Preparing for that interview (or interviews!)

Disclaimer: I am not a human resources professional, or have any certifications relating to job searching or hiring processes. I speak from personal experience only. This is from a perspective in the high tech sector.

So, you’ve written a killer CV, and sent it off to different companies. Something has peaked a hiring manager’s interest, and they contact you for an interview. How exciting! But…you have no clue what to do.

Here are the steps that I have taken, and have proven successful for me personally.

1. Research the company. You’ll want to know who the CEO is, and what they do, as a minimum.

2. Review the job posting, and all the skills that they are requiring. In my field as a software developer, I often get asked in interviews direct questions regarding a particular technology, and my previous experience with it.

3. Dress for the part! I, despite being in high tech, always wear a suit when I go to interviews. It’s better to overdress than underdress. If you get the job, then you can adjust your personal dress code.

4. If you are starting out, or are super nervous, I’d recommend recruiting a friend to help you conduct a mock interview. Give them your CV, and the job posting, and you can get a sense of some questions that might get asked.

5. Most of all, RELAX! Yes, there is a lot of preparation work going into an interview, but you need to know – you’ve made it further than most applicants. Now is your time to shine personally.

Do you have any other interview tips you’d like to share? Comment below! I always love to hear other people’s perspectives.

The Power of Networking

You know that saying, it’s not what you know, but who you know? While I don’t believe this is 100% accurate, it does hold some merit of truth. I’d like to talk about the power of networking.

Networking is a great way to find those hidden opportunities – whether you are a sole contractor, or a member of a agency business development team. Just by putting yourself out there, chatting with a variety of different people, and simply being in the right place in the right time – you may come across that dream job or contract.

Not sure where to start? First, get yourself some business cards with your contact information. Despite us being in a digital age, a lot of people still like having that small, physical reminder of who they spoke with. You don’t even need to have the best creative design skills out there – Vistaprint is a great source with pre-existing templates!

Then, if you are like me, and are in the IT/Software field, check out Meetup. Often, there are monthly meetups in your specialization – these are both great learning opportunities, and networking. Two in one – bonus! If you attend regularly, it will make it easier to make the connections.

Another suggestion – Google. Search for events, organizations, etc. While this might not hold true for EVERY profession, a lot of them out there have either monthly, or quarterly events – often even low cost.

Finally, if you are involved in other communities, such as a dance or martial arts like I am, don’t be afraid to casually chat with others there. True story – I got a casual position in the government back in 2008, simply because of my training partners at karate knew I was looking for a job, and had someone who was looking for a developer. You never know who others know.

This may be hard for those introverted people (like myself), but believe me, it’s totally worth it. At the very least, you get to meet some interesting people, and engage in meaningful conversation.

So get out there…you may be surprised!

(DISCLAIMER: This is solely my opinion and experience. I am not a professional in this sense, but I’ve had excellent results – so I thought I would share)

So you need a new job…

We’ve all been there. You find yourself needing a new job. Perhaps you quit without anything lined up, or you were subject to a mass reorg or layoff. Here is my advice as to how to approach the job search. Keep in mind that it is my view only, and can differ for you, and the field you work in.

First, take some time to deal with any emotions. You need to be in a clear frame of mind as you approach the search. I’d recommend at least 24 hours – take more if you need to.

Once your mind is clear, and your determination is in place – update that CV. You may have let it lapse while you were gainfully employed. Fix that up. Also, update your LinkedIn profile. If it’s applicable to your field, try to get some recommendations.

I’d also suggest posting that you are searching for a job, and what your qualifications are and your background is, on your social media. Make it publicly shareable. You’ll be surprised with how many of your friends are willing to help out by sharing it, and you never know what their network is like. Make a post on your blog too, if that’s your thing.

Next, if you have a smartphone, get the job search apps. Indeed and LinkedIn Jobs are two great ones I’ve used in the past. Configure a search, and get notifications and alerts. Monster.ca is also great for this.

Finally, do some Googling. You’d be surprised at how many hidden job postings there are out there. Search for your location, title keyword, and level.

It goes without saying, but apply for anything you think you are qualified for, even if it’s not 100%. Often, companies will help train the right person in the skills they may not have at a particular strength. And it doesn’t hurt – the worst thing that can happen is your email never gets replied to. No skin off your back!

That’s just my advice to approaching the job search. Do you have any recommendations for people out there? Leave me a comment, and stay tuned for my interview prep advice.