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Values and Why They Are Important Part 1 Introduction

Values and Why They Are Important Part 1 Introduction

values

Values and Why They Are Important

 is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you to solve difficult problems at work and at home

This is first post in a short series on values, what are they, why are they important and how to understand your own values.

Understanding your own values is key to leading a happy and fulfilled life.  Knowing them can guide you in deciding the work you want to do and even how you choose a life partner. Understanding them can help you deal with many of the challenges you will meet through life and how to make the best choice in different situations.

What Are Values?

Values are the important and lasting things you believe about life and the measures by which you will usually judge yourself and others. When you live your life in accord with your values you will usually feel comfortable and at peace with yourself. That is if your values are positive and truly your own, not those you think you should have. When you don’t live according to your own values, you may feel miserably, guilty or angry with what is preventing you from feeling fulfilled.

Values are usually fairly stable throughout life. We learn them young from our parents, teachers, our friends and sometimes, these days, from the media. But not all the values we learn when young are helpful to us. Times change! Think, for example, about the value that some people learned when young about the “separate” roles of men and women. Or the values that some people have taken on related to particular brands,

When you begin to understand your own values you can begin to make choices about which to hold on to.

Next time, we’ll begin to look at how you determine what are your own real values. You can find the second post here http://wisewolftalking.com/2014/02/24/values-and-why-they-are-important-part-2-determine-your-own-values/

101334901_80_80Wendy Mason  is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you to solve difficult problems at work and at home
wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com 
http://wisewolfcoaching.com

 

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Managing People – Know Yourself!

Managing People – Know Yourself!

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. Aristotle

N-Plants

I’ve been writing a lot recently about the personal development mindset.  A key part of the mindset is self-belief.  But before you can believe in yourself, you need to understand yourself; particularly your strengths, your weaknesses and your personality.  This is particularly important if you want to be successful at managing others!

I have important news for you – there are no perfect managers.  Managers have strengths and all of them have weaknesses too.  You are no different to the rest.  There will be things that you are good at and there will be other things that you might prefer not to talk about, or even to admit to yourself.  And every one of us has our own quirks of personality.  Believe me, you need to understand yours!  If you want to succeed as a manager, you need to be honest and, not least, with yourself.

Being a good manager doesn’t mean you need to be perfect or to know everything.  But, you do need to be good at covering the gaps; that only works if you know where the gaps are.  Then you have options.

You can:

  • Put together a team that includes people who are what you are not and can do what you cannot. Sometimes this can be a challenge – often our first instinct is to recruit people just like us! If you are putting together a team for an important, business critical, task,  you need to have all the bases covered,
  • Outsource/buy in the ability you need, when you need it, for example, HR advice when faced with a large-scale organizational change.
  • Adapt the task so that it uses the skills and experience you have available. This may be negotiable more often than you think.  But without an honest appraisal of your own strengths and the strengths of the team, that would not be possible.

If you would like to understand yourself better then “Personality: What makes you the way you are” by Daniel Nettle comes well recommended.  Also, there are lots of free personality tests on line – HumanMetrics provides one of the more widely used ones.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

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Job Search – Six Top Salary Tips

Job Search – Six Top Salary Tips

When you are looking for work there are all kinds of factors to take into account. Many we have covered here before. For the majority of us, the main reason we choose to work is so that we can earn money to support ourselves and our families.

These tips will help you get paid the salary you deserve and then help you to look after your money.

  1. What are you worth?

    Work out what your value should be to an employer. Research what other people with your skills and experience are earning and use that information to backup your salary negotiation. The same role can pay differently in different sectors and in different parts of the country so take that into account in making your calculations.

  2.  Learn to negotiate

    You will find lots of tips on negotiating on line. You are in a much more powerful position before you accept a job. Think about the things you have to bargain with and, for example, how scarce your skills are. Use the information you have gathered about what other people are being paid for the same type of work. How far are you prepared to go? Know what will be unacceptable and work out your limits. Be prepared to sit on your hands and wait for a response from your potential employer.

  3. Don’t forget benefits!

    Lots of people do not take into account the real value of benefits when negotiating a salary. If you get stuck on the amount of your salary try negotiating your benefits’ package with your potential employer – it may cost them very little to give you a better benefits’ package but it might make a big difference for you.

  4. Learn to manage your money

    Learn to make the most of what you get paid. If you don’t know about budgeting, then find out and learn to set your self a budget each month. Work hard to stay out of debt and don’t over use those credit cards. Remember loans have to be repaid and there is very little prospect of the economy improving quickly; what is borrowed now might put your future at risk. If you do borrow be careful who you do it from and learn about interest rates. Again use the internet to research money management.

