In school, you probably had a "cheat sheet" of sorts to review before your exams - just to refresh your brain on the little things. Treat your interviews the same way. FREE: Best Interview Preparation Tool Ever Here are 10 elements in an important interview prep checklist to review before the big day:
Got an interview coming up soon? We know you have a busy life – and sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day to scan through articles to get the information you need. That’s why we created the Interview Cheat Sheet! We pulled the best tips, tricks, and advice from our archives and put them all in one place just for you.
Interview Cheat SheetHere are eight solid interview tips from our experts:
Interview PreparationWhen you're preparing for your interview, you need to make sure you cover all of your bases. Here are some tips on what to say to a potential employer: 1. Stay away from superlatives. Keep it singular. Superlatives such as “weakest” or “worst” or “biggest” indicate the greatest degree of whatever is it describing. “Worst weakness” is the weakness of the highest degree implying there are other weaknesses of varying degrees but weaknesses nonetheless. That begs the question, “What are some others?” Likewise, “need most to improve” implies there are others areas for improvement. In any case, try this as an alternative, “If I had to come up with one…” (No negatives, no multiples.) (Original article: How To Answer Tough Interview Questions Correctly) 2. Be prepared with questions for the employer. Each interview takes on a different format, but somewhere along the way an employer will likely ask if you have any questions. Even if the interview was packed with information, always have questions prepared to ask the employer that have not been touched on or that you can benefit from by having more information. Asking questions expresses to an employer that you are serious and sincerely interested in the company and position. Asking the “right” questions can also help solidify a positive impression. For instance, if you have done the proper research on the company before the interview, you may have knowledge of developments happening at the company or within the industry that may have an impact on the job you apply for. Asking questions that express you are thinking ahead about the job and how certain developments may impact the business demonstrates to an employer that you are a “smart” candidate. You are already thinking like you belong in the position and looking ahead at how to address possible challenges. These types of questions can also help the employer see how you fit right in. (Original article: Information You Must Have Before Your Interview) 3. Show them you did your homework. One great way to build your interviewing confidence is by conducting plenty of research on the company you’re applying with and the position it’s offering. A common question interviewers ask is, “Do you know anything about our company?” Most times, candidates are forced to answer “No.” If you’re able to share the company’s background information and showcase knowledge of its future goals for the position in question, you’ll undoubtedly catch the interviewer off-guard, in a great way! (Original article: 5 Ways To Build Confidence For An Interview)
Interview QuestionsBeing prepared to answer any question that comes out of the interviewer's mouth is a big advantage in interviews. Here are some questions to go over before your next interview: 1. "How do you handle stress?" Interviewers are generally looking for an answer that indicates you can handle multiple priorities and projects at the same time. An answer stating that stress is a natural part of life and you feel equipped to handle the challenges of the job and balance them with the rest of your life may be just the answer that earns you the job. (Original article: How To Handle Tough Interview Questions) 2. “Tell me about yourself.” What the hiring manager is really asking: “How do your education, work history, and professional aspirations relate to the open job?” How to respond: Select key work and education information that shows the hiring manager why you are a perfect fit for the job and for the company. For example, a recent grad might say something like, “I went to X University where I majored in Y and completed an internship at Z Company. During my internship, I did this and that (name achievements that match the job description), which really solidified my passion for this line of work.” (Original article: How To Answer 7 Of The Most Common Interview Questions) 3. "Tell me about a time when you did ______." Just because you’ve never done something doesn’t mean you can’t do it. And it surely doesn’t mean you can’t excel at it. If you’re asked a question about prior experience regarding something you’ve never done, the best way to answer isn’t to say “No, I’ve never done that.” Or, “No, I don’t have experience in that area.” The best way to handle the question is to say something along these lines: “While I have not had any direct experience in XYZ, I am a fast learner, and I am confident that I could (do, manage, direct, handle, etc.) XYZ successfully and exceed your expectations.” And an effective way to enhance your previous confident response would be to share with the hiring manager about a time when you did do something very similar—or something that could in some way relate to the experience they are asking you about. However, no matter how you approach the question, be sure to emphasize that you’re confident you can do whatever it is they’re asking you about. (Original article: #1 Interview Question You Must Answer Correctly)
