Posts tagged #Job Search

How to answer “What’s your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?”

Strength Weaknesses

Interviewer: “What’s your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?”

Interviewee: “My strength is that I have no weaknesses.”

Please don’t answer the classic interview question like this. No one is weakness free! And while this isn’t a trick question, it is a question that is meant to reveal how you view yourself, your confidence level, and your forward-thinking skills. Most of the time, interviews don’t actually care what the strength and weakness are - they want to hear how you handle a self-assessment.

Here’s the key: There is always something you can be working to improve, and this question opens the door to show interviewers that you are actively working on an area or skill.

Here’s 5 easy steps to prepare for this classic interview question:

Step 1: Write down your honest answer to this question. You don’t have to show it to anyone at this point, so be truthful!

Step 2: Ask your best friend to answer the question for you. Ask them to be honest, but helpful. In all the time you’ve known this person, what do they see as your greatest strength and weakness?

Step 3: Ask a close colleague to answer the question for you. Your best friend will answer a bit differently than a colleague. Having the two perspectives will be insightful.

Step 4: Compare notes. Were any of the answers similar? How were they different? Do you agree or disagree with their assessment? Spend some time to think through the responses and form one coherent and honest answer that is appropriate for an interview. Bonus points if you can tailor your response to the specific position you are interviewing for!

Step 5: Come up with a plan to address your weakness. It’s important to not just answer the question with the strength and the weakness, but to include a plan of action for improvement that is already in place. Here’s a great example from an author:

“I’m really creative when it comes to brainstorming topics for my writing and I’m quick to lay out an outline. My weakness lies in catching the details. I sometimes struggle to catch the small stuff when editing, but I think being aware of the problem is half the battle. In addition, I’m working to improve on this by taking editing classes and allocating more time to review work before it leaves my desk.”

Everyone should prepare for this question. Having a thought-out and plan-of-action will leave a great impression with your interviewer.

Want more interview tips? Read How to present yourself as a team player.

What, Why & How To Write A Cover Letter

student-849825_1280.jpg

Resume and cover letter. Resume and cover letter. Resume and cover letter.

You’ve probably heard this short phrase more times that you want to count since searching for a job. It’s because these two things - your resume and cover letter - will ultimately land you the job. Even if you networked well and “know a guy,” someone will look at your resume and cover letter before hiring you. It’s THAT important.

What Is A Cover Letter?

When applying for a job, a cover letter is your opportunity to explain the content of your resume. It is a separate document, written as a letter, addressed to the hiring manager or Human Resources contact for the job for which you are applying.

Why Write A Cover Letter?

Primarily, it allows you to highlight experiences, circumstances, or skills that are not obvious in your resume. For example, employment gaps, school/training status, career changes are all examples of situations that should be addressed in your cover letter.

Many online application systems mark ‘resume’ as required and ‘cover letter’ as optional. Always send a customized cover letter. It shows you want the job enough to put the extra effort into writing a cover letter and provides the opportunity to stand out in a stack of resumes.

How Do I Write A Cover Letter?

Keep your cover letter short, sweet, and to the point. Your cover letter often times decides whether or not the hiring manger ‘turns the page’ to review your resume, so it needs to get their attention quickly.

Below you’ll find a template that you can use to be personalized and customized for the position, and company you are applying for. This template provides a general idea of what you should include. You need to have a customized cover letter for every single position that you apply for - no exceptions. Hiring managers can spot a generic cover letter from a mile away.

Cover Letter Template

Full Name

Street Address

City, State, Zip

E-Mail

 

January 23, 2017

 

Mr. /Mrs.

Person title

Company Name

Address

Houston Texas, 77489

To Whom It May Concern:

I am excited to apply for the position of ______ (#_____) that was listed on the job site ______/your company careers page/your staffing agency website.

This role appeals to me because ____. My background makes me an excellent fit for this role because. (EXPLAIN ANYTHING ELSE THAT ISN’T OBVIOUS FROM YOUR RESUME IN 1-2 SENTENCES, SUCH AS SIGNIFICANT EMPLOYMENT GAP DUE TO CHILD REARING, SCHOOL, CAREER CHANGE, ETC.). I would love the opportunity to leverage my experience working with X.

I have attached my resume for your review. I welcome the opportunity to personally discuss my qualifications with you, and I’m very interested in your thoughts on what roles would allow me to make this transition successfully, as I am flexible in this area. Please contact me at ###-###-#### or email at your convenience.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to review my resume. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Full Name

###-###-####

email

 

Posted on October 19, 2017 and filed under Search Strategy, Resume.

Job Search and Interview Follow up Etiquette

office-620823_1280.jpg

The waiting game is by far the worst part of looking for a job! You finally find a job posting that looks perfect for you. You spend time tailoring your application and resume. You are excited when you hit the “apply” button and then...nothing. For days and days.

When is it appropriate to follow up? Here are some tips to help you maintain a professional vibe while inquiring after two specific job search situations:

Job Application Status

The best case scenario is that you’ll initially receive an auto response, confirming that your application was received. A lot of companies don’t have this automation, however, so you may not receive a confirmation.

After submission, the ratio for how many jobs you apply for to how many you’ll hear back from is, sadly, low. Many job postings receive hundreds of applications and the HR department or hiring manager is overwhelmed with sorting through the responses. Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer: if all 150 applicants followed up with a phone call, it would be quite annoying. Instead, opt for a simple and quick email to the hiring manager. State that you applied for the job, wanted to make sure it was received, and are excited about the opportunity.

If you don’t hear back after this follow up, assume you did not move on to the interview stage. But don’t worry! Keep applying and don’t get frustrated. It’s all a part of the job search process.

Post Interview

If you receive an interview - congratulations! There are a two things you should do to follow up:

  1. Ask at the end of the interview what your expectations should be regarding hearing the outcome of the interview process. Are they hiring within the week? Will you hear one way or another? Is it OK for you to follow up if you don’t hear anything? Asking at the interview is not only appropriate, it ensures you are respecting their process and communicating in a way they prefer.

  2. Send a thank you note! If you need some pointers on how to do so, read Stand Out While Being Professional: Proper Thank You Notes.

We’d love to help you with all of your job search needs. Click here to view our career exploration services.

Posted on October 11, 2017 and filed under Interviewing, Search Strategy.