Q&A: LinkedIn Interview Problem?

Q:  So recently I filled out an application for a finishline sales associate. We then had a “group interview” with the other candidates and I think I did well. I went home after the interview and was curious about the interviewer. He didn’t give any of his information other than his name, so I simply typed “(first name) (city) finishline” into Google. Linkedin was the top result and it found 6 or 7 results of potential people. I clicked on the one that said “sales manager” and it took my to him, which was indeed him. I didn’t realize but I was signed into my linkedin the whole time, so he got a notification saying that I viewed his profile, and when he clicked back on mine, I got a notification saying that he viewed mine. I don’t know if I should send a thank you letter to his LinkedIn to try to compensate for looking semi-creepy, or what I should do. Opinions?
 
A: There’s a way to look at this that you may not have considered. You have been doing your homework! What an excellent way to affirm your interest in the company and the position.
 
I definitely agree that you should send a thank you letter to him, whether via linked in, or otherwise, to thank him for the interview and reiterate your interest in the job. If there was something in the profile that stuck out with you, perhaps you could mention that in your note.
 
For example:
 
Dear Mr. John,
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me on XXX date to interview for the Sales Associate position. I am very interested in working at Finishline and hope that we get the opportunity to work together. I found your Linked In profile very inspiring. Your movement in the company in just XXX years is impressive. I hope to mirror the success you have had at Finishline in my own career there.
 
I look forward to hearing from you soon with the results of the interview.
 
Thank you again.
 
Sincerely,
XXXXX
 
Not at all creepy, by the way. Best wishes with your interview!
#noecareercenter

Q&A: What About my Sketchy Job History?

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Q: I am 50yo with sketchy job history due to abusive marriage and PTSD after divorce.

I’m in therapy, moved out of state and ready to get on with my life and back in the work force. Suggestions, tips, advice?
-Tia

A: Good for you Tia, you have taken the steps that you need to get on with your life. I’m sure that this has been an extremely challenging process for you. It wouldn’t be odd for you to be feeling some anxiety right now about what putting yourself back out there will entail. Just know that you can get through this as well.

One of the first things we need to settle is your resume and how it presents your job history. If you have several gaps in your employment history, you may wish to consider a functional resume instead of a chronological one. The functional resume will tell the employer about your skills and experiences, instead of emphasizing dates and
longevity on the job.

After you rework your resume, you will want to strengthen the references you will use when applying for jobs. Be sure your list of references includes former supervisors, co-workers, and other personal and professional references who will sing your praises. Their testaments of your experience, skills, and worth ethic will be invaluable.

Third, I highly recommend thinking through the spiel you will use in interviews and call backs about the gaps in your employment. Make sure that whatever you decide to say, that you do not appear apologetic or ashamed of your time away or need to switch employment. You once lived in a very volatile situation and your safety and that of your children (if you have any) was paramount. Rehearse what you will say with a friend to gain feedback about how it comes across.

Lastly, I recommend that you spend time networking with employers and friends who work at places that may be hiring. When people like and care about you, it expands the list of what they what be willing to do to help you.

Best Wishes.

Q&A: Interview Question for UPS Package Handler Job?

proud-10Q:  Interview question for UPS package handler job?  Where do you see yourself in 5 years? People tell me it’s a tricky question.
-Junior

A:  Although this may seem like a relatively simple question to ask, Junior, you’re right, it is a loaded question. The interviewer is asking you to begin with the ending in mind.

According to UPS job postings online, the company actively promotes from within. As a matter of fact, it has been said that “more than 70% of UPS management started as hourly employees.” Is management something that interests you? Are you ultimately interested in being a full-time route driver? Do you want to stay on the warehouse side and become a full-time dock worker? Do you want to go into a retail location and deal more with customers  on that end?

What you answer to the “where do you see yourself question” is all of a function of what you want today.

Let’s suppose that you applied for UPS hoping that you’d one day be able to drive a truck delivering packages. Here’s an example of what you could say:

“In 5 years, I see myself employed by UPS, working as a full-time delivery driver. I can envision myself driving my truck daily, throughout my assigned area of the city, enjoying my route and getting to know the customers who live on it, as I deliver their packages. I can see my customers knowing my name, and getting a sense of fulfillment everyday from knowing that I played some small role in making their day.”

