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Career-Life Times, Issue #38--The Secret to Successful Interviewing
June 25, 2007

Issue 38, June 25, 2007

Ready to GET HIRED, GET NOTICED, and GET AHEAD? Read on...

In This Issue:

  • Company Research - The Secret to Successful Interviewing
  • Should You Do a Video Resume?
  • Getting Out of Dodge - Knowing When to Leave Your Job
  • Resources
  • Worth Quoting
  • Just for Laughs
  • Random Rants & Ramblings

    Company Research - The Secret to Successful Interviewing

    (This is a guest article by Mary Gormandy White)

    One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a job interview is to learn everything you can about the company before you go to the interview.

    Most interviewers ask job candidates why they want the job. Most people answer this question specifically in terms of their own skills, and why their skills are a good match for the essential functions of the job.

    Having the right skills certainly is an important part of being qualified for a particular job. However, since employers screen resumes or applications before deciding who to interview, it is likely the interviewer is already familiar with whether or not your skills are a good match for the position.

    Telling the interviewer what skills you have only lets the interviewer know that you are interested in the type of job that is open, but doesn’t say anything about why you want to work for the company.

    If you have conducted research about the company ahead of time, you can use this question to really set yourself apart from the other candidates.

    When you know specific information about the company, you can answer the interviewer’s question about why you want the job in terms that are customized for this interview.

    When you know the company’s mission and general information about its products and services, it becomes much easier to convey a genuine desire for this particular job with this specific organization.

    Interviewers want to hire people who are likely to stay with the company long-term, so they look favorably on candidates who seem genuinely interested in and knowledgeable about the organization as well as the type of job.

    The few minutes you spend browsing the Internet to find out about the company are well worth the benefits of making a positive impression on the interviewer.

    Mary White is a career and training expert who specializes in customer service, management, and career development training at Mobile Technical Institute She also works with MTI Business Solutions, providing marketing, writing, and SEO consulting services to a wide variety of clients. Stop by regularly to read more tips for improving your professional skills and career prospects.

    Should You Do a Video Resume?

    There’s a lot of buzz going around telling job seekers they should do a video resume. But is it really a good idea?

    As with most decisions in life, there are pros and cons to consider.

    Pros (Reasons to do a Video Resume)

  • Most employers (89% of those surveyed by Vault Inc.), while not necessarily encouraging applicants to submit video resumes, are at least open to viewing them.

  • A video resume may indeed help you be noticed and stand out among dozens of people trying for the same job.

    Cons (Reasons NOT to do a Video Resume)

  • Some employers will not watch video resumes for fear of opening themselves up to discrimination claims. (This makes little sense to me. If a hiring manager is going to discriminate, that will happen anyway with the job interview, right? But the fact remains that some companies will not accept video resumes.)

  • Many employers do not watch video resumes simply because they don’t have the time. They struggle to weed through mountains of resumes, often spending 30 seconds or less on each one. To expect them to devote several minutes to watching your video is expecting a lot.

  • The majority of video resumes are unprofessional and present the candidate in a negative light.

    So what’s the bottom line--should you do a video or not? Personally, I think it depends. An applicant for a typical office job talking on camera about how efficient he/she is isn’t exactly blockbuster material. But someone applying as a graphic artist could film himself/herself creating an image (perhaps speeded up to ensure the video isn’t too long). If you are applying for a job that requires a skill or talent which lends itself to demonstration, a video could be a very powerful tool.

    If you are going to do a video resume, follow these tips:

    1. Do not send a resume unsolicited, or instead of a regular resume. Include a link to your video within your resume.

    2. Dress professionally in business attire, just as if you were going to an in-person interview.

    3. Keep it short: one-to-three minutes.

    4. Maintain “eye contact” with the camera. Remember to smile.

    5. Don't speak too quickly, or too slowly. Speak naturally and clearly.

    6. Consider the setting. Make sure there is plenty of light, no background noise, no distractions within view.

    7. Practice what you're going to say ahead of time. Do not read your lines.

    8. Start by introducing yourself (give your first and last name).

    9. Focus on your professional activities, talents and skills, not your personal ones.

    10. Explain why you would be a good employee and what you can do for the company that hires you. Be specific.

    11. Thank the viewer for considering you for employment.

    12. Be sure to include your contact info at the end of the video in case it’s separated from your resume.

    13. Review your finished video. Have other people review it for you. This isn’t “live TV” – Shoot it over and over until it’s perfect!

