interviews

You Can't Tell Them Your Boss Is A Jerk – Explaining Why You're Looking For A New Job

iStockphoto.com |  AntonioGuillem

iStockphoto.com | AntonioGuillem

A common reason people look for new jobs is because they hate what they’re currently doing. It could be that the work is a grind, the boss is a jerk, and the pay is insufficient for the level of responsibility – or some combination of these factors.

If you’re in this situation, it’s understandable that you’re on the job market.

But here’s the problem. They don’t want to hear you say that your current work is a grind, the boss is a jerk, and the pay is insufficient.

When you’re in an interview with a potential employer, he or she is looking for a candidate who is upbeat, positive, and would add to the overall morale of the office. Negative talk about your current employer could knock you out of contention.

It’s not that your reasons for seeking new employment opportunities aren’t true – they are all probably quite valid. But appearing to “trash talk” can raise concerns to a recruiter or hiring manager, such as, “What is this candidate going to say about us when he discovers something he doesn’t like?”

The interview process is a dance, and answering the question “Why are you seeking new opportunities” is a step in this dance. And. like any dance, it’s best to approach it with finesse so that you don’t step on any toes in the process. Here’s how to prepare to answer this difficult question.

  1. Understand Your True Motivation For Changing Jobs. Every job comes with its own annoyances and frustrations; we tend to tolerate the negative aspects of the position because they’re often outweighed by the positives. Dig deep and ask yourself, “What is it about the position that’s truly making this job more trouble than it’s worth?” The rest is just noise.

  2. Identify The Aspects Of Your Current Job That You Have Enjoyed. Maybe you truly love your day-to-day core duties, or perhaps the company has given you great training opportunities, or they’ve exposed you to new career growth avenues.

  3. When Presenting Your Reason To A Potential Employer, Sandwich The Negative With The Positives. By starting and ending your explanation the the things you like about your current job, you provide valuable context and soften the negativity.

Here’s an example:(Positive) In my current role as a project manager, I absolutely love the scope of responsibility I have – I’m able to work on a variety of programs with some truly wonderful customers. (Negative) As the years have progressed, the company has gone through several reorganizations which have made the role more difficult. (Positive) I’m very grateful for the opportunity the company gave me – I’ve been promoted multiple times and I work with wonderful people, but when this role with your company was posted it seemed like a good fit for the next stage of my career.”


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

How Should I Organize My Work Portfolio?

iStockphoto.com |  fotostok_pdv

iStockphoto.com | fotostok_pdv

 

A portfolio of work can be an essential job interview tool for graphic designers and other creatives. But even if you're not a creative professional, a well-designed portfolio can be a fantastic way to highlight your skills and achievements.

In case you're not familiar with the concept of a portfolio, it's usually a case, binder, or notebook containing pieces of your work. Think of it as a browse-able brochure of what you have to offer to an employer.

Perhaps you're a marketing professional and you've had an article written about you in the local paper. Or you're an engineer with several high-profile patent applications. Maybe you've written documents that show off your writing skills. Include these!

Your portfolio needs to be polished and professional. Here are some guidelines for you to consider when assembling one.

  • Make it clean - Your portfolio should consist of your best designed work, arranged neatly and well formatted. Mount the items on the page.
     
  • Make your work stand out - Select pieces that best show off your creativity and intellect.
     
  • Make it tell a story - Organize your work in such a way that it says something about the progression of what the reader is looking at.  Group like with like; if your work has improved as time has progressed, organize your work in such as way that it shows how you've grown.
     
  • Make it shine - Pick your best pieces. Get an outside opinion on what is your best work - not everybody may agree with your personal opinions, and it's easy to become attached to your favorites. And if you've worked on recognizable brands, the inclusion of these projects will usually rise to the top.
     
