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A superb, brilliant and sagacious list of ways to communicate better

January 23rd, 2014

I saw this on Facebook, I’m sure.  It is a list of 45 ways to avoid using the word ‘very’, and it is a MUST-READ.

Why is this a must-read?  Not everyone here is a writer… but everyone here is a communicator!

This list is all about taking normal conversation and enhancing it.  The goal is not to confuse people with fancy words (like sagacious, which I would actually have to look up).  The goal is to have more impactful communication.  Say or write your message differently to have more impact!  Can you imagine being a job seeker in an interview, or a salesperson in front of a prospect, and being the most memorable because you were the most impactful?

It’s really that important.  Check out this brilliant list from Amanda Patterson in South Africa :)

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Elon Musk and Lying in Interviews

January 22nd, 2014

I LOVE what Elon Musk is sharing in the short video on this page: Here’s How Elon Musk Can Tell If Job Applicants Are Lying About Their Experience (it is about minute 1:05, but watch the first minute)

If you interview people, understanding how Elon dives into the interview will help you interview a thousand times better than asking those dumb questions everyone expects you to ask.

If you are a job seeker, and preparing for interviews, if you can figure out how to talk to the depth and breadth of problems you have solved, you should rise above your competition.

Brilliant. Watch it here.

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The BEST article on video interviews for job seekers

November 21st, 2013

I’ve seen a lot of articles on video interviews, this one easily takes the cake: How To Nail A Video Interview.

Save it, print it out, highlight it, and read it three times before you do a video interview.  There are examples of what not to do (keep your finger out of your nose, even if you think the interview is over / don’t get sloshed to “calm your nerves”) and a great list of what you SHOULD do.

Yes, you can buy the guy’s book if you want, but make sure you save this article for a quick reference when you are preparing for the interview.  From lighting to makeup to waiting 3 seconds after the question is asked… this stuff WILL make or break your interview.

 

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Critical Interview Tip From Someone Known to be Cocky

October 28th, 2013

That would be me… the guy knows as cocky (aka, self-confident).   I’m sure I’ve made this mistake, but I also heard of someone else who recently made this mistake.

Imagine this: you are in a job interview and the interviewer asks you “can you do this particular skill?”  You either answer:

a) “oh yeah, I can do that. “

b) ”I haven’t done it before, but I’m sure I could learn it.”

Does that sound familiar?

Is this a response you have made, heard, or might make?

Let me give you a tip to give a response way, way, way more impactful. Instead of saying a), “yeah, I can do that.”, say something like this:

“Yes, I can do that.  In my past job I had this exact responsibility.  I was given the task and within six months was training others to do it well.”

Isn’t that 1,000% better than “yeah, I can do that.”

Here is something better to say than b), “I haven’t done it before, but I’m sure I could learn it.”

“I haven’t done that before, but I really think I could learn it quickly.  In my last job I was asked to do learn a new software program we were going to use at the front desk.  No one had any experience with it, but I dove into the user manuals and got on the training webinars, and was quickly able to train the rest of the front desk team.  In fact, the software company recognized me as one of their best users and asked if they could refer some of their other key customers to me for consulting.”

Isn’t that impressive?  Much better than “yeah, I’m sure I could learn it.”

SHOW ME.

Of course you need to have your own, and better, wording.  The idea, though, is to give examples, and what I call “mini stories.”  If you can get it into a Problem-Action-Result format, your response will be way better than what you were going to say, and probably better than your “competition.”

Sound good?

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175 Questions To Ask At A Job Interview (JobMob)

July 17th, 2013

jacob_shareMy friend Jacob Share posted this: 175 Helpful Questions To Ask At A Job Interview

Of course, you aren’t going to have time to ask 175 questions.  If I interviewed you and you asked me even 17 questions (at the end) I might be annoyed.

I would suggest you print this out and go through it with a highlighter, picking out your favorite questions.  Or, questions based on various things like: company size, promotion potential, industry, job title, etc.

The questions are broken up as follows:

Questions 1-71 are about the job itself

Questions 72-111 are about the company

Questions 112-131 are about the boss

Questions 132-162 are about the team

Questions 163-175 are about feedback and next steps

If you ask smart questions in an interview that show me you’ve done your homework or are knowledgeable or passionate about this company, industry or the role, you will be heads and shoulders above many other interviewees!

Great resource for those who are going to interviews – thanks Jacob!

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What do you do with a Killer Resume?

May 22nd, 2013

Recently a JibberJobber user sent me a resume that one of my colleagues did for him and asked me what I thought.

The resume was really quite impressive.  I’m not surprised. The resume writer is someone who has been doing this for a long time and loves to stay current and do a great job.

My first impression after looking at the resume was that this guy had decades of doing amazing things.  The companies he worked at, and the products he worked on, are household names.

If I were interviewing I would want to satisfy curiosities and ask more.  I would want to ask stories about his experience.  Some of my questions would be because it would be intriguing to know, and others to learn how involved and instrumental he really was in each of the things he claims on his resume.

He needs to go through his resume, pull out every claim, and put at least one story behind it.

In JibberJobber we have the Interview Prep area, where you can put those stories together, and even “categorize” them so you can pull them up when you are getting ready for an interview. (I recommend categorizing based on industry, title (aka, profession), or size/type of company, but you could categorize based any criteria.  Use the Interview Prep in JibberJobber to create those stories.

I’m not much for critiquing resumes.  I almost always decline when someone asks me to look at their resume.  But I opened this one and that was my very first impression.  You have a great resume, now what?  Be ready to TELL STORIES!

