What Will Be the Title of Your 2014 Chapter?

happy new year

First, I want to start off by wishing all of you a very happy, safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. As the New Year begins, it provides a sense of optimism, opportunity and possibilities. I like to think of it as ending the chapter of the previous year and starting a new chapter charting your course for the year ahead.  So what will the  title of your 2014 chapter be? For some the chapter may contain goals for a new job, home, travel, more money, etc. The title of your chapter can guide you on creating a plan to help you achieve those goals. It can serve as an anchor to remind you what you set out for the year.

elearning

If your 2014 chapter has aspirations for a promotion or career change (and of course more money), consider exploring development opportunities that may be available to you through your company’s eLearning tool or education/training programs. Social networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ also have free groups you can join to participate in conversations, projects, webinars, events and industry discussions. Upgrading your skills in an evolving market is always a good idea.

It demonstrates your willingness to learn new things and keep relevant. Take a few moments to think about what new skills or training you would like to acquire and how that may help you align with your holistic career plan.

Maybe you’re quite happy win your job but would like to get a better sense of what’s happening within your coffee chatcompany or out there (in your industry). The start of the new year should also be the start of new relationships. Take some time to build networks both within and outside your organization. I am a firm believer that different perspectives can help you make a more informed decision about what’s happening both beside you and around you. How about making a goal to network with six people this year? That’s one every two months.  Perhaps three people internally and three people externally. Maybe they’re acquaintances that you casually interact with that you would like to get to know better. Build you networks through LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Google+. Pick a few people and reach out to them. If  you can’t meet in person, set up a virtual coffee. Building and cultivating your network can be an important step in helping you make connections to realize your end goals.

LinkedIn_edit_profile

Regardless of your end goals. as I wrote in my last blog post How to Articulate Your Accomplishments for Your Performance Review, make a point of updating your online profiles to include accomplishments, skills and projects you completed. Having an updated profile helps build your brand and showcase your updated skills.

Finally, and most importantly, incorporate your personal goals and objectives into your 2014 chapter. The way we feel is the foundation of
healthylifestyle

how we project ourselves to our family, friends and work colleagues. Feeling positive about you should be your number one priority. Maybe it’s time to take up a new hobby or start an exercise routine. Having balance helps put you into the right frame of mind to focus and achieve your goals.

As for me…the title of my 2014 chapter will be an expansion of my 2013 continuous improvement philosophy, simply: “Expanding My Perspectives Through learning”.That will include both professional and personal goals.

I look forward to hearing what titles you come up with for this year. I wish you every success in achieving your goals. Tweet me @annzaliebarrett !

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Building Your Best Online Professional Brand

The social realm is all about building your brand. With social sites and blogs people can define the persona they want to present to their friends, family, co-workers and the general public at large. The dilemma is separating your personal person(s) from your professional one. LinkedIn provides the perfect social platform to build out your professional brand.

LinkedIn-RolodexWith more than 225M global users and a whopping 155M user visits per month*, LinkedIn has become the virtual Rolodex for professionals. It’s the place where you can showcase your professional experience, build out your networks, participate in discussions and showcase your professional portfolio of accomplishments. Savvy users have realized its potential by using it as a marketing and talent tool to promote their professional brand by seeking recommendations and showcasing their career journey.

 LinkedIn can also launch students and new grads into the talent market through their professional profile. Students have realized that employers are using LinkedIn to proactively communicate, promote jobs and source new talent. Extending engagement beyond on site campus/college events. That’s why it’s important to create the best impression.