Post-Interview ProtocolEven after the interview is over, you need to go the extra mile to impress the employer. Here are some post-interview tips: 1. Follow up with a thank-you note. Send notes to all the individuals with which you had a conversation. Do not send one note to just the hiring manager. You will miss out on all the other contacts that you made. Even a note to the receptionist / office manager is appropriate and helpful but only if you had more of a conversation not just a “hello.” Make the notes unique to each individual based on the conversation you had with them. Remind them of the conversation you had. In each thank-you note, remind the contact why you bring value to the company / team / position and show your enthusiasm. As the hiring process progresses or slows, stay in touch with your contacts, as appropriate. If the process has slowed begin to follow up about every two business weeks. Too soon and it will be considered over-kill. Much later that two weeks and you’ll be forgotten. (Original article: How To Follow Up After The Interview) 2. Use the three-paragraph rule. Your follow-up e-mail should be short, sweet and personalized. Generally, a good rule of thumb for the length is three paragraphs, with no more than two to three sentences in each paragraph. First Paragraph: Briefly thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position. Second Paragraph: Discuss a couple of your strengths and how the company would benefit if you were hired. Consider using bullet points to break up your text. Third Paragraph: Include any points of clarifications you might have. Include answers to questions that you weren’t able to answer during the interview, or add new info about yourself that was left out of the interview. But, remember, keep it brief. Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, suggests indicating your next point of contact by saying something along the lines of “Look forward to hearing from you within the next two weeks.” If no date was set at the interview, either ask for one or specify you will loop back to them for a decision in two weeks. (Original article: 6 Tips For Following Up After The Job Interview) Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Writing cover letter after cover letter without any results can be a frustrating experience. Who has time for that? We know you have a busy life – and sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day to scan through articles to get the information you need. That’s why we created the Cover Letter Cheat Sheet! We pulled the best tips, tricks, and advice from our archives and put them all in one place just for you.
Cover Letter Cheat SheetHere are five solid cover letter tips from our experts:
1. Think, "What Would The Best Candidate Do?"A great trick is to start by thinking what the best candidate in the world would deliver. For example, for sales people, employers want to hear about setting sales records (overachieving quota), expanding the customer base, and earning customer loyalty. For project managers, employers want to see a consistent track record of delivering projects on time and with a high level of quality. For manufacturing, the key metrics are productivity, safety, quality and cost improvements. So, tell them in your first sentence you can deliver these things. I have over 15 years of experience leading manufacturing operations to new heights in productivity, profitability and safety. Setting new sales records, growing market share and turning mediocre performers into superstars briefly describes what I can do for your firm. I have over 10 years of experience leading highly visible, complex projects and have earned a solid reputation for meeting aggressive deadlines and bringing internal/external customer satisfaction to new heights. Get the idea? You just told them you can deliver exactly the results they are looking for. (Original Article: "4 Inside Secrets To Writing A Great Cover Letter")
2. Use Bullet PointsOnce you have the reader’s attention, follow with a few filler sentences and then move on to bullets points succinctly describing why they should hire you, what you have done and what you want to do in the future. These might read something like:
- Team player, basketball, baseball, and especially soccer.
- Quick, agile thinker always willing to take on new tasks.
- Increased monthly ROI in my division by 20%.
- Developed 5 best selling iPad apps over the last year.
- Looking to learn server side maintenance while also bringing valuable new products to your company.