  5. Start saving

    It’s never too early to start saving for the things you might want in the future and even for your retirement. Most large organizations now have to give you access to a pension scheme. Don’t forget that at sometime you might want to buy a house, Saving schemes can be started with quite small amounts.

  6. Think long term

    I’ve mentioned pensions and saving above. But think long term in a broader way. When you are thinking about the salary for a role, don’t just think short term about what you will be paid initially. Think about what the possibilities might be in your chosen field for future earning opportunities. Will your new employer be able to give you access to them. Don’t sacrifice the longer term for a short term win.

    This is just general advice, you should always take advice from a properly qualified financial adviser when planning your financial future.

    Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Career Development – Dealing With A Difficult Boss – Part 2 Books To Help

Career Development – Dealing With A Difficult Boss – Part 2 Books To Help

Lots of people seem have problems with bosses – for one reason or another they can’t get on with them. But bosses have a huge impact over large parts of your daily life. And unhappiness and stress at work can leak out to affect the rest of your life.

Bosses are human! If you’re lucky they will be understanding, supportive, encouraging and inspiring. But, being human, they will probably have at least one characteristic that makes them difficult for you in some aspect of your relationship. If you are really unlucky they might be lazy, unmotivated, weak, over-emotional and sarcastic – all at more or less the same time.

But you’re not a powerless victim. When it comes to your boss, then you’re more in control than you think. It’s a case of understanding what makes them tick, why they react as they do, and then approaching situations in the right way to get the best out of your boss.

You can find help. We’ve written here before about “Dealing with a Difficult Boss”. We said that if you want to stay, you are going to have to find a way to work with your cranky boss, you need a strategy and we offered some tips.

But given the interest in that post and, the questions we received, I’ve found a couple of books on Amazon that you might like to read, if you are having problems.

How to manage your Boss” is for a UK audience and “It’s OK to Manage Your Boss” is for readers in the US.

How to Manage your Boss” by Ros Jay

This is the user’s guide to getting the best from your manager. Understand what matters to them and how they like to function, and you can start to build a relationship that is as beneficial as it is rewarding. Developing a good relationship with your boss is vital for a low-stress, high-reward working life and you are in control.

Its Okay to Manage Your Boss: The Step-by-Step Program for Making the Best of Your Most Important Relationship at Work by Bruce Tulgan” provides a program to help you feel in control of your work life again.

And if you would like a coach to support you as you deal with this, please get in touch.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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When you are rejected for a job.

When you are rejected for a job.

When I talk to, or coach, people looking for work today, I never stop being amazed by some of the knock backs they have to deal with. Quite superb candidates with brilliant experience find themselves being rejected at least once before they hook that special job.  Sometimes, it is a lot more than once. They have to learn to deal with disappointment.

To survive you have to become resilient – it is how you handle the news that is all important.

First, don’t take it personally. Panels make decisions based on what they read and what they made of you at the interview.  Sometimes that is supplemented by the results from an assessment centre. Then they make a subjective judgement about the best fit for the role.

Their judgement is about a particular role, at that particular point of time. It is their view on that occasion and it is not about your value as a human being.

Second, use this as an opportunity to learn. Get all the feedback you can from the panel. If they don’t offer you an opportunity to discuss your application and the interview, then ask for one. You will find most reputable organizations will have a discussion with you, if you have got to interview stage.

Their feedback is valuable. Try not to be defensive, take a deep breath and listen as objectively as you can to what they have to offer. But weigh their views up for yourself; don’t just take it at face value. Do you agree with what they say? What is the evidence?

Third, after your discussion, send a thank you note to the hiring manager, the recruiter, and who ever took the time-out to give you feedback.

You are not saying thank you out of sheer politeness or gratitude. They may have already offered the job to someone else but that person may change their mind and never start the job. Or the person may take the job but prove to be unsatisfactory. It happens more often than you think.

Filling a job takes an employer a lot of time and energy. Staff time for interviews plus the cost of posting the job, etc. is expensive for most employers. Your follow-up discussion plus your thank you note will mark you out. It will remind them of you, particularly, if you include a request that they get in touch with you if the situation changes or another job becomes available.

Take some time out to reflect positively on the experience you have been through and what you have learned from it. Now it is time to move on! Sometimes things just happen! You can’t change what has gone before, but you can make sure that your reaction turns into three steps forward and not one step back.

