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Category Archives: Interview Strategies

How to improve success in online meetings

How to improve success in online meetings

How to improve success in online meetingsAre your online meetings successful? Is your concentration slipping? Today’s world provides many distractions that can cause you to lose focus or concentration. Many articles have been written about the electronic technology that disrupts normal conversation.

Do you lose focus in online meetings?

My business model is a live and interactive process for writing and coaching frequently conducted in online meetings over video technology. Since my clients meet with me anywhere from three or four meetings for a simple beginner resume to 20+ meetings for one of my more complex packages, we have varying degrees of concentration. I have learned that most of the time, I have to keep the client focused and at the same time keep me focused. They may only have the one meeting with me during a day but I can easily have four client online meetings.

You may find that job interviews, coaching sessions, and business meetings are also conducted in online meetings with remote video technology. You will need to stay focused on the topic at hand and minimize distractions.

Perhaps you haven’t given much thought to things that can easily make an online meeting (or an in-person meeting) go bad or become nonproductive, let me point out a few of them:

  • Phone calls
  • Texts and Facebook Messages
  • Dogs Barking
  • Babies Crying
  • Eating during meetings
  • Television
  • Multiple monitors
  • Family members interrupting
  • Music
  • Fidgeting
  • Bunny trailing
  • Life stories

What you can do to improve concentration during online meetings

  1. Turn off or mute technology (Phones, tablets, televisions, and radios, or even extra monitors if they are not part of the session)
  2. Make sure your dog is settle or out of the room (As someone who has a German Shepherd as an office companion, I know that can be easier said than done. Most of the time Buddy is quiet during client appointments but sometimes squirrels seem to keep bugging him or he is extra hungry)
  3. If you are in a client meeting, have someone else watch your child. There may still be background noise but just having someone else there to meet their needs helps.
  4. Train other family members to stay out of the room when you are in a meeting or interview.
  5. Learn to relax. When video is being used, the people on the other end of the call see and hear everything. Don’t bite your nails, click pens, or tap your feet.
  6. Eating should be obvious. I eat before or after client sessions. I may have water or coffee with me but overall, you are better off to eat before or after meetings.
  7. If you are a storyteller, rein it in. Keep the meeting on topic.
Land your next role! I can help you win new positions by using my interactive coaching style of resume writing to create your new resume and help you use multiple tools such as LinkedIn to propel you to success in your job search! Learn more here
Do you want to be on the cutting-edge of your career and job search? Read More Posts Like This One!

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Social cues: The key to improving networking success

Social cues: The key to improving networking success

Social CuesSocial cues are key to career success, networking success, and job search success but it isn’t a topic many people think about or act on when in the midst of trying to find that success.

What are social cues?

Social cues are the signals that people send through body language and expressions. Many people understand social cues inherently but people who may not have high level social skills often miss social cues and they misunderstand people and situations. You need to understand social cues to read other people and react appropriately. The four times of social cues are:

  • Facial Expressions
  • Body Language
  • Voice Pitch and Tone
  • Personal Space

All of these social cues are there to help us when we are in situations where we need to succeed. However, if you never develop the ability to read social cues, you run the risk of wondering why you often feel left out of the conversation or you think no one is listening to you. Developing the ability to read social cues and act on them will save you from embarrassment and make you more successful in social situations and interviews.

3 examples of what happens people fail to read social cues

  • The off topic socializer — often this person failed to develop the ability to read social cues as a child. They don’t pay attention to facial expressions and their listening skills are very low. When this person is in a gathering, he or she tries to be part of the conversation but he has his own agenda so he changes the topic to fit what he or she wants to talk about and doesn’t listen to the others. He or she never notices the facial expressions from others or their body language. If they did, they would recognize that they are not giving anyone else a chance to talk and they are not talking about what the group was discussing.
  • The life story-teller — This person also has an agenda. They feel that for people to understand them, they need to tell them the story from their first job to today. Whenever they meet someone, they tell their life story even in the grocery store or at the Chamber meeting. Their listening skills are also very low and they don’t notice when people are shifting from foot to foot hoping to get away.
  • The personal space invader — This person does not understand personal space and often crowds into other people’s personal space. Personal boundaries are invisible but when someone invades the personal space of others, they often miss other social cues such as facial expressions or body language too that would remind them to back up or move away.

If you recognize that this is a problem and can find ways to change, you will find yourself much more accepted and happy in social situations.

Land your next role! I can help you win new positions by using my interactive coaching style of resume writing to create your new resume and help you use multiple tools such as LinkedIn to propel you to success in your job search! Learn more here
Do you want to be on the cutting-edge of your career and job search? Read More Posts Like This One!

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How to improve your speaking skills to win interviews

How to improve your speaking skills to win interviews

How to improve your speaking skills to win interviews

Did you know that the majority of interview processes begin with a phone interview? When these phone interviews first started many people didn’t take them seriously. It seemed like a preliminary process that didn’t need as much preparation or planning as the follow up interviews. Today, if you don’t pay attention to phone interviews, you are not likely to win interviews.

