The Under Used Tactic to Land a Job: Informational Interviewing

The Under Used Tactic to Land a Job: Informational Interviewing

Informational interviewing might just be the best way to get a job and yet it is underused by most job seekers.  Whenever I work with a career development client and we get to the informational interviewing step, I am met with hesitance and  resistance. I get it!  Cold calling is a scary and dreaded way to talk to a potential employer, but it is so effective!

Really, the problem is that  It is misunderstood and overlooked as a means to get a foot in the door for a job.

Interview call

Think of an information interview meeting as a networking opportunity. This is a one-on-one meeting with a key person in a field that you have a high interest in.

It may be that you have preconceived ideas about a particular career. Information interviewing can give you a better sense of what it would be like to work in the field you’ve chosen. It is first-hand, realistic, information you can use to form your idea of your ideal career.

An informational interview is less formal than a real interview. It allows you the opportunity to show off your personality, your skills, interests, and aptitude in a semi-relaxed atmosphere. Because of this, you will likely come across as more authentic to the interviewer. An informational interview gives a prospective employer better insight into who you are, and how you might be a good fit for the organization in the near future. This is a win-win situation for everyone.

“Foot in the door”

At the typical interview that follows an application, you might feel that you’re in an interview mill—the interviewer bored with all the candidates and simply saying, “Next. Next,” after each interview. This may leave you feeling less than confident in your ability to outperform the next person. With an information interview, you aren’t going to be competing for a time slot, and chances are the interviewer has 15-20 minutes they can carve out of their busy day to talk shop. Many people enjoy this opportunity to talk about themselves, and about how they got to where they are, as well as to help young job-seekers find a springboard from which to launch their careers.

Because informational interviews are less formal—and stressful—the conversations usually flow easier.   Remember, you aren’t there to ask for a job. You’re only there to learn. You want information that will help guide you in the direction of the career best suited for YOU. This means you are the one in control of the questions and the outcome of the interview. This is a great time to let your guard down a little, let your true personality shine, as well as briefly showcase how your skills benefit the company. You can also take the opportunity to ask more strategic questions—questions that help you, but perhaps would not be appropriate at a real interview. You can ask about benefits, salary, and even the social climate of the organization without portraying yourself in a negative light.

Gain insight, and Practice Interviewing

This is the opportunity for you to come in prepared to ask the right questions. People enjoy telling their story and you can get a real sense of what the company or career might be like, and so determine whether your chosen career is truly a good fit for you.

Additionally, if some parts of the interview process intimidate you, this is an excellent way to come up with a game-plan and practice. Remember practice ONLY makes for improvement.

Mentorship

If you feel a connection with the person you meet with, you may well have lucked into a mentoring relationship opportunity. Your interviewer might really be impressed with the initiative you show by requesting an informational interview, and may be willing to offer further advice and support. And this goes both ways. Because of the rapport you build in this interview, you yourself might ask for further guidance via follow ups which we’ll talk about later in this chapter.

How to conduct yourself at the interview

  • You should regard each interview as a business appointment and conduct yourself in a professional manner.
  • Write a THANK YOU NOTE to the people you have interviewed. Report back to them if you have followed up on any suggestions.

The last thing to remember is that informational interviews are extremely effective. How effective? According to Dr. Randall Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the web, “While one out of every 200 resumes (some studies put the number as high as 1,500 resumes) results in a job offer, one out of every 12 informational interviews results in a job offer.”

Informational Interviews are so effective that despite that the stated aim is NOT to get a job, many  Informational Interviews still end up with a job offer.

So, go ahead and pick up that phone, you may just land a job!

To read more about interviewing, resumes and finding your passion career, purchase my book

Happiness + Passion + Purpose Book A Step By Step Guide On How To Nourish The Patterns Of Your Life Into The Job You Will Love And Land It!

 

 

 

Unleash Your Hidden Talents Through Negative Feedback

Unleash Your Hidden Talents Through Negative Feedback

Discover Hidden Strengths In Negative Feedback

I have been told that I am bossy and controlling!  Boy did I want to just quit pushing for my goals and hide out after hearing that a few times.  Thankfully, I didn’t or I would not be coaching clients today! Instead, I have embraced my leadership qualities and help people chart their personal course to their success.

Negative feedback often leaves your self-esteem wounded; it makes you feel like your inadequacies have been put on the spotlight.  When this happens, you naturally get defensive either by beating yourself down mentally, or you resort to attacking the source of the negative criticism.

Unleash your talents

Feedback from others is one fundamental way of finding out your capabilities and what you are missing.

