Archive / October, 2015

Conversation Topics during Job Interview

interview

People hire people they like. So while your skills and experience are important elements to securing a job offer, just as important is your ability to build rapport that is natural and engaging with your interviewer. The rapport you establish during an interview can greatly impact the impression you leave behind.

Effectively building rapport is what gives many candidates the leg-up in the company’s interview process. Even if the candidate does not have as much experience as another candidate, he is seen as more favorable because he’s been able to connect with the interviewer in a way that is more relatable and can be seen as fitting along with the rest of the people at the company. Those who do the hiring want to know that the candidate is someone they themselves would enjoy working with.

One of the ways to build rapport with the interviewer is by asking questions that may not be directly related to the interview. Here are some meaningful topics of relevance to help build rapport during an interview:

Current events on the company and/or industry

Before you go in for an interview, look over the company’s website for news events. Most company websites have a section with press releases. Did the company just sign a significant partnership, bring in a key individual from the industry or launch a new product? These are topics that can help build rapport and show you are on top of what’s going on at the company or industry. It shows you have a sincere interest in the company.

Challenges of the position and challenges the company faces

Asking questions about challenges and then turning around the discussion to clearly point out how you may have experience handling the issues is an easy way to show your contact that you have a desire to learn, face problems and bring solutions.

Information about your contact

Establishing small talk with your interviewer may be done by asking questions such how she came to work for the company or her experience with particular projects. If you are conducting an interview in your interviewer’s office, take note of any family photos showing children or locations you may relate you. You may draw up small talk simply by commenting on the beautiful smiles of the children in the photo, asking how old they are, and sharing information on the age of children you may have of your own. You can also ask if a photo was taken at a certain destination and add comment on how it relates to you – whether it’s your hometown or if you went on vacation there recently. Small talk is a time where an interviewer can get a better feel for your personality and a chance to establish a stronger bond by showing how you two may have similarities. Many questions during the interview may be standard and seem a bit rehearsed, so slightly stray from the norm with small talk during the earlier part or latter part of the interview.

Get interviewed for your dream job

Before worrying about the interview, first you have to think how you could get the interview! One of the best ways to get a lot of interview calls from the right company is to submit an excellent resume, tailored to the position you are applying for. Sometimes, crafting a resume might be even harder than mastering the art of interview and negotiations, so why not leave it in the hands of professionals?

A creative resume could also help you during the interview. When you submit a creative resume, you have stolen the interviewer’s attention from the beginning. Then, the interviewer will be much more enthusiastic about your prospects at the company when he/she is interviewing you.

At Style Resumes, we are well-equipped with the skills to craft a perfect resume that will get you the right job. Get one step closer to your dream job by checking out our products now!

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Resume Secret: Quantify Your Resume

resume

Suppose you’re reading a resume and you see the following statement: “Supervised a team that installed a new customer service tracking system.” Well, that’s nice. What does that force the person to do? He has to ask you about that in the interview just to get more basic details, potentially wasting valuable time and costing you the job. That, if you get the interview at all.

Now, suppose you read this instead: “Managed a team of five that selected and implemented a new customer service tracking system that reduced lost sales for the company by $1.5M in the first year.” What would you think of that? If you were the hiring manager, which person would you hire based on the statements alone? If you’re like most people, you would definitely hire the person who writes the second statement.

The power of numbers

The second statement is powerful because it tells enough of the story that an interviewer can ask you for more details about this significant accomplishment. Besides that, it stands out from all the other resumes containing statements like the first one, because it talks about what your employer really cares about – MONEY. Well, the main purpose of business is to make money. Without profit (or without breaking even for a non-profit), there’s no business, which means no jobs.

What the number implies

If you quantify your experience, you absolutely vault over your competition. Non-quantified experience says you showed up, did some stuff, and drew a paycheck. Not exciting, and unlikely to get the job if somebody else quantifies his experience.

On the other hand, quantified experience says you didn’t just take, you GAVE, and in a significant way. It also shows that you are capable in meeting the company’s goals.

