Tuesday, May 17, 2016

10 Ways to Soothe Job Interview Jitters

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog

10 Ways to Soothe Job Interview Jitters [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Are you biting your nails before job interviews?
In-person job interviews are the most important part of the hiring process. It’s where you meet interviewers face-to-face and present yourself as a potential employee. How you look and act, what you say and how you say it, will be used to determine whether you are right for the job.

With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that many job candidates get nervous before job interviews. Although some anxiety is good because it can help you be alert, too much fretting and worry can hurt your appearance and presentation. 

Here are 10 ways to soothe job interview stress:

  1. Make time to plan and prepare. Nothing can make you feel more at ease than good preparation before a job interview. Whether your job interview is tomorrow morning or two weeks away, take the time to get ready. Set aside an hour or two to plan your clothing, gather your materials, research the organization, write down questions, rehearse interview answers, and do other preparation as detailed in the rest of this post.
  2. Do research. Learn as much about the organization as you can. Look at its website, products, marketing, news articles, annual reports, blog, and social media. Also learn about your interviewer or interviewers via LinkedIn, blogs, and the organization’s website. The worst question to ask in a job interview is “What do you do here?” Have good knowledge about the organization so you can ask informed questions about its future and explain how you fit in and can help.
  3. Look good. Dress up for the job interview, even if you won’t need to dress as well on the job itself. Steer toward practical, clean, and conservative clothes, jewelry, accessories, and grooming. Most employers are traditional, so you won’t go wrong with a traditional appearance at the job interview. For creative jobs and employers, you may be able to show artistry and individuality with a bit of color or one bright, attractive accessory, but avoid overdoing it. 
  4. Rehearse your answers to common and odd job interview questions. Why do you want to leave your current job? Why do you want to work here? Tell us about a time when you faced a work dilemma and how you handled it. If you could be any animal, what would it be? What are your favorite books and movies? What are your salary requirements? What is your long-term career plan? Be prepared for any and all questions, from serious to wacky. Chances are good that you will be thrown a question curve. For such questions, try to understand what the interviewer is really asking and mention your key job skills or strong personal traits in your answer. 
  5. Take the right tools. I have interviewed people who came to interviews empty-handed or juggling a phone, a big cup of coffee, keys, shopping bags, and even kids. Instead, bring a notebook, pens, extra resumes, a list of references, portfolio items if appropriate, and questions you want to ask. Put everything in a folder or professional-looking bag to keep your hands as free as possible to open doors and shake hands.
  6. Write down questions to ask. Be prepared to ask about your potential job, daily tasks, challenges, what the employer is looking for, and how you can most help. Not asking questions has always seemed lazy to me. Show you are engaged and interested enough to ask questions.
  7. List the points you want to make. You want to stand out in job interviews, so be sure to emphasize the key experience, background, education, and skills that make you right for the job. Jot them down so you will remember to stress these points to interviewers. If you fear getting tongue-tied in the interview, this list will be especially helpful.
  8. Arrive early. Plan to arrive early for the job interview. Know exactly where you need to go, including the building and office number. Allow time for traffic, parking, public transportation problems, building security, weather issues, slow elevators, and a restroom stop. It is not good to call a potential employer and say you are running late, because organizations want workers who show up on time. Being late is a sure way to increase your jitters.
  9. Try to relax.Take deep breaths, walk around the block, reassure yourself that you are prepared. Do whatever it takes to calm down your racing heart and enter the interview as a confident, self-assured professional.
  10. Smile and be friendly. Although you may be feeling nervous and want to withdraw, remember to smile, say hello to everyone, shake hands, and engage in small talk. Turn off your phone and put it away. You want to create a good first impression, and such actions go a long way in making you look like a potential fit. 

Anything can happen in job interviews, but with preparation and planning, you can tamp down much of the nervousness and anxiety that can hinder your success. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Is Your Career Evolving?

Change is constant in the workplace. Co-workers and managers come and go. Business ebbs and flows. Technology, products, and services become obsolete and get introduced. Methods, rules, and procedures are modified. Companies start and move, are bought and sold, die out and pivot. Organizations are always evolving, sometimes by design and sometimes not.
Is Your Career Evolving? [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Always be learning, growing, and changing in your career.

When change happens at work, you often have the opportunity to enlarge your competencies. You need to learn, adapt, and be open to the possibilities. If you resist change, complain about it, or try to get others to do tasks you don’t want to learn, you hold back your organization and yourself. When workplace changes are small, usually you can flex and learn as you go. Other times you may need to work with uncertainty and do the best you can. For some changes, your organization may provide training and guidance. 

When you change and learn, not only are you growing, you also will have new accomplishments for your resume and new skills and insights that may lead to a better job fit, more satisfaction, more responsibility, a leadership role, a promotion, a higher salary, a new job, a relocation, new relationships, more creativity, a new discovery, more education, more self-esteem, or a new career path.

So even in a slow-changing company or a routine job, you should always be developing and flourishing. I call this career evolution. Ask yourself, “Do I want to be doing this same work in the same place two, five, ten, or twenty years from now?” If the answer is no, ask yourself, “Why not?” One thing is certain: If you are not evolving in your career, you may go the way of the dinosaur or be an unhappy endangered species.

Make career evolution part of your daily life. With ongoing career evolution, you can avoid getting stuck in a dead-end job or getting pushed on a career path that doesn’t interest you. You don’t want to look back and say, “If only I’d gone to school…changed careers…learned new skills…explored my interests...quit a certain company…applied for a promotion…took a chance on a new job…started my own business.”

So begin taking control of your career evolution: Be eager and positive when changes occur. Do a task no one wants. Offer to help a co-worker or the boss. Get trained as a backup for someone with a key job. Propose suggestions to improve your workplace, products, services, or customer relationships. Keep up on business news, especially in your field and industry. Learn more about your job and where its career path could take you. Get involved in your field through a professional association, networking, and conferences. Take workshops and classes. Read books and periodicals. Say yes to opportunities and challenges. Don’t become extinct or regretful.

Evolution doesn’t happen overnight. Your career evolution can last a lifetime. It’s a mindset to always be learning, growing, and changing.