Here are ten tips to building your stellar online professional brand on LinkedIn:

    • A professional photo- I cannot stress this LI Photoenough. Photographs help create an emotional connection. Most people are better at recognizing someone based on their picture then just their name. Choose one that best represents the image you want your professional network and employers to see. 
    • Summary– Your LinkedIn profile is about you. The summary section provides a great way to introduce yourself. What makes you a seasoned professional? What’s your area of expertise? What are you passionate about? What makes you stand out? Put some thought into this. The best practice is two to three paragraphs. Write your summary in the first person. There’s nothing more annoying than reading a profile where people reference themselves in the third person. 
    • Showcase your work experience- Your career history is important to building your professional journeybrand. It outlines your career journey and showcases all of the experiences, knowledge, skills and expertise that you have built up over the years. The best practice is about 8-12 bullet points that accurately reflect the work you do. What are your key responsibilities? What business groups do you work with? What are your outcomes? Do you specialize in a job family or region? 
    • Education– Your university/college. This can help build your network as LinkedIn may suggest other people who went to your school to connect with. If you’re a graduate, only list your post-secondary education. No need to put dates. For students ensure you document your education with your forecasted graduation date. This helps employers seek out students who will be graduating in the upcoming year(s). 
    • Skills– What skills have you acquired? What industries have you worked in? You may wonder why this is important when you may have documented this in your work experience.  The skills section makes it easier for others to read, and for your network to endorse you. It’s a great way to showcase skills you’ve acquired from all of your experiences, work related or not. For students, this is a LI_recommendationsgreat place to showcase skills you’ve acquired in school, through volunteering and/or work. 
    • Volunteering– What things are meaningful to you outside of work? Are passionate about any causes? Students, what volunteer experiences have you completed? Volunteer work is also important in shaping your skill set. You may acquire skills in your volunteer work that are broader than your work skills. Take a few moments to think about your volunteer experiences. How have they built your skill set and/or shaped your career path? 
    • Certifications– In addition to your education if you have obtained a license or certification (e.g. Society of Actuaries, PMP, CSC, LLB, etc.) this section lets you document it with ease. Other similar professionals looking to expand their network can find you easily. Certain LinkedIn groups’ require designations as a pre-requisite to joining their groups. 
    • Languages – Languages can become an important part of building broader networks. Not only canedit_profile you add languages on your LinkedIn profile, but you can create your profile in more than one language. This increases your network reach. If you speak more than one language make sure you have your profile available in those languages.
    • Add your Awards– Have you been recognized at work, in your community or at volunteering? Are you a recipient of an award?  The awards and honours section is a great way to showcase your recognized accomplishments. You’ve earned it, so show it off!
    • Solicit a few recommendations –People put a lot of credibility into recommendations becauseyoure_awesome they’re hard to get. While skills can easily be endorsed recommendations require more thought and are specific to you. A good place to start is asking previous employers, community leaders and work placement leaders. Recommendations are about quality not quantity. Think about what skill sets and work experiences you want someone to endorse. Those are the people you should reach out to for recommendations. 

These are just a few examples of tips you can use to boost your brand presence. What tips would you recommend?

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

*according to Techcrunch.com

Building Relationships in the Workplace

iPhone-social-appsThe information revolution has changed the way we communicate with one another. Tweets. Facebook Posts. Pintrest. Instagram. Google+, text messaging, SMS, BBM, emails… the list goes on. Mobile technology has made social interacting viral allowing people to access and update their information at any place, any time, via their smart phones.

The irony of using social technology to interact, is we move to a transactional way of interaction rather than an interperersonal way of interacting. As we continue to develop our virtual skills, we need to continue developing our interpersonal relationship skills.0418_couple-texting_sm

Most of us spend 40 hours a week (if not more) at work. We typically interact with the same group of people every day, all day. Having good working relationships with your colleagues creates a fun, positive environment and makes your time at work more enjoyable.

Relationship building is also important to achieving goals, career progression, learning and eveloping. It’s a career investment. Here are a few tips on how you can cultivate your work relationships:

85406129_8Make time to meet people in person– Many of us work in different locations and we’ve become accustomed to emailing or calling in for meetings. Why not make an effort to have some of your meetings in person? Walk over to another building if it is close enough. Toronto/Waterloo, why not take the train and make a day of it? Schedule a series of meetings in person at that location to meet the people you work with. By meeting in person, you get to know each other. Once people get to know each other they feel more comfortable and develop trust with one another. When trust is established more genuine conversations take place.