If  you are serious about furthering your career while having a good life at home, I think you will find our new programme interesting!   http://gettingtherewithwisewolf.com/

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with managers and professionals who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Job Search Part 7: How to negotiate your salary and benefits.

Job Search Part 7: How to negotiate your salary and benefits.

Are you looking for work? Then you have come to the right place!

This is the seventh post in our series on Job Search.

In the first post at this link, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/05/job-searchwhat-kind-of-work-are-you-looking-for/ , I said that you have a decision to make! The clearer you are about the kind of work you want, the more likely you are to be successful.

In the second post at this link, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/12/job-search-part-2-where-are-you-looking/ , I set out some options for you about where to look for work

In the third post, you can find it here, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/19/job-search-part-3what-networking-can-do-for-your-job-search/, I said that networking was the most effective way to look for work and I discussed how to do it well.

The fourth post at this link, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/26/job-search-part-4-writing-that-winning-cv/, set out how to write a CV to help you stand-out from the crowd.

In Part 5 we discussed how you prepare to be a star at a conventional interview.http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/08/09/job-search-part-5-preparing-for-the-interview/

In Part 6 we discussed Phone Interviews, Group Interviews and Assessment Centres at this link http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/08/16/job-search-part-6-phone-interviews-group-interviews-and-assessment-centres/

So you did well at interview and you are now being offered the role. But you are not sure about the remuneration package and whether it is the right one. What should you do?

Now is the time to do your homework on what you should expect.

First, find out what is a the minimum for the role that you could consider. You need to know your financial commitments and what it takes to maintain your present life style. What are you earning now? Surely you would expect at least the same salary. Find out about market rates and what other people are being paid for the same work? Find job specs with similar requirements to what you’ve been offered and check what other employers are currently offering. If you are particularly well qualified or experienced, you should expect higher than average market rates.

Having done some research into what the market rates are, you’re now in a position to start considering your ideal salary. This is the salary you consider you should be paid given the job you’re applying for and your own level of experience. Looking at the higher-end salaries for jobs being advertised in your chosen field, as well as the level of experience they require, is a good place to start.

When you have considered salaries, you should consider the possible benefits package. For example, your prospective employer might offer any of the following benefits:

  • Health care
  • Pension scheme
  • Stock options
  • Free gym membership
  • Travel schemes/car
  • Flexible working options

You should consider how much flexibility you’re willing to offer for these kind of benefits. That means the monetary value of each benefit as well as the effect on your life style. For example, flexible working hours might allow you to spend more time with your family and pensions could help your future security.

Now, you have a fair idea what you might expect and it is time to think about negotiating. Your new employer is likely to have a figure in mind for your salary, but you should not simply accept or reject the first offer. See how much flexibility there is and when a salary review is likely to take place. This might make taking a slightly lower offer more acceptable. If it is a low offer, tell the new employer that is what you think but tell them tactfully and back it up with facts from your research.

If the package is around your expected salary, you can still attempt negotiation. You should explain how your experience, knowledge and qualifications position you in the market. If you are one of those lucky people offered your ideal salary, you can still discuss future opportunities for earning and for career development.

You should never flat-out refuse the offer of a salary straight away. Always say you ‘need time to consider the package’, that gives you and the employer more time to consider your options. Never just consider salary in isolation! Always take into account other things like benefits, working hours, work culture and the job itself as well as room for career development.

If the salary is not what you expected and it isn’t compensated for by additional benefits or career development, you should say so.  If the employer is not prepared to move, then you’ll probably have to accept that the job wasn’t right for you and move on. Remember, if you’ve done your homework, you should know what you’re worth, so you should try your best to make sure that’s what you earn in your next job.

If  you are serious about career and personal development, I think you will find our new programme at this link  http://gettingtherewithwisewolf.com/ interesting!

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with managers and professionals who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Job Search Part 6: Phone Interviews, Group Interviews and Assessment Centres

Job Search Part 6: Phone Interviews, Group Interviews and Assessment Centres

Are you looking for work? Then you have come to the right place!

This is the sixth post in our series on Job Search.

In the first post at this link, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/05/job-searchwhat-kind-of-work-are-you-looking-for/ , I said that you have a decision to make! The clearer you are about the kind of work you want, the more likely you are to be successful.

In the second post at this link, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/12/job-search-part-2-where-are-you-looking/ , I set out some options for you about where to look for work

In the third post, you can find it here, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/19/job-search-part-3what-networking-can-do-for-your-job-search/, I said that networking was the most effective way to look for work and I discussed how to do it well.

