What Do Employers Look for When Hiring?
The following article is an extended list of traits that business owners and managers want employees to possess. Each one conveys to you, the reader, what employers are looking for when trying to fill a vacancy.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7493148
How To Futureproof Your Job with a Career Insurance Policy
Jobs come and go, but hopefully your career is bit more solid. If it’s not, your skills, goals, and personal career plan can guide you, but it’s never a bad time to prepare for a future layoff, job change, or even promotion. They can be tricky to handle, but a strong career “insurance policy” can give you the confidence to make the right choice no matter what life throws at you. Here’s how to build one.
What Is a Career Insurance Policy?
We first heard the phrase when career expert Hannah Morgan described it last year, and in this post we’ll walk you through building your own. Hannah describes it as a way to financially and professionally protect yourself against the possibility of losing your job. In other words, doing all the things required to make sure that if fate pulls the rug out from under you tomorrow, you’ll land safely. We’re taking the original idea and piggybacking on it to include some ways to prep you for any career or job shift, not just the unexpected kind.
Whether you’ve been laid off, thinking about a new job, or you’re comfortable in the job you have, a career insurance policy can help take some of the weight from your shoulders. You’ll have the basics—money, your professional network, your skills, and an escape plan, all taken care of, so you can focus on deciding what you should do next.
Step One: Protect Yourself Financially with an Emergency Fund
Insurance policies work because, by chipping in periodically, you have a pool of resources to tap into if disaster strikes. This is no different: layoffs can happen even at the strongest companies, and job situations can change drastically (a new boss, a transfer to a different department, terrible managers, etc) and leave you wondering if you can survive another day at work. Whatever happens, the first thing most of us agonize over when considering changing jobs, quitting, or what to do when we’re laid off is how we’ll pay the bills. Alleviate that worry right now by starting an emergency fund. How much you should put into an emergency fund depends on your needs. Most people say you should stash enough cash away for three to six months of regular bills, expenses, and purchases that you would normally make.Start with the basics, then move up to incidentals. Don’t try to plan for everything, and keep your money somewhere it’ll work for you. At the end of the day, if you can make your emergency fund grow on its own, you’ll be better prepared for an emergency like a job loss or illness.
Your emergency fund isn’t just in case you lose your job, though. If your work environment gets so terrible that you want to leave badly, or just can’t take another day there, having that fund on-hand makes it easy to walk away without having to wait and be miserable while you search for and land a new job. It also gives you the head-space to leave a terrible job and pick a new job carefully so you don’t take the first thing that’s available, or make the same mistakes at a new job just because you were in a hurry to get out of the last one.
Step Two: Make Yourself More Valuable by Diversifying Your Skills and Experience
One of the best things I ever did for my career was make a move from one part of my field (systems administration and support) to another (technical project management.) The result, after a few years and keeping up with both ends of the industry, was that I found myself capable of moving in either direction if I had to—I could look at opportunities and think “well, if this all goes down the tubes, I can always go back to being a sysadmin, I’m still good at that!” Granted, I had a job that let me keep my old skills honed while working at the new ones (translation: We were shorthanded and encouraged to jump in and help out instead of standing back and saying “that’s not my job,”) but if you’re facing a career change, a possible promotion, or a layoff, don’t let yourself get caught knowing how to do only one thing or work with any one tool. The best time to learn something new is when you don’t need the skill.
We’ve explained that being good at one thing just isn’t enough anymore, but it can be worse when that one thing you’re good at is suddenly no longer in high demand. There are plenty of ways to pick up new skills without much risk. Take night classes, go back to school for an advanced degree, take up an apprenticeship, or pick up a part time job. Your skill doesn’t have to be a something as big as a degree or certification either: pick up a new language, or learn a new programming language or tool, or explore a side-passion or hobby. Consider an internship or doing some volunteer work to pick up those desirable skills. In any case, you get the skills, the non-profit gets the job done or a helping hand, and everyone wins.
Whatever you do, make a commitment to keep learning and regularly pick up new skills that interest you and can benefit you professionally. You may even be able to turn those side passions or skills into a paying thing—a way to diversify your income streams so you’re not so heavily reliant on the job you have.
