Saturday, June 20, 2009

Finding the Right Fit

The week after I graduated, I had a HUGE interview with A Company. They needed to fill a position FAST and they received my name via the CEO of A Company (via my networking). I interviewed with HR for the position. I hit it off with the HR gal, we had some common connections and we got along great. Her intuition told her that I wasn't interested in the department I was interviewing for, but rather the company as a whole. Her intuition was correct. As she once mentioned during my multiple interviews, the team could "smell a consumer PR candidate from a mile away." I didn't get the job and I was actually happy, as I knew, and they must have known, it wasn't the right place for me.

Flash forward one month later. The right opportunity opens up. It is in the Travel & Lifestyle department; THE place I want to be. If I could have my pick of top job, the Account Coordinator position at A Company in the Travel & Lifestyle division would be it. Through another contact, my name gets thrown in the mix, and I get the first interview with HR for the position. They know I want it. This is where I want to be and I couldn't be happier being considered for it.

There's a lesson to be learned from all of this: Even if a company turns you down for a position, don't stop trying. You may be a better fit somewhere else.

Maybe they will see me as a fit. Let's hope they do.

I'm open to criticism, I'm open to praise, but most of all, I'm open to a job offer.

Follow me on Twitter: ChelseyWantsJob

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Top 10 "Dos" for Interviewing Preparation

Here is a list of the Top 10 things you can do to prepare yourself for an interview. I have compiled this list from talking with friends about their own experiences, talking to people about what they expect from interviewees, and of course from my own experiences.

10. A manicure is 100% necessary.
When you are sitting down in front of your interviewer, they can only see a few things: your face, hair, chest and hands. These are what they will use to judge your appearance (so you probably don't want to wear a halter top). Even if you're a guy, go get your nails cleaned. Dirt under your fingernails, not a great indication of good hygiene.

9. Know your current events. But more importantly, know yourself. Or at least know some stories of current interest. Most interviewers, if they are experienced enough, won't ask you anything besides information about you and how you fit in with the firm, but there is a chance you will have to talk with that one guy who will cockily ask "so what news story is catching your interest at the moment?" They will only ask this when they foolishly don't know what else to say, but still, you want to be prepared. As long as you were there for your own experiences, you will be able to intelligently answer any questions they ask about your past and what you have learned.

8. Minimal jewelry. No gaudiness. No costume jewelry.

7. A little heel goes a long way. Just the fact that you went through the extra effort to be a little uncomfortable and look a little more professional will be impressive. You don't need to wear 5 inchers, in fact you probably shouldn't, but you don't want to wear flats either.

6. Print out your resume on some nice looking paper. And bring MORE THAN 1 copy. Most likely, you will be meeting with more than one person, and you will want to hand everyone you meet a copy of your resume. Your preparedness will be an indicator of what they can expect in the future.

5. Get a good night's rest. Don't go into an interview hungover. You won't be able to hold an intelligent conversation, and you'll probably look like crap.

4. Wear a suit. And you better make sure it fits.

3. Research the person you are interviewing for. Google them. Find them on LinkedIn. Look at their blog (if they have one). Research their bio and know where they grew up, went to school/college and where they formerly worked. This way you can work any commonalities or connections you may have, during the interview. You will be much more likely to be remembered long after the interview, if you do this.

2. GET YOUR HAIR DONE! This piece of advice comes from a friend who was yelled at by a head hunter firm when she walked in with her hair in a semi-curly bun. Apparently, this isn't acceptable (they yelled at her until she started crying).

1. Research the firm you are interviewing at. Know their goals, areas of expertise and clients. You don't want to go in for an interview completely ignorant of what you will be doing and risk sounding like you have no idea what you're talking about.

Today, I made a lot of progress on the job search front. At an event I volunteered at about two weeks ago, I made a contact through networking who I followed up with. Turns out, The Person knows a lot of people, and is more than willing to help me in my search. The Person sat on the phone with me for 45 minutes, telling me everyone they knew at each of the firms I'm interested in. The ball is in my court now, to go through and research all these people at the firms and get back to The Person with a prioritized list. The Person is then going to CC me on emails to these people, giving me an extra few inches on that heel of the shoe I'm getting in the door.

People are more than willing to help you, if they believe in you.

So don't give up yet!

-Chelsey The Job Hunter

I'm open to criticism, I'm open to praise, but most of all, I'm open to a job offer.

Follow me on Twitter: ChelseyWantsJob