Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

Harvard Researcher Sheds Light On Interviewing Postures

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Nov 1, 2010 9:26:00 AM

Image interviewing
Do you usually think that it's what you say that counts the most in terms of getting a job offer? Think again!

That's not to say that you shouldn't go into an interview fully prepared to get your message across, ask good questions, and answer questions skillfully. You must do so to be competitive. But new research indicates that how you stand and sit may have more impact on how you are perceived that you imagine.

Harvard Magazine has a fascinating article called "The Psyche on Automatic." Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy has found that, in order to be considered competent, you need to be sure that your posture sends the message that you are "powerful." There's a high correlation between perceived power and competence. And your posture is an important way to give the impression that you are powerful - or not.

In a "power posing" study, high power postures are "expansive positions with open limbs" and low power postures are "contactive positions with closed limbs." She advises women MBA candidates to stop crossing their legs and shrinking their physical presence. "Be as big as you are," she says. For men and women, the more you can spread your arms, keep your feet on the floor, and take up maximum space the more you will be perceived as powerful and therefor competent.

"In all animal species, postures that are expansive, open, and take up more space are associated with high power and dominance," Cuddy says.

There's more! Nonverbal cues of confidence and happiness produce a mirroring effect on the person you are with and therefor a sense of connection with the other.

And, a natural smile (which affects the eyes as well as the mouth) releases neurochemicals that "correlate with happy feelings." So, you are more likely to be perceived as warm and competent. These findings go to the "likability" quality that makes such a big difference in being successful in all aspects of life.

The takeaway for interviewing? Make sure that your body and your facial expressions communicate competence, confidence, and warmth - while acing the content part as well! You'll be a strong contender for the job.


Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, interviewing, interviewing style, career management, Job Interviews

The ONE THING Boomers Have 2 Get Right in Job Search!

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Oct 27, 2010 10:43:00 AM

image boomergetsajob resized 600

Of course boomers have to use up-to-the-minute best practices in resume writing, job search and interviewing when looking for a job. But there is one overriding factor they have to nail: their value proposition. Often boomers have an advantage in this, because they have already had accomplished careers and a strong track record.

What's a value proposition for a job seeker? It's the benefit they can (often uniquely) provide to the potential employer that matches the needs of that employer. How do you use it? At a minimum, in your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn Profile. How else must you leverage it? In your networking and interviewing.

One of my clients was 62 and had been out of work for a year when he applied to a Director-level job. Despite a strong competitive field of younger applicants, he got the offer. Why? Because the value he offered was so clearly and boldly spelled out in his resume. And because he interviewed keeping the value prop as his central message. How could the company resist? He was offering the exact value that they needed to solve the "pain" they were having.

So, don't neglect this critical value messaging as you go about your job search. It will override any concerns employers may have about age (even if that concern is not expressed because of possible legal ramifications). But only if clearly, powerfully and consistently expressed on paper and in person!


Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, interviewing, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, technology resumes, career management, Get a Job, career services, IT resumes, careers in retirement, Retirement Planning

The Dalai Lama & Your Interviewing Style

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

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 
















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

Interview Keeping "Moments of Truth" in Mind

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Apr 8, 2010 7:43:00 AM


My morning mood was elevated by reading one of Tom Peter's blogs about his mornings and the key ingredient that made them "good." He talks about the server at his local bistro who greeted him in a friendly way and went about her business with quiet competency. And how she started his day off on a good footing just by being who she was, even though he didn't even know her name.

He then goes on to talk about the importance of such "Moments of Truth" in making businesses run better. Here's what he said:

"...business ("life," too, of course) rises or falls on the nature and character of what the great SAS boss, Jan Carlzon, called "moments of truth"—those fleeting moments of true human contact that define our enterprise's excellence—or lack thereof."

In the midst of all our work coaching clients to ace an interview, we probably don't pay enough attention to helping people make a genuine connection with the interviewer. How to do that? Put away the interview "nerves" and the belief that you are being judged and substitute it with a truly collegial attitude - in which the you are identified with the interviewer's pain or challenges and you sincerely establish yourself as someone who can help with the solution(s).

