Answer 5 certain questions–Get a new job.

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If job seekers, can answer the following questions on resumes, on LinkedIn profiles, in discussions, and via interviews, they have a great chance of getting new positions.

At prior jobs, how have you:

  1. Saved your company money
  2. Made your company money
  3. Increased efficiency / saved time
  4. Improved internal and/or customer relations
  5. Solved problem(s)

Additional great information to share include: Thank yous or appreciation received / awards won / promotions or raises / specific times you went above required duties / ideas shared that were picked up and successful / times when you were a good advocate for your company / extra training and education you took without being required.

Of course executive-level applicants are most likely going to expect to have to need to answer and prove the above. Most will have examples (often because they are required parts of past jobs). However; these above questions are important for lower-level applicants as well. If you think hard, most will have examples. This doesn’t mean you need to have made or saved millions of dollars, increased you customer base by 200%, etc. It’s also worthwhile to share if you were behind items like: Found a new better and cheaper office product to buy, which ended up saving $1,000 each year. Worked with an upset client who not only continued to use the company but also recommended 3 others and gave them 5 stars on Facebook. Created and ran a work picnic that improved coworker relationships…These types of items.

Good luck job searching.

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

LinkedIn Says These Are the 5 Biggest Mistakes People Always Make in the First 90 Days of Their New Job – Inc.com posting — eCareerCoaching.com

VERY TRUE, PERTINENT AND INTERESTING INFORMATION-BETH HUSOM, GCDF

By: Peter Economy The Leadership Guy The first few weeks of a new job can be – at the same time – exciting and scary. Here are some tips to help out with this very important time in your professional life. The first day at a new job. The first week. The first month. Starting […]

via LinkedIn Says These Are the 5 Biggest Mistakes People Always Make in the First 90 Days of Their New Job – Inc.com posting — eCareerCoaching.com

Purple hair?

 

d3917eccca4c3a7d863b7cef38eeed7eAs my son got a haircut at Fantastic Sams last night I was reminded how stressful high-level customer service positions—teachers, nurses, cosmetologists, retail, etc.,–can be. The front desk person came to a nearby stylist and said quietly, “Lorene is here again. She said her hair is purple. I don’t see it, but she said you need to fix it right away.” I could see Lorene, an older woman. Her hair looked normal—the puffy, curly, short style worn by many elderly women. I didn’t see purple. She mentioned several times her back was a little shorter as well than she liked.

She was ranting, indicating if they didn’t fix it she’d report them to the franchise and never come again. The front desk stylist was looking at Lorene’s records which includes colors used. When Lorene took a breath, she said there were no tones used that would cause a purple tint. But Lorene held up a flashlight and asked if she could see it then. With the flashlight, I saw this 256286bc0759e9fa8888cae9a6d840c6, but it sounds like she saw this.a24c403f67d250d24c195e16bddf0a3c

Customer service professionals sometimes need to help people who can’t be helped.

I work with people in tough life and job situations; medical issues, addictions, divorce, family death, etc. Sometimes going back to a high-level customer service job almost grips them with fear and they end up not searching. It’s then that I suggest taking a little break from these jobs.

I just worked with a nurse getting out of rehab. She is a single mother to 4 kids. Caring for people 24/7 was more than she could fathom and caused strong urges for wine. We got her a job cleaning houses; it pays less but allows calming hours where she is alone, physically active, can see immediate results of her actions, and can clear her mind. It’s helping while she stays in therapy and AA, rebuilds relationships and trust with her family. Later, she may be at a place where nursing can be part of her life again. But for now, it wouldn’t work. Waiting for my son at the end of the day, I sometimes see the custodian, almost whistling while he works. Cleaning an elementary school wouldn’t be physically easy, but he gets to school around noon and works long after the kids have left. He’s given a list of projects, and if he completes them, life is good.

There are many work from home administrative jobs, short term tax jobs, and positions in areas like landscaping, painting, cooking, production and cleaning.

On the other hand, sometimes tough life situations can be alleviated a little by focusing on other people. So based on your situation, you have to decide what’s best. What type of job will allow me to best take care of myself and my family. This can be a short-term change while you work through issues. It’s better and healthier than sitting at home, scared, doing nothing.

