?

We often think about action, but more importantly is who do we want to be? Ask me more about this. Email me to set up a complementary strategy session ([email protected]).

 

 

Categories
Coaching Life

Do you want your Inner Jedi to shine through or your Inner Darth Vader?

 

 

In a previous article I talked about calming your ferocious thoughts. You know, the sometimes loud voice in our heads that is being negative. These thoughts are called many things…the saboteur, inner critic or gremlin.

Shirzad Chamine who wrote the book Positive Intelligence talks about our more positive side “The Sage” or Inner Jedi, and our Saboteur or Inner Darth Vader.

The saboteur is motivated by negative emotions. The Sage is motivated by positive emotions such as empathy, creativity, passion, purpose, curiosity.  You want to strengthen your Inner Jedi. Shirzad suggests you ask yourself what is the gift or opportunity in any situation.

The saboteur does have a purpose. They are there to keep us safe. However by doing so they also prevent us from growing and often learning. As humans we all have the saboteurs.  Just like when we have that nasty spinach in our teeth, it can be difficult for us to recognize our own saboteurs. That’s where a coach comes in. I can help you to see what is really true and what are those nasty saboteurs or gremlins getting in the way of your happiness.

Email me ([email protected]) to set up a free consultation. Don’t let your saboteurs get in the way of you having the life and career you truly want.

Categories
Coaching

Calming Those Ferocious Thoughts

 

Ferocious Thoughts! We all have them! Sometimes it is a loud voice in our heads, other times it’s a quiet one. Does this sound familiar? I’m not good enough. They will think I’m a fraud. I’m a fake. Anyone else could do this better than me. I’m not smart enough. I’m not man (or woman) enough. I’m too old….I’m too young. I’m not a real_______ (writer, artist, singer, coach, teacher etc.) You fill in the blank.

Other times it is the voice of someone else still in our heads: Who do you think you are? What makes you qualified? You don’t have the education to do this job. You don’t have the experience. You are too old to do this. You can’t possibly think you are qualified. What are you thinking? There’s NO way you are going to get this job/client/promotion/project/raise/opportunity.

Sound familiar?
These thoughts are called many things…the saboteur, inner critic or gremlin.

So how do you tame these gremlins? Here’s some ways to lasso that lion – oops gremlin.

  1. Know that everyone has these voices. Unless you aren’t human! It’s part of our DNA. In my experience as a coach women have louder saboteurs then men. It may be that men ignore them more, I’m not sure. Or they bury them in their subconscious mind.
  2. Develop awareness. The first step in understanding the saboteurs is to notice them. When you tune in to what’s being said in your head and become aware you will start to notice what’s true and what isn’t.
  3. Track those thoughts! Now that you are focusing on the saboteurs start to record what they are saying, how they are saying them (tone etc.) and who is saying them. Sometimes the voices may have a human form and sometimes they won’t. Do you recognize the voice(s)?
  4. Acknowledge the voices. Simply by saying to yourself, “Ah that’s my saboteur talking” you can diffuse things.
  5. What is the truth? Look for that small piece of truth about what is being said – if there is one – and acknowledge it as one of many factors. However, don’t let that tiny piece of truth stop the whole idea of what you really want. Ask yourself what is the REAL truth here.
  6. Take action! Action might look like:
    • Imagining yourself locking that persistent saboteur into a cupboard, metaphorically speaking. Or sending them on a vacation!
    • Other times it might be acknowledging any truth in the saboteur’s comments and then moving on and…
  7. Counter the negative energy with positive affirmations
    • Saboteur thoughts generally evoke and are motivated by negative emotions: fear, doubt, anger, frustration, shame, guilt, insecurity, stress. That’s one way to recognize the tricky saboteur.
    • Counter with affirmative, positive thoughts and beliefs: I am good enough, I am capable. I can turn this into an opportunity. I can do it.

Sometimes it is hard for us to recognize our own saboteurs. That’s where a coach comes in. I can help you to see what is really true and what is those nasty saboteurs or gremlins getting in the way of your happiness. Email me to set up a free consultation ([email protected]). Don’t let your saboteurs get in the way of you having the life and career you truly want.

Check back here next week for my follow up article, including details from Shirzad Chamine about the saboteur.

