Innovate. Collaborate. Grow. (Together.)

27 08 2015

 

Sometimes, after careful contemplation, I find that it’s best to write about the things that bug me. You know, the things that keep me up at night. This is not a rant. It’s just an observation. I’d love to get your perspective on the matter…

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Think outside the box. Don’t reinvent the wheel. We’ve heard both of these statements in our lives before, probably more than we’d like to admit. Yet, we continue to think inside the box and constantly try to reinvent something that’s worked for centuries. (PS. What if there was no box?)

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This may seem a bit contradictory, but I don’t think we need to sit around, thinking about how we can reinvent the wheel. The wheel exists and guess what – it works!! Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to innovate. Think about how we can make it work better, last longer or how it can be more sustainable. Add chrome rims. Hint, hint…

Challenge: Let’s leverage the abundance of the institutional knowledge we all have, work together to innovate and move forward. Together. That’s the key word. Collaboration isn’t collaboration if you’re not actually working together.

“None of us are as smart as all of us.” – Japanese proverb

The wheel is simply a metaphor. I’m sure the square ones didn’t work out too well in the beginning, but thanks to trial and error, determination and collaboration, we now have the simple machine that has made a BIG impact on every aspect of our world today.

Let’s make the world a little better today than it was yesterday.  

What are you waiting for?

This post was written for LinkedIn, but I thought “hey, YOU might find it to be useful.” Are we connected yet? (Please personalize your request. Thanks!)





How to Answer 15 of the Most Popular Interview Questions

19 08 2015

15-bEven if the prospect of a job interview makes you nervous, with a little preparation you’ll be ready to face even the most meticulous recruiters out there. Instead of guessing what kind of questions you might be asked, here’s a list of 15 most common job interview questions along with some easy tips on how to respond to each one of them.

Tell me about yourself.

This is a tricky classic. Remember that the recruiter already read your resume – say something different. Offer a short pitch of yourself and express what you’re really after when it comes to your career.

Discuss your educational background.

Again, you’ve got this covered in your CV, so say something different – mention specifics: what you’ve learned, what projects you worked on and how is it all relevant to the position.

How did you hear about the position?

This is your time to shine – if someone already working in the industry referred it to you, make sure to mention that. If you simply saw it posted on a job board, say what caught your eye about the offer.

Why do you want this job?

That’s where you need to show your passion for the position – express your interest in the company’s doings and identify key factors that make you a perfect fit for the role.

Why should we hire you?

Now it’s time to sell yourself to the recruiter – emphasize your qualifications, skills and passion for the job.

How do you handle stress?

This is important and you’ll do best if you refer to your actual experience. Do you sweat it out in the gym or have killer prioritizing skills? Talk briefly about your techniques for handling stress.

What are your salary requirements?

Simple – check what the position pays on Glassdoor and just answer. No need to be modest or overly confident here.

What do you know about the company?

This is where you show what you know about the company – and believe me, you should know much more than just the About page info. Know the company’s mission, values and priorities and you’ll nail this question.

What are your greatest strengths?

Be accurate, relevant and specific – always follow up with examples that clearly show those traits.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

Share you track record of previous achievements – if you haven’t experienced a professional success yet, mention those you did in college that are relevant to the competences required for the position.

What do you consider to be your weaknesses?

Talk about something you’re really struggling with and show how you’re on your way to improving it. Don’t act too perfect – that kind of attitude won’t impress anyone.

What type of work environment do you prefer?

Say the truth, but first try to learn whether the company provides the work environment you like. This way you’ll make everyone’s life easier.

What are you looking for in a new position?

Be specific and, ideally, state all the things the position actually offers.

What are your goals for the future?

This is the moment when the recruiter wants to see whether this position is in line with your career goals. If you’re sitting there being grilled, it probably is – just be honest.

Do you have any questions for us?

See if the job is the right fit for you – ask questions about specifics, such as your responsibilities, the number of people in your team or details about the management style.

****For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Isabel Wiliams!!!****

isabel-wiliams-bigAbout the author:  Isabel Wiliams is a Human Resources Specialist at  BizDB. She’s a passionate educator, lecturing about leveraging the potential of the Internet for business development.





