Today, my client and I discussed the following quotation by Tom Brokaw:
"It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference."
We also talked about this question, asked of her in a recent job interview:
"How have you made a difference?"
Something to think about before your next interview.
Know what you will say?
We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves. ~ George M. Adams
I love working with clients! They are always teaching me something and giving me ideas for yet another blog post. Today, for example, my client was remarking how he liked people to “get to the point” and not dilly-dally around and waste his time, especially at a job interview.
Are you interviewing for a job?
Have you been asked the standard “So tell me about yourself?” question to which you replied:
"Well, I am loyal, honest and hardworking.
I have a lot of experience. I can do a lot of things.
I have a good education and like I said, I am very experienced.
Also, I am a very responsible worker.
And finally, I am very dependable.”
Imagine that you are the Hiring Manager listening to the above response.
Are you impressed? ___ Yes ___No
Are you falling off your chair because you are so enthralled with this response? ___Yes ___No
Does the job seeker stand out in your professional opinion? ___Yes ___No
Would you consider this candidate your Number One contender? ___Yes ___No
As a Hiring Manager, have you heard the above response at least 100 times, if not more? ___Yes ___No
If you are a job seeker, I would encourage you to spend some time building your best response to the “Tell Me About Yourself” question. Here’s one way to do so through three simple steps and three pieces of paper:
Do not make the hiring manager work and work and work to get to know you. In short, get to the point. No wishy-washy. No dilly-dally. No shilly-shally. No time to waste. To the point.
Educate and train your listener about you, your brand and your value.
Make the process of getting to know you as simple as one, two, three.
Every second is of infinite value. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
When you were growing up, did your Mom, Dad, grandparents, or other person of influence want you to do or be something career-wise that you had no interest in doing or being? As a Baby Boomer, I remember the high school counselor told me I had three choices for a career: teacher, nurse or secretary – none of which I was interested in pursuing. While they are fine occupations – not for me! My Grandmother on the other hand, an elementary educator, encouraged me from the time I was a young child to get a college degree and make something of yourself. In one of her many library books, I discovered the phrase: Hitch Your Wagon to A Star, a quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson. This little phrase has served me well in making life choices and decisions – does this action get me closer to or farther from my star?
I have worked with hundreds and hundreds of job seekers and I am always interested in hearing their career path and how they wound up where they are. Sometimes, clients tell me they chose a particular career “because that’s what my parents wanted me to do” or because “that’s what my Grandmother, Grandfather, Aunt or Uncle wanted me to be...follow in their footsteps.” What will you be when you grow up? Is it a job you want, or is it an occupation someone else wants for you? Here are a few thoughts to explore as you consider what’s next for you.
Ability / Aptitude: Do you possess the requisite skill, talent and ability to do the job – whatever it might be? Is the job a good fit with you and who you are? For example, let’s say your Aunt Hilda wants you to be a lawyer because her husband is a lawyer, her father is a lawyer, and her brother is a lawyer. The real question is: "Do you want to be a lawyer?" Have you taken the LSAT? Do you have the ability to pass the exam with a score high enough to gain admission to law school somewhere in the country? Do you have the ability and the aptitude for the work?
Action: Are you willing to commit to the steps required to achieve the career goal? What is your timeline? When will you start? When do you expect to complete your goal? How much will it cost in terms of time, energy and money? What sacrifices are you willing to make?
Ambition: Do you have a strong desire to achieve the career goal? Are you willing to put forth the determination and hard work it will take to get what you want? Are you self-motivated, disciplined, focused and driven to achieve your purpose?
Attitude: What is your perspective regarding your career goal? What words best describe your outlook on getting to the goal?? If you had to pick one word to represent your attitude right now, what single word would you choose? What, if anything, might you change about your attitude?
Attributes: Do you have the traits and qualities suited for the job? What are your greatest attributes? What qualities, if any, need some refinement?
Are you pursuing a job because it is what you want for you or are you tracking a job because someone else wants it for you?