Good luck job searching,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

Why should we hire you?

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“Why should we hire you?”

“Because you have a job opening and I am broke.”  (NOT THE BEST ANSWER)

Why should we hire you is a common interview question that can be pretty easy–even energizing– to answer if you do proper pre-interview homework.

Before applying for a position or as soon as you’re recruited, ask yourself “Why should I work here?” Then research. Check products, services, growth, employees, ratings, media postings and more. Memorize their mission. This research should give you some valuable information.

This way, you can confidently tell a company why they should hire you. Use specifics how you’ve made a positive difference. It’s great if you can find a problem and give an example of how you’ve fixed a similar problem in the past, you see they are on a certain road and you can help them stay on the road, and more. Don’t say something like, “Because I would work hard to help you succeed,” which is “Blah, blah, blah.”

A huge mistake people make when taking a job is that they know nothing about a company beforehand. People in an ill-fitting job often realize they’d rather clean toilets for a company they appreciate than serve as an executive for a company with clashing value. So research, review, and arm yourself with facts.

Good luck job seeking,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

A fulfilling job

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At times, job seekers come to me and say they want a new job because they aren’t fulfilled. More often than not, a new job won’t bring true fulfillment. A lot of times, fulfillment and happiness has very little to do with work, family, money, etc…nothing external. There’s also an incorrect thought that only fulfilling jobs or helping people come when someone works at a homeless shelter or with foster kids.  Instead, people can (and do) help others in every single type of position.

I saw this email yesterday, and it was perfect. Sometimes focusing on blessings—even in the midst of a job crisis—can turn your life around. You may begin to like your current job more, get excited about new possibilities and search outside your comfort zone, increase your self esteem, and more. It’s easy to say, less easy to do, but so worth it.

Good luck job searching,

Beth Husom, GCDF

Explaining Past Screw Ups in an Interview

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I gave some advice in a previous blog about answering the dreaded interview question about being fired. Many people have been fired. They could have screwed up in a variety of ways—maybe they lost a big account, struggled with hours, didn’t jive with coworkers, underperformed…for every firing, there is a unique reason. At the base level, it’s usually due to an ill-fitting company or position.

Sometimes, it’s due to darker reasons. One of the most common indiscretions surrounds money and misuse of company resources—not the $300,000 embezzlement situations but where an employee is stuck with their “hands in the cookie jar.” They jack products, use equipment for personal use, inflate expense reports, overcharge or undercharge, swipe the corporate credit card for their own purchases, etc.

I once worked with a former corporate project manager who had an affair with a co-worker. They hooked up as much as 3 times a day in a conference room. Only top management had keys to this room. Because he was a top dog, he had a key plus the meeting schedule, so he felt safe–that is, until the CEO and other executives needed a room to hold an emergency meeting with one of their biggest clients…he was handed his pants and shown the door that very afternoon.

I’ve also worked with many people who, due to their professions, have lost or had licenses suspended due to (mostly), drug and alcohol problems. I’ve met smart people who have done really dumb things like get in fist fights with coworkers, watched porn on work property, and so on. If you can think of it, someone has done it. And gotten caught.

If you were fired for something illicit, you can rise above past indiscretions. However, you must rectify past mistakes, learn from them, understand why you made these decisions, and learn new tools to make better decisions in the future.

People think it’s sometimes obvious why they made a certain choice. Their kids needed school clothes…. …that coworker was such a jerk that they just did what their other coworkers wanted. However, life is full of worldly problems. No matter your job, you may have future money issues. Coworkers will be jerks. There are people in these exact situations who took a different path. There may be a deeper reason that goes beyond the obvious. Remember that famous Albert Einstein quote: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

images (6)Once you’ve determined the why, you will need to determine how to think differently, and have the tools to make better choices in the future. You may need to consult a counselor. No matter what happened, I recommend doing what you can to make amends with past companies and/or coworkers. An “I’m sorry” followed by a period and not a “but” goes a long way. Calling your boss or meeting in person may help as well. In most situations, it doesn’t need to be long. Something like, “The fight I had with Bill was wrong. I should have handled our issues in a more adult fashion. I’ve gone through anger management counseling and have tools to ensure I won’t make these same mistakes again. Our fight caused you undue stress, and I am sorry.” End of story. It may be helpful to apologize to Bill. Don’t add anything negative about the other guy. Be the bigger guy. If you know financial amounts or estimates, bring a check.