Categories
Coaching

9 Ways To Move Ahead In Your Career

 

Often people want to progress in their careers. This can look different depending on the person. Some people want to move up the corporate ladder, others want to move out of their current job into another role and still others may want to have a new challenge within their organization. Here’s nine ways to move ahead in the company you currently work for.

 

  1. Take on extra projects. Show that you work more than your job description.

 

  1. Participate in activities outside of your job. Volunteer to lead the staff bbq or run a fundraiser.

 

  1. Tell your boss. Your boss can’t read your mind. Let them know that you are wanting to move ahead in your career. Ask them what steps you can take to make you a better candidate for future promotions. In the case where your boss is not supportive, look for a mentor that will support you. This is the person that has your back! They sing your praises, promote you to others, advocate for you, and provide support and feedback when you need it most.

 

  1. Build relationships. Acknowledge everyone in your office. Take the time to say hello to other colleagues. Even a quick smile, nod or how was your weekend can go along way to building relationships.

 

  1. Be positive. Be that person whose cup is half full, not empty. See the good in what is going on in your company. And look for the good in others. Building a gratitude habit can help you focus on the positive more.

 

  1. Network with everyone you meet. Learn from others -whether inside or outside of your place of work.

 

  1. Upgrade your education.Invest in your professional development. Courses, conferences and workshops can Increase your skill set and make you more marketable. It’s also a great place to network with other like-minded individuals.

 

  1. Don’t be a clock watcher. This doesn’t mean you have to work through your lunch everyday or put in hours of overtime. It means arrive a little early and leave on time or even a few minutes late. Offer to stay if a major project or other important or timely item needs taking care of.

 

  1. Ask for support – that might be hiring a career coach and/or enlisting family and friend’s help.

 

These are a few ways that can help you get noticed and hopefully help you move into the role you want. What ways have helped you change jobs? Share them in the comments below.

 

Categories
Coaching

Networking Your Way to Your Dream Job

I just came back from my family reunion. It was a smaller affair with just over 60 people (our last reunion had close to 140!). Yet it was a wonderful experience to connect with my family. One story in particular I think is worth sharing.

Steven, one of my cousin’s kids, landed a job with a large U.S. tech firm as a Senior Software Developer. As a career coach I’m always interested in how people get their jobs. Here’s his story… he was working for a small tech firm in the Okanagan. He attended a tech conference in San Francisco and was wearing his company’s t-shirt when someone from one of the tech giants recognized the company and approached him. Steve showed great interest in this person and asked him some good questions around the company and its projects. Shortly after the fellow came back and introduced Steven to some of his teammates. Steven shared his contact info and several days later was offered a phone interview. Soon after Steven was flown to California for two more interviews. Steven was nervous as he didn’t have the education nor knowledge of one of the programming languages the tech giant wanted. Yet he had done his research on the company and was honest and authentic about what he knew and didn’t – and how he could learn what was needed. Steven has now been working there over two years and loving it.

His advice? Be honest, be authentic, attend conferences, watch TED talks, check out YouTube videos for your area, network and learn what drives you. Find ways to stand out. Find out what the gaps are if you will be working as part of a team.

Networking is often the best way to find your dream job. People like to help each other out. Reach out to family, friends, past colleagues and bosses, associations and your LinkedIn network  – to name a few. Make a list of potential contacts, conferences, talks or events and get started now. 

Want more details on the best ways make networking really work for you in your career? Want to make some changes in your career or life, and need some support to do it?

Contact Mary for a complementary strategy session to see how coaching can help you.

Email: [email protected]

Categories
Coaching

Common Interview Questions And How to Answer Them

Interviews can send shivers of terror down your back – but they don’t have to. With some preparation and practice ahead of time you can reduce the anxiety and even enjoy (maybe?) the interview process.

Employers really are looking at three categories when they interview you:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Do you want the job?
  3. Are you a fit for the job and company?

Let’s look at each of these in detail

Can you do the job?

A common questions employers may ask is, “What are your strengths?” Be careful with this question. If they ask you to tell them about three of your strengths – answer with three strengths, not two or four. This demonstrates you can listen and follow directions.

So, how do you answer this question? Provide strengths and then back them up with examples.