The client sat pondering the best words to describe herself. Our session that day focused on job interviewing. After a few minutes, “Jane” spoke:
I’d say the best words to describe me are:
As a job seeker, are you routinely using such words to describe yourself? If you are, let’s pretend for a moment. Let’s pretend that you are a tired, overworked hiring manager and that you have interviewed 1,000+ candidates in recent years. From those 1,000+ candidates, you have heard the same words -- loyal, honest and hard-working -- time after time after time. How excited, then, are you to hear “loyal, honest and hard-working” from one more candidate?
The next time you go to a job interview, take some time to find words that best describe the unique, distinct brand of you. Then, when the “what are your best qualities” question (or some derivative thereof) is asked, you will help yourself stand out. You will not come across as the same old, same old candidate. You will stand out because you have taken the time to research words that are music to the hiring manager’s ears – distinctive words that align with your target job. Help yourself shine in the employment interview! And, make it easy for the hiring manager to select you.
Recently, a client asked “In your professional opinion, what is the single-most critical skill for a job seeker to possess in order to find new employment?”
If you were to answer my client’s question based upon the five choices shown below, which one would you pick?
Without hesitation, I asked: “Do you watch Cry Wolfe? He’s a private investigator – his name is Brian Wolfe – based in California – Tuesday evenings -- Investigation Discovery. The Cry Wolfe guy is relentless – he is crazy good; talk about mastery. So, in answer to your question, I would say, be an outstanding private investigator, a super sleuth and a really good detective. In my opinion, that’s the most important skill -- all else is expected; the P.I. part can help solve your case of getting from Point A to Point B."
Listed below are a few qualities and traits of a good detective. Perhaps you will use some of these skills to resolve your job search situation:
Do you have a morning routine? Maybe your routine is to go to Starbucks each morning before work. Or maybe your routine is to stop by Caribou, Tim Hortons or Dunkin’ Donuts. One of the places I have enjoyed going the past few months to get my coffee fix is a convenience store called Kum & Go. I love their stores, I like their staff and their coffee has become a staple.
About 18 months ago or so on a workday, my husband and I entered the Kum & Go store together. It was not our best morning. As we entered the store, one of the associates I’ll call “Jane” greeted us with a hearty “good morning.” I mumbled “Peace” and the Kum & Go associate readily quipped “Love.” Since then, we have been greeted with an energetic “Peace and Love” welcome. It has become something I look forward to – a day brightener for sure.
One morning not long ago, another customer of the store asked me “Did she just call you Peace and Love?”
“Yes -- indeed, she did!”
He asked me why he didn’t get greeted in that same manner. I said, “Well, you’ll have to ask Jane for her take on that.” He uttered “Hmph!”
A couple of weeks ago, I found out that the Peace and Love Purveyor is transferring to another Kum & Go location about 750 miles away. I will miss her. I have gotten to know her a bit and know that she loves Eminem. Last night as I was penning her going away card, I wrote:
Our Favorite Peace and Love fan has flat done gone and went. In Eminem clean language, How Come? LOL. I will surely miss you until we are crazy enough to drive 12 hours to see you again. Wishing you continued success and thank you for always being so nice to us.
Peace and Love
As I sat there, I started thinking about Fitting Rooms.
What a weird name – fitting room.
Who thought of calling a fitting room a “fitting room” anyway?
Why not “Try on Space?”
Or “Does This Make Me Look Fat Room?”
Or “Dressing Experiment Room?”
Or “You Look Awesome Room?"
Or “Test Market Room?"
Or how about “Should I Buy This" Room?
Nope, we seem to be stuck with Fitting Rooms or Dressing Rooms.
My client and I were chatting about finding a job that is a good fit.
Is your current job a good fit?
Are you wearing a job you have outgrown?
Are you investing in a career that you no longer love, or even like?
Are you stuck in a role that makes you uncomfortable from the time you arrive to the time you leave work each day?
Are you afraid to discard the job you now hold because you lack the knowledge, confidence and courage to explore other options?
If you are in career transition mode, are you trying on different job possibilities via the interview process before saying “yes” to the offer?
Are you asking tough questions during interview conversations to help you gauge both risk and reward?
Are you settling on the first thing that comes along because you think it is better than what you have now?
Whatever job you are presently wearing or hope to wear in the future, I hope you look absolutely amazing in it.
If not, there are plenty of possibilities from which to choose.
Find something that looks simply stunning on you.