How to do it right

Now that you know the importance of quantifying your resume, try to quantify your experience whenever you can. It’s not as hard as you might think. Just remember that three things count as quantifiers:

  • Dollars you added to the bottom line
  • Time you saved the company
  • Any other numbers that add to the “he uses numbers” impression

Money is, of course, money. That’s a no-brainer. If you initiated and spearheaded a project that increased corporate profits (or departmental profits, or office profits, or location profits – you get the idea), that’s fantastic. Highlight it using real money numbers.

Ask yourself the worth of what you did, from your employer’s perspective. Did a particular action save money? That’s quantified! Did it bring in more revenue? That’s quantified! Did it produce an operational improvement, such as shorter turnaround on customer service requests? That’s not quite quantified (in terms of dollars), but it’s close! Don’t know a dollar amount, but know an improvement percentage? Use it! It’s better than nothing. Quantify whenever you can, and get as close to dollars on the bottom line as you can. That’ll get you rave reviews from your current boss (or a raise!), and will make it easier to get your next job.

Leave it to the professional

Most people think that writing resume is an easy job. However, more often than not, they are wrong. They end up submitting a messy and unimpressive resume which is quickly thrown into the trash bin.

Don’t let your resume get treated like that! At Style Resumes, we know what we’re doing. We’ve helped thousands of job seekers get their dream job by giving them an impressive resume and cover letter that made employers feel in love with them. Get in touch with us and let’s craft that perfect resume!

Professional Resume Writers

The 5 P’s of Job Hunting – Part 2

job hunt

In the previous blog post, we have discussed two initial steps in job hunting – plan and prepare. In this post, check out the next two steps: practice and perform.

Step 3: Practice

You might have heard that “practice makes perfect”, and this is a very important step in job hunting. An athlete would practice a lot for an important competition. Likewise, you have to practice your interview techniques a lot in order to beat the job competition.

Practicing can take place with a friend, family member or a counsellor. There are many books available that provide sample questions and sample answers. Feedback on your interview skills may involve peers, general comments, and/or videotape. Here are some sample questions for you to use:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What do you look for in a job?
  • How long would it take for you to make a meaningful contribution?
  • Why are you looking for a new career?
  • How would your boss describe you?
  • How would your colleagues describe you?
  • What were the five most significant accomplishments in your last position?
  • What are your strong points?
  • What are your weak points?

A videotape is an excellent way for you to see yourself as an employer would see you. You can dress as you would for an interview and have someone you know act as the interviewer. You will then be able to notice how you handle yourself, how you sit, and how you respond to questions. For instance, did you give enough information or too much information. You can also note if you have any habits you are unaware of. This will help you become comfortable in presenting your skills to an employer.

Step 4: Perform

Think of your interview as a performance. You must prepare for it (research the employer, practice interview questions), dress appropriately (dress for the job you are applying for), and have the proper equipment (copy of resume, references, portfolio, and pen) to show that you are ready to do the job.

The first two to three minutes of your interview are the most important. An employer usually makes a decision based on your appearance and your opening presentation. It is important that you make the most of these precious minutes.

A smile is a big part of your wardrobe. If smiling doesn’t come naturally to you, practice in front of a mirror until it feels comfortable. Ensure that your body language doesn’t send the wrong message. Don’t cross your arms across your chest, or keep checking the clock. Check your appearance, both standing and seated, in a mirror. It is important to try to relax, but do not slouch in your chair. Don’t chew gum during your interview, and if you are a smoker, try to have your last cigarette at least 10 minutes before your interview and freshen your breath with a breath mint.

Another important point is to never say anything negative about your previous employer. It may make the employer wonder what you would say about them, and you never know who is related to whom.

Make sure that you have some questions to ask the employer. Not “how much money will I make and how long do I get for vacation?”, but questions that show you have researched the employer and have some knowledge of their company. Make a list of potential questions to ask. If the interviewer has been very thorough and you can’t think of any questions, at least find out when they will be making a decision and ask if it is OK to follow up.

Here are some sample questions you can ask.

  • Why is this position open?
  • What are some of the more difficult problems one would have to face in this position?
  • What significant changes do you forsee in the near future?
  • What are some of the objectives you would like to see accomplished in this job?
  • What are some of the long-term objectives you would like to see completed?
  • How is one evaluated in this position?
  • What accounts for success within the company?

