Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Schedule change

NFJS has been meeting every Wednesday at 3:00 for more than a year and we've decided to tweek that just a bit.  Make it 2:00.  Still at the Green Bean/Sip N'Ship in North Seattle.  Hopefully make it easier for folks to get to.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Interview Training

About a month a ago I mentioned on Linkedin how I had developed an “Interview preparation” module that took three hours and how excited I was about it then one of my contacts noted that they were looking forward to a blog entry. So this is that entry; if you can hire us, it will be more effective, and in every case working with someone else will help.

Our outline is pretty straight forward:
Hour 1 – Preparation:. Does the resume you sent in highlight the right experience? Have you researched the company? Have you researched the opportunity? Do you have a connection that can get your resume in front of the hiring influence? How qualified are you for this position and have you done a good job setting up that story?

Hour 2 – Interview 1:  30 minutes of interview, 30 minutes of feedback. Are you prepared? Do you know enough about this opportunity to ask relevant questions? How does your body language work? Do you walk into the room standing up straight, look the interviewer in the eye? Shake hands? Is your dress appropriate for this opportunity?

Hour 3 – Interview 2:  40 minutes of interview, 20 of feedback. Have you learned from the first practice? If you said “mmm” 14 times on the first try is that under control? Have you integrated questions into the answers you are providing?

In many ways the most important hour of this training is the first. It starts with finding a specific job that you are interested in. This should not be theoretical!  The job description will have the key requirements in their hierarchy. That’s the outline for the resume and for preparation. If it says “Seeking team building sales executive” then the resume better include a history of building teams. If it says C# developer, then the resume better include a history of C# development. One of the consequences of this exercise is refreshing your memory of your past success. Another consequence is developing high levels of alignment with the opportunity.

I’ve written previously about “OGOOALS” and “Five Questions that Matter” those are important here because they are key to this preparation hour. The “G” in OGOOALS stands for Gather information and the five questions are just that, five questions that both you and the company need to answer in order decide that you have a good fit. During the Interview Training Module this first hour is all about translating those into specific questions, answers and research into the company, the hiring influence, etc.

Interviewing is a skill, plain and simple. Learning it isn’t that much different than learning our addition tables. The key to success is practice and feedback.  That's the idea behind this module.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I had the opportunity this afternoon to spend about an hour with Kenji Yamaguchi, a recruiter in the Windows group at Microsoft.  It's pretty much impossible for me to provide a complete synopsis, but the blog he contributes to is something that every job seeker should be following.  I've added it to the list of blogs I follow and strongly recommend you check it out.  It is a lot like the conversation was, very wide ranging and informative.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Resume construction part 2

Mike will finish his discussion of resume development soon, but in the meantime, one of the regulars at Notes from the Job Search sent me an analysis of how to create an entry or bullet point on your resume and I wanted to share it with you.

She starts with the idea that in the custom resume you deliver to a prospective employer, each role you held should have no more than five bullets. That is different than our Work-Life Database™.  The Work-Life Database™ is the source document  and as such it doesn’t have a limit.  What goes on the resume sent to a some company, comes from the DB. At any rate, here’s what Deborah Arline has to say.

“The first paragraph of a job experience within the resume starts with a statement describing the scope of duties, level of responsibility, number of staff supervised, budget amounts managed, etc. This statement is followed by short sentences describing responsibilities, using words like “Managed”, “Led”, “Facilitated”, “Oversaw”, “Initiated”, “Planned”, “Provided”, “Performed”, “Created”, “Analyzed”, “Designed”, “Developed”, “Achieved”, etc.

“This paragraph is followed by “Significant Achievements”, no more than 5 bulleted items that:
   • Identify an Action, USE A VERB, that demonstrates the value I added or contribution I made; i.e. “Saved money”, “Increased profits”, “Developed staff”, “Decreased response time”, etc
   • Then, the sentence continues to show how I achieved them: “…by deploying”, “…by initiating”, “…by upgrading”, “…by migrating”, “…by implementing”, etc.
   • And may conclude by showing the result of my efforts: “…that enhanced”, “… that improved”, “…that reduced”, “…that decreased”.
   • Then try to quantify the value added; answer the question “By how much?”

Deborah provides a couple of examples:
1. “Delivered $1.2 million annual savings by cutting call handling time 40 seconds per call across all centers.
2. “Improved operational efficiency by designing continuous learning process that provided call centers with structured approach to process improvement and data sharing.”

As you can see Deborah has broken this down to very specific small pieces. When she creates the actual bullet, she positions the element with the biggest value ("$1.2 million annual savings") where it will be seen most easily and have the most impact. It’s almost like we had a bunch of refrigerator magnets, only in this case we are using them to effectively tell real stories and actions we really took.