People at lunchTake a work meeting and add a social component- Having a meal with someone is a truly social component to a relationship. Have you ever met someone for the first time over a coffee or lunch? Did you notice that your meeting didn’t seem as formal, and may have been more relaxed? When we add a social dimension to a meeting, we are really introducing a casual approach to listening and sharing information. When people feel relaxed they are more open to communicating and having a genuine conversation.

79365710_8Introduce yourself to someone new: Do you work in an area where you pass by someone that you see every day, but don’t really know who they are? Take a moment to introduce yourself. Meet for a coffee to learn more about them. It’s a great way to develop your skills and expand your network.

Add an ice-breaker to your Meetings: Most people typically meet/call and get right to the point. Try starting your conversation with an ice breaker to establish a more comfortable mood. How was your summer? How was your weekend? What’s new? How is your day going? A few simple questions to show interest in the person you are meeting with can help set a more relaxed the mood for the rest of the conversation.

 What types of things have you done to build your work relationships?

Ann_Nov_2012

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

The Social Networking Etiquette Guide- Part 2

social-media-etiquette

In my last blog post I talked about some social etiquette tips that should be taken into consideration if you are looking to network with others. My focus was on LinkedIn as the primary professional social networking platform. In this blog post I am going to turn my attention to the other major personal social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, Google+, etc. These personal social networking platforms are being used for both personal and business, thus bringing their own set of etiquette rules.

Facebook/Google+/Orkut:

  • Friending– Most people use Facebook/Google+/Orkut,etc.  as personal networking and communication vehicles. Statistics show that younger people are more open to sharing information and receiving friend requests from people they casually know. As we get older we tend to be more selective about who we want to share our personal information with. It can be awkward to receive friend requests from people you interact with in a business context but not a personal context. Etiquette rule #1– Friend requests should be sent to people you know on a personal level. Use LinkedIn to connect on a professional basis and use your personal social networks for friends you know on a personal basis.
  • Spamming– Are you posting or sharing tons of content every day all day? Consider how this shows up in your friends news feeds…there is a word for you. Spammer! Your friends don’t want to know everything your doing. Etiquette 990053-facebook-etiquetterule #2–  Don’t over communicate. Be considerate, post and share relevant content. Many Facebook users are becoming more savvy, adjusting their friend settings to stop spam. So if you are spammer, chances are the content you’re posting isn’t being read by anyone.
  • Posting bad photos– Social sites are a great place to share photos. Mobile apps allow you to upload pictures and tag your friends in an instant. Sometimes those pictures are a great representation of you, but aren’t the best representation of your friends. Remember when you tag a picture your friends and their network see the picture. I’ve seen many Facebook posts asking friends to take down pictures they feel are in bad taste. Etiquette rule#3– Don’t’ upload and/or tag of your friends in pictures that make them look bad. It may be a sure fire way to get un-friended pretty quickly.
  • Wall post or private message?  Have you ever read a post and thought to yourself, why did they post this for everyone to see? Remember that even with strict privacy settings, when your friends comment on, or like your post, their friends’ network can see that post and its comments in their news feed. Facebook has enabled its users to create specific lists (see my previous blog post on privacy) to share information to specific people. In some cases you may even want to send a private message to someone. Etiquette rule #4– Some things are not meant to be a public status updates. Use judgement when posting information. If you don’t want to share to your broader network consider sending a private message.