The fourth post at this link, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/26/job-search-part-4-writing-that-winning-cv/, set out how to write a CV to help you stand-out from the crowd.

In Part 5 we discussed how you prepare to be a star at a conventional interview. http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/08/09/job-search-part-5-preparing-for-the-interview/

Some employers like to go straight to a conventional interview stage. Others screen candidates by asking them to take tests or to attend an assessment centre.  Sometimes they like to have a telephone discussion before inviting you to a face to face interview. Today I’m going to cover Phone interviews, Group Interviews and Assessment Centres. But remember as I said last time whatever they choose to do, your winning CV has got you over the first hurdle.

The Phone interview

Lots of organizations now use phone interviews to screen candidates. This helps them cut costs and narrows the pool of applicants.

Preparing for a phone interview

You need to take phone interviews seriously – you don’t want to lose out to better prepared candidates. A telephone interview is as important as any other form of interview or recruitment process. The first impression you make on the phone, how present yourself, answer questions and handle the conversation will decide whether you go forward.

As for a face-to-face interview, you need to find out as much as you can about the organisation and the job. The best place to start is the employer’s website. This will give you the background information you need – the size and structure of the organization, what it does and field/market it works in.

Carry out a quick online search for news about the organization, such as, is it planning to expand or is it in difficulties? This can help you to stand out – have you got ideas for solutions to problems ? You can certainly show familiarity with the issues they are currently addressing. Prepare any questions you want to ask – you can find out more about the role, their culture and opportunities for growth in the company.

Make sure you have a pen and paper handy for note taking and have your CV to hand! They will probably open with questions about your experience.

And, odd as it sounds, dress as you would for an interview to handle the call – it usually helps you to sound more professional.

Group interviews

Some organizations invite several candidates to attend an interview together.

If you are invited for a group interview, again prepare by finding out about the organization and the job, as we have suggested above. The advantages group interviews provide for the employer is that they should see you both as a team player and as a leader.

If you are given a topic to discuss,  it can be an opportunity to show both capabilities. You can give a well argued opinion and lead the discussion! But you should also spend time listening carefully to what others say and taking forward the discussion with them. You can ask questions for clarity and at some stage you can sum up the discussion. Don’t try to put others down – show you can lead the group into a useful discussion where everyone takes part. That is most likely to get you an invitation to the next stage.

Assessment centres and tests

If you’re expected to sit numerical reasoning and psychometric tests before an interview or during assessment days, you need to prepare. There are many companies offering free online tests, so you can see how well you do and the areas you need to improve, if you are to get the job you want. We’ve written about assessment centres here before at this link.

And you can also consult the book below.  You′ll be guided through how each activity is conducted and how to prepare for each part of the selection process. You′ll find expert advice on how to shine in every activity.

Succeeding at Assessment Centres For Dummies

The next post in this series will tackle be how to negotiate a good offer after you have been successful at the interview stage.  If  you are serious about career and personal development, I think you will find our new programme at this link  http://gettingtherewithwisewolf.com/ interesting!

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with managers and professionals who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Career Development – When Not To Go For Promotion

English: Old War Office Building, Whitehall, L...

Career Development – When Not To Go For Promotion

I spend a lot of time working with people who need to develop the confidence necessary to go for promotion. It is great when they begin to believe they can succeed and they go for it! But, I believe that sometimes, and it is just sometimes, you need the confidence not to go for a promotion.

We all think going up the ladder is a good thing, don’t we? And for some that meteoric rise to success is acceptable at any cost. The reality is that the cost is very rarely thought out properly. Yes, if you rise fast when your kids are young you are likely to see far less of them. That is true for both men and women. And, yes, if you rise right to the top you are likely to have to make some fairly unpalatable decisions.

It is probably true to say that the higher your rise above the middle ranks, the more difficult it can be to stay true to yourself. But then it can often be difficult to stay true to yourself when you are desperate for money and starting out.

You may have less freedom in terms of time at the top but you do usually have more control over how you spend your working day. Yes, you probably will have more travel and longer hours but usually they are done in greater comfort.

Yes, there are people who are promoted above their abilities – we can all think of examples. But, on the whole,  if promotion decisions are made in a fair way and with accountability, it doesn’t happen very often. There are, of course, those poor souls  (and I say that advisedly) who are blessed with a talent for convincing any interviewing panel that they are wonderful. The pain comes when they have to deliver.