The preliminary screening is often done long before the first interview happens. The screening happens when you first apply online for many people. Often if your resume hasn’t been well prepared with keywords and accomplishments that fit the particular opening, you will be screened out with the online application. Savvy job seekers use networking strategies to get beyond the online application and gain the attention of hiring managers but they still need to pay attention during the phone interviews.

While speaking skills are critical in phone interviews, the same tips will help you during in-person interviews. The difference is that when you have in-person interviews, you have more visual effects working for you. You can make eye contact (and should make eye contact), you can use visual aids, and you can build more acceptance in an in-person interview.

5 Tips to improve your speaking skills to help you win interviews (and job offers)

  1. Slow down! Don’t talk too fast. Speeding up often happens when you are nervous and it makes you more difficult to understand. Periodically, I meet someone who speaks so quickly that I get a headache listening. The message I get is that I am not as important to him as whatever else he has to do that day. It is hard to process information from someone who is speaking too fast. It sounds rude.
  2. Speak in sound bites. Do you ever have to remind yourself to stop speaking? Do you sometimes forget to stop talking? When you stop, ask if they have any questions, rather than trying to give every potential piece of relevant information to the question. Pause occasionally. Pauses are powerful. Listeners are able to interpret meaning when you pause.
  3. Speak with inflection. People who speak in a monotone put their audience to sleep. Try recording your own voice. Today you can do that with your phone or with Skype or a variety of other apps. Listen carefully to how you sound and note aspects of the way you speak that reduce the effectiveness of your message. By raising and lowering your volume, you create emphasis.
  4. Observe how you are using language. If you tend to use slang or worse, curse words, clean up your language and practice answers to common interview questions.
  5. Smile when you are speaking. Your tone changes when you smile. You don’t have to do that throughout the entire interview but if you remind yourself to smile periodically, you will seem friendlier.

All of these speaking tips will also help you in company meetings, when you are asked to speak at a conference, present at a company meeting, or teach a class.

Julie Walraven is a triple-certified resume writer whose interactive coaching style helps job seekers earn winning positions when she creates tactical resumes and LinkedIn profiles to market you for success. Learn more here.

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How to resolve a personality clash at work

How to resolve a personality clash at workSadly, many of the people I have worked with over the years ended up leaving a job or getting terminated because of a personality clash at work. We coach around how to answer the inevitable “why did you leave ABC company?” as we work on the resume and in specific interview coaching sessions but this is one issue that makes everyone uncomfortable.

How do you discuss a personality clash at work?

When a client explains his departure, we see if there is another way to discuss the end of a job. When you are in an interview and you start talking about a personality clash at work, the easy assumption by the interviewer is that you could have the same problem at their company. Is it possible that your job ended because of corporate restructuring or a merger acquisition? Both of those reasons are so common today that they lack the stigma of a personality clash at work. By offering a different reason for the dismissal, you avoid labeling your boss or upper management as the problem and in the end, that makes you look better too.

Could you resolve a personality clash at work?

There are so many causes of personality clashes that it is hard to generalize and say that there is a solution for all of them. There are some strategies that greatly enhance the ability to avoid, avert, and resolve a personality clash at work.

  • Scenario #1 — You were offended by something someone said.

To resolve this kind of a problem, you need to take the high road. It is really easy to get riled up and upset when you hear someone say something about you or your work. First of all, if you didn’t hear it first hand, you may be getting misinformation. You have two choices, go back to the first person and ask them about the problem or decide it isn’t worth getting upset about it and just forget it.

Secondly, even if you did hear it directly, it may not have been said in the spirit that you took it. Some personalities tend to talk without thinking. If you have a sensitive personality or if you are already having a bad day, you may take to heart something that was just someone mouthing off.

If you decide that it is a larger problem, contact that person directly and let them know your reaction, “When I heard that you think I failed at the assignment, it made me feel upset, I always try to do my best job. Can we talk about how I can do it differently next time?

  • Scenario #2 — You and the other person cannot get along

There will be someone whose personality grates on you and perhaps your personality grates on them. If you are in a position where you need to work together with this person, try finding some common ground. Find topics you can agree. Give them a compliment when they get it right. (I don’t mean you should gush all over them, just find a sincere way to point out the good.)

If you can do your work without the person to minimize the opportunity for conflict, this may be helpful at least until you can resolve a specific issue.

  • Scenario #3 — The person is jealous or threatened by you

When someone is driven by fear, they react defensively. If someone is afraid that you will take all the glory, try giving them credit when credit is due for a project they completed. If this person is your boss, let them know that you are a team player and you don’t need the spotlight. Many personality clashes at work are caused when someone who is very skilled does great work that causes the boss to worry that they could be replaced. Acknowledge that possibility and be an asset but not a threat.

What should you do if you cannot resolve a personality clash at work?

If there is no logical resolution and you cannot seem to find common ground to create an amicable workplace, maybe it is time to move on. Don’t quit abruptly though, quietly start preparing to make a move (update your resume, improve your LinkedIn profile, start networking), thoroughly investigate new opportunities, and then make the move. Depending on the level of your career and the industry, a career move can take 6 to 14 months.

If you are ready to invest in a career marketing expert to coach you and create strategic marketing materials to improve your job search, learn more here.

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