3. Pinpoint Challenges You Want To AddressYou don’t have to talk about specific challenges in the introduction; this can be saved for later in the letter. But you can touch on goals that any company in the field might face and why you want to tackle them. Believe it or not, this can be accomplished in two brief sentences that read something like this: “Every restaurant faces its challenges in customer service, staff, budget management, and food execution. I am eager to take the reins with XYZ Restaurant and steer business in the right direction.” (Original Article: "4 Goals Your Cover Letter Introduction Should Accomplish")
4. Tease ThemForeshadow what will be listed on the resume; what they will discover when they read your resume–but don’t repeat. Piqué interest! Save some fresh content for your cover letter. This is a strategic career marketing plan, part of which what goes on your resume or cover letter is determined–a real choreography! Example:
Please refer to my resume which summarizes more than 15 years of experience increasing revenue for top corporations such as IBM. I have aggressively launched unique sales strategies that have produced up to $8M annually. You will find a full account of my projected sales plans and exceeded goals by percentage per year.Now we have asked the hiring manager to review the resume and we have provided a bit of information to spark interest. It is important to add quantifiable information and be specific, as you don’t want to seem vague. However, there is no need to provide all the details in the cover letter, especially if it will be on the resume. While I urge you to tease – the teasing must be done with actual facts and specific references not generalities that mean nothing. (Original Article: "5 Cover Letter Techniques = Spellbound Hiring Managers")
5. Limit Sentences That Start With “I”Focusing on the job and the employer’s requirements are key strategies for a great introduction. One of the best ways to do this is to refrain from using first person references at the beginning of your sentences. Why is this so important? Employers are hiring a solution to their business problems when they bring you on board, and this means focusing on their requirements is a key step. Think about it this way: when you create a verbal picture of what you can achieve, it rarely starts with “I”—and structuring your thoughts this way can help reinforce your emphasis on the company’s needs. The following example illustrate this point:
Given your needs for a proven sales performer open to new challenges in the medical device industry, we should talk further about my record of success in territory expansion.In summary, don’t forget to create a strong cover letter as part of your job hunting strategy. You’ll find that a personal, yet powerful, introduction to your skills might be all you need to access more interviews. (Original Article: "5 Key Steps To A Cover Letter That Opens Doors") Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Who has time to research LinkedIn? We know you have a busy life - and sometimes there's just not enough time in the day to scan through articles to get the information you need. That's why we created the LinkedIn Cheat Sheet! We pulled the best tips, tricks, and advice from our archives and put them all in one place just for you.
LinkedIn Cheat SheetHere are five solid LinkedIn tips from our experts:
1. Turn Off Your Activity BroadcastsBefore you start “tinkering” with your LinkedIn profile (or hiring a professional to enhance your profile), please take a minute to do the following:
- From the drop-down menu next to your name on the right side of the Home page, choose Settings.
- On the bottom left of the Settings page is a column titled Privacy Controls. Immediately under that heading is a hyperlink that reads “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts.”
- Click on the activity broadcasts link and a dialog box will open giving you an option to choose who will see your activity updates.
- If the box is checked to “Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies,” uncheck it.
2. Endorse Your ConnectionsEvery Monday, take 10 minutes out of your morning to pay-it-forward by endorsing 10 people in your LinkedIn network. Imagine how you would feel if in your inbox on a Monday (a.k.a the day of the week when even the most cheerful people struggle to get going), you found endorsements of your skill sets from your peers. (Original Article: "LinkedIn Quick Tip: Monday = ‘Endorse Day’")
3. Get Recommendations... Lots Of 'EmRecommendations are essential to you. Seek them proactively and seek them passively. Proactive recommendation seeking involves reaching out and asking someone to recommend you. Passive recommendation seeking involves recommending someone, at which point LinkedIn asks them to recommend you back. The latter is actually a bit more effective. (Original Article: "10 Things To Immediately Do On LinkedIn")
4. Choose An Appropriate PhotoThe following 11 tips will help you pick the right photo for your LinkedIn, Gmail, Google+, Skype, and other online accounts:
- Don’t use an old photo. There are few things worse than meeting someone for the first time and not recognizing them because the profile photo is from 10 years ago (or longer)!
- Use a photo of YOU in your profile — not an object.
- Smile! Your face should radiate warmth and approachability.
- Photos should be professionally done, if possible (but not glamour shots).
- Wear your most complementary color. Bright colors can attract attention, but avoid patterns.
- Don’t have other people in your photos (and don’t crop other people out of your shot — there should not be any errant body parts in your online photo!).
- Make sure the background in the photo isn’t distracting.
- Relax. Look directly at the camera.
- Take multiple shots and ask people for their opinion on which one makes you seem most “approachable.”
- Tips for Men: Wear a dark blue or black dress shirt. No t-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, or busy/crazy patterns.
- Tips for Women: Wear something you feel comfortable in. No t-shirts or big/busy patterns. Soft, dark v-necks look great. Black always works; avoid white.