The time when I think it makes most sense to think very carefully about going for promotion is during or after serious illness. If you are not yet properly recovered is it really worth putting yourself, your family and the organization through the strain and stress?

The other time to think twice I believe is following a bereavement. You are not really yourself for some time after losing someone very close. I can remember an example of me not following my advice here. During my time as a GB public servant, I went into and, for various reasons, out of the fast stream to the top. At a later stage in my career there came a time to go back in again at senior level. Off I trotted to one of the most challenging assessment centres in the world. Whitehall invented assessment centres – you can trace them back to 1942 when they were used by War Office Selection Boards (Anstey, 1989). It should have been fairly straightforward for me – I’d already been successful once. Part way through I broke down completely – my mother had died four weeks before.

I was lucky, it certainly didn’t damage my career. But some questions were raised about the judgement of those who had pushed me towards taking part. So if you are in a similar position be wiser than me and them – have the confidence to know that sometimes going for promotion at that particular time is not the best thing.

But as I say, such times are exceptional, and I fully expect to spend more time with people needing the confidence to go for promotion, than those who need the confidence to stand back.

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with managers and professionals who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Job Search Part 5: Preparing For The Interview

Job Search Part 5: Preparing For The Interview

Are you looking for work? Then you have come to the right place!

This is the fifth post in our series on Job Search.

In the first post at this link http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/05/job-searchwhat-kind-of-work-are-you-looking-for/ I said that you have a decision to make! The clearer you are about the kind of work you want, the more likely you are to be successful.

In the second post at this link, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/12/job-search-part-2-where-are-you-looking/ , I set out some options for you in terms of where to look for work

In the third post, you can find it here, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/19/job-search-part-3what-networking-can-do-for-your-job-search/, I said that networking was the most effective way to look for work and I discussed how to do it well.

The last post at this link http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/26/job-search-part-4-writing-that-winning-cv/ set out how to write a CV to help you stand-out from the crowd.

Now we are going to consider how you prepare to be a star at the interview.

So you have caught the recruiter’s eye with your winning CV and now you are through to the next stage in the process.

This can be quite different for each job.

Some employers like to go straight to the interview stage. Others screen candidates by asking them to take tests or to attend an assessment centre.. Sometimes they like to have a telephone discussion before inviting you to a face to face interview. I’m going to cover assessment centres and telephone interviews in the next post. But remember whatever they choose to do, you are over the first hurdle.

Today, I’m going to deal with conventional job interviews.

I am going to look at how you prepare ahead of the interview, what to do on the day and some questions that you could ask.

Preparing for the Interview

This is incredibly important – this is what can make you successful. And you would be surprised how many people do not take the time to do it properly. Preparing means you understand the organization you are applying to join and you build your confidence.

  • Research the organization. Interviewers today expect you to know what the company does in some detail, particularly the part of the organization you wish to join. You need to understand how it is structured and the sector it operates in – who are the main competitors? You can also use the internet to find out who are the key players in the organization.
  • Research the role.  Make sure you understand the job description thoroughly and how it fits into the organization. Understand what skills they are looking for and think through examples you can use to show that have them.
  • Research the interview. The idea is to be as well prepared as possible and to have as few surprises on the day as possible. Make sure you understand what kind of interview you are going for and how it will be carried out. Don’t be worried about asking about this – it shows real commitment to the process. Find out if there will be any tests or exercises and whether they expect you to prepare a presentation, Is there anything they would like you to bring with you? Inquire about the interviewers themselves – who they are and what role do they have in the organization?
  • Get ready for questions! Make a list of points that you want the panel to know about you, for example, key successes in your previous role. If you can, and it is relevant, include the information in the answers you give at the interview. If you don’t get the opportunity to give the information in answers then you will probably get an opportunity to add it at the end as “anything else”.

On the day!

Dress for success! Usually this will mean being well-groomed and wearing smart business dress! In some organizations, it will be smart casual. Your research into the organization will give you some clues and you can enquire but always go for smart, with very good grooming. If something happens on your journey or you are going to be late – let the interviewers know as soon as possible. Again, if you are taken ill, it is much better to say so than go through an interview and leave the panel with a poor impression.

What happens at an interview!

The interviewers will usually;

  • Tell you about the organization and the role
  • Ask you questions so that they can assess your abilities, your personality and your motivation
  • Encourage you to ask any questions you have about the job, the organization or the process.
  • Tell you about the next stage of the process and when a final decision will be made.

Remember that the interview is a two-way process. You’re there to find out information about them as much as they are there to find out about you. So take your chance to find out information that isn’t in the job description and this can help you make an informed decision about whether you definitely want the job.