To succeed in what you do, you cannot only rely on doing and improving on what comes easily to you (that is, your strengths); you will also need to need to acknowledge your weaknesses and learn how to manage your weaknesses to uncover the hidden strengths within them. The ability to do this can help you to realize your potential and boost your confidence enabling you to operate at a higher level necessary for unearthing the strengths from the weaknesses.

What Are Hidden Strengths?

Hidden strengths refer to those talents, skills, and abilities that are not seen at first as perceived weaknesses mask them. They remain hidden because they are generally unrealized, underdeveloped, and underutilized.

What was once a weaknesses is now a strength!

The process of discovering your hidden strengths often begin with adjusting your self-perception, as the belief you have about your strengths and weaknesses most times “puts you in a box,” limiting your belief system. A shift in self-perception is necessary to create a boost in your confidence about your ability to improve on those weaknesses you have to unleash your hidden strengths.

Here are 3 weaknesses shifted to show the hidden strengths:

Perfectionism: Being a perfectionist does not necessarily make you a weak person; it only means that you move through or do your work differently than others. The perfectionist’s ability to focus on small details is an asset to you, as you can spot little critical information other people may have missed. A perfectionist is always the one to identify anything that seems off as well as connect the dots on issues.

The strength of perfectionists is evident in their “insistence” at being thorough about work and other life processes. A perfectionist is never satisfied until every detail about a project or event has been sorted out and every eventuality prepared for adequately – This in itself is a demonstration of an invaluable strength.

Sensitivity: Sensitive people often make exceptional team members as they tend to take into account the feelings of other people. They do not talk down to other team members; instead, they promote the contribution of opinions and views by every team member. A sensitive person can even go as far as taking the blame for the group when things go wrong. This supportive strength of sensitive individuals is crucial for maintaining harmony in the workplace when appropriately harnessed.

Domineering: Dominant people display self-confidence that often comes off as arrogant or bossy; their style of communication is direct and blunt, and they tend always to take the lead in situations. They monopolize discussions and are often quick to reach decisions without seeking the inputs of others.

Nevertheless, as cynical as the stance of dominant individuals may seem, they possess some substantial strengths. Domineering people often make good leaders, especially in crises situations, as they are excellent at handling stressful situations. They are never afraid to take risks; instead, they stay enthusiastic, even in the face of new challenges. The determination trait which dominant people have is expressed in their level of energy and ability to encourage other team members to stay focused on performing their tasks and responsibilities until the set goal is achieved.

No doubt, negative feedback, whether from others or you through the perceptions you have about yourself can leave you feeling deflated and unmotivated, but what you do with that information is crucial to how far you can go and how much you can achieve.

Adjust your self-perception about your capabilities and inadequacies.

Develop a realistic approach to doing those things you believe you can do with optimism.

Go ahead unleash your hidden strengths and soar.

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog and learn about my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

5 Career Advantages You Get By…. Volunteering

5 Career Advantages You Get By…. Volunteering

Volunteer Your Way To A Career

“What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” – Aristotle

Whether you’re an experienced employee seeking a new career, or about to enter the workforce without a clear idea of your ideal profession, you can’t go wrong by volunteering.

Career GoalsSeriously…

Volunteering may not directly pay the bills, but have you ever thought about volunteering your way into a career that you’ll love?

Because let’s face it:

It’s 2019, and simply sending out your resume for just any old job that looks interesting isn’t going to cut it.

But don’t worry.  I’m about to let you in on an untapped strategy secret: the power of volunteering as part of your career development.

Here are five high-value, low-risk advantages to help you discover your ideal career through volunteering.

The Fabulous Five Advantages

1.   Expand your networking: not only will you meet an entirely new group of people as a volunteer, usually you’ll be in a friendly environment without a lot of pressure. This frees you to relax and be yourself with people who share your interests. You can make more meaningful connections, and have more genuine conversations, than are sometimes possible at formal networking events.

2.   Discover your volunteer personality: the more you understand yourself, the better you can home in on a volunteer opportunity that will help you discover your dream career. A good place to start is with the Myers-Briggs test. You’ll discover your strengths, your communication and learning styles, and the type of training you may need for the career you desire.

3.   Receive free training: And speaking of training, when you volunteer you have the opportunity to receive free training that may otherwise cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. If your idea of volunteering has been limited to stuffing envelopes or answering phones, good news! You could learn how to design a website, manage a project, or become a top-notch fundraiser. The list is endless.

