Phone Interviews: Ace the Call

In today’s job market, phone interviews often serve as the first true interaction between recruiters or hiring managers and potential employees. It’s a true interview, not simply a phone call to schedule an in-person meeting. Unfortunately, many jobseekers don’t understand the ultimate importance of the phone interview.

Time Matters

When you schedule your phone interview with the recruiter, make sure you will have the time and quietness this phone call deserves. In most cases, the recruiter will give you an estimate of the call duration, allowing you to better schedule the interview. Ensure you will have more than enough time for the call; give yourself an additional 20-30 minutes than the estimate just to be sure.

Get Ready

Treating this like an in-person interview may mean getting dressed and ready; for some people, dressing for success helps put them in a more professional state of mind. Prepare a notebook, pen or pencil, or a word processing application, and your resume so you can quickly jot down any information during the phone call. Having your resume handy will allow you to scan over what the recruiter has in front of them about you, as well.

Quiet, Please!

It’s not always easy to find a quiet place. However, when participating in a phone interview, it may help to be in a secluded room with the door closed. For many job seekers, phone interviews may have to happen during a work day at a current job. Schedule the interview for your lunch break and find a quiet place to speak without interruption.

Tips and Tricks

Refrain from having food or drink (besides a handy glass of water in case you’re prone to dry throat when nervous), don’t chew gum and refrain from smoking. Again, treat the phone interviewer as if they were the hiring manager sitting right in front of you. As in an in-person interview, address the interviewer by name and smile while you talk. If the interviewer doesn’t offer the next steps, make sure to ask when your interview is over.

Boosting Your Resume While Unemployed

If you’ve been unemployed for any length of time, you may be wondering why your resume isn’t making the impact you feel it should. Even if you have the work experience, skills and education required by the positions you’re applying for, you may be getting overlooked. The job market is competitive; these are hard times and a large percentage of the population is unemployed and looking for work, or currently employed and looking to further their careers. Even if you’re the ideal candidate for the job on paper in your eyes, chances are there is a large number of people out there that share the same experience, education and skills that you have on your resume.

It’s time to boost your resume by taking advantage of some of your free time. While you may be having a hard time figuring out what you can do to improve your resume, rest assured there are many activities you can take part in to boost your resume.

Volunteering

Volunteering always looks good on a resume — and for a number of reasons. Firstly, reaching out and helping a great cause shows initiative and a can-do attitude. Secondly, it shows potential employers that you are able to make the most of your time and are a get-up-and-go person. It shows them you don’t like to stay idle and you are continually looking for ways to keep busy while helping your community.

Another benefit of volunteering is you can often do pretty much anything for a cause you believe in. Are you an expert web designer? If so, check out some of you favorite non-profits and see if they need any help in that area. Administrative skills your strong suit? Many non-profits need help with day-to-day administrative tasks.

Teaching a Class

Do you have a skill that could benefit other people, or that other people are wanting to learn? This could be anything from woodcarving to pottery; painting to knitting; website design to online marketing. If you have a skill, contact your local community’s Parks and Recreation Department and see if they offer community classes. Many cities offer these types of classes and people just like you instruct the class. And while you may not think your special skill applies to the jobs you’re after, instructing a class on any subject can help boost your resume and give you a little edge over your competitors.

Taking a Class

Stemming from the above, you can also take classes. Check out your local YMCA, Parks & Recreation Department, local university extension or your community’s website. Your local unemployment office may also offer classes or have a list of those in your community. In many cases, the classes are very reasonably priced and you can learn a whole new set of skills — or polish up the ones in your repertoire.

Conclusion

Make the most of your time while you’re off the clock by expanding your resume. Every little bit can help, and keeping busy can help keep your mind off of the negatives associated with unemployment.

 

Managing Change: Making Friends with Your New Boss

There generally comes a time in our career when things are rolling along just fine, and then all of a sudden a boss, manager or other “higher-up” makes a change. Whether they move into a new position within the company, or make some other move, their decision ultimately leads us to a face a change in our own career. Here are few ways to manage the adjustment when a change rolls around your way.

1.  Don’t expect your old boss, to be your new boss. People are inherently different. Their communications styles vary, their leadership styles will be different, and even their expectations of you can change over time. The first rule in managing this change is to get to know your new boss. Find out their likes and dislikes, what’s important to them, and what they expect from you. Don’t be afraid to have a tough and open conversation to further understand your new leader.

2. Be clear about what you do. You will want to let your new leader know what your role entails. Perhaps you are doing things that aren’t expected, or that contribute to the team in a greater way than one would know about. Don’t be shy in letting this person know what you have going on and what tasks are on your plate.

3. Give change time. It often takes awhile for people to find their “groove” when working together. Since expectations and personalities differ, give the new leader the benefit of the doubt by not comparing them to your old boss, being accepting and understanding of their ways and requests, and being open minded about change.

Overall, making friends with your new boss will always pay off in the long run. Despite being resistant to change, many times change presents a great opportunity to grow and expand beyond your normal comfort levels. Furthermore, it can also show you are the kind of person who can thrive in any situation, which is exactly the type of person your boss wants on their team.

Taming Your Internal Dragons in Your Job Search

You’ve received the call about the upcoming interview and you are thrilled about the potential idea of a new position with this incredible company. You call your closest friends and cheer with excitement, but then suddenly the internal dragons come out and seek to sabotage your win.

 

The internal dragons that live within us tend to rear their ugly heads during the interview and job search process. You may think to yourself that “this one won’t work out either” or “they only chose me because of xyz.”  Whatever thought comes to mind, tame your dragons by thanking them for doing their job to protect you and then play the “what if” game.

 

This means that you take the thought that came up for you and then change it around to say “what if this one doesn’t work out?” “What if they only want me to interview because of xyz?”  When you embrace the dragon and work with it instead of against it you remove its power.

 

It is important to take back your personal power, especially during the job search, as it is far too easy to get into a rut, doubt your own worth, and question whether or not searching for a new position really is the right thing to do. As a painless as the process feels, there are millions of success stories of people who waited out the storm and were able to find the perfect position that was waiting for them all along.