While this is a bit fluffy, the example shows forward thinking, it tells what your ultimate desire is for your employment at UPS, over the given time frame, and how you feel about that.

Best wishes.

Q&A: Should I Quit My Job or Stay and Wait?

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Q&A: Should I Quit My Job or Stay and Wait?

Q: I love my job, but it’s only part time. I’ve waited all year to get moved up to full time status and it’s not happening quick enough. They have great benefits, hourly pay, etc. but the full time hasn’t opened yet. I’ve gone to over 15 job interview and none of them hired me except the job that I have now. So I know interviewing won’t be fun, any ideas?
-Anonymous

A: Let’s recap:
• You love your job.
That’s a good thing. There aren’t many people who are able to say that. Kudos to you.
• It’s only part time.
OK. What have you been doing for the past year when you weren’t on the schedule there? Are you taking advantage of this time to work on you? Are you in classes? Are you working another part-time job?
• It’s not happening quick enough.
Is this common for this job? How long does it usually take to go from part-time to full time there? Are you on the slower end or has your “progression” been about the same as others’?
• I’ve gone to over 15 job interview and none of them hire me.
Why is this? Have you sought the assistance of a career coach or other career services professional to get to the bottom of this? How are your interviewing skills? Have you practiced with someone you trust to obtain beneficial feedback?

Our advice: Stay at your job. Make sure that your appearance, work ethic, level of productivity, and overall attitude at work are up to par so that your boss will see you as full-time potential. Express to your boss that you love your job and are interested in becoming full-time as soon as the opportunity arises. Ask when full-time positions will become available and if you could have some notice so that you may apply. Continue to seek other employment that may be close or identical to what you are doing now. You may also consider professional development courses, webinars, etc. Work on your interviewing skills with a coach or a friend and accept feedback from them. Be willing to work on your interviewing skills to better your chances for hire.

Best Wishes to you.

Q&A: What Should I Bring on my Job Interview?

proud-10

Q:  What should i bring on my job interview? Should i bring my resume or not necessarily?
-Anonymous

A:  This is an excellent question.  Kudos to you for wanting to be prepared!

Here is a list of what you should have with you when you go on any interview:
• 2 copies your most recent resume (one for you to reference and one for the interviewer – just in case)
• A list of 5 references (3 professional and 2 personal) and any letters of recommendation
• A list of questions to ask the interviewer (e.g. about the company, position, culture, what you can expect)
• A list of responses to typical STAR behavioral-based interview questions
• Any notes about the company that you may want to reference
• A completed sample job application, so that you can copy any information needed on an application you may be given to complete at the interview
• a nice pad-folio or portfolio to place your documents into (for professional appearance), or simple black folder at the very least
• a pen and note pad (to take notes)
• items to ensure your personal hygiene: chap stick, lotion, breath mints (not gum), etc.

Best Wishes!

Q&A:  I Have Bad Employment History. What Do I Do Next?

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Q:  My work history isnt terrible but its pretty bad as of late. I worked at UPS for 5 months and left in great standing, gave 1 month notice to my departure, the job just wasn’t for me. No issues there beside the fact I was only there for a short time. Then I started working at target… and was terminated about a month in for using an earbud during work hours. Not proud of it at all. I didn’t expect them to just flat out fire me but I understand why they did. I was warned once and when caught a second time, I was let go a week later. That being said I worked my *** off was recognized many times for my work, which is why I was super surprised when they fired me for wearing an earbud twice. (I do know it was a really stupid decision and I’ve learned my lesson) Then I got a job at a pizza place and absolutely hated it and left like a scumbag a week in and gave no notice to my former boss (he was a jerk and I just wanted out), just called him up about 6 hours before my shift and let him know that the job wast for me and that I’d be resigning. I feel like my employment history sucks and any employer who looks at it will likely not hire me. I was good at all 3 jobs and was never a troubled employee, besides the earbud deal but even during my time at target I worked very hard and was recognized for my work many times which is why i was surprised when they fired me. Any advice moving forward would be nice.
-Anonymous

 

A:  No one has a perfect employment history.  We all make mistakes.  Learning from them is the best thing we can do, besides remedying them, when we can.  Because you have indicated that you have learned your lesson, it’s time to move forward, making sure that any future employers understand that you have as well.  You may do so with confidence.