For example, “One of my strengths is I’m creative and always looking for ways to maximize productivity. In my last role I was under-resourced so I reached out to another department and solicited their help –during their quiet period. The manager was more than happy to lend me one of her staff as it was a slow time and she wanted to ensure she didn’t lose her staff member. Win-win for both departments.”

Another common question is “What is your weakness?” This can be a tricky one to answer, as it’s natural not to want to point out your faults during an interview. You want to show how you are working on the weakness – but not how you have solved it, as then it isn’t a weakness anymore.

For example, “My weakness is that I get so involved in my client’s issues that I have a hard time turning off after I leave work. I now use my transit time between work and home to debrief and make some notes about my client’s so that when I get home I’ve cleared my mind and am ready for my family and me time.”

Talk about what you have learned in the process. You might even try a little humour by answering “chocolate” as your weakness, but be prepared with a serious answer to back it up as well.

Do you want the job?

Employers hire people that want to work for them. When there are several candidates with the same qualifications often employers will select the one that is most enthusiastic about working in their company.

In order to genuinely show your interest in the company you are interviewing with, it’s a good idea to do some research on the company prior to the interview. That way you can demonstrate that knowledge around some of the projects, expansion plans or other things the company might be doing.

A common question in this category is, “Why do you want to work here?

Answering with, “I have the skills and qualifications for the job” is not an answer that will land you the job. Instead, try something like,

“With over 10 years experience as a construction super intendant specializing in major commercial, I’m ready to take on projects like your recently completed Massey Bridge. From my research I understand you are now expanding your business into Asia. My ability to speak Mandarin and excellent knowledge of Chinese culture (having lived in China for 5 years) makes me an ideal candidate for this job.  I’m really excited to join your offshore team and contribute to the ongoing success of RAM Construction.”

Are you a fit for the job?

The final category is probably the most subjective for the employer. They want to understand if your character, values and interests fit within their organization’s culture and the team you will be working with.

Do you work well on a team?” may be a question under this category. You might also be asked, “What are your interests?”  The employer wants to understand if you will get along well with other members of their team and their company culture. Learning about your interests offers insight into who you are as a person and how you might handle stress. Interests can be a connection point with the interviewer too.

More tips for acing your interview

No matter what interview questions are thrown your way increase your chances of success by doing the following:

Bob* never had an interview. After being in the same frontline role for over 15 years he decided he wanted to move into a leadership role. After being told he was one of the shortlisted applicants he needed to prepare for the interviews. He had no idea how to do this. He hired me to coach him through the process. We started out by looking at his values and strengths and what he personally could bring to the role. After three sessions he was ready for the interview process and three interviews later the organization offered him the job, which he happily accepted!

If you need a little help nailing that interview, email me at [email protected] to learn more about my interview skills package.

*Name changed to protect confidentiality.

Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog.

Categories
Coaching

The Complete Job Search Toolkit for Coaches

 

It’s been quite a crazy few months…of some extreme ups and downs. The downs – crashed website, crashed computer, broken hot water tank, 5 weeks of pneumonia and a root canal to top things off! Honestly, some days I just felt like crawling under the covers and hiding from the world.

As life would have it there was also some blessings in all of this. I managed to get my crashed computer to start long enough to download an external hard drive with all my documents. Phew! That was definitely a God-moment. And with my birthday around the corner my husband bought me a new laptop (well actually I bought it and told him it could be his present to me – he was relieved he didn’t have to go shopping!).

The highlight though of this rather dismal few months was hosting my webinar: How to Help Your Job Search Clients Get Their Dream Job Fast AND Make You the Most Popular Coach Ever! The webinar proved what a global community we live in. I had people register from England, Costa Rica, Germany, Canada and the US. I was thrilled. Here’s what one attendee said:

I wanted to say thank you and also mention how grateful I am for all you have done for my clients. You give some great, informative, and useful webinars. You’re awesome, Mary!

And during the webinar I introduced my program,The Complete Job Search Toolkit for Coaches. This Toolkit is more than just a toolkit. It’s based on my over 20 years of training facilitators, coaches and job seekers in proven job search strategies, and includes direct access to me, 5 days a week! In fact if you register for the program by midnight Friday, March 2, you will receive extra support and bonuses from me, worth $1,000, including a one hour strategy call to ask anything you want.