5 Things Recruiters Want to See on Your Resume

11 08 2015

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Today’s tight job market presents job-seekers with a barrage of fluffy blog posts promising “secret” information recruiters “don’t want you to know.” With titles like “This one weird trick will get you hired IMMEDIATELY,” the implication is that the only thing separating your resume from those of the job-seeking illuminati is one crucial piece of information.

The truth, of course, is that there is no special trick. There’s no certain font or magic one-liner that will get you hired. What matters most is whether or not an employer can look at your resume, quickly extract the information they need and follow up accordingly.

When you know what recruiters really want to see, and why, then you’re on the path to getting hired. So, close out all your other tabs and listen up – these are the five things recruiters want to see on your resume:

  1. Continuity

Nobody likes a flake. While opinions may differ on what qualifies a flake – some say frequent job-hopping is bad, while others say it speaks to strong work ethic – all will agree that a flake is a person to be avoided. Employers want someone who is capable of handling the work: someone who will show up, do what’s necessary and not bail or change tracks until it’s done.

Recruiters scanning resumes, then, look for a sense of continuity. It doesn’t matter necessarily which positions you’ve held, how long you held them or why you left. What matters is that all of the things on your resume work together and convey a sense of steadfastness and dependability. Your resume needs to answer the invisible questions hovering above the recruiter’s head:

  • Are you a hard-worker?
  • Can you get things done?
  • Are you the right choice for this job?

The best way to maintain a sense of continuity is to establish a strong, clear …

  1. Career Narrative

Where did you start? Where are you now? What happened in between? Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end, and recruiters scanning your resume are looking for the same.

  • I started at X.
  • I learned Y.
  • By the time I left, I’d done Z.

Your resume shouldn’t merely be a list of skills and gigs; it should present the reader with a picture of the exciting road that is your career, portraying each entry as a stop along that road, and you as the wandering hero.

Recruiters want to know what challenges you’ve faced, what dragons you’ve slain, how you’ve grown and what you’ve learned. Most importantly, they want to know why this job is the ultimate destination of all your relentless questing, and why they should throw the doors open to welcome you.

  1. An Ongoing Commitment to Personal Growth

Nobody’s perfect, and being introspective enough to recognize your own weaknesses is, paradoxically, a strength. That’s not to say you should fill your resume with things you can’t do or things you aren’t good at – but you should strive to include credible evidence that shows you make a conscious effort to get better, all the time.

It’s up to you to determine what will prove a commitment to growth in the context of your specific field. For some, it may be attending local workshops on your own time. For others, it may be taking on extracurricular projects at work. If you’re in a highly research-driven field like medicine or law, you could probably benefit from a resume which highlights participation in a formal continuing education program.

  1. References, Awards and Recognition

Fundamentally, we are all hard-wired to resist taking risks. It’s an evolutionary trait stemming from billions of years of battling natural selection, which tends to take a firm hand with dumb animals who make a habit of eating weird fruit.

As a result, before you go to see a movie, you look up the Rotten Tomatoes score first. Before you buy a dishwasher, you read Amazon reviews. Before you meet up with an OkCupid date, you camp out in their backyard and watch them from the bushes Google them.

Likewise, recruiters look to external recognition when vetting candidates, because like you, they’re lazy and risk-averse. They don’t want to take a chance on you. They don’t want to give you a shot or take your word for it. To a recruiter, you’re just another weird fruit: You might sustain them, or you might kill them. When scanning your resume, a recruiter wants to feel safe and certain. They want to see that someone else – a former boss, a contest judge, the dean of your college – has already taken the plunge, eaten the weird fruit and can independently verify its awesomeness.

  1. What They Get from Hiring You, Specifically

Tired phrases like “hard worker” and “fast learner” are “a dime a dozen.” They’re squishy and impossible to quantify. They’re just words; even worse, they’re clichés. They hold no meaning, and they don’t set you apart.

So what does set you apart? What makes you not merely qualified for this job, but more qualified than everyone else who’s applying? What puts you in the top 1 percent? Why are you unique? Why are you special? Why are you awesome?

Figure that out, then put it on your resume – because in the end, it’s the only thing that really matters.

sarah landrum head shotAbout the author: Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she’s a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. She’s also the newest addition to the Campus to Career family, serving as a featured contributor on a regular basis. You can find her tweeting during boring speeches @SarahLandrum