Step Three: Protect Yourself Professionally by Beefing Up Your Network
a great job has just as much to do with who you know as it does what you know and what you can bring to the table. Companies everywhere get thousands of applicants each day, and the best way to get a leg up on the competition is to have a friends in the right places who are willing to lend you a hand—and in turn, who you can help when they need it. We mentioned using the “Layoff Test” to beef up your network, or thinking about the ten people you would reach out to for advice or support if you got laid off tomorrow. If you can’t think of ten people, your professional network probably sucks, but you can do something about it. Here are a few ways to improve your professional network now, while you’re gainfully employed and not necessarily looking for a new opportunity.
- Reconnect with old coworkers or managers you haven’t spoken to in a while. Offer your help to them, see what they have going on professionally. The first rule of professional networking is to stop thinking of it as professional networking: all you’re doing is making friends and extending your help to people who may need it. What goes around comes around. Ask those old contacts out for coffee in the morning or for lunch and catch up. You should never need to IM or call an old coworker because you’re interviewing and need a reference from an old job.
- Get involved in industry groups or trade associations. Most of us incorrectly assume that the only people we can and should network with are previous coworkers or managers—people who know how we work and can vouch for us. That’s all well and good, but if a company lays off your entire department, your friends will need help as much as you do. Join a professional organization (for example, even though I haven’t been a full time project manager, I’m still a member of the Project Management Institute) or trade group dedicated to your craft—or your desired craft. Go to meetings, seminars, or dinners and meet people. Listen to presentations. Learn something new, and meet people who have something to teach you.
- Make personal, one-on-one connections with people you admire. If the idea of huge industry gatherings or busy coffee shops is too much, this piece on networking for introverts might help. You probably already know a few people in your field—or your preferred field—whose work you admire. Reach out to them personally to get to know them. Let them know you’re interested in their work, and would love to talk to them about it. Meet them, talk, and make a personal connection. Offer your help if they can use it.
Remember, “professional network” is really code for “friends who help each other professionally when they can.” That’s all—there’s no magic or secret handshake. Be sincere, willing to help other people, and in general a nice person, and others will do the same for you.
Step Four: Keep Your Résumé and Social Networks Updated, and Learn How to Promote Yourself
The first thing that many of us do as soon as we think about leaving a job or have lost a job is update our résumés and our profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and job boards where we have our résumés saved. It’s an unfortunate necessity, but if you’ve waited until you’re leaving (or have been let go!) to add your most recent job to your résumés,you’re doing it wrong.
Set aside an hour one night to make sure your résumés is up to date—everything from your contact information to your current job title and responsibilities. Then make it a recurring thing, every few months, sooner if things tend to move quickly at your job. This way, you’ll never be in the position of thinking back two years to remember your accomplishments or responsibilities just because that’s the last time you updated your résumés or LinkedIn profile. If you have a professional nameplate site, or a personal site where you host your résumés or portfolio, update that as well. It’s worth the effort of doing now, while everything is fine, so you can devote more energy towards deciding what to do when the time comes to send those links to a potential employer, or after you’ve been laid off.
At the same time, learn how to promote yourself without being sleazy about it. You have desirable skills and experience that any employer would want, so flaunt it. Give anyone looking for more information about you something great to look at and find when they search for you online, or reach out to their colleagues about you.
Step Five: Turn Your Hobbies, Passions, or Extra Skills Into a Second Income Stream
A single income stream is risky, and the fact that most of us are entirely dependent on our one jobs is one of the biggest reasons job uncertainty stresses us out. Pending layoffs, reorganizations, any small change can very literally take our livelihoods away. Back when getting a job meant you’d have it until you retired, that wasn’t a big deal, but now, getting laid off can lead to financial ruin, and unemployment insurance is no substitute for a full paycheck. Instead of leaving it up to fate, diversify your income streams.
We’re not saying work multiple jobs just because you can, but you should definitely consider finding ways to take some of your interest areas, hobbies, or passions that you may want to turn into careers someday and turning them into a second income stream. If you like to write, consider freelance writing or starting your own blog. If you’re technically inclined, consider offering to repair friends’ and neighbors’ computers for a fee, or to help them with the things you know how to do, like backing up their data or accessing their systems remotely. It’s not easy, but it’s a great way to fill your emergency fund a little faster, and to make yourself a little less reliant on the whims of one employer. Then you can think more clearly about whether a layoff is coming your way, or whether a promotion or change in primary jobs is best for you.
