JEAN'S BLOG. Best & Next Practices in: Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

Got Passion? Surprising Work & Interviewing Tip

Posted by Jean Cummings

Apr 30, 2012 3:24:00 PM

Image Passion Enthusiasm Credit to Kim Garst for image

I encountered the phrase “all in” in two quite different contexts lately. In the first, a minister used it to describe his faith. In the second, a technology sales executive said it about the way he works. And then in a third instance, Ralph Waldo Emerson (a voice from the past), is quoted using different words but talking about the same idea (thanks to Angel Maiers for her post and the Emerson quote:

"Passion is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without passion.”

Put this together with a research finding that most of new hires that fail do so because of attitude, not lack of skills – as much as 80%.

And add in the “personal” in personal branding, which is about your passions, values, and goals. In other words, the things that go to make up your personality.

And you’ve got a little-known but apparently crucial ingredient in on-the-job success.

The Passion thing helps in interviewing too. If you know what you’re passionate about, great! Don’t be afraid to show the energy and excitement you experience in what you do. Even if the intervivewer hasn’t thought about passion as a desirable quality in a new hire, you will radiate energy and enthusiasm and that will engage the interviewer’s interest.

Studies have also shown that there is a kind of mimicry that goes on when two people communicate – that is, your enthusiasm will ignite the interviewer's. And that’s got to help!

Surveys find that by far the biggest element in deciding whether to hire someone is based on how s/he looks and sounds. Both your facial expression and your voice change when expressing passion, and, therefore, you will look and sound even better than you ordinarily do (we hope). :)

If you’re not passionate about your work, here are some thoughts. Passion doesn’t have to be fireworks kind of passion. It can be a firmly grounded commitment. If neither of those is true, see if you can find one aspect of your job that particularly interests you. Ask yourself why. Then ask yourself how your heightened interest impacts outcomes. Then, you can take advantage of the magic of passion, at least in the part of the interview where you give an example from the interesting part of your work.

As the hiring process is increasingly using assessments and simulations in an attempt to be more objective, your passion need not lose its power completely. It may be the single differentiating factor between two otherwise similar candidates. It may, in fact, be the one that will put you over the top!

 

 


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Topics: job search, interviewing, interview style, career management, Get a Job, career brand

Interview Follow-up: 10 Things to Do Right

Posted by Jean Cummings

Nov 28, 2011 12:46:00 PM

 interview

A good first impression can be squandered without an equally good follow-up. It's important to follow up with the employer in a way that shows your continued interest and helps your candidacy. Here are 10 tips:

  1. Send a thank-you note on the same day as the interview. Make it handwritten, sincere, and appreciative of the interviewer's time. This gesture alone differentiates you from the competition who often don't send thank-you notes.
  2. Don't just thank them for their time. Clarify any points that you failed to communicate well in the interview. Expand on some of your answers to more clearly demonstrate how you can add value. 
  3. Write a brief email with key achievements you didn't have time to mention, such as how you increased productivity, cut costs, or expanded the client base at your previous job.
  4. Use a range of different media for follow up: phone, fax, email, snail mail.
  5. If you've got an idea about how to help the company achieve its financial and strategic goals, don't be afraid to mention it along with a brief Challenge-Action-Results verbal snapshot about how you helped your employers in the past.
  6. Show the employer that you made their company a priority by keeping up with their business news. Attach to an email a news article citing the company's entry into a new market, adoption of an emerging technology, upcoming acquisition, etc. Make an intelligent comment about that news.
  7. Have a professional reference call your interviewer to really drive home the point that you are the right person for the job.
  8. Before following up, make it a point to do some research on company culture. Ask an employee what it is like to work there and what it takes to be successful at the company. If you're lucky, your interest may get passed along up the office chain of command.
  9. Be patient. The hiring process can take longer than you might think. Regular follow-up once every two weeks or so makes sense.
  10. Be persistent in terms of getting through to the hiring manager. If you have something of value to convey, make 10 or 11 attempts (an average number required to reach a busy executive!)

An assertive follow-up effort can make you a more attractive candidate. So, put your thank-you card in the mail, pick up the phone, and improve your odds of getting a second interview.