So, on the next application that you complete, I recommend omitting the pizza place.  Since you were not there any real length of time, the “experience” is immaterial.  While I do not know how long you worked at Target, I see that you were recognized for your work there, so you may want to list that position, as well as the one at UPS.  Be sure to get the name and telephone number of someone at both places that can attest to the positive parts of your time there.  You may even check with the manager at Target to determine whether or not you are eligible for rehire, so that you will know what will be said if that question is asked of your references.

When you are asked for the reason for your departure at both jobs on the application, be honest.  State that you resigned from UPS to find other work.  This is the truth and no one can fault you for that.  When you speak of your reason for leaving Target, use the verbiage “misunderstanding about company earbud policy.”   (You did, after all, believe that you would get either a second verbal warning or a write up before being terminated).   If there is a check mark for terminated, check it, otherwise, simply state the reason.

During an interview, simply state that you discovered that the UPS job wasn’t something you could do long term and that you wanted to find something more interesting/meaningful/challenging (choose something that fits).  When you talk about your experience at Target, accentuate the positive experience you had there.  Talk very specifically about how you were recognized for your work there.  When it comes to the termination, admit that you have learned from your mistakes and have matured in that area since.  Promise to demonstrate that once hired.

Best wishes.

Q&A: Self-introduction in a Job Interview

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Q: Employers often ask me to introduce myself (or talk about myself) in job interviews.
What kind of answers do they want? They know my name, background etc because we send our resume beforehand.
-AmyS

A: This is a very good question, AmyS. Before I answer directly, let’s think about another situation where someone would want you to tell them about yourself – dating. I often tell clients that I have a very attractive, intelligent, and single sibling that’s interested in meeting new people. I list a few characteristics my brother/sister is looking for and ask them what they would respond, knowing these “requirements.” More often than not, their response mirrors those requirements. When you are responding to this question in an interview, you are expected to do the very same thing – think about what the interviewer needs and who you are, and customize your responses to that person.

Let’s say you are interviewing for a job as a Receptionist. In the job posting, the hiring manager will have listed the things that he/she finds important to have in a receptionist, the duties one would be required to undertake, and maybe a little about the mission or vision of the company (if those things aren’t all in the ad, you can probably find them on the company’s website).

Let’s say they are looking for someone who is/has:
• professional
• at least one year experience
• good people skills
• working knowledge of MS Office
• working knowledge of office equipment
• detail-oriented
• organized
• flexible/adaptable
• able to multi-task
• demonstrated teamwork skills
• able to work under stressful conditions

to:
• greet all guests, visitors, and employees
• develop and maintain files
• answer the telephone and take messages
• retrieving, preparing and distributing incoming and outgoing mail, courier services and packages.

and their mission is:
• to offer programs and services that help the elderly remain as independent as possible
After evaluating these qualifications against your own characteristics and skills, you would reply something like this:

“I have been working as a Receptionist for the past 4 years. I really enjoy this type of work. I love people and enjoy every opportunity I get to brighten someone’s day, whether on the phone or in person. You never know how you can impact people and it’s really critical to customer service. I’m very good with computers. I have often been asked to help co-workers and sometimes supervisors with little computer issues and even big projects with Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. I don’t mind. I enjoy helping others. I see us as a part of a big family and who wouldn’t help their family, right? I’m very organized and I pay very close attention to detail. I’m also very good at staying calm in stressful situations. I can prioritize and multi-task, and I’m pretty flexible, so things that get other people frazzled don’t really bother me so much. I’m really excited for the opportunity to meet with you today.”

Of course, your response will be modified to your personality.

Practice looking at various ads and company profiles and thinking about a few different ways you can do this. Once you have a handle on what companies are looking for in the specific job title you are applying for, you will be able to craft a more general “elevator speech.”
As far as the questions you may ask, consider asking questions that are relevant to your interests and needs:
• How long have you been working here? Is it common to find employees who have worked here for a long time?
• What opportunities are their for advancement?
• Does the company offer professional development courses for employees to build their skills?
• May I meet some of the staff I will be working with?
• If I started today, what would my first priority be?

Best wishes.