June 18, 2013 | Posted by Lisa Quast
Last week, I discussed how reading the nonverbal cues of hiring managers can improve your chances of interview success. This week, I'll focus on nonverbal mistakes that job seekers should avoid during interviews. These include: Unusual handshake. A "limp fish" handshake (too soft) can signify insecurity, while a "handshake of steel" (too hard) can project arrogance. A handshake lasting way too long tells hiring managers that you might be trying overly hard to impress them and that you might stretch the truth about your accomplishments, knowledge or experience. Poor or too much eye contact. Poor eye contact can signify that you aren't interested in the position. At the other end of the spectrum, too much eye contact can be intimidating and turn the interview into a staredown. Out-of-control gestures. These include constantly tapping a foot, shaking a leg, clicking a pen or too many hand and arm gestures -- and
June 17, 2013 | Posted by Randy Woods
As a new crop of graduates is unleashed upon the Seattle job scene this summer, a curious complaint has been voiced from this eager tide of youth and vigor. Although the Class of 2013 is among the most technologically savvy and socially interconnected classes in history, a sizable portion say they feel isolated from the working world. Last week, Millennial Branding, a consulting firm focused on Generation Y in the workplace, released a study called The Future of Education, which asked 1,345 college students about how well their education has prepared them for finding a job. While their biggest complaint was a lack of internship opportunities, 43 percent said the greatest shortcoming in their college years has been a lack of people to mentor them, while 35 percent said they had poor career-adviser support. "You would think there would be more mentoring today because you can access people from around
June 13, 2013 | Posted by Karen Burns
Your job -- what's love got to do with it? Most of us are told, "Follow your passion"; "Do what you love and the money will follow"; "If you love your job you'll never have to work a day in your life." For college grads entering one of the toughest labor markets in years, is this good advice? Is it ever good advice? Maybe not. Maybe it just adds to the pressure. If you are one of the many people who don't yet know what you love, being told you need to come up with your "one true purpose" -- and pronto -- is probably not helping you much right now. So it might help to know this interesting fact: Most people, even those who have identified what they feel is their one true purpose, can be happy and fulfilled in any number of jobs. After all, who has just
June 11, 2013 | Posted by Lisa Quast
A friend of mine recently had a job interview. When I asked what the interviewer thought of him, he didn't know. He'd been so nervous that he had forgotten to pay attention to the hiring manager's nonverbal communication. That happens a lot. Most people are so worried about how they come across in an interview that they forget to watch the body language of the interviewer. But being able to read nonverbal cues can increase your chances of interview success. This is because the way interviewers react and move their body can demonstrate whether they're listening or bored, whether they agree with what you're saying, whether they believe you'd be a good fit for the job. Look for these nonverbal cues: Facial expression. If the interviewer is smiling and looks interested in what you're saying, great. If he or she appears confused (furrowed brow or one eyebrow raised), disgusted (both
June 10, 2013 | Posted by Randy Woods
"So, what are your greatest strengths?" It's a common job-interview question uttered hundreds of times a day across the Puget Sound region. But do resume descriptors like "hard-working decision maker" or "results-oriented team player" really apply to your personal working style? If you ask yourself the right questions, you may be surprised to find out other hidden qualities you've overlooked. This is the thinking behind the StrengthsInsight website. Launched last fall, StrengthsInsight was devised by a group of psychologists to help people discover what they are good at through self-analysis and determining what makes people happiest in the workplace. The site provides a free 15-minute questionnaire that offers a series of general statements, such as, "My friends would _________ describe me as a positive person" or "I am _________ shy when discussing my accomplishments." Participants are asked to fill in these blanks with one of seven options -- never, very
June 6, 2013 | Posted by Karen Burns
Dear hiring manager: You ask a lot from job seekers. Well, turnabout is fair play. We'd like to ask a few things of you. Could you notify applicants when the position is filled? It's one thing to ignore a mailed-in resume. But if you've interviewed prospective employees, spending our (and your) valuable time, it's common courtesy to get back to us. We spend considerable time preparing for an interview, often even taking time off from our current jobs. When a decision is made, it would be nice if you'd send us a quick email, or even a form letter. Why can't you be more upfront about how much the job pays? You insist on knowing our salary histories. Sometimes you ask us to name our salary requirements even before an interview. You know, and we know, that you have a budgeted salary range. Playing cat and mouse smacks of unfairness
June 4, 2013 | Posted by Lisa Quast
Struggling to decide on an outfit for your upcoming job interview? What you wear to an interview creates an image or perception of the type of person you are, so choosing your attire is crucial to presenting yourself as the right candidate to hire. How interview attire has shifted The dot-com era ushered in a more casual approach to workplace attire, including during interviews, in the past 10-15 years. When the economic recession hit, job seekers began dressing up as a way to differentiate themselves from other candidates. The recession created a heightened awareness by hiring managers of what candidates wear to interviews. Interview attire is also often seen as a test of a candidate's familiarity of the company and industry. Tips on dressing for positive impact • The appropriate interview attire depends on the industry in which you'll be interviewing, as well as the geographic location and time of
June 3, 2013 | Posted by Randy Woods
You've probably read a lot of advice for getting your foot in the door at an organization, including letting your experience speak for you in blogs or writing a killer resume that impresses hiring managers with your skills. Few of these strategies, however, convey exactly who you are and, to put it bluntly, why other people should care about you. To do this, you have to have a clear grasp of your professional story -- your "bio," which boils down your professional life to a few short sentences that will resonate with hiring managers. Nancy Juetten, an expert at writing business bios, says she is amazed at how many people have trouble answering the basic questions, like, "What sets you apart? What results have you achieved?" Instead, they focus on "wallpaper words," she says, with long descriptions of credentials, experience and awards that don't describe how they can help customers
May 30, 2013 | Posted by Karen Burns
It's summertime (almost), and the living is easy (almost). You might be looking forward to a vacation. Or you might be dreading vacation because time off -- yours and your co-workers' -- creates such major logjams of work that the break seems more trouble than it's worth. But time off is important! And necessary. So to help make sure that summer R&R doesn't pass you by, try some of these classic time management tips. (Yes, you've heard them before. But they're still good.) Learn to differentiate between the important and the urgent. What's important is not always urgent. What's urgent is not always important. If a task takes less than five minutes, do it right away. If it takes longer, put it on your to-do list. Set time limits for routine tasks. Work tends to fill whatever amount of time you have. Aim to handle pieces of paper only once.
May 29, 2013 | Posted by Randy Woods
Quick: What internet tools were you using 10 years ago? MySpace? Napster? Friendster? Hey, stop laughing; it was a simpler time. The word "social media" barely had any traction, and Facebook wasn't even a smile on Mark Zuckerberg's face. Most websites that were considered hot at the time aren't even in existence today. One of the greatest exceptions, along with Google and Amazon, is LinkedIn. This month it reached an almost unheard-of social networking milestone, celebrating its 10th birthday. From its rather turgid beginnings as an exclusive resume-sharing tool, the site has steadily grown in stature to become as indispensable today to job seekers as Google is to web search and Amazon is to online retail. I remember first hearing about LinkedIn back in 2004 or 2005 and trying to figure out its purpose. In one conversation with a friend who is a D.C.-area lawyer, she described LinkedIn at the
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."