You could ask for example:

  • What are the promotion prospects?
  • What training opportunities are available?
  • Is there a clearly defined career path?

Some interview tips

  • Don’t expect the interviewers to remember what you said in your CV, when they ask a question, give them a complete answer.
  • Take time to breathe before you answer each question. Think about the question and prepare the answer. Don’t just gush out an incomplete answer
  • If you don’t understand the question ask for more information. Not every interviewer is good at asking questions and, in any case, interviewers would prefer you understood what they were asking and gave them a suitable answer.
  • Don’t answer any question with a simple “yes” or “no” – always add some detail.
  • Remember an interview is the time to show them that you are the right person for the job, so don’t be embarrassed about showing how good you are.
  • Be up-beat and don’t moan or complain about anything, if you want the job. Even if you have good reason not to like your present employer this isn’t the time to complain about them – that will make the interviewer wonder whether you can be a loyal employee.
  • Don’t put yourself down with false modesty and don’t make excuses. If they didn’t think you were good they would not have asked you to the interview. Be true to your self and honest but be sensible – now is not the time to express you secret doubts about any lack of experience.
  • Watch your body language, give the interviewers good eye contact, show interest and look attentive.  Sit and stand confidently and have a good hand shake ready – practice if necessary. Speak clearly and simply at a level that they can hear. Keep to the point and give concise answers.

The next post in this series will be about other types of job interviews and assessment centres.

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with managers and professionals who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Job Search Part 4: Writing That Winning CV

Job Search Part 4: Writing That Winning CV

Are you looking for work? Then you have come to the right place!

This is the fourth in our new series on Job Search. In the first post at this link http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/05/job-searchwhat-kind-of-work-are-you-looking-for/we said that you have a decision to make! The clearer you are about the kind of work you want, the more likely you are to be successful.

In the second post at this link, http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/12/job-search-part-2-where-are-you-looking/, I set out some options for you in terms of where to look for work

In the third post, last week,  http://wisewolftalking.com/2012/07/19/job-search-part-3what-networking-can-do-for-your-job-search/. I said that networking was the most effective way to look for work and we discussed how to do it well.

Now we are going to consider how to write a winning CV

Last year we published a series of posts on CV writing and you can find the links to them below.  You can find lots of books on CV writing on Amazon and those that come well recommended are at this link

A CV that is going to win you the job is the one that makes the reader want to know more about you. The CV that makes it much more likely that you will be invited to an interview! Good CVs are valuable and a very good investment of your time.

So how do you make yourself stand-out from the crowd?

Any CV that you write is only relevant if it shows how you meet the requirements of the particular role – so be ready to tailor you generic CV for each post. Be specific about skills, experience and personal qualities. Show that you understand their requirements.

These days employers and recruiter receive sacks full of CVs. Make yours short (no more than two sides of A4), easy to read and attractive.

Lay it out clearly with enough space and clear section headings.

Your CV shows what you bring to the organization, so make it look professional.

  • Choose a clear, professional font that is easy to read (e.g. Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman)
  • Make no typing mistakes – CVs with typos get “binned”. A simple spell check is not enough: ask someone else to proof-read your finished CV
  • Have clear headings (work experience, education etc) so that these can be scanned quickly
  • Order your experience and education into reverse chronological order with the latest first.
  • For recent posts, sum up what you actually achieved and delivered for each post
  • Concentrate on the last 10 years and sum-up earlier experience briefly.

Many recruiters’ job sites search candidates’ CVs for specific keywords. It is important to include those which are likely to apply for the particular job. Create clear statements that demonstrate your skills and what you deliver, using terms that show you as positive and pro-active.

These are positive keywords, you could use to describe your personal attributes

  • Accurate
  • Adaptable
  • Confident
  • Friendly
  • Hard-working
  • Innovative
  • Pro-active
  • Reliable
  • Responsible
  • Intelligent
  • Experienced

When describing your experience and achievement use pro-active descriptions like:

  • Achieved
  • Formulated
  • Planned
  • Broadened
  • Generated
  • Managed
  • Represented
  • Completed
  • Implemented
  • Shaped
  • Delivered
  • Saved

And, in these hard economic times, if you have saved an organization money or generated new business, flag it up with figures and facts.

Next week we’ll tackle writing that convincing covering letter!

I know you can get that job you have been hoping for and I would like to help you. Email me wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com now to arrange a free half hour coaching session by Skype.

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with professional women who want to make that jump to senior level. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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