Ideally, all of these suggestions will help you build a kind of bulletproof “career armor” that will help protect you from sudden changes and make difficult decisions a little easier. You’ll have the basics covered and you’ll be prepared for most common eventualities. More importantly, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever comes your way with confidence, knowing you’re ready for it. That’s the best thing insurance can possibly offer.
- Futureproof Your Job with a Career Insurance Policy (lifehacker.com)
Why your resume ends up in the ’round file’
Resume readers hate mistakes on resumes. There are even readers who have told me that if there is even one mistake, typo, or formatting error, they’ll dump it. Poorly presented resumes say negative things about your work habits and possibly even your character. Resume sloppiness could imply that you’re lazy, unambitious, careless, or simply don’t know any better. All red flags to potential employers.
Lies are big no nos too. Remember that your resume is a legal document. If you are hired under false pretentions and found out, you can be fired on the spot.
Check to see that you aren’t making any of these common mistakes that land resumes on the fast track to the recycle bin:
- Spelling mistakes, typos and poor grammar is number one. Read, re-read and have your resume edited each time you make some changes.
- Stretching the truth. Saying you have a degree when you completed only three years of a four year degree program is not legit. Or stretching the length of time you worked somewhere is misleading.
- Exaggerating or misrepresenting your accomplishments. Saying you had a 100% increase in sales when it was a start up product or company may be true. But if you started with $50 and increased sales to $100 you may not be the quality of sales person a company needs and you could be setting yourself up for failure down the road.
- Upgrading your title or number of direct reports. You may have been doing the work of a assistant sales manager but if that wasn’t your title then you can’t use it. If the number of people reporting to you varied over the length of the position use a range, “Managed a team of 4-9 CSR’s.”
- Don’t regurgitate a job description word for word. Readers want to see some creativity and professional wonderment reflected with your own words. Keep key words in the writing just not word for word.
- Elongating work periods. If you have gaps between jobs, keep the months out and just use years, lying about the length of the job to fill gaps is totally taboo.
- Remember to list both a phone number and email address. Create a business-like email address, leave cutesy emails for dating sites. Only use a phone number where you have voicemail. If an employer listens to a phone ring endlessly, they’re unlikely to call back.
- Ensure you have industries separate from what business you are in. (You are in the manufacturing industry but in the business of sales.)
- There is no need to start sentences with “I” in a resume; the I is assumed.
- Either use periods at the end of your statements or don’t, be consistent and uniform.
- Stick to one font and don’t over bold. Your name should be maximum 14 point font.
- Limit your list of interests to three items.
Proofread then have someone else proofread it for you. A fresh set of eyes can spot errors that you don’t see because you read what you meant to type – rather than what’s actually on the page. You have one chance to make an impression, take your time and take your writing seriously.
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer
Author of Networking: How to Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It
When you think of a cheerful job, you probably don’t think of loan officer, warehouse manager, or accountant. But it turns out these are some of the happiest careers in America, according to online jobs site Careerbliss.com.
This can serve as an indicator about what careers are in demand for this year and future trends in the job market.
CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) just released the results of their latest study that used EMSI’s rich labor market database, which pulls from over 90 national and state employment resources and includes detailed information on employees and self-employed workers, to find the best jobs (that require a bachelor’s degree) for 2013. Here are the top 10 as published in Forbes magazine.
- Software Developers (Applications and Systems Software): 70,872 jobs added since 2010, 7% growth
- Accountants and Auditors: 37,123 jobs added since 2010, 3% growth
- Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists: 31,335 jobs added since 2010, 10% growth
- Computer Systems Analysts: 26,937 jobs added since 2010, 5% growth
- Human Resources, Training and Labor Relations Specialists: 22,773 jobs added since 2010, 5% growth
- Network and Computer Systems Administrators: 18,626 jobs added since 2010, 5% growth
- Sales Representatives (Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific): 17,405 jobs added since 2010, 4% growth
- Security Analysts, Web Developers, Network Architects: 15,715 jobs added since 2010, 5% growth
- Mechanical Engineers: 13,847 jobs added since 2010, 6% growth
- Industrial Engineers: 12,269 jobs added since 2010, 6% growth
There’s plenty to remember before heading in for your important interview. Josh Tolan the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews discussed with mashable (http://mashable.com/2013/01/19/guide-to-job-interview/) an essential guide to interviewing. If you follow his advice, you can dramatically increase your chance of landing your dream job.