If you lift the day of the interviewer as your day is lifted by every single moment of pleasantness, generosity and caring that you encounter, you will be remembered and (hopefully) presented with an offer. Such an attitude - that breaks through the superficiality and indifference of so many human encounters - is good in its own right, not just for business.

Can you think of a time when you encountered a "moment of truth" and were changed for the better by it?

Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, interviewing

5 Tips for Acing the Phone Interview

Posted by Tyrone Norwood

Apr 8, 2010 7:14:00 AM

Think a phone interview is easier than an in-person one? It may seem so on the surface, but in fact there are a couple of ways in which it is harder.
The most obvious way is that you have to project your personality and personal brand without a visual. The interviewer can't see your eyes, your smile, or your body language and so you have to rely in part on how you sound to make the connection.
Another way it's harder is that the format lends itself less well to the conversational back-and-forth that enables you to make a personal connection and communicate your reasons for why you should be hired.
Here are some tips to help you succeed in the phone interview format:
1. Be sure to be in a quiet place (or reschedule until you can be) and free of distractions (don't be checking your email or IMing while you are interviewing!).
2. Stand up (walk around if you like) and smile slightly as you talk. Do these things and your voice will project better, be more energetic, and have greater warmth. If you can convey to the interviewer simply through the way you sound that you are an upbeat, outgoing, and lively person, you have already done something important.
3. The interview is apt to be more scripted than the in-person interview, so try to answer each scripted question in a way that helps you branch out into what the company is looking for in terms of this particular hire. If you can find out what constitutes success in this position six months down the road you will be much more able to communicate how your skills and experience would make you a low-risk hire. The back-and-forth of a conversation gives you much more freedom to make your case for yourself as the right person for the job.
4. Make that personal connection. If you can move from a standard question such as "Tell me about yourself" or "What are your strengths" towards a discussion of the challenges that will be facing the individual who is hired, the pain the organization is having that occasions this hire, or the strategic changes the company is in the midst of, you will be much more likely to engage the interest of the interviewer. The interviewer has a problem you can solve. If you are able to truly present yourself as the one with the answers, solutions, or abilities to meet the desired objectives of the company, you will boost your chances of being called for an in-person interview.
4. Even though the interviewer probably will have a list of questions s/he is working from, make every attempt to work your personal brand into your answers. Your personal brand is your professional reputation clearly delineated. What is your specialty? What are you known for? What are your primary attributes? And, most important for the interviewer, what is your value proposition? How do you make money, save money, streamline operations, solve problems, lower risk, facilitate the success of others? If you are able to make a strong, clear, positive impression on the interviewer, not just as a person but as a professional, you will be remembered way longer than the other 6 people who were interviewed that morning who did not project a personal brand.
5. Have a leave-behind message that will get you to the next stage. Express your interest in speaking more about how you could meet the needs of the company. Reiterate your value proposition. Express confidence that the hiring manager (if someone different from your phone interviewer) will be interested in your ideas about what you could bring to the position that would benefit the company. If you are able to do this, the interviewer won't just remember a string of answers to a list of questions, s/he will remember why the company should get to know you better.
As you wrap up the interview, be sure to find out what the timeline is in terms of finding out about next steps. That way you can get back to the interviewer if you don't hear from him/her in the specified time period.
Also, as with an in-person interview, it is a good idea to write a thank-you email or snail mail note expressing appreciation for the interviewer's time and restating your value proposition and interest in an in-person interview.
If you follow these tips, it is likely that you will set yourself apart from your competitors who may just be responding to the set questions and not attempting to broaden the conversation, project a personality, make a personal connection, or communicate a memorable message. Ace the phone interview and you are well on your way to a job interview and offer.
Anyone out there have tips to add from your experience with phone interviews?
P.S. For interview questions to practice with (phone or in-person), here's a good site.

Topics: interviewing, Get a Job, Job Interviews, Phone Interview

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Tyrone Norwood