Twitter:

  • @what? So you’ve decided to use your personal Twitter handle for business use. Names8-infographics-to-understand-social-media-etiquette-06_zpsfbdbf301 like @sexygodess or @biteme may not get the response you are looking for, especially if you are a Recruiter. Etiquette rule#5– Consider having a professional name for your Twitter handle. Your response rate and followers may just increase!
  • Direct Messaging– Just like sending an email to someone, direct messaging on Twitter sends your message to an individual’s Twitter inbox. If you’ve set up an auto-broadcast this can cause spamming, not to mention it’s super annoying! Etiquette rule #6– Don’t spam individual’s Twitter handle by frequently direct messaging them. Use direct messaging only when you want to send a private message to an individual.
  • FollowingIt’s important to follow people/companies on Twitter to build up your fan base. Twitter is a communication and engagement channel. Etiquette rule # 7 – Don’t follow people and then unfollow them once they follow you.

I am sure there many other social etiquette rules you can think of that I haven’t covered.

One social etiquette rule that I think transcends any social networking platform is to – Share. Have you come across a job posting that maybe useful for a friend? A relevant article or a contact that may benefit from an introduction to someone in your network? Most important etiquette rule # 8 Pay-it-forward. Fundamentally social networking is all about sharing. Share helpful information and support others without expecting something in return.  

pay-it-forward

Ann_Nov_2012

By Ann Barrett- Director, Social Media & eRecruitment Strategy

Get Your Career Plan Into Shape

It’s the new year. We’ve made our resolutions, committed to losing the “holiday weight” and thought about what we will do differently this year. For many of us this includes making a career move.

Career planning is typically treated like dieting. We only focus on it when we want to make a change. Once we achieve our goal we stop. Successful career planning shouldn’t be thought of in a just in time manner, instead it should be approached in the same way as a healthy lifestyle. We can build mental exercises  positive thinking and networking into our daily routine creating a more holistic approach to career planning. Over time this daily regiment will help us grow, develop and learn where we can shape our own career path.

Here are some quick things you can build into your everyday routine to get your career plan in shape:

Exercise Your Mind:  Getting into shape means exercising your body and mind. Your brain needs to work out to be alert and focused. The more your brain works out, the more you stimulate creativity and build memory retention. Here are two key mental exercises you can start doing today:

newspaperRead something new every day: With so many blogs, eBooks, audio books, articles and news items, there is a plethora of rich content available for consumption. Technology has made it even easier to access and read information on the go through an eReader, iPad or smart phone. Reading is an important element in development and education. It’s a way to actively listen to content being presented and form an opinion about it. Expanding the scope of what you read is also important in building your comprehension skills and getting your creative juices flowing. Keeping up to date on new developments within and outside your industry or profession will also keep you relevant and allow you to contribute new ideas and perspectives in your job.

artLearn something new: Life is busy and we often get consumed by our routine to break out and try something different. Career balance is about being well rounded in a variety of areas within and outside work. Taking on something different not only challenges us to move outside our comfort zone, but may also reveal a hidden talent! Learning something new contributes to both your personal and professional growth and may help steer you in a career path you hadn’t considered before.

Socialize: Meeting new people sharpens your interpersonal and communication skills. Socializing on a daily basis is a great way to get introduced to new ideas which can energize your creative juices. Here are two ways to stay actively social:

meetNetworking– Connecting with people within your career stream or industry on a regular basis can foster interesting discussions and ideas which you can leverage in your current or new career. Social tools such as LinkedIn make it easy to connect and participate. Why not join a group on LinkedIn and start a discussion?

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Meet people in person: Can you participate in your next meeting in person? If so, take a moment to have that meeting face to face. Meeting people in person helps build relationships and trust. It also gives you an opportunity to practice and show off your communication and presentation skills. This will come in handy in your next career move!

MC900433947Market Yourself: In the era of social media everyone can create their own personal brand. What do you want people to know about you as a professional? No one knows more about your accomplishments , projects you’ve worked on, awards, recognitions,  etc. than you. Update your LinkedIn profile with your projects and awards. Have you had positive feedback? Ask for recommendations or endorsements on LinkedIn. Your profile will help you to track all of your successes as they occur.

excerciseHave a positive outlook: Is your glass half empty or half full? Getting in shape means focusing on the larger plan, not only what happens today. Feel good about the work you produced. The way we feel about our successes affects our self-esteem, concentration, relationships and the way we approach our work. A healthy outlook focuses on the positive, our glass being half full.