If you think you can sit back and relax after your “performance”, you are wrong. There is still one final step which is as important as the previous steps. Wait for our next blog post for the final step!

How to Effectively Job Hunt While You are Still Employed

job hunt

Often times, it is far easier to find a job when you already have one. So, even if you feel secured in your job, you might want to consider finding employment elsewhere. In doing so, consider the fine art of looking for a job without endangering the one you already have.

Ask yourself if it is worth it

Your current job may not be ideal, but it is employment, and if you are in good with the higher ups, it is relatively secure. Consider that any change you make could end up laying an egg and you could find yourself unemployed within a few weeks. It’s something to think about very carefully.

Keep your mouth shut

Most employers will not react kindly to the news that you are looking elsewhere. You may find yourself out on your fanny before you have found another ship to jump to. Even if you have close friends in your workforce, you have to assume that anything you tell them will get back to your supervisors. Play it close to the vest.

Don’t use company resources to conduct your job search

Besides it is unethical to do so, your current employer might find out about it and you end up being unemployed before finding a new job. Don’t send job application using company fax or emails, and don’t conduct job searches or phone interviews on company time. Many companies monitor computer usage and phone calls, so any such activity is bound to be discovered. Make sure such activities are conducted during off hours and from private phone and internet lines.

Try very hard to schedule interviews outside of your normal work hours

Most prospective employers will understand this and try to accommodate you. If you simply must go during work hours, don’t feel the great need to explain where you are going beyond a simple “taking care of some personal matters” explanation.

By the same token, if your normal office attire is business casual, and you suddenly show up one day dressed to the nines, that is a surefire giveaway that you have an interview that day. Again, don’t do anything that spills the beans to your current employer. Before you make the jump, you want to make sure you have somewhere to land.

Don’t bad mouth your current employer

Under any circumstances, never ever bad mouth your current employer. Even if your boss is a jerk, speak highly of him and your current company. Bad mouthing will identify you to prospective employers as a trouble maker, boat rocker, or at best, a high maintenance employee.

Leave with good notes

Once you have been offered the new job, still treat your current employer with respect. Give appropriate notice in writing, stating your intent to leave, thanking them for the opportunity, and offering to work at least a two week notice to allow time for them to find your replacement.

At the same time, be prepared to get out once you have given your notice. Many companies will not be interested in a notice and will ask you to leave the building straight away. Leave with some dignity and good grace. Even if your boss reacted like a jerk, stop and thank him again for the opportunity, shake his hand, and wish him well. Always take the high road, because it is virtually impossible to come out looking bad when you do so.

Prepare yourself with Style Resumes

After reading this article, you now realize how important it is to have an up-to-date resume ready at all times. But you are far too busy with your work and everything else to sit down, research and write for hours! Also, you’re not even sure how to craft a powerful resume.

If that is the case, worry not. Style Resumes is here to help you. We are a team of professional resume writer that is ready to craft a tailor-made resume especially for you. We never rush in doing our jobs, so top-notch quality is guaranteed!

Engage in our resume services to get ready and get ahead of your competition!

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Making your own Facebook Resume

So what on earth is a facebook resume?

In essence, it is something like this.

Claudio Nader facebook resume/cv

WHY THIS IS A GREAT IDEA

Many job seekers kick off their job search with an email to everyone they know asking for leads. A common problem is that after a few weeks or months, friends and family forget that they’re still looking for a job.

Your Facebook profile resume will constantly remind every visitor about your job search without you needing to send followups. Then when a lead comes to mind, they’ll just need to click ‘Share Profile’.

Now, when sending that first job search announcement, tell people to follow your Facebook profile to see if you’re still available.

Pretty clever, right?

HOW IT WORKS

The new Facebook profile layout displays your last 5 tagged photos across the top, while showing your profile picture on the left.

  • Use your profile picture for a headshot and a brief but hard-hitting summary of your skills & achievements
  • Use the tagged photos as banners for each of your print resume’s sections
  • The caption of each banner image should contain the relevant text from that section of your resume

Here’s how to make yours.

