Interviewing advice

If you want to succeed in your job interview (and who doesn’t?), it’s good to understand the perspective of the interviewer. What is he or she expecting from the candidate? What kinds of actions can kill the interview?

The folks at Boost Your Career With LinkedIn offer some excellent advice on preparing for an interview, based on common complaints from recruiters. Knowinging — and avoiding — these pitfalls will help you make a positive impression.

LinkedIn Blog

LinkedIn now has its own blog. It promises to be “a sounding board for all things LinkedIn.”

See it here.

Quote: self-awareness

More leaders could use a dose of self-awareness, like Reeko (the skunk) in Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild:

“I always thought they didn’t want me around because I was a skunk, well…you know it turns out they didn’t want me around because I was a jerk.”

Self-awareness is the first step in discovering your purpose. What were you created to do?

(Thanks to Michael at the Leading Blog.)

Quote: Finding purpose

In her book Keeping the Faith (reviewed previously in this blog), Ana Mollindo Mims begins with what amounts to a personal manifesto. She says, in part

“I believe in destiny.”

“I believe each of us has a path that points us toward that destiny.”

“I believe that I am here for a purpose, not because of some random occurrence or decision by my parents.”

“I believe events in my life happen for a reason, not by accident.”

And my favorite:

“I believe that we have free will, and when we cede that free will to God’s purpose and plan, in life and in business, we will find ourselves on a journey that will fulfill and elate us, by no one’s standards but His own.”

True fulfillment in life comes by discovering and yielding your passion to the One who gave you that passion. What were you created to do?

7 principles to work by

My reading list has historically been second-hand, meaning that I tend to build my list based on recommendations from others. Rarely do I snoop around the shelves and tables of the bookstore looking for the hidden gems that others may have overlooked. I’ve always had a never-ending supply of recommended reading (college professors are good for that), combined with a short supply of time and patience for shopping, so the second-hand method works well for me.

It’s unusual, then, that I would impulsively pick up a book to read, but this particular book recently caught my attention: Keeping the Faith, by Ana Mollinedo Mims. The book is Ana’s very narrative and personal story about how she incorporates her faith into her personal career, and the impact that has had on finding meaning and success in her professional life.

In the book, she describes the seven principles of her faith-based philosophy:

  1. Faith – How to bring meaning to our work and infuse what we do with purpose.
  2. Prayerfulness – How to pause and take stock of any and all situations, centering our thoughts and bettering everything we set forth to accomplish.
  3. Humility – How infusing this in all things can bring about the most prosperity.
  4. Integrity – Why goodness and quality serve us long after a job is done.
  5. Forgiveness – Why adopting forgiveness does and will lead to greater meaning.
  6. Stewardship – How leading opens our options for all things.
  7. Legacy – Why we must all care about the work we do, and how a job is never really finished.

What I liked about this book

First, I appreciate the spiritual perspective of this book. I have always believed that our faith should be reflected in our work, and that our work is a natural extension of who God created us to be. We find meaning in work and life by discovering what we were created to do. This book supports that philosophy.

Second, the book is a very comfortable read, and very inspiring. Her personal stories as well as the stories she tells of others lends believability to her ideas. In other words, you don’t get the idea that this is pie-in-the sky wishful thinking, but a pratical philosophy that anyone can embrace.

What I didn’t like about the book

In a word — the title. The theme of the book seems to be about finding success by incorporating faith into your work and career. I think the words “Work” or “Career” or even “Purpose” should figure prominently in the title. Granted, the subtitle is “How Applying Spiritual Purpose to Your Work Can Lead to Extraordinary Success, but that’s not prominent enough to capture most readers.

Conclusion

The book was not what I expected when I picked it up, but I was pleasantly surprised. One of the reasons I wrote this review is that I think many people will disregard the book because of the title, and miss out on an enjoyable and inspiring read. If you are wondering how to integrate your faith and career, you will enjoy this book.

And it may help you answer the question, What were you created to do?

Google to release slideshow application

Google CEO Eric Schmidt confirmed at the Web 2.0 Expo yesterday that Google will soon release a slideshow application for Google Apps. The slideshow application is viewed as the “missing link” in Google’s office productivity suite (which currently includes Docs and Spreadsheets) and allows it to compete more effectively with Microsoft Office.

Schmidt downplayed the competition with Microsoft, however, saying

“I don’t think we compete with them. We’re not as fully functional as MS Office — we’re more in line with how people use the web than how they use the desktop.”

But he later conceded that Google Apps is a viable alternative to Microsoft Office for people who “use the web a lot.”

Oh… thooose people.