My second thought was to be careful not to ask too many UNQUALIFIED people their opinion of the resume you just got.  I asked people for opinions of my resume and the information I got was misleading (making me think it was great, while it really kept me out of interviews).  Everyone will have their opinion but recognize this is a marketing tool to get you interviews, and that is it.  Dick Bolles talked about resumes very frankly in our last Ask The Expert – you can view the interview here (he comes on 20 minutes into it).

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Job Seekers hate unsophisticated interviewers

June 25th, 2012

After getting some interview training, I was apalled to go to an interview and see how unprepared the interviewers were.

I’ve heard this repeatedly… how bad interviewers are.  It feels offensive. It feels like they are wasting your time.  You wonder why you are unemployed while they still have a job.

I’d guess that the majority of job seekers complain about how unsophisticated (or unprepared, or unprofessional, etc.) their interviewers are.

Here’s a fun video to start your week. I found it from a TechCrunch post. It’s funny, but for me it’s all too real!

You must watch this – it’s a great way to start your week :)

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Job Seeker Asked for Facebook Password?

March 22nd, 2012

Have you heard of this?  It’s been in the headlines recently.

What do you do if, in an interview, you are asked for your Facebook password?

RUN.

Walk out.

Leave.

It seems that if that’s how the relationship is going to start, it’s going to be abusive.

Strong language, right?  Who would think their employer would abuse them?

If someone asks me for something like that, I’d question their personal ethics, and wonder what kind of work environment they are in that would even allow such a question.

It’s a red flag.  And you deserve better than to be in a hostile or abusive situation.  RUN.

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Free Teleseminar on Wed morning with me and John Hadley: How to Accelerate Your Job Search

February 13th, 2012

John Hadley, a career coach in the NY/NJ area, asked me to be his guest on a teleseminar titled How to Accelerate Your Job Search.  I’ve been receiving Johns newsletter for years and almost spoke for him in person last year when I was in his area… I was excited to be able to do this teleseminar with him.

You can sign up for it here.

It is on Wednesday morning at 10:30 am MST (that is 12:30 Eastern, 11:30 Central, 9:30 Pacific).

There is no cost.  John is asking his newsletter subscribers: “If you could ask Jason Alba just one question, what would it be?”

I’ll be anxious to see what questions come up…. I’m guessing this will be much less technical than I usually do, and there will be a lot of general, basic job search questions… we’ll see :)

Want to join? Sign up here. I’m not sure if it will be recorded and made available later.

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2012 THEME: Job Search is 99% Communication

January 2nd, 2012

Last year the first post of the year was titled The Job Search Rabbit Hole.  I think I should make a (kids) book out of it.

I’ve used that idea as the 2011 theme, and focused a lot on job seekers chasing something that doesn’t exist (read the post for the story/analogy).

This year I want to talk about something I’ve realized as I’ve spoken to thousands of professionals and executives  across the U.S.  I have started to say that “the job search is 99% communication.” Written, verbal, body language, etc.  It’s all about how we communicate.  And we can communicate A LOT better.

I just finished a life-changing book written by friend and mentor Mark LeBlanc titled Never Be The Same.  It is a fast read, and completely intriguing.  It was written after Mark finished a 500 mile walk across Spain… the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.  Get the book here – I loved Mark’s unique style … it was just delightful to absorb.

Mark gave me permission to share this excerpt from his book… I LOVED this story as it illustrates the communication problem that I want to help YOU think about this year.  Mark talks about going to a networking event and sharing his elevator pitch. It had all the bad, junky, jargon cliche yuck that most elevator pitches have.  One day, though, he wasn’t in the mood to share it, so he shook things up (almost accidentally).  He writes:

It was my turn-my minute-to stand up and introduce myself, again.  Only this time I didn’t blather on about my broad range of services and menu of presentation topics.  None of which, you might recall, had I provided to a single client or audience since Small Business (No-So-Much) Success was born.  My calendar was empty from Day One. Instead, I simply got up and shared my dream. In a monotone, mind you, with nary an inflection of enthusiasm whatsoever.

“My name is Mark LeBlanc, and I run a company called Small Business Success. I work with people who want to start a business and with small business owners who want to grow their business.”  Period, end.  I shut up and sat down.

There were about twenty five business people at this meeting, and when it was over, seven of them came up to me.  Now, this was a total surprise, because for ten months, no one-and I mean no one-had any interest in what I did or had to offer. Instead of repelling people, as was my habit, I seemed to be attracting prospects. There was a line, for heavens sake!

“I want to start my own business,” said one woman.

“My wife has been wanting to start her own business; give me your card,” said a business man.

“I’ve been in business ten years, but seem kind of stuck. I’d like to know more about growing my business, cranking it up a notch. Can you help me with that?” came from another.

My favorite response was a friend’s: “I’ve been listening to your introductions for ten months, and I had no clue this is what you do. I think I can refer a few people to you.”

Within thirty days, seven prospects wrote me a check and engaged me in the process of helping them start of grow their business. It was as if the floodgates opened and soon prospects came in faster than I could handle. Okay, maybe not that fast, but when you did not earn a nickel for nearly a year, this new-found success felt like I was sipping from the fire hose.”

WOW.

I had a similar experience, which I blogged about here: Substantiate Yourself.

I am convinced that the canned 30 second pitches job seekers are coached to work on lead to really, really bad results.  The pitch sucks. No one responds.  Mark changed his, focusing on the outcomes of his work, and he got results.

Small, minor, easy changes can change the results.  He didn’t throw in bigger words, fancier phrases, or more stuff.  He whitled it down to the core message, and he got results.

This is a theme that will be on my mind all year.

Will you join me this year, on our journey to better career management?

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