5 EASY STEPS

  1. Create the images
  2. Upload the images
  3. Tag the images
  4. Adjust your bio
  5. Set up the texts

1. CREATE THE IMAGES

This is the most complicated step of the Facebook resume creation process, but it’s really not so bad as you’ll see.

To make things easier, I’ve created some sets of Facebook-styled banners that you can download for free and use on your Facebook resume for a slick, “official Facebook” look.

Set of facebook resume section banners

 

If you have design skills and aren’t afraid to slice & crop images for cool effect like Claudio, here are some time-saving tools to check out.

Otherwise, follow these simple steps to create a profile picture with a hard-hitting summary using the Pixlr online image editor:

  1. Click ‘Create a new image’
  2. Name it ‘Facebook Profile Picture’, ignore the Presets, set a width of 180 and a height of 540 and click ‘Ok’.
  3. Set the foreground color of the new image to be the same color as the banner set you’ve chosen. Click the big black square beneath the hand tool, and in the popup that appears, replace 000000 with the relevant color code – dark blue is 3B5998, light blue is D8DFEA and white is FFFFFF – then click ‘Ok’.
  4. Select the paintbucket tool and click anywhere in the white area of the new image to change its color.
  5. Import your portrait photo by clicking Layer > ‘Open image as layer’ from the menu bar at the top of the screen. Left-click the imported portrait and hold down the mouse button to drag the portrait into position. Put it near the top of the new image.
  6. Finally, add your text. Select the Type tool (it looks like an A) and click in your image where you’d like the text to appear. In the Text popup, choose a font size 14 or higher, change the font color to match the text of your banner set (see #3 above) and for the Font itself, choose either Lucida Grande or Tahoma. Type your summary text, watching how it appears as you type and pressing Enter whenever you need to start a new line. You can always left-click and hold to drag the text to a better position, while editing it or afterward.
  7. Once you’re done, save your image by clicking File > Save… from the menu bar and saving it to your computer. Pixlr offers the option of saving directly to Facebook but since you don’t know what they’ll do with your password, don’t risk it.

2. UPLOAD THE IMAGES

For the new profile picture, go to Edit Profile > Profile Picture (in Facebook) and browse for the profile image on your computer.

For the banner images, upload them to a new album in the order you want them to appear on your profile from right to left. Using the sets above as an example, you would first upload the Experience banner, then the Portfolio banner, and so on.

3. TAG THE IMAGES

Tag yourself in each of the banners but do it in backwards order. Using the banner sets above as an example, this means that the Experience banner would be the last one tagged.

4. ADJUST YOUR BIO (OPTIONAL)

By now you can already view your mostly-complete new profile to see how your Facebook resume looks. Instead of your Wall, the key is to check your Info page since that is what non-friends will see.

Depending on which information you’ve already entered in the past, your new resume’s top banner images may not be evenly spaced. In that case, you’ll need to modify your bio until the spacing is fixed.

5. SET UP THE TEXTS

Each of the 5 banner images now appearing at the top of your profile corresponds to a section of your resume. For each banner image, copy & paste the text from your print resume into the banner image caption and save your changes.

Now when someone clicks one of the banner photos, they’ll be able to read that section of your resume, right there on Facebook.

BONUS TIPS

Every time someone tags an image of you, it will be added to the images at the top of your Facebook profile. Make sure Facebook sends you a notification whenever someone ‘Tags you in a photo’, so you can hide that photo from blocking one of your resume section banners from appearing.

From each of your Facebook resume sections, include a message and a link for visitors to download your real, print resume.

Finally- don’t forget to choose your square avatar from your new, long profile picture, preferably the part with your face. You wouldn’t want your avatar all over Facebook with only a chunk of your eye and half of 2 words appearing. Do this in Facebook by clicking: Edit Profile > Profile Picture > Edit Thumbnail.

 

Impressed?

Now it’s time to create your own magic! If you are still hesitating as to whether or not you are on the right track, feel free to contact our professional resume designers and we will be more than willing to assist you every step of the way!