4.   Get early access to employment openings: because you’ll be a part of an organization that’s hiring, you’ll have become known to a group of people as someone reliable and competent. When job openings become available in your organization (or one in its network), you’ve got people who will vouch for you. Employers often go with someone known to them, even over someone who on paper is more qualified, so you’ll have a definite advantage.

5.   Test your purpose: Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste and experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.” If you already know your life purpose, excellent! What better way to put it to a test than to volunteer in the field you’ve chosen? And if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to discover your purpose, there are ways to uncover it so you can learn which organizations might be a good fit for your talents and passion. When you infuse your life purpose into your chosen volunteer work – well, look out, world, you’re going to be on fire!

See how volunteering can propel you down the path to your ideal career? Yet it’s often overlooked by people when they are deciding on a profession.

Over To You

If you spend a significant amount of time wondering “I’m not sure if this is the right career choice! What if I hate it?”, I feel you.

Choosing a profession is a huge commitment. You can’t afford to take a shot in the dark, fingers crossed, hoping for the best.

There are so many different organizations with a wide variety of opportunities within them, you may find to your surprise that it’s hard to choose because of the abundance. And isn’t that a lovely spot to be in?

Give your choice a chance without risking everything. Even if you realize you made a mistake, the worst that’s happened is you’ve given up some of your time and effort and probably made a few friends on the journey.

But along the way you’ve made a difference to someone else’s life. You’ve gotten to know yourself better.

Volunteering extra bonus benefit: Actively being a good person and making a positive impact in your own life and many others!

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog and learn about my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

Limiting Beliefs Keeping You from Your Dream Career?

Limiting Beliefs Keeping You from Your Dream Career?

How Fear Of Failure Keeps Us From Pursuing The Career We Were Meant To Do

“Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.” -Maya Angelou

When you fear failure, you paralyze yourself into a career that’s not right for you. And a career that is a bad fit permeates into your efforts and job performance. You may refrain from speaking up to demonstrate leadership skills because you don’t want to rock the boat and maybe lose your job; or, in your situational-induced restlessness, routine tasks seem insurmountable. The effort of trying to conform yourself into a badly fitting job wears you out.

limiting beliefs

Deep down you may already know what the right career is for you, but you’ve convinced yourself it’s beyond your grasp because the thought of possibly not getting what you want is just too painful or out of reach. Instead, you drift along feeling unfulfilled, unmotivated, and uninspired; going through the motions every day, trying to convince yourself it’s not so bad. But it is so bad, and I want better for you! I want you to come alive each morning, eager to get to your job, excited to see what the day brings, then returning home feeling satisfied with your accomplishments.

Move Past The Fear To Your Dream Career

If this sounds impossible, take heart.

Some of my clients who had locked themselves into a profession that was wrong for them found the courage to break free. They found a career that spoke to their passion and strengths, and they are thriving. You can too, even if you don’t yet know what that perfect career is. 

The first step is for you to acknowledge the fear that’s holding you back, because until you acknowledge it you can’t let it go. Many of us have been taught to either bury our fear and pretend it doesn’t exist, or to bluster our way past it. Neither of these support you to liberate yourself from a poor situation.

You need not feel ashamed about your fear of failure, which often comes about because of past failures we’ve either experienced or observed. As Thomas Edison said when he invented the light bulb after many experiments, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

You likely have found ways that won’t work –we all have. What’s important is that you are able to move past any self-judgment to find the lessons. Ask yourself what you’ve learned from past experiences. How you would make different choices if you faced the same situation in the future? These experiences contain the seeds of a strategy you can follow to pursue the career you were meant to have.

There Is No Shame In Your Fear

There is no shame in letting your fear hold you back from a career that you’ll love. I encourage you to have compassion for yourself. Fear comes about because we see our past choices in a negative way that makes us limit ourselves out of a belief we can escape future pain. You did the best you could at the time; you made the choices you believed were right. Since you can’t change the past, why not ask yourself what you can do different in the future? Often we fear failure and don’t take action because we expect others to judge us and find us lacking. 

We worry we’ll lose their respect. Since by nature we’re social creatures who don’t want to lose other’s approval, the thought of being judged is particularly painful. Nonetheless, I encourage you to release the need for approval that keeps you stuck. 

Be Inspired By Others

Next, let yourself be inspired by people who have overcome their fear of failure and are highly successful in their chosen field. Examples that come to mind are author Stephen King, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and the singer/dancer/actress Beyonce. Their stories are freely available online.