The Obvious: Dress to Impress
Dress the part: Keep in mind that you want to make a professional first impression, and always dress for a position several notches above the one for which you’re interviewing. If you’re interviewing at a creative, casual agency, make sure the attire you settle on is professional and conservative (although perhaps don’t show up looking like a Wall Street power broker). If your interview is through online video, you might think you can dress down a bit and worry a little less, but this certainly isn’t true! Dress just as nicely as you would for an in-person meeting. Wait until you’re hired to show off your more fashionable and fun side.
Colour me good: Pay attention to the colors you choose before heading out the door or turning on your webcam. This isn’t a fashion show, and some colors won’t be right for an important job interview. Stick to conservative and neutral colors like browns and blacks. If you want to throw a little color in there, think about green, which is the color of money and can send a subconscious message that you’ll be able to bring real dollar value to the company. Stay away from bright primary colors like red and yellow because you want your interviewer focused on your words, not your outfit.
Go the Extra Mile
Dig deeper into the organization: Read the company’s stated values and objectives on its website. Search on the web and in trade publications to see if the company has achieved anything noteworthy recently, whether an industry award or opening a new branch.
Dig deeper into the industry: Look at the larger issues in the overall industry and compare your company of choice to see how they stack up. All of this research can give you great ideas for tailored questions to ask about the organization when the interviewer turns the floor over to you at the end of the meeting.
Dig deeper into their company culture: Perhaps another employee’s experience can help you avoid a huge misstep or prepare you better for tricky questions. Ask questions on social sharing sites like Quora and LinkedIn Answers to see what experiences others have had at the company. You might also want to see what users have posted about the company on Glassdoor, where employees and candidates alike go to share information about companies from interview tips to salary ranges.
Dig deeper into their internal operations: You can also use social media to connect with current and former employees to get the inside scoop. Send a polite message asking the contact if they have time to discuss the company and then pick their brains about the organization. This will help you get a better view of what the day-to-day life would be like at your dream job. Make sure you ask good questions, but always be tactful. You don’t want to phrase your questions too negatively for fear you’ll get evasive answers.
Dig deeper into their leadership style: You might also want to consider asking those current and former employees you connected with about their working relationship with the boss. The leadership style of the boss can really impact the company culture, whether negatively or positively, so this is important information to know before heading into your interview. You want to enjoy your job, after all, which might be hard if you’re managed by The Office’s Michael Scott.
Research your interviewer: Finally, it’s also important to do some research into your interviewer. Look them up on the web, read their company bio and find them on social media. Their social media presence might even help you gain insight into their interview style. Will they be more conversational or stay by-the-book and stick to their questions? Looking at an interviewer’s social media profile can help you gauge how to interact with them in the interview setting. Plus, social media can help you connect with your interviewer before ever stepping foot in the office. You can share an interesting article or even discuss a recent trend to make a connection before the job interview begins.
Prepare for the Curve Balls
Companies from Google to Amazon like to use tough questions to get candidates turned around during the interview process. This is because companies want to see how well you think on your feet under pressure. If you get a question about filling a bus with golf balls or what kind of animal you would be, don’t panic.
Make sure your answer has some form of real-world value and show the employer how you think through a problem. For the animal example, you might say you’d love to be a cat because you like to work independently and set your own goals. You’ve now answered the question and brought it back to your own skills and qualifications, instead of just providing a wacky answer.
The most important thing to remember with tough questions is to always remain calm and collected. If you seem like you’re going to pieces, the interviewer will think you can’t handle the stresses of the office.
The Questions You Absolutely Must Ask
It’s just as important for you to use the interview to find out about the company as it is for the employer to test you. Here are five questions you should make sure you ask to discover a little bit about the company culture before mentally decorating your office.
What do you like best about working for the company? The answer to this question will tell you a lot about the company culture and the interviewer in general, which is important if your interviewer is also destined to become your boss. If the things they name off sound completely unappealing to you, this is probably not an organization you’ll enjoy spending your 9-to-5.
How would you describe your company culture in five words? This question might seem a bit obvious, but it’s also helpful in learning just what the company values. The five words your interviewer chooses will most likely be the most important and prevalent aspects of the company culture.