Which of these will you start doing today?

Ann_Nov_2012

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategies

Why Every Manager Should Promote Thier Jobs Through Social Networking Platforms

Recruiting and sourcing has significantly changed over the last decade. With the invention and adoption of social networking tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram, Google+, (the list goes on), more and more people are choosing to participate in these forums to share ideas, network and inevitably learn about potential career opportunities. The recruiting process has also shifted from traditional recruitment of relying on job boards, resume databases and company websites to proactively using platforms such as the Internet, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to market, engage and recruit.

So, why are social platforms so powerful compared to job boards? The answer is simple: the power of reach via a network. In the old days this used to be referred to as “word of mouth”. To understand the reach social networking has in broadcasting information, consider the status (in the millions):

social media members 2008_2012

* Data courtesy of: New Media Lab (2008) and Digital Marketing Ramblings (2-12)

In just five (5) short years the social media front has expanded moving into blogs and visual social sites such as Pintrest and Instagram. It’s a clear demonstration of the changing way people are using the internet. And let’s not forget, all of these applications are available on mobile; allowing interactions to transpire on the go. Mobile has increased accessibility to the internet.  According to eBiz MBA; the top three social sites that are accessed through mobile phones are:

social Mobile

With this type of reach and visibility it’s hard to ignore the marketing aspect social networking sites play in sharing and distributing information. Managers have a key role to play in the social recruiting process. By using social media sites such as LinkedIn you can leverage your network to broadcast and share information. Think about the next role you have to fill. What’s the probability that someone in your network may know someone who may be interested in the job? Once button and it’s shared to their network. Since it’s shared by a member of the network the probability someone in your network will respond and share information is much higher than a random email from someone you don’t know.

Ann_Nov_2012

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategies

Do Employers Really Look at Social Networking Sites as Part of the Recruitment Process?

Many employers now regularly visit social networking sites to pro-actively recruit and source candidates. The older eRecruitment model of automate it and they will come, is quickly being abandoned in favour of the social recruitment philosophy of meet them where they are.  Since social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, etc. are all public forums, by default your profile, connections and information on those sites are set to “public”/”everyone”. This means if you haven’t changed your privacy settings information you post is readily available and searchable on the internet. That includes video’s, photo’s, status updates, photos you are tagged in, etc., which also appear on your network/friends wall and news feeds.

There have been a number of articles, blogs and new casts cautioning people to be careful about how they portray themselves on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. There have even been cases around the world where candidates have been passed over for jobs or employees terminated for posts they have written about their company or fellow employees on Facebook and Twitter.

With Big Brother (internet) housing all of this information how can you keep your private information secure, so it isn’t available all over the internet?

Here are few things you can do to keep information private on the internet:

1. Adjust your privacy settings on all your social networking accounts: Every social networking platform has specific privacy settings that you can adjust. Facebook for example, allows you to limit who can see your information, provide an approval process for pictures others have tagged you in, and create lists to categorize people you know.  This is just a few examples.

  • Part 1 Facebook Privacy Settings Tutorial
  • Part 2 Facebook Privacy Settings Tutorial
  • Click here for a tutorial on how to change your Twitter privacy settings.
  • Click here for a tutorial on how to change your Google+ privacy settings.

 2. Use “lists”/ “circles” to help categorize your friends, acquaintances, family, colleagues, etc.: If you want to use a single social networking platform such as Facebook or Google+ to share information with your friends, colleagues, family, etc. you should develop lists/circles to help categorize what information you want people to see. For example, if you want to post information to your non-work friends about a party you went to on the weekend, you can create a list to determine who should receive those updates. This is a quick and easy way to direct information to those you intended if for. Click here to see a tutorial on how to create friend lists in Facebook.

