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Career-Life Times, Issue #5 -- Important Questions to Ask Your Interviewer
June 03, 2004
Can you believe summer is already (almost) here? Hopefully the job market will be heating up soon like the weather!
Welcome to the fifth issue of CAREER-LIFE TIMES! We have a lot of new subscribers this month -- I hope you all find this little publication to be informative, useful and entertaining!
If you don't like it, there's an unsubscribe link at the end. And if you have any ideas on how I can improve it, please let me know -- I greatly value your suggestions! My email address is at the end.
* Buy My New Interview Book at a 50% Discount!
I've finally finished my interview guide/ebook! It's called The Job Interview Success System and I'd like to thank everyone who provided comments and suggestions when I was in the research and development phase. With your input, my book evolved into a high-content, easy-to-use guide with valuable information on nearly 50 critical steps to take before, during and after the job interview.
I think it will be a very useful tool for job seekers; I've already received some great complements about it! So thanks again for your help!
Before I mass-market my new book to the world at the regular price, I'm giving my subscribers first shot at it and offering you a special 50% discount. This means you can snap it up at a ridiculously low price of $12.48!
Along with the book you'll get more than $80 worth of free bonuses.
But this is a limited-time offer and expires soon. Here's the link for more information:
The Job Interview Success System
NOTE: If you received this newsletter in TEXT format instead of HTML, the above link may not work by clicking on it. If not, please type this entire link into your browser's navigation bar:
Are you a new graduate with little or no work experience? Sometimes it can be tough to get a job without experience, and how do you get more experience if you can't get a job?
Well, your chances are better than you think. Even if your work experience is a little weak, you've probably got life experience that will help you.
After all, it's not really your job history that employers are interested in -- it's your talents, abilities, knowledge, work ethic and attitude. It's likely that you've developed and fine-tuned these traits through your school work, volunteer activities, and interactions with people throughout your entire life.
The key is to identify your best attributes from your life experience and promote these to potential employers in the right way.
Make a detailed list of all your talents, skills, knowledge and personal qualities. Think about all you've done in your life and what you've gained from it.
For example, if you earned extra money by babysitting or mowing lawns, you gained experience in promoting your services, obtaining customers, negotiating payment, and accomplishing the required tasks while demonstrating self-motivation, punctuality, responsibility and customer service!
If you've participated in a sport, you've shown commitment, discipline and teamwork!
And don't forget to list what you've learned in school: computer skills, software applications, math, science, communication, etc.
Once your list is complete, you'll see that you really do have experience and can offer potential employers the talents, abilities, knowledge, work ethic and attitude they need in their ideal candidate!
All you have to do is convince them of that. You can do it... you've convinced people of things all your life! Your parents, siblings, friends, teachers -- think of all the times you were able to convince them to see things your way. It's one of your talents, so use it during your job search and you'll be gaining work experience in no time!
Interning is about more than earning money during summer break. It's a wonderful way to gain work experience and lay the foundation for your future career. But to get the most out of it, you have to do more than just land the job, show up for work and collect your paycheck. Here are some tips that will help you get the full benefits of interning:
1. Pay Attention. This is more than a job, it's a valuable learning experience. And unlike school, this is the real world -- where you'll be spending the rest of your life after graduation! Your coworkers know you are new to this and will want to help you, but they can't spend all day explaining things to you. So when they answer your questions or show you how to do something, pay attention. Also pay attention to what's going on around you. How do your coworkers talk to each other? How do they treat the boss? What are their goals and concerns? Learn the culture and customs of the work world.
2. Find a Mentor. Whether it's your supervisor or someone else you work with, find a person who is willing to answer your questions and help you learn. Ask about the job, the company, the career field. Find out what they did to advance in their career, and what advice they have for you. Establish a strong relationship. This person may be able to help you with your career long after you leave this intern job. But be fair and make this a two-way partnership that benefits you both. Don't just take, give. Offer to help your mentor with special projects or other activities that may not be specifically part of your duties. Make yourself as valuable to him/her as your mentor is to you.
3. Accept Reality. You may get stuck with some work that you feel is beneath you, boring, or just plain pointless. You will probably not be included in the important decisions going on around you. But you are, after all, just an intern. The trick is to make the best of it by doing an outstanding job with every task you're assigned. Then ask for more. Take on anything you can and show that you can be counted upon to get it done quickly and accurately. Even if it's something dull like filing paperwork, your efforts will be recognized, appreciated and remembered.
4. Be Professional. Remember, you are in a work setting now and need to act professionally. Don't show up late, chat on your cell phone, take extra-long breaks or bring your personal life to work with you.
* Evaluate Your Career Goals. One of the best things you can learn from your internship is whether you're pursuing the career path that's right for you. Are you enjoying the work? Is it what you expected? Can you picture yourself doing the same kind of work and being happy with it for the rest of your career? If not, you should re-evaluate your career goals. Discuss your options with your career counseler when you return to school.
Do You Really Want to Work for This Person?
Many job seekers miss a golden opportunity when they are asked towards the end of an interview if they have any questions.
If they feel the interviewer adequately explained the position, they make the mistake of answering "No" to this question. But this is the perfect time to find out if you really want to work for this person! After all, even a wonderful job can turn into a miserable experience if you don't get along with the person you work for.