  • Make it available online - A digital portfolio is great because you can always pull it up when you're sitting in a hiring manager's office. An online training module you designed can come alive when presented in multimedia.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

7 Essential Facts About Job Hunting Today

iStockphoto.com |  monkeybusinessimages

iStockphoto.com | monkeybusinessimages

 

Looking for a job, or considering making a career change? The process is complicated and frustrating, and has only grown more-so over the years. If you're looking to rise above the pack, you'll want to understand these seven essential facts about job hunting today.

  1. Job Hunting is a Learned Skill. Have you been contacted by a recruiter for a job opportunity? If so, consider yourself lucky since there are many hurdles you need to overcome in order to get noticed by a recruiter or a hiring manager. It's important to learn about the nuances of job boards (i.e., Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, Glassdoor, and many others), applicant tracking systems, the social networking platform LinkedIn, and other online job resources so that you can rise above the massive stacks of resumes companies received. There's a lot more to it than submitting your resume and hoping for the best ("posting and praying"). The composition of your resume, your application strategy, and your followup are all factors.
     
  2. So is Interviewing. A job interview is like a dance; you need to have all the right moves if you want to avoid stepping on your own foot. Your answers need to be practiced, tight, and natural. You'll need good, meaningful responses to behavioral questions, chock full of examples of how you overcame adversity to drive results. And then there's the social niceties and protocols. Hiring managers need convincing that you're a good person to spend time with, and that you'll make a positive impact. Going in cold can be dangerous. Practicing pays dividends – master the strategies that improve your chances.
     
  3. Being Professional on LinkedIn Matters. A lot. Companies pay big bucks for recruiter licenses to see everyone in LinkedIn. Recruiters comb the system looking for passive candidates to fill their open jobs. Even if you're not actively looking you might still get a call. A polished, complete profile full of detail substantially increases your chances of getting noticed. An incomplete or sloppy LinkedIn profile, with a lousy profile picture can be toxic. Although it can be pricey, a LinkedIn Premium subscription can pay dividends during the search.
     
  4. The Bigger the Job, the Longer the Search. If you're a CFO, for example, you should expect your job search to be considerably longer than a staff accountant by a factor of 4. Of course considerations of market demand and personal skill sets factor into the equation, but as a rule there are fewer executive than line jobs. And companies usually take longer to make decisions on higher level positions due to the organizational impact and cost. If you're an executive-level job seeker hunker down, strategize your approach (hint: it's mostly networking), and use the time wisely.
     
  5. Getting Passed Over Because Your Resume is Missing an Essential Skill? You Can Fix it Fast. Let's say you're a sales professional with ten years of rock-solid sales experience;  you're hitting a roadblock because you've used lots of CRM systems but have never used the Salesforce CRM which seems to appear in every job description these days. Training has never been more accessible or affordable – why not take an online course on Salesforce and add the training to your resume under your "Education" section? This way, you'll improve your odds of making it through the ATS or recruiter. Mind you, you'll need to be transparent with the hiring manager about your depth of experience, and an online course is absolutely no substitute for a specialized degree or certification. But if you're most of the way there, it can help quite a bit.
     
  6. Age Discrimination is a Real Factor. It’s illegal, and it’s regrettable. And employers miss out on many highly qualified candidates if they consider age as a factor in the hiring decision. Many employers will unwittingly (or wittingly) value younger, impressionable, and energetic employees whom they can mold to their liking rather than proven experience. And age discrimination isn't reserved for senior citizens, either – if you're over 40 years of age it could already be a problem. Learn and master strategies to cope with and overcome age bias, and know your rights.
     
  7. Recruiters (i.e., Headhunters) Work for Employers. Not for You. One of the most frequent questions I get as a career coach is, "How can I hire a recruiter to find me a job?" While developing relationships with agency recruiters can be valuable to your job search, you usually can't hire one. Recruiters are hired by companies to find talent for their difficult-to-fill job openings. And these companies pay handsomely for these services, an amount in the neighborhood of 25% of the first year salary of the person they hire. Or more. That said, a strong relationship with a recruiter can pay dividends.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.