A job interview is not a test of your knowledge, but your ability to use it at the right time.
One of our most popular topics has been How to Ace the Interview (EP #113). There is not a user manual out there on how to do great in interviews. That’s in large part because there is not a standardized way that companies do them. Ask 20 companies and you’ll likely get 20 different answers on how they are conducted. No matter the format, if you follow the tips from episode 113 and the ones today, you’ll have a good foundation for success.
Build your elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a short synopsis of what makes you unique and the value you add. It should not be long and should cover these three things.
What you do.
Why you do it.
Why it matters to the listener.
Each section should be about equal in length or you run the potential of losing the focus on the other two parts. Here is an example of mine:
I’m a talent development professional that helps scale talent and business for organizations. I love being a part of a person’s and organization’s success story. I enjoy taking down hurdles to progress and giving people practical and tangible steps to growth.
It should give the person just enough to understand your mission and leaves it open enough for them to ask more about it.
Stay on target
It’s easy to get really excited about an opportunity that seems like the perfect fit for you. If you are ambitious you may already be thinking about how you will impact them and projects or initiatives that you can get going on a larger scale. While this is a great quality, you will want to stick to just what the job description entails or what he interviewer is asking. If you spend too much time talking about all the other things that you can bring to the table, you may come off as not wanting the position that you are applying for.
Get the job first and then blow their minds with all the extra pieces that you can help them with.
Know the values and culture of the organization
Do some research on the organization to learn its mission, value, and culture. Being able to tie your experience and values to their culture pieces certainly, do help you.
Let’s say one of the values is We Over Me. The interviewer asks you to share an example of how you contributed to a team goal. It’s easiest to plug the value at the beginning or the end. “You know I love that one of your values is We Over Me and I enjoy working with teams. At my last job we had a situation……” This shows the interviewer that you understand the question, you know their value system and you identify with them.
Knowing their values and cultures also helps you evaluate them during the interview process. Do they shout culture on their website only to find it far from the truth in the actual office? Perhaps they truly do and can share examples and stories of how they live it out on a daily basis. It can be a great way to affirm your feelings for them one way or the other.
Know yourself, the organization and be prepared. Don’t forget to be yourself and have fun during the process!
If you are reading this, you have a digital footprint. A digital footprint is the trail of data you leave behind as you venture across the internet and apps. Many companies, employers, clients, and acquaintances use this information to various degrees to get a glimpse of who you are. It’s the reason that you can search for a product on your desktop computer and then see an ad for that product pop up on facebook on your phone 10 minutes later.
There are two kinds of footprints; passive and active. Your passive footprint is where your IP address is logged as you go around sites. It tags your internet provider and your general location. Your active footprint is one where you providing the information yourself. Emails, online shopping, search engine queries, and all social media count in this area.
We’ll focus on your active footprint today and how to manage it to your benefit.
Think about what you put there as forever
Think about what you say or post online in terms of forever, because it likely will live out there long after you are gone. Even if you go back and delete posts, tweets, etc all it takes is someone to take a screenshot of it and repost it to give it new life. This has come back to bite celebrities, brands, and politicians especially.
Even if I were to burn down my suite of websites today, places like The Wayback Machine will keep an archive on it and it will on. Just click the link to see a great example of zackhudson.com. It has taken 25 snapshots over the years and can see when it was owned by a guy in Oklahoma over 12 years ago.
Once you release something to the wild it’s hard to get it back. Don’t overshare and consider everything you send in terms of forever.
I don’t mean to search for yourself a philosophical way. I mean literally search for yourself on google and as a guest on social media platforms. This will give you a good idea of what others will see when they search you out. It may be an affirming exercise or extremely eye-opening depending on what you find.
Use that awareness to clean up your accounts. Make posts private that you don’t want out there and considering locking down the privacy of your accounts to friends and contacts only during job searches.
Search and scrub is the first piece of advice I give to someone that grew up fully in the digital age and is on the job hunt.
Linking and a secondary email
Often times sites give you the option of linking your social media instead of creating an account. Sure it may be faster, but you are giving people access to your information as a result.
Create a secondary email address to use for these types of sites. It keeps your socials protected and it will keep your primary email address clean of clutter and spam from sites that you may not use that often. This is another tip I often give to people looking for jobs. Using a secondary email on your resume, and job hunting sites puts all the info in one place and will save your primary one long term.
Be a good internet citizen
Not everything about managing your digital footprint has to do with protecting your privacy. When you are online, make a positive impact. Lift people up and don’t troll people or organizations. Be a good citizen to others when you are online.
Your digital footprint reflects who you are as a person to others online. Make sure that it is an image that represents you well.
Crafting a great resume is one of the most stressful and overwhelming parts of a job search. Where do you start? Is it too long? Is it too short? You don’t even like to write! Rest assured that it is easier than it looks when you take the time to get your bearings first. Here are some of the most common mistakes and actionable tips on how you can avoid them.
Impact over description.