The Complete Job Search Toolkit includes 66 ready made worksheets and checklists!!! Each document can be easily customized with your own company branding.

You can use these tools over and over again – there’s no limit! The work is done for you! You can take advantage of my working with over 1200 people in many career areas and levels, without having to do the work and learning yourself.

Modules cover important Job Search topics such as:

  • Tapping into the Hidden Job Market (help your clients avoid all their competition)
  • Nailing the job interview and getting the job
  • Negotiating the best salary with better perks
  • Resumes that will get you the interview
  • Using LinkedIN to get to the decision makers
  • And more!

Plus you’ll receive ongoing support from me (Noomii’s #1 career expert with over 20 years experience). You will have ample opportunity to connect with me to discuss your unique client questions, and get answers to assist your clients obtain the job they want and deserve.

All of this for $1395 USD or 3 payments of $499.

For the full details of The Complete Job Search Toolkit for Coaches go here:

http://mlkcoaching.com/the-complete-job-search-toolkit-for-coaches/

Hurry as the bonuses are for a limited time!

You can also contact me at [email protected] or 604.729.6595 with any questions.

Here’s to your success as a career coach!

Categories
Life

6 Common Myths About Job Interviews

Interviewing can be uncomfortable and for some terrifying. Let’s look at 6 interview myths that might be stopping you from putting your best self forward.

  1. I can’t prepare for an interview

Prior to going for an interview you not only CAN prepare for the interview – you can practice. Think of an interview like an exam. You can study ahead of time so that when the interview happens you will be prepared. Here’s some tips:

  • Consider the type of questions you might be asked by the interviewer. These include general interview questions such as, “Why are you the best candidate for the job?” to industry-specific questions, “In your role as a Construction Safety Officer, what do you think is your main priority?”, to behavioural-type questions, “What would you do in the case of….” Or “Tell me a time when you disagreed with your boss – what did you do?”
  • Now make a list of the common questions you may be asked. Job search sites can help out with this (e.g. Glassdoor, Workopolis, Indeed), or if it’s a prominent company then search on the internet for common interview questions such as “common interview questions asked at Amazon”. Consider hiring a career coach that specializing in job search skills.
  • Once you have your list of questions, sit down and write out the answers to your questions. Write out by hand? Yes! The brain uses a different part when you write something by hand. Writing will help you retain the information and be more confident.
  • Now practice. Recruit your family or friends and have them do mock interviews with you. This will help build your confidence level further. One client of mine, Carol* used to have her family quiz her at the dinner table every night, for the week leading up to her interview.
  1. Everyone else is more qualified than I am.

Ask yourself, how do you know this? Are these assumptions you are making? What makes you think this? If you go into an interview with this perspective, how far do you think you will get in the interview process? What would be a more helpful perspective to have? How about “I am qualified for this role because….”  If you doubt yourself, ask yourself why you got the interview in the first place. Yes! Because you are qualified.  Try some affirmative statements like: “I’m being interviewed because I am worthy of this job.” Or “Company “X” is lucky to have me.” What will work for you?

  1. I just need to talk generally about my experience – everything is on my resume.

As a career coach one of the most common mistakes I see is when people are too general or broad with their answers. Provide specific examples. For example how successful do you think you will be by answering the question, “Why should I hire you?” with “I have the experience and skills that you require to do this job well.” Sound familiar? At first glance it’s obvious you have the experience or you wouldn’t be in front of the interviewer BUT the interviewer wants to hear more.  Generalizations like this won’t get you hired, and it is a very common mistake of jobseekers!

Avoid thinking your resume speaks for you and that the interviewer will read everything on your resume. In some cases the person conducting the interview may have had less than a minute to scan your resume.  Other times they may never have seen your resume. Don’t laugh – I’ve been asked to join an interview and participate without seeing the candidate’s resume ahead of time, on several occasions. AND the interviewer (s) may not have the resume at the meeting. For these reasons I suggest you bring extra copies of your resume to the interview. Always ask ahead of time how many people will be interviewing you – and then bring that many resume copies + a few extras.

Review your resume and prepare answers that include results and specific facts and figures wherever possible.