People often feel better about you if you reach out and make amends to the best of your ability. In the short term, they may not accept your apology or your money if they feel they’ve been wronged. But you’ve done what you can, and in the long term it may help. If a potential employer contacts them, they may focus on your positives.

For a new job and fresh start, I recommend talking with companies, building relationships, and getting to know people first. Consider taking a temp job for a while to get some positive recent work history. You can be a little more general if an interview asks if you’ve ever been fired. You can say “Once I worked for a company that wasn’t a good fit, made some errors in judgment, learned a ton, and have since made better choices and experienced more successes.” But no matter the circumstances, never lie.

Good luck job searching,

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF

 

 

 

“Why Were You Fired?” Scary Interview Question.

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In an interview, how should you answer Why did you leave your last job?” or “I see on your application you were let go. Can you explain?”

What does the interviewer want to know? Beyond seeing if you were fired for something like stealing or conducting an affair with a coworker in the janitor closet, a potential employer wants to see how you handle adversity, have personal insight, and take responsibility.

Career counselors and employers usually agree on the following. When asked why you’ve been fired,

Be honest. Keep it short and to the point. Don’t play the blame game. End on a happy note.

Your situation is unique. You’ll have to figure out the right answer. Here are 5 examples:

Scenario 1: The job wasn’t working out. My boss and I agreed it was time for me to move on to a position that would show a better return for us both. Here I am, ready to work.

This shows communication skills, partnership. It’s honest and to the point.

Scenario 2: At my last position, I just saw dollar signs and took the job without researching the products or company. It wasn’t a good fit but was a great learning experience. I won’t make that same mistake. I’ve now researched and am excited to use my relationship and sales skills to successfully partner with a company that cares for customers and produces great products.

This shows you understand and have learned from past mistakes, have researched, and feel you are a good match.

Scenario 2: My last job started as customer-focused, and I received high marks for providing top service. Much became automated. I am much better at direct face-to-face and telephone contact. Leaving was a blessing as I can again work to brighten days.

This shows excitement, care, prior success, and success in an area you’ll be needed.

Scenario 3: I commuted 30 miles, gave myself extra driving time and was normally at least 30 minutes early. With inevitable traffic problems, there were days this wasn’t the case. Since I live 2 miles from here, I could even use my snowshoes or skis during a big Minnesota blizzard to be on time!

This shows problems out of your control that wouldn’t be an issue, a little humor, energy.

In general (although I hate generalizing), job seekers I’ve worked with seem to be a little less nervous if they are making a career change. A past corporate manager vying for a job at a nonprofit can focus on how they are more geared to work in the new environment. However, some hesitate to try for a similar or exact same type of job from which they’ve been fired. But remember, environment is even more important than job responsibilities in terms of job success. Past failures may have nothing to do with future successes. A financial wizard could be fired for a CPA position if they worked for an ill-fitting company. And some of the best have.

Before your interview, come to terms with all past emotions. I learned this the hard way.  Many years ago, I was recruited for a new position and left a great job for “greener pastures”. The new job sucked. I left after 3 months, moped around the house for 2 months, the bills stacked up and I started applying. At my first interview, the interviewer asked why I left my last job. To my shock and chagrin, I burst into tears and barely got through the interview. I hadn’t even known my negative thoughts and emotions were that strong. Needless to say I didn’t get the job.

Ensure you can calmly speak of your past. No one wants to hire an emotional wreck. Even if you were fired under false circumstances, don’t rip on others. Say it was a wrong fit. If you have integrity and past employers don’t, it WAS a wrong fit. Keep everything positive and looking to the future. Life is full of problems. Leaders understand them, admit them, face them, and use them as learning opportunities.

Good luck job searching,

 

Elizabeth Husom, GCDF