You want your resume to be a giant ad for the impact that you make in organizations and with others. Many job seekers lose the impact of their resume and cut themselves short on potential because they focus on what their job description is instead of what they accomplished.
Shop Mechanic Manager Example:
Description approach– Oversaw employees and scheduling. In charge of $600,000 yearly budget. Made sure shop was clean at end of day and ordered supplies as needed. Counted money and made deposits. Kept financial documents.
Impact approach- General manager for $600,000 mechanic shop. Oversaw all financial aspects and human resource functions.
Turned around business from losing 10k a year to profitability in 12 months by focusing on accountability and consistency with the team.
Held highest customer service scores (92.3%) in the chain for two years. 2018-2020
Intentional development of the team led to lowering turnover rate from 65% to 25% in 18 months. Developed assistant to lead their own shop in 2019.
Take time to think about what you did during your time there. What was your impact on others? What were you most proud of to have accomplished? Put a short description of your role and then follow-up with accomplishments.
Follow the unwritten cultural rules
Another common mistake that people make is that they don’t know their cultural norms for a resume before they begin to craft their resume. In the States it’s considered unprofessional to include your picture and personal information on your resume. For our Baton Carriers in the Middle East and parts of Asia, it’s much more common to include your picture in your resume.
I have seen pictures, the number of children they have and what their hobbies are on resumes. I see it as a large waste of space while other hiring managers may not even consider you for the role once they see your resume.
Stick to regular paper for your resume. If you want to make it stand out, you can have it printed on heavier paper stock (not card stock) at a printing store. Avoid colored paper or paper with graphics.
Keep it concise
You want your resume to represent you well while not being a short novel. Keep it to one or two pages, use bullet points and avoid large paragraphs. This may put you in the inevitable crossroads of having to fight for every inch of space. It may be frustrating, but keep playing with it until you land it. When I’ve written my own or have helped others, I often find myself changing the spacing one point at a time to get it all to fit and look nice.
Tweak it for each company
Build yourself a solid resume to use as a foundation and then tweak it to match each company. This should truly be small changes such as changing the title in the summary to match the title you are applying for. Also, change or add keywords that show up in the job descriptions that you are applying for.
Jobscan.co is a great site that scans your resume versus the job description and then shows which keywords you are missing so that you can add them in.
Look at examples online to help you out, follow these guidelines and you will have a killer resume in no time.
Individual commitment to a group effort – that’s what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. -Vince Lombardi
If you’ve ever been to an airshow, they can be equally jaw-dropping and unnerving at the same time. The teams of pilots practice endlessly for the shows, and often the distance between a perfect maneuver and disaster is a twitch in the wrist. Team coordination is the key to success in having a safe and successful event. Here are some things that we can model after these teams.
They have a high level of trust with each other.
Blue Angels pilots must trust each other inexplicably. They willingly put their lives in their team’s hands every day. Trust is an important piece in every team no matter if you are the shift leader of a shoe store or flying a multi-million dollar jet. Trust is one of the leading factors on whether the team/company will be good, great or fail. If people don’t trust their leadership team, trouble is sure to follow. Here are some areas to think on as you build trust.
Clear and consistent communication.
The ability to walk what you talk.
A sense that you authentically understand others.
You have the skill set to perform your role well.
They have an unwavering commitment to each other.
Military life is certainly different. Each branch of the service finds success by having its members lose a sense of self and focus on the needs of the team and mission above their own. To be an elite pilot chosen to fly with the Blue Angels, each individual must choose others above their own wants and needs. They spend more time studying while others socialize, more time training while others call it a day, and more time together than they are required to.
An uncommitted team member can quickly drag down the efficiency of the team and cause a number of issues. Your team needs to see and feel as if you are committed to the mission, the set standard and most importantly that you are committed to them on a personal level. You can’t expect your people to be great and perform well if you aren’t committed to being great yourself.
They communicate often with each other.
Pilots are great communicators while on the job. They communicate essential information but don’t clutter up the airwaves with needless talk and useless information. This can be a challenging balancing act because we want our people to know what’s going on. Communicate too much; forward emails that they already received just to add your two cents, or make everything a top priority, and lose the credibility of your message. Fail to communicate enough and your people are sure to fall short in some capacity.
Check with your team on your communication amount, tenor, timing and frequency. I do this a few times a year and adjust as needed. Just because you are good doesn’t mean you stay that way over time. Listen with an open mind and make adjustments as needed.
Coordinate well with your team and put on a great show for your customers.
Applying for jobs is both easier and more complicated than it used to be. It’s easier in the fact that you can search for jobs all over the world in whatever industry that you love. The complication comes from the different Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) out there that companies use to take your application. The ATS is the first level of defense between you and the actual recruiter. If the system doesn’t feel you are a good match then your application enters the resume black hole never to be seen by human eyes.
One resume does not rule them all
Know that even if you pay for someone to build your resume that it is not the end-all and be-all of your career experience. It should be looked at as a template that you will use to adjust for each job you are applying for.
