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Career Ready: Distinguishing Yourself From the Interview Pack

What does it mean to be the PC…The Perfect Candidate? It begins with your STORY.

Is your ambitious college grad on the verge of entering the job market or currently teeing-up that invaluable summer internship? If so – and they can demonstrate in a well-crafted cover letter and resume that they have some of the requisite skills organizations’ value, they’ll be far closer to landing that first gig! 
But first – they’ve got to GET the interview. And then – they’ve got to NAIL it!

No doubt, it’s a highly competitive landscape out there, with far more candidates vying for far fewer jobs. Your job is to rise above the crowd by first establishing you’re a serious candidate on paper! And you accomplish this by focusing on the transferability of your current skills! These may include your college and any relevant extracurricular activities AND their application in the environment you would like to enter (presumably, that of your target organization.) The takeaway here: no generic cover letters. Customize, tailor, tailor, tailor. One good test is to ask your friends, parents – that man on the street, if they can tell what job you’re applying for just by looking at your resume. If they can, terrific! And if you stay with me, below I’ll make a quick reference to how the job description can be your best guide in crafting your resume.

So, let’s make some assumptions and say you’ve advanced from the initial phone screen to the in-person interview. Now what????

Here’s where I come in: showing you how to effectively convey your winning attributes in an in-person interview.

Together We Will:

• Identify your (USP) Unique Selling Proposition.
• Capitalize on what sets you apart from your competition. 
• Understand the difference between the Traditional Vanilla and Behavioral-Based Interview and how that translates into your interview preparation. 
• How crafting a well-structured storyline “STARS” can address any question an interviewer tosses over the net with a sure-fire lob back! 
• How Mise en Place (MEEZ-ahn-plahs) – the French culinary term that means “everything in its place” translates into successful interview preparation and outcome. 
• What your body language says that speaks louder than any words.
• Pacing, and that all important VOICE. How to ensure that yours is a three-chair turner.
• How to address broad and equally lame interview questions such as: “So, tell me about yourself? (And they don’t mean if you’re a vegan.)
• Why the Job description should become your best friend and greatest source of intel. 
 • Shifting the traditional interview mindset; recognizing it’s not about you to IT’s ALL ABOUT THEM!!!!!
• How to turn your stretches into strengths when asked about your greatest weaknesses.
• How best to authentically position yourself to showcase your value to the organization.
• How to be a closer, not a poser.


Change Your Awareness, Change Yourself

Abraham Maslow once said, “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.” As good a place to start as any. During these times when your life is starting to move in a new direction (career reinvention, transition, retirement, unexpected loss, etc.) and stress or suds levels bubble to the surface, trust and tap into your character strengths to help you shift your mindset and recognize the path forward has distinct possibilities and you’ve got CHOICES!

1. Learn and Draw your Strength and Confidence from Past Successes
Think of a time in the past when you were successful at something. You directed your energy and focus into a task and felt proud of the outcome. Maybe you finished a complicated work project, spent the day making a family member, friend or work colleague feel special and loved, or hosted a successful dinner party. First, consider which of your core character strengths you utilized to help you complete this task. Then, reflect on how those particular strengths can continue to help you move through this life transition with more clarity, grace and confidence.

2. Give Yourself a Break and a Boost
Some life changes may leave you feeling weak and insecure, ill-equipped to handle the unexpected. But when you remind yourself of your natural, strength-based qualities that you’ve successfully marshalled in the past and what makes you – YOU, and uniquely positioned to handle this situation and those to come, you will bring renewed strength and creativity to your current situation. Land on a mantra that will become uniquely yours. “I bring more {ENTER TOP STRENGTH} into my life and into this world.” 

3. Ground your Goals    
Research shows that when you align your goals with your character strengths you have a better chance of succeeding. How do you see yourself on the other side of this life transition? Make a game plan to accomplish this goal with small behavioral actions/changes rooted in your top strengths. For instance, maybe you plan to use your strength of curiosity to learn one new thing each day about your new job/organization which will contribute to your ultimate goal of being productive in the position.

Using your Character Strengths effectively during a life transition can help reduce the stress and uncertainty you experience.

 I look forward to accompanying you on this leg of your journey and those to come.




HardWired for Happiness...Who Knew?

Happiness, scientists say, is already a part of our DNA. We’re actually hardwired to be happy. Whoa! Who Knew?

So then why do so many of us schlep around feeling dissatisfied. That there’s something we don’t have that we’d be happier, if we did have? Well, after great reflection – and a bit of straw polling – I believe it boils down to this:

We’ve been operating in a flawed model.  The If/Then, or When/Then model of happiness.

If I were thinner, younger, had a better job title, were retired, travelled more, travelled less, were married, were divorced… if only my kids would finally leave home and not find their way back, Then I’d be happy.

We all have our specific if’s that we’re focused on. But what happens at the conclusion of your if...? You need a new if. Reminds me of a Seinfeld episode. 

So. What are the steps? We all want to achieve something. That’s life and that’s good. It gives us a sense of focus and something to work toward. But, here’s where we often run aground. Where we naturally invest our focus. On the outcome, not the actions taken to accomplish the goal. Actions are within our control. The outcome?? Not so much. So how do we detach from the outcome? When we invest in the outcome, (stay with me) to the exclusion of the process, the incremental accomplishments, the check points along the way, we’re setting ourselves up for frustration and continually moving the goal posts. It’s not enough. I’m not feeling the Happy Meal. I need a new If. 

The alternative and today’s take away. Invest in the process! Invest in the reason you started the project. The why it was meaningful for you? The what would it satisfy in you. The actual Being in the curriculum vs investing in the what the outcome might look like. You have no control over the outcome and chances are even if you got it, you may not like it because it bears zero resemblance to what you thought it would. And then you need a new if… Starting to make sense now, isn’t it?

So, focus on the outcome only to the extent it gives you focused roadmap and something to track. That’s positive. But then completely invest yourself in the organic nature of the process. The being of it, vs the doing of it? If you succeed great! If not – equally great! You’ve been granted a new starting point, opportunity to cultivate new resources to bring to bear to the next situation and the one after that. And perhaps a better outcome than the one you first conceived.

Stay open, stay curious, and most of all enjoy the ride. Carry On!