Here's how to find out if the boss will be as great as the job -- ask these questions during the interview:
1. "What's your ideal employee like?" Asking this question will give you an idea of what this boss would expect from you. Listen carefully to the answer and deduce what it will mean for you. For example, if her ideal employee works independently, you'll know this boss is not a micromanager. If her ideal employee follows procedures without question, you'll know it may be an uphill battle to implement changes or new ideas. If her ideal employee works long hours, don't expect to leave on time every night.
2. "What are the other people in the office like?" Does this boss really know the people who work for her? Does she list their accomplishments with pride or say something vague and unimpressive? Note her tone of voice when she talks about her team. Is she enthusiastic or disappointed?
3. "How does an employee succeed on your team?" Hopefully she'll give you something more enlightening than "Do the job right." You want to learn what standards are expected. For example, if it's a sales position, will you be expected to exceed a specific dollar value in sales or obtain a percentage of satisfied customers? So if her answer is too generic, you may have to follow-up with more questions to get specifics. Ask about the typical career path for an employee who successfully meets goals.
4. "How do you go about solving problems?" How she answers this question can give you insight into her management style. Does she prefer to take charge when things go wrong, or encourage her team to develop solutions?
In addition to the answers themselves, note this person's overall attitude about answering these questions. If she was open to them and answered thoughtfully, she's probably someone who enjoys promoting good working relationships. If you're offered the job, you shouldn't have any hesitations about working for this person. But if she appeared to resent the questions and didn't answer them to your satisfaction, she's not someone you'd want to work for. It's better to know this sooner rather than later.
One of the most common forms of background check performed by companies hiring new employees is the reference check. They typically request that candidates provide them with three names of previous bosses. If you don't have three former bosses, then provide co-workers, teachers, college professors and/or professional colleagues as character references.
The first thing you should do is develop your list of potential references and then contact each one. Explain that you're applying for a job, describe the type of work and the company, and ask if they would feel comfortable giving you a good recommendation.
If they have any hesitation, do not include them as a reference. Your goal is to have three strong references who can help you land the job.
Be sure to verify their contact information.
Don't list these references on your resume, but have them handy during an interview. Put the names, titles, phone numbers, mailing addresses and email addresses of your references on a single sheet of paper and take it to your interview.
After the interview, if this seems like a job you'd enjoy, go ahead and hand them this list of references along with any other "leave-behind" materials that are appropriate, such as a portfolio with samples of your work (this depends on the type of job, of course).
Here's a step most people forget -- after you land the job, contact your references, tell them what happened, and thank them for their help!
I'll discuss other types of background checks in our next issue.
I discovered the world of Internet marketing about 6 months ago. Since then, I've read just about every Internet marketing book, course, report, etc. that I could get my hands on. Some are great, some not so good, and others are a load of crap!
So I was pretty curious when a friend e-mailed me about a new video series that Internet marketing legend Corey Rudl just released. Corey is one of those guys who is living the dream so many of us have -- working from home, being his own boss, and making tons of money doing something he really loves.
I've been a fan of Corey's other stuff for ages, but I have to say that I was pretty impressed with what he's done with this video series!
Not only do these tapes include footage from some extremely exclusive events (I'm talking $5,000 a seat!) but there are also a TON of "breakaway" sections where Corey goes into greater detail about things like:
- How even complete "rookies" can start their own online business in less than 48 hours.
- How to build and grow an incredibly responsive e-mail list of people who are practically begging to buy your products.
- His unbeatable four-step profit formula that guarantees the success of ANY online business.
... and much more!
If you've ever considered starting your own online business, I highly recommend Corey's video series. It's especially great for folks (like me) who enjoy learning by watching TV rather than by reading some boring textbook!
As with anything I recommend, there is a 100% satisfaction-or-your-money-back guarantee.
Here's the link:
Corey's Marketing Tips Video Series
The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
so most people don't recognize them."
Supposedly Actual Quotes From Employee Performance Evaluations
1. "Since my last report, he has reached rock-bottom and has started to dig."
Father's Day. My first mentor was my dad. I learned lots of valuable life lessons from him. Most of these I learned by observing him in action: love and support your family; be proud of your country and the people who defend it; be fair but firm; never let anyone give you an Indian Sunburn; take responsibility for your actions; never take anything or anyone for granted; work hard; have a sense of humor; always do your best; be open to learning new things; never lose faith in the Cubs.
Those are just a few of the things he taught me. I imagine he probably answered about a billion questions from me and my four brothers as we were growing up, and his answers were always helpful. (Well, maybe not the "Go ask your mother" answers, but those were rare.)
I'm glad there's a Father's Day to honor guys like my dad. But I try to honor him every day. I do this by following his example. I can't think of anyone I'm more proud of. He's the best dad I've ever had!
Don't forget your dad on June 20th!
So, what did you think of this fifth issue? Any suggestions? Topic ideas? Questions? I really appreciate your feedback. Please send me
a note at
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P.S.S. I apologize for the glitches you may see if you receive this as straight text. If you can receive your email in the HTML format, choose that and it'll look a lot better. Don't worry, I won't have any slowing graphics.
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