What is the growth opportunity like for this position? You want to have room to grow, learn and achieve in your new position. Asking about growth opportunity is both a good way to find out how much you can achieve and also brand yourself as a forward-thinking candidate. If the interviewer is a little light on details for how you can grow in the position or acquire additional education and training, perhaps career growth isn’t in the cards at this company.
What are the qualities of your most successful employees? This question will tell you the most important qualities you should possess in order to succeed in the company environment. For instance, maybe the ability to multi-task and thrive in a chaotic environment is essential. Or perhaps the ability to work as a team and communicate clearly is key. Listen carefully to these ideal qualities and consider what they reveal about the overall organization to see if you’d fit in.
What’s a common misconception about the company you would like to clear up? Almost every company is the victim of common misconceptions, whether it’s about the company itself, the larger industry, or a specific department. For instance, a startup company might seem like all fun and games from the outside, but this just covers up the long hours and high stress levels of employees. Don’t let perks like free lunch or an office gym stop you from finding out what life is really like at the organization. Your interviewer’s answer will tell you both how the outside world views the organization and also how the company views itself.
Here are some unusual interview questions that really make candidates ‘think on the spot.’
Wacky interview questions are asked to make you think on your feet — and it doesn’t seem like these mind-numbing teasers are going to go away any time soon.
For the past year, Glassdoor compiled the most off-the-wall questions to “help job seekers prepare for challenging or unexpected questions that may arise during an interview.”
Here are the top oddball questions from last year:
1. “If you were to get rid of one state in the US, which would it be and why?”
Asked by Forrester Research for a Research Associate candidate.
2. “How many cows are in Canada?”
Asked by Google for a local data quality evaluator candidate.
3. “How many quarters would you need to reach the height of the Empire State building?
Asked by JetBlue for a pricing / revenue management analyst candidate.
4. “A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?”
Asked by Clark Construction Group for a office engineer candidate
5. “What songs best describes your work ethic?”
Asked by Dell for a consumer sales candidate.
6. “Jeff Bezos walks into your office and says you can have a million dollars to launch your best entrepreneurial idea. What is it?”
Asked by Amazon for a product development candidate.
7. “What do you think about when you are alone in your car?”
Asked by Gallup for an associate analyst candidate.
8. “How would you rate your memory?”
Asked by Marriott for a front desk associate candidate.
9. “Name three previous Nobel Prize Winners.”
Asked by BenefitsCONNECT for an Office Manager candidate.
10. “Can you say: ’Peter Pepper Picked a Pickled Pepper’ and cross-sell a washing machine at the same time?”
Asked by MasterCard for a call centre candidate.
11. “If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?”
Asked by Trader Joe’s for a crew candidate.
12. “How would people communicate in a perfect world?”
Asked by Novell for a software engineer candidate.
13. “How do you make a tuna sandwich?”
Asked by Astron Consulting for a office manager candidate.
14. “My wife and I are going on vacation, where would you recommend?”
Asked by Pricewaterhouse Coopers for an advisory associate candidate.
15. “You are a head chef at a restaurant and your team has been selected to be on Iron Chef. How do you prepare your team for the competition and how do you leverage the competition for your restaurant?”
Asked by Accenture for a business analyst candidate.
16. “Estimate how many windows are in New York.”
Asked by Bain & Company for an associate consultant candidate.
17. “What’s your favorite song? Perform it for us now.”
Asked by LivingSocial for anadventures city manager candidate.
18. “Calculate the angle of two clock pointers when time is 11:50.”
Asked by Bank of America for a software developer candidate
19. “Have you ever stolen a pen from work?”
Asked by Jiffy Software for a software architect candidate.
20. “Pick two celebrities to be your parents.”
Asked by Urban Outfitters for a sales associate candidate.
21. “What kitchen utensil would you be?”
22. “If you had turned your cell phone to silent, and it rang really loudly despite it being on silent, what would you tell me?”
Asked by Kimberly-Clark for a biomedical engineer candidate.
23. “On a scale from one to ten, rate me as an interviewer.”
Asked by Kraft Foods for a general laborer candidate
24. “If you could be anyone else, who would it be?”
25. “How would you direct someone else on how to cook an omelet?”
Asked by PETCO for an analyst candidate.