Master Career Counselor

Carla Hunter, President of Career Span, Inc. is a Master Career Counselor (MCC) by the National Career Development Association and a Certified Career Coach by the National Board for Certified Counselors. She is an expert in writing resumes, effective job search strategies and interviewing success. Most recently, with over 20 years of navigating the complexity of today's world of work, she published "Finding Your Place in the World of Work", a career interest inventory (2014) and CareerView, an iPad app. As a private practice career counselor and a workforce development consultant, this blog is Carla's trove of ideas, trends, forecasts, and career tips for finding meaningful work.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Important Interview Questions to Ask

Many job seekers don't recognize the importance of asking pertinent questions at the end of the interview.

Typically, the interviewer will initiate an open door for the job seeker to make a lasting impression by well thought out questions. Here are the ones NEVER to ask:
1. Can you tell me the salary and benefits of this job?
2. Can I leave early on some days?
3. What is your company policy on sick leave and days off?
4. What is a typical day like?

The vital key to successful interviewing is ALL in employer perception of you.

How do you want to be viewed? Here is how they will see you if you asked those questions:

#1. You just want to know how much money you will make. You really don't want the position. This would be a wasted hire. 
#2. Potentially lazy, diffused attitude without much energy. Indifferent to the contribution they need to make.
#3. Poor judgment on when to ask appropriate questions. We haven't even offered the job yet!
#4. You should already know this through research and the interview process. Obvious clue that you don't take advantage of resources already available.

So, how do you want to be seen in the interviewer's perception of you as a potential contributor to the organization?
 Consider these questions instead:

1. Describe for me the top reasons you enjoy working for ABC, Inc.

2. How would you describe the culture of your organization?

3. What is the greatest reward for you in working for ABC, Inc.?

These questions will likely provoke a positive response from your interviewers.  In the best scenario they will talk openly and among themselves as they contribute to the answer.  If they don't, maybe the organization isn't a place you want to be. Every question provides an opportunity for them to see you as open, personable, adaptable and invested in the interview process. 
The reality is yes, we need our jobs to provide money to live. Yet, an employer would want you to think working for them is more than just a source of income. The more vested you are in thoughtful interview questions, the more likely you are to give it your best shot when you're hired. Otherwise you may be seen as a potential liability.
Finally, you are intentionally asking questions to invite the interviewer to talk about themselves and the company. After you leave the interview and they begin to discuss it, chances are someone will say "Wow. He was a great listener and very personable." Actually, you just simply let them discuss what they love.
Remember, it is all about perception. More about this in following posts. For now, think about how you want to be perceived and if what you say in an interview is an accurate reflection of your professionalism.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Resume Objective Revitalized!

Hi, all!
Think about your resume as a strategy to get the interview. That is the goal. Today, an objective must be targeted and very specific.
Typically, the worst type will look like this:

Career Objective: A position where my skills can be used and advancement desired

That header plain stinks. First, there are no "career" objective guarantees. Did you know the average professional changes jobs or careers at least eight times? An objective is to state your resume's purpose. What is that? To get an interview. My career equation for a successful resume looks like this:

Great cover letter + targeted resume = Interview (Note that I didn't say job. That is the sum of an excellent interview.)

With your strategy to get an interview in mind, I encourage a bold initiative. Get rid of the old objective and get straight to the point:

Goal→ Interview with ABC, Inc. for Administrative Assistant

That's right. State at the beginning your aim is to get an interview for the position you specified. Let the rest of the resume support your goal. Maybe this new strategy will hit the mark and you'll receive what you asked for. Are you ready for what you want?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Resume Headings: What's In and Out

Resume headings are critical these days. They show one of two things:

1. You're savvy and in the know.

2. You're outdated and need a revamp.

So, take a look and tell me what you think...

Old- Summary of qualifications

New- Business Skill-set highlights

Old- Work history

New- Professional Expertise

Old- Interests/Hobbies/Personal Information (Take them all out!)

New- Community Involvement, Technology Capabilities, Professional Organizations

I highly suggest you may want to consider a radical departure from the norm. A resume is not a dry work history. Rather, it is a dynamic marketing tool of what you bring to the table. My next post will share a secret that I have been using for the last few weeks that employers really like.

Stay tuned.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Master Career Counselor Blog Online Today

As a master career counselor (MCC), I have purchase more kleenex for my clients in the past six months than the past six years. They ask me, "Will I be able to get a job?" "How long will it take?", "What can I do in this turbulent time?". These are tough questions, that call for expertise and knowledge. I have chosen today to place that expertise on a blog to help my clients and you if you happen to drop by. Visit the National Career Development Web site to find out what a master career counselor is and if there is one near you.