    I suggest you do an online search for “sample video resumes” to get ideas of what you should—and should not—do with your video.

    The most important thing to keep in mind is that a video resume isn't going to get you the job. If done well, it might assist you in marketing yourself to prospective employers. But if done poorly, it can completely knock you out of contention. Submitting a bad video would be much worse than not submitting a video. If in doubt, leave it out.

    Getting Out of Dodge - Knowing When to Leave Your Job

    (This is a guest article by Matthew Blevins)

    One of the most important aspects of any job is knowing when to leave. Bosses may not be concerned about it, but as an employee, you should be. There are a number of good reasons to leave a job, and we'll explore some of them here.

    You've Received a Better Offer Elsewhere

    One very obvious reason to leave your current job is that there is one waiting in the not-too-distant future that beckons and that either pays better or better matches your employment needs and desires. Whether it’s better pay, better benefits, more chances for advancement, a better work environment, a shorter commute, or any combination of these and other beneficial perks, most people know when an offered job represents an “upgrade” over their current gig.

    What you’ll have to decide, preferably before making it known that you’re leaving your current job, is what your company may offer to keep you and what you would be willing to accept to stay. It may be that you hate your current situation so much that you wouldn’t stay for any amount of money or any additional benefits, but if you’re planning to leave only because you’ve received a better offer elsewhere, it pays to listen to what you current employer has to say.

    People are often surprised at what their current employer is willing to offer when they fear they are going to lose a valued employee. But that is certainly not always the case. If your current company is unwilling or unable to compete for your services, it is probably time to move on to a better situation.

    You Have No Possibility of Advancement

    There may be no more frustrating career conundrum than hitting an employment “ceiling” at your company. Many people, especially those with serious drive and ambition, become so bored at work when they know there isn’t a possibility of advancement that they may as well be headed out the door already.

    Even if you like your job, having hit a career ceiling with your current company is a pretty good reason to leave. There are exceptions of course – those planning on retiring within a few years may not feel any great need to advance any further and, though I hate to actually spell it out, there are actually some people who have hit a career ceiling that is well above where they should have risen on the corporate ladder in the first place. If this is you, and you know it, stay put – you may never have it as good elsewhere!

    For others, the pull to leave is so strong when things stagnate that they do so even when they’re at the TOP of the ladder. The position of CEO, for instance, is about as far as one can rise in corporate America, unless of course there’s an open CEO position at a BIGGER company or one that offers a spot on the board of directors (or the chair).

    But for most of us, we realize fairly early on how far we can rise with our current employer. When you know you won’t like the view from your highest potential perch, it’s time to look for a new opportunity.

    You’re Bored to Tears on a Daily Basis at Your Current Job

    This one is pretty straightforward. There is no shortage of “boring” jobs out there, and if you’re unfortunate enough to have one, you can stay and be bored or take a chance elsewhere. Now, let me note that just about all jobs have some boring stretches. It is, after all, WORK that we’re talking about. But if your job is boring all the time, RUN, DO NOT WALK to the nearest exit and find a better position.

    You Really Can’t Stand Your Boss and/or Co-workers

    Most employees that constitute corporate America feel that they can do a better job than their bosses. Of course, if this were true, the corporate structure would be inverted and CEOs would be entering data and making copies. In short, it may be true sometimes, but it’s definitely not true all of the time. That doesn’t mean, of course, that your boss is a warm and cuddly person that you love to be around and, in fact, he or she may be a real pain. This is a tough situation because sometimes it’s hard to tell if your boss is merely irritating or if he is both irritating and has it out for you.

    In the latter case, you’re probably being held back by your boss, in which case it’s time to go. If your boss is miserable to be around but still manages to be fair, then your decision becomes harder. Some good bosses can actually be royal pains and, in general, as long as they give you the support you need to do your job and represent your achievements accurately up the “chain of command” at your company, it may be best to tough it out rather than jumping ship.

    Miserable co-workers, on the other hand, are a bit of a different situation. If there are many co-workers that annoy you or that you flat-out cannot stand, then there’s really little you can do but put up with it or leave. If only a few employees are annoying, then things really aren’t so bad. This ultimately comes down to your level of patience and your personal tolerance of those around you. Weighted in accordance with your other employment priorities, your dislike of a boss or co-workers can be the deciding factor to search for greener pastures.