3. Use LinkedIn as your professional marketing tool: While sites like Facebook are looking to integrate your business and professional life into one neat little package, there still are cross overs between your personal and professional profile. For example, if you choose to use the Glassdoor or Branchout app on Facebook, your Facebook profile picture will be used. Instead, use a single platform like LinkedIn which has been globally marketed as a professional networking tool. This will allow you to focus on building your professional network and marketing yourself in a professional way. You can then adjust your privacy settings to filter out unwanted solicitations or junk. Click here to see how you can change your privacy settings on LinkedIn.

4. Routinely revisit your privacy settings: As new features get rolled out (e.g. Facebook Timeline) there may be additional privacy settings you can change to keep your information secure. It’s a good habit to check-in once a quarter to see if there are new privacy settings available to you.

5. Periodically clean up your friends: Friends come and go. It’s a good idea to periodically do a spring cleaning of your friends and friend lists. For those you only want to connect with professionally, think about having them as a LinkedIn connection rather than a personal connection.

6. Always abide by your company’s Code of Conduct: If you are posting information about your company or fellow employees you should be well versed on what is deemed suitable content to be posted.

Happy tidying up!

Written by Ann Barrett- Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Working The MacGyver Way

Have you ever found yourself trying to come up with a strategy or meet a deliverable with no budget or resources? Many of us may be feeling the pressure to achieve our goals under these conditions. While this may seem impossible, many of us have taken on the challenge to do more with less. I’ve labeled this approach working the “MacGyver” way.

MacGyver was a T.V. show that ran in the late 80’s- early 90’s about a secret, highly resourceful agent (MacGyver), who had to solve complex problems with every day materials, duct tape and his Swiss army knife. Although I wasn’t an avid watcher of the show, when I did watch, I was always impressed with how MacGyver could makeshift solutions to problem solve his way out of dire situations using only what was available to him. For those of you who watched the show, you will know what I’m talking about!

In the workplace many of us are working the “MacGyver” way without even realizing it. We have found ourselves having to think outside the box to achieve our goals. The result is we are seeing people develop innovative, creative, solutions to business issues using resources and materials at hand. So what MacGyver tactics are people using that you may benefit from?

Be Collaborative. While MacGyver came up with some ingenious solutions, he did so by learning and taking in information from those around him. In an increasingly social world there are many avenues available for us to connect with others who may have expertise or experience in a subject area we need. LinkedIn groups are a great resource to connect with people in an industry or career stream to collaborate.  Working together will help you achieve your goals faster and more efficiently, for free!

Start internally. Many times we explore using third-party vendors to seek out resources or start new projects.  Tap into your internal resources first. You will be pleasantly surprised at the rich expertise and consultation your employees have across the organization.

Think outside the box. MacGyver had to use the materials around him in unconventional ways to develop solutions. Similarly, we may need think about a project or work task from a different perspective to achieve results. I recently had a project which was put on the shelf. I had to take a step back and think about it from a different perspective using only the tools and resources internally available. By doing so I came up with an even better approach which was easier to implement. By working collaboratively with internal resources we were able to launch the project, achieving the deliverable.

Challenge yourself to learn something new. Like MacGyver, we may have to create the solution. That may mean learning something new to get us there. I was asked a few months ago to edit some raw video footage to use for a career video. I had never edited video footage before and felt anxious I couldn’t deliver. I contacted an internal colleague and asked her if she could point me in the right direction. And she did. I found out our company already had a license for a software I could use to accomplish my task. After I got the license I went onto the web to research how to use the tool supplemented by some YouTube tutorials. After some trial and error I soon started to get the hang of it and was able to not only edit the video, but also add some of our branding in the intro as well. Not only did I build my own skill set, but by doing the work myself with the resources at hand, I avoided having to pay a vendor to do the work.