Advice for older job seekers

Thanks to YourHRGuy for drawing my attention to this article in Forbes Magazine. It offers three rules for older (40 plus) job seekers:

  • Rule #1: Job seekers over 40 need a resume that looks forward, not backward.
  • Rule #2: Don’t be defensive, and don’t omit dates.
  • Rule #3: Don’t be afraid to sell yourself.

The writer suggests that younger job seekers need to emphasize work experience, but older job seekers need to change the perpective from “Look at everything I’ve done” to “Look at what I can do for you.” In other words, the resume becomes less about the candidate and more about the employer.

The author writes,

“Beware of writing a résumé that generates awe but not interviews. Your résumé should persuade a potential employer to grant you an interview, not your old employer to give you a gold watch.”

Older job seekers often have a hard time selling themselves for two keys reasons:

First, older workers tend to think that selling themselves is tantamount to bragging about their past accomplishments, and they consider bragging to be in bad form (rightfully so). Self-marketing, however, is not as much about past accomplishments as it is about future potential. True, there is a correlation between past accomplishments and future potential, but self-marketing should emphasize what you can do for someone else. Past accomplishments are merely the supporting evidence.

Second, many workers do not know what their real strengths, gifts, and passions are. For many years, they have defined themselved by their job description rather than their strengths and interests. Employers are less interested in your previous titles and job descriptions. They want to know that you have the skills and passion to do the job.

If your job serach has you looking to the past, you need to shift your thinking to the future. I believe that everyone has a unique purpose in life.

What were you created to do?

Note to butchers: don’t hire vegetarians

Thanks to the Be Excellent blog for pointing me to this article in Entrepreneur Magazine. In the article, Robert Kiyosaki stresses that businesses need to hire people with a passion for their mission.

Hiring the right people — the people with the right passion — is one of the toughest jobs for any business. But maybe not the toughest. The toughest job may be getting rid of the wrong people. Hiring for skills will get an organization only so far. Hiring for passion will help the organization excel.

Kiyosaki says his rich dad told him

“Hire people who are mission-driven — people who share your vision. If you don’t, your business will struggle, or may never even get off the ground.”

In other words… if you own a butcher shop, don’t hire vegetarians.

Implication for Job Seekers

Why is it so challenging for businesses to hire for passion? One reason, I suspect, is that many job applicants don’t know or cannot convey their passion.

If you don’t know what your passion is, how will your employer — or potential employer — ever know? You need to know what you are passionate about, and be able to effectively express your passion. If you don’t know what your passion is, there are many tools to help you. One such tool I just came across recently is a new book by Dan Miller entitled 48 Days to the Work You Love.

You should also consider finding a coach who can help you discover your strengths and passions.

What were you created to do?

 

Prior comments can haunt you

Developing an online presence is an effective way to establish your professional brand, expand your network, and create opportunities. In fact, many writers now consider an online presence to be an essential – not optional — component of a candidate’s portfolio.

One of the questions that often comes up is about “youthful indiscretions.” What about those posts, comments, and photos that may have been posted years ago?

I came across this article in the Washington Post recently about a newly minted lawyer named Kiwi Camera. And not just any lawyer — a magna cum laude Harvard graduate. He cannot land a job as a law school professor because, at age 16, he wrote racist remarks in a summary of a Supreme Court decision that was subsequently posted to the Web. Despite his otherwise stellar resume, his racist comments are now part of his online profile.

Lest you think this is an unfair indictment for a youthful indiscretion, consider one student’s perspective:

“We shouldn’t have to be put in a position where we have to defend [racist comments] by our professor.”

Given the choice bewteen two equally qualified candidates, why would a potential employer risk the potential embarrassment and liability of hiring such a candidate?

They wouldn’t.

So that raises the next question: Why would a student or job seeker sabotage his or her online profile by posting objectionable material on a blog, a personal web site, or a social networking site like LinkedIn, Facebook, or MySpace?

They shouldn’t.

This reminds of a story about an old man teaching a boy about the impact of his words. He told the boy to pluck the feathers from a chicken and spread them along a path. When the boy finished and returned, the old man told him to now g and retrieve every feather and put them back in the chicken. The boy complained, saying that many of the feathers had blown away or been picked up and could never be retrieved. And even if he could, it would be impossible to put them back on the chicken.

So it is with our words — once departed, they can never be retrieved or taken back.

LinkedIn presentation at ASTD

Someone once told me that an expert is someone who knows just a little more about a topic than you. In that spirit (I’ve been actively using LinkedIn only since December), I have been tapped as the local LinkedIn expert at the ASTD JobNet group, and will be presenting a LinkedIn overview at our next meeting on April 19.

If you are in the Dallas area, please join us.

  • Thursday, April 19
  • 4:30 pm
  • Wyndham Dallas North Hotel
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