Match keywords. Look at the job description and see what keywords are in there or what words are repeated. Jobscan (jobscan.co) can scan your resume and let you know how well it matches up to the job. The site says it should be 80% but take that number with a grain of salt. Often job descriptions have a wish list of experience and they don’t expect to find a 100% match.
Use the terminology of the industry. If you are trying to change industries concentrate on transferrable skills and explain accomplishments in a way that anyone can understand. If you can explain them in the context of the industry that you are looking to get into, it’s even better.
Highlight areas of expertise in a descriptive way. Avoid being too general in your skills. The recruiter is looking for an expert to hire. Ex. General: Communications. Specific: Nationwide marketing communications, liaison for all internal executive communications.
Have a resume for the computer and one for the person
The resume for the ATS should have:
The right font and size. Nothing below 10 points. Avoid script fonts and other non-traditional fonts. Your resume may translate into r^~=me once it passes through the ATS.
Bullet points. Bullet points are your friend compared to long paragraphs.
Avoid hiding text. Some people try to hide a section of white text in hopes that the system picks up the words and puts the application through. The problem is that the ATS will likely translate it to black text when a recruiter goes to print it off and you are busted. The person knows your trick, your resume now looks like garbage and they are likely moving on.
The resume for the hiring team should have:
A cleaner format. It should look and feel better than the one for the ATS. The computer doesn’t care how it looks. A recruiter will.
A heavier stock paper. I learned this subtle trick from Dr. Britt Andreatta during one of her presentations. She used a heavier stock paper that had a slight gloss to it for her handouts. It made the documents feel more valuable and important. Check your local copy company when making physical copies of your resume. Heavier than copy paper but not cardstock.
There is a hidden job market
There are many jobs out there that never make it onto career sites for a number of different reasons. The important thing to know is that there are more opportunities out there than what you see and realize. Lean into your network (and their networks) to help you make a good connection. Try to connect with recruiters and decision-makers of the company that you want to be a part of.
Applying for jobs can be a stressful and discouraging time. Maximize your efforts by applying for jobs that truly match your experience, catering your resume to the job description and building the right connections for those opportunities that the public does not see.
We have more long-distance leaders than ever before. Perhaps you were assigned this type of leadership or maybe you found yourself here unexpectedly because of COVID-19. Either way, here you are!
Your team deserves great leadership regardless of if they are always together or not. You’ll need to make some adjustments in your leadership in order to be impactful from long distances.
Understand that you will have to lead differently
Before you begin the journey of becoming a great long-distance leader you need to understand that you are going to have to lead differently. Your communication style should change, your topics of discussion will likely change to some degree and how you connect and build relationships will certainly be different.
Have the self-awareness to know that there is a transition period and don’t be too hard on yourself during this time. It’s likely that both you and your team are figuring out a new dynamic. As a result, expect a slightly less efficient period as they make adjustments to new working scenarios.
Support your team as they make the transition as well. They may not have the same access as you or perhaps they aren’t as familiar with technology as you are. Cut them a little bit of slack and give them the resources needed with care and compassion.
Who you are as a leader does not change, but how you lead definitely will if you want to be a successful long-distance leader.
Learn and match the person’s communication style
I talk a lot about adjusting your communication style to your audience, and this is especially important for leading remote teams. Understand that each person has their own preference in how they want to be communicated with. Some may prefer an email, others texts, some love calls, and others want to use messaging apps.
Adapt to your team instead of expecting them to adapt to you. Let’s say both Scott and Mary are co-workers on the same project. You may text Scott to check-in and his status and you may have a 15-minute call with Mary about the same subject.
Leverage technology instead of using it as a barrier
Technology can become a great tool or a big excuse for a leader when leading remotely. You may feel like you can’t meet as often with others because you don’t see them anymore and no longer have that natural impromptu time together. Lean into text or instant messages for quick check-ins and keep your schedule with one-on-ones and team meetings. I would recommend a video option above a call-in feature if available. Some good video options include:
Google Hangouts & Classrooms
Microsoft Skype & Teams
Is a video the same as an in-person option? No, but it can be very close and a solid video option can help you and others that need of connection that we all crave.
Balance your workload and establish boundaries
When you and your team are working across a virtual environment it can be both tempting and easy to work into the late hours of the night and end up working even more than you did when you were in an office. Is that needed at times? Absolutely. Should it become a habit? Absolutely not.
Establish your boundaries and keep them for both yourself and for others on your team. If you are sending emails all through the night, your team may feel like they aren’t doing enough if they aren’t immediately responding back. It may not be your intention to pull that person back on to the clock, but if they are constantly getting notifications in their email and texts, then you aren’t allowing them to enjoy their time off.
If you are a night owl, let your team know that they don’t need to respond to your messages until the next day. An even better strategy would be to write your emails and schedule them to go out the next morning.
Be sure that your team is taking its normal breaks and meal times just like they were in the office. Keeping a normal routine is essential to great productivity.
Change your leadership tactics and communication styles while holding true to your boundaries and leveraging technology to its fullest potential. You can be a highly effective and admired long-distance leader.