  1. There is no need to do any research ahead of time – the interviewer will tell me everything I need to know.

I recently spoke with a manager Dawn*, who was hiring for a management level role. At the end of the interview Dawn asked the interviewee if they had any questions. Their answer? No.  Dawn was not impressed. She felt that having no questions prepared, showed a lack of preparation and interest in the company. Even if you feel the interviewer answered all of your questions, come prepared with a few of your own to ask. And it’s ok to write them down and bring out your notes at the end of the interview. Do your research so you can ask intelligent questions that are not addressed on the company website.

  1. They know I’m interested in the job because I’m here.

Although you got the interview, the interviewer still wants to hear you say how interested you are in the job – unless of course you realize when you learn more about the role/company  – you aren’t interested! Employers hire people that want to work for them. They LOVE to hear that you are really interested in the company. Prepare by thinking about why you are drawn to this role, and the company/organization, and then talk about it at the beginning of the interview and just before you leave the interview. You want one of the last things you will be remembered by to be a genuine, “I’m really interested in this role and would love the opportunity to work for you!”

  1. If I follow-up after an interview I will just look needy or desperate.

Actually just the opposite is true. Following up with the decision makers demonstrates you are interested in the role and excited about joining the company. It helps you control the job search process more. And if you mention you will follow up at the end of the interview – you are demonstrating you are good to your word – a skill employers like to see. Drop off or mail a thank you card. This will differentiate you from the other interviewees as they most likely won’t follow up or will email a follow-up thank you.

Differentiating yourself from the average jobseeker is what successful interviewing is all about. Try a few of these steps and see the results. Your next job is just around the corner.

*Names changed to protect confidentiality

(Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)

Categories
Life

Holiday Party Etiquette 101

 

At this time of year holiday parties and events are all around us. Whether you are a job seeker or already working at a company, navigating holiday parties can be tricky at times. After all, you don’t want to make a fool of yourself after one too many cups of punch or stand out like a sore thumb in your best ugly Christmas sweater at a black tie affair.

Here are some tips that might ease the way…

Dress appropriately

‘Tis the festive season but that does not give you a license to dress however you wish. My advice? Dress professionally. It’s great to roll out that party dress or Christmas tie. However, avoid anything too low-cut, with too much skin showing or that’s outlandish, and leave the denim for the weekend. After all, it’s the holidays and a great excuse to get dressed up! And, of course, if they have a set a specific dress code or theme, dress accordingly.

To drink (alcohol) or not to drink?

Here’s where your mom’s advice can come in handy. If you do drink, drink in moderation. Years ago a colleague of mine got so drunk he rode down the stairs on the ice-sculpture (a Santa on a motorcycle) at the company party. Sadly, to this day (he no longer works for the company), he is remembered most for this antic. Don’t be that person. You want to be remembered for your sparkling personality and your good conversation, not for any holiday stunts or drunk infused stupor.

Dancing anyone?

If you feel like hitting the dance floor, do it! But, again the rule of thumb I recommend is to keep it tasteful. Dancing a little too close with the CEO might not be appropriate and may cause some water cooler conversations come Monday. However, dancing in general is definitely a good thing. Time to enjoy some festive activities.

What are some conversation starters?

This time of year is a great time to be curious about others, whether they are your co-workers or other attendees of a colleague’s party or networking event. Ask questions and really listen. It’s not often we do this and especially this time of year when everyone is so busy. Try to take a moment to really listen to what someone is saying. You might try asking them what their holiday traditions are – keeping in mind everyone is different and there are many different holidays celebrated at this time of year. Avoid conversations around politics or religion. Try asking if they have time off and, if so, what they might be doing. Or if they have plans for the New Year. Being curious about others is a great way to start the conversation.

Network!

It’s a great time of year to network. In December, people are in a good mood and are often more generous with their time. I’ve had clients presented with job offers at this time of year – so networking could bring you some great leads and maybe even a job offer. Remember when networking, it is a two-way street. Ask how you can help the other person with their networking. Maybe there is someone you can connect them with. If you are job searching, a great tip is to mention companies/organizations you are interested in working for. Be open, thank people for their help and remember to follow-up. Having business cards with you is also appropriate.

‘Tis the season for giving, so bring a giving mind-set to the events or parties you attend. See just what happens. There just might be a Christmas miracle out there…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

(Originally posted on Noomii Career Blog)