Research to find inexpensive options or alternative solutions. MacGyver didn’t have the benefit of social media or Google to find a solution. But we do. Social tools are a fantastic way to get information. Here are just a few ways you can use social media and the internet to assist with your research:

  • Use your social networking tools (Collaboration, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn, etc.) to post questions to your network for help, guidance and suggestions. You may be amazed at how many referrals and feedback you will get that can help you.
  • Research Blogs.  Blogs have become the new credible way to find information from people who want to share their own experiences. They often provide good detail and most Bloggers are happy to connect and talk to you. A great example of this is travel blogs. More people visit travel blogs to research and plan trips than visiting informational websites. They provide a genuine account of people’s experiences, tips and what to avoid.

Research the internet to find articles or papers about your topic. Has your project been done before? What were the insights? Sites like Wikipedia are a great place to start often providing additional resources and websites you can use for your research.

I am sure I’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg of what can be done when we are motivated to get the task done. What are some of your MacGyver success stories?

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Preparing for The Interview- An Employee Guide

The phone rings, you answer it. It’s the Recruiter calling about the job you phoned screened for. Good news, you’ve made it past the short list! Congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare for the interview. Prepare you say? What’s the need? I already work here all I have to do is meet the Hiring Manager.

Wrong.

Recruiting is still an inherently social process. The interviewer is qualifying your experience and skills, and assessingoverall “fit”. For the Interviewee, it’s your opportunity to sell yourself to the Hiring Manager by showcasing your professional portfolio and accomplishments. You may be competing with other employees and external candidates, so it’s important to spend some time preparing for the interview to create a good impression. Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have made it easier for your competition to research and prepare for the interview.

Here are a few tips you should keep in mind to help gain a competitive edge:

  • Be on Time– Both you and the Hiring Manager are taking time out of your busy schedules to interview.  Tardiness conveys the other person’s time is not as important as yours. Show up 5-10 minutes early for your interview. It sets a professional tone and demonstrates you value the other persons time.
  • Dress for Success– Recruiter’s meet many external candidates who are eager to make a great first impression.  The way you carry yourself tells a lot about how you see yourself and how you want others to see you.  Take the time to dress to impress.  A neat and tidy appearance with professional ensemble goes a long way to help you stand out.
  • Treat this as a professional meeting– An interview is your chance to sell your professional portfolio and accomplishments. Block time off in your calendar where you are unavailable for meetings or phone calls. Checking your blackberry or answering a call during your interview signals you don’t take the meeting seriously. It also prevents you from concentrating on the questions being asked. Turn off your technology devices and give the Hiring Manager your full attention.
  • Find out about the business area and Hiring Manager– One of the most important things you can do prepare for an interview is learn about the Hiring Manager and business area. Many external candidates take the time to research   the company, business area and Manager before they arrive at the interview. As an employee you have a number of internal and external tools at your disposal to help you learn about the business and the Manager:
    • Your Intranet– Look up the business area to find out news items, organization structure, key initiatives, etc.
    • Collaboration Tools– Some business leaders have blogs. Research to see if the leadership team has a blog and see what they are writing about.
    • LinkedIn– Many people have LinkedIn profiles that showcase their professional persona. Take a few minutes to look up your Hiring Manager and learn about them.
    • Practice, Practice, Practice– An interview is a formal meeting. Even if you know the Hiring Manager, it is important to take some time and practice the interview. This can help alleviate nervousness and make the interview run smoothly. Candidates who answer questions with “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure” may be construed as inexperienced. You want to exude confidence in your responses. A good resource to help you is the Global Learning Centre- Course: Preparing for an Internal Interview course.
    • Be prepared to answer the question: “Why should you be chosen for this position?” – It’s amazing how often people stumble when they are asked this question. Yet it’s a question that is almost sure to be asked by every Hiring Manager to every candidate who is in the interview process. So, put some thought into your answer. Remember, you are competing with other employees and external candidates. What really sets you apart from the rest?

What are some tips you want to share?

 

   by Ann Barrett