But your inspiration doesn’t have to come from famous millionaires and billionaires. If you personally know someone who overcame their fear, I encourage you to find out how they did so. Ask if they would share their insights and suggestions, or if they would be willing to meet with you to support you. 

A person who believes in you and encourages you is a godsend, especially for the times you feel down and discouraged and just want to give up. 

Invite Hope

Even a a few minutes of well-timed support can make the difference between hope and fear. And as Maya Angelou said, both can’t occupy the same space. So, invite hope to stay with you. Tell the fear of failure to get lost. You’ve got better things to do. You’ve got a wonderful career to pursue!

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.

Transform Life Challenges Into A Perfect Career

Transform Life Challenges Into A Perfect Career

How To Transform Your Life Challenges Into A Perfect Career

Most of us perceive the challenges we’ve experienced in our life to be barriers or limitations on our choice of career. For example, if you have a learning disability you may believe you’re not cut out for a career requiring a lot of writing and researching. You may feel your lack of detailed understanding of business financials means you can’t be a corporate executive; or, conversely, your love of numbers and spreadsheets prevents you from being an effective people manager.

But when you dig down into the core of the challenges you’ve experienced, you mine the gold nuggets of your strengths, interests, and talents forged as you went through your struggles.

The Next step in life

Be Proud Of The Challenges You’ve Faced

While there are many people who go through similar challenges, your history and personality uniquely shape your responses to and outcomes of your struggles. Sometimes without even realizing it, you hone keen self-awareness you never would have without the circumstances you encountered.

Be proud of your challenges; they’re the source of so much of your resiliency and wisdom.

Your Challenges Become A Treasure Map

Here are 5 steps to draw on your wisdom and map a route to guide you to the perfect career for you. Gather up a timer, a pen or pencil, and a notebook. Choose a time when you won’t be interrupted. Sit in a quiet place and set the timer for 30 minutes. Then:

  1. Spend the first few minutes sitting quietly with your eyes closed.
  2. In your notebook, quickly jot down the challenges you’ve faced. The more honest you are with yourself, the more value you’ll get from this exercise. There’s nothing to be hesitant about or ashamed of – simply note what happened.
  3. See if you can find any patterns in your past situations: how they came to be, how you reacted, how you solved them, how you felt. Be curious, like a scientist collecting data.
  4. Write down any interests, talents, or strengths you believe came about from your challenges.
  5. When the timer goes off, stop writing, sit back, and relax for a few more minutes. Reflect on the experience

A neutral third party such as a coach is incredibly valuable to help you unearth the most compelling details and revelations; to keep you honest with yourself; and to point out strengths or talents you may not even be aware you’ve developed.

Let’s Follow The Map To The Treasure: Your Ideal Career

Once you’ve finished the mapping exercise above, you can follow the map to discover your ideal career. Here’s how:

  • Choose a tool that will help you refine the information you’ve developed about yourself. I recommend Holland’s Codes and Gallup’s Strengths Finder to start. And I’ve developed a number of exercises for you in my book Happiness, Passion and Purpose, which will be published in early 2019.
  • With your coach’s support, brainstorm even more career choices. You want to be thorough and not rush through this stage.
  • Set aside quiet time to reflect on and rank the possibilities.
  • Allow yourself to envision and play with different scenarios. Sketching or writing out the possibilities will unleash your creativity; as you play, you’ll hone in on your top one or two choices.
  • Draft a plan to explore the practicalities: for example, any training or education you may need; the typical work schedule of your chosen career; and the salary range.

If you get bogged down, don’t be discouraged! Simply pause and come back to this process when you feel refreshed. You may need to complete it in stages over a period of days or weeks, and that’s fine.

What Riches Will You Discover?

Rather than perceiving your struggles as barriers to a fulfilling career, I’ve shown you how you can deliberately mine your challenges to discover a wealth of insight, wisdom, and clarity that will guide you to a career you’ll love.

The reason most people drift to and through lackluster careers isn’t a lack of awareness, or smarts, or information. Rather, they don’t believe they can transform their challenges into careers where they can soar

But you’re going to be different, right?

You’re going to set out on a voyage of self-discovery and reap the reward of a fulfilling career crafted on your passion, purpose, and strengths. And when you do, you’ll discover how valuable your struggles truly have been.

Raz Coaching specializes in helping people with executive function challenges associated with ADHD, PTSD, Stress, TBI’s and ASD find careers they will love and land them. Read more at www.razcoaching.com/about Or sign up for the weekly blog or purchase my new book Happiness+Passion+Purpose.  It is packed full of exercises and strategies you can put to use immediately.