 

 

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Topics: job search, executive resumes, interviewing, interview style, executive resume, CIO resumes, Get a Job, Job Interviews, job interview

Zen and the Art of Job Search

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jul 20, 2011 7:01:00 AM

 executive job search - poise and power 

As I was driving home Sunday from a weekend away, I tuned into an NPR interview on the radio. He was taking about stress-free productivity. Something job seekers need desperately! Along with everyone else practically! His ideas sounded oddly familiar...

Yes, it was David Allen of Getting Things Done fame. I'd read it years ago - it's a classic in the field of personal organization - and used the system for awhile, then fell away (alas, the end of most good intentions). But his words about having too many different kinds of things to do on our minds causing significant stress resonated big time for me.

So I pulled out my iPad when I got home and did what he said to do: take everything on your mind and write it down in a way that makes sense to you. And then have a system for checking it and also for continuing to enter anything that is a to-do and that preys on your mind. I used Notes but there are lots of apps I will explore. (Put that on my list!)

OK, I did that. The rewards Allen promises are valuable: the ability to be highly productive and react in perfectly appropriate ways to stressors. He describes the "mind like water" that martial arts practitioners use for perfect readiness and power. 

I think daily pauses (mini meditations if you like) for deep breathing and contemplation of a serene image (water receding from the beach, then rolling in again, for instance - my image) help get us into that frame of mind of poised readiness and response.

Looking for your next job involves a myriad of things to do and keep track of: executive resumes sent, personal branding initiatives, targeted cover letters written, networks contacted, appointments planned and kept, research on companies, interviews planned and attended - all with various schedules and levels of importance. What better time to apply Allen's ideas?

The Zen job search would be one conducted with full confidence that you had the bases covered and WRITTEN DOWN according to your system, so that you can act from a place of calm productivity.

The Zen interview is when you can bring a mind open and a readiness to respond to the interviewer with calm interest, quiet confidence, generous openness to the other person, and keen listening (to hear the subtext of questions), and make an appropriate on-brand response that speaks to the employer's needs. A Zen mind is also ready to ask insightful questions and proactively project its personal brand in appropriate ways into the conversation. 

So, "mind like water," T.S. Eliot's "the still point in the turning world," and Yeats' "I hear lake water lapping, with low sounds by the shore." Now we are ready. Bring it on.

 

 

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, interviewing, interview style, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, CIO resumes, career management, executive job search, Job Interviews, personal brands, career brand, salary negotiation, salary negotiations, job interview, power of attraction

The Dalai Lama & Your Interviewing Style

Posted by Jean Cummings

Apr 30, 2010 4:18:00 PM


In a Harvard class he was teaching, Nick Morgan said that the Dalai Lama exemplifies 2 qualities that make for a great public speaker: charisma and authenticity. What if a job seeker had an interviewing style that had those qualities? My guess is that he or she would have a huge competitive edge.

Personal Branding Guru William Arruda, through his Reach interview series, introduced me to Nick's ideas about public speaking (refer to Nick Morgan's book Trust Me). Nick says that there are 4 parts to developing your own communication style: openness, connection, passion, and listening.

When I saw the Dalai Lama in the TD Garden with tens of thousands of others, I felt as though I was the only one in the room. Out of great quietness came this teaching voice. The impression of stillness and total non-judging acceptance that I felt was unique in my life and was unrelated to his words (which were mainly a rehashing of Buddhist tenets).  

If 80% of an interview's success lies in nonverbal communication, then it's critical to give out a sense of "presence" that matches the person you say you are. Part of what Nick is recommending is making sure your nonverbal cues align with what you are saying. Because the interviewer is going to believe your body language not your words!

If, for instance, you say you are a bold leader, it would be a good idea not to hunch your shoulders and use nervous hand gestures!

That day in the Garden, I saw how the Dalai Lama made the connection with the audience. Imagine if, in an interview, you were able to speak out of a place of deep conviction in yourself - about your unique promise of value, your achievements, and your strengths - while also connecting genuinely with the unique other that is your interviewer. Now that would be powerful.

 

Cross-posted at www.CareerHubBlog.com 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: interviewing, interview style, interviewing style, personal brand

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