    It’s Time to Start Your Own Business

    This one is my favorite, though when I left my last “real” job to start my own business I was actually leaving for a variety of reasons – no chance to advance, better offer elsewhere (that I didn’t take), bored beyond tears daily. Really though, I wanted to start my own business.

    It’s a double-edged sword to do so, because when you run the show and it’s YOUR company, you get to revel in all the successes and take all the credit when things go right. When things go wrong, however, you have to deal with that as well, and the concept of leaving work “at the office” becomes non-existent when you have your own company. In short, you’re working all the time. For the truly ambitious or the truly insane, this is a great option!

    It’s Time to Retire!

    This may be the best reason of all to leave a job. You’ve paid your dues, saved wisely and now have the option to continue working for the sake of working or to hang it up and enjoy some leisure time with your family and friends. In our information-based economy, people are able to work efficiently and productively well into their golden years (and beyond in some instances). As a result, retirement is no longer the neatly defined leisure period that it once was.

    For some, retirement means taking a work-from-home consulting gig with their old company, or simply advising in other capacities. And for others, it is a busy schedule of tee times and long vacations in exotic locales. But regardless, we usually know when it’s time to walk away from our careers and embark on a new adventure that may not be centered around work. It’s at that point that we know that it’s time to retire.

    The decision to leave a job or a career path is usually large one that will have a significant impact on other areas of our lives. It may not be easy to leave a job, even one that has proven to be unsatisfying or even downright miserable. We have friends at work or we wish to remain loyal to the company or our bosses – and these are legitimate reasons to make a careful decision. But the bottom line is that if you are not happy at work, you should take steps to improve your situation using all of the resources at your disposal. Most of us spend more time at work than anywhere else, so the least we can do is make that time as fulfilling and rewarding as possible.

    Matthew Blevins is an entrepreneur as well as the co-founder and Director of Marketing for Insourced, a free job search resource and employment portal for employers, staffing firms and job seekers.

    Resources This site has a great tagline: “There are 30 Million Text Resumes Posted Online. What are YOU doing to Stand Out?” is F*R*E*E. The site helps job seekers with tools such as Video Resumes, the latest way to compete for highly desirable jobs in a world flooded with resumes! You can view samples and check out other services. Here’s the link:

    Earn Money, Win Prizes. Every now and then I come across some offers worth passing along. Here are a couple you might be interested in.

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    2. July 4th BBQ Giveaway offers a nice new Weber gas grill in exchange for completing sponsor offers. Be sure to read the rules. Nothing says July 4th like a complimentary gas grill. Click here to learn more.

    Job Interview Success System. This is my guaranteed system for helping you ace your next job interview. See the details here: Job Interview Success System

    Worth Quoting

    " Don't tell me how hard you work.
    Tell me how much you get done.”
    ( James Ling)

    Just for Laughs

    The American Way

    A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (General Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River.

    Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

    On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

    The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

    Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

    Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.

    They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

    Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

    They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the "Rowing Team Quality First Program," with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower.There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

    The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

    Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment.

    The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was outsourced to India.

    Random Rants & Ramblings

    Country Life. Country life is in my future. I’m current a city gal (well, more like a medium-sized town gal) but my hubby and I have just purchased a home in the country (with 2-1/2 acres).

    A septic tank, well water, wild peacocks, wolf spiders, rattle snakes and other country charms are in my not-too-distant future. But so are many true joys, such as a great home from which we can look out the window at a view nicer than a neighbor’s window six feet away (our current view), peace and quiet, a terrific garden (if I can turn my black thumb green), and lots of space to run around. Yep, I’ll soon be out standing in my field!

    One of the reasons I’m telling you this is because moving tends to mess up normal routines. I don’t know how smooth the transition will be, nor how reliable my new internet service will be. (My current service is DSL, which is not available at our new location.) So I’m asking for your patience and forgiveness (if necessary) in advance, in case I appear to “disappear” for a while.

    I expect the move to commence within a week or two, and hope to be back online soon after that. (Perhaps after the 4th of July.) Wish me luck!

    So, what did you think of this issue? Any suggestions? Topic ideas? Questions? I really appreciate your feedback. Please send me a note at

    Please forward this to your friends!


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