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You have been called in for an interview as the company believes what they have seen and heard to date establishes you as a viable candidate for the role that they are looking to fill.

Frequently, individuals spend many hours creating resumes and cover letters, searching through the job boards and postings on the internet, reviewing classifieds and networking — all in order to get an interview. Yet few of them spend anytime developing the most crucial skill of interviewing.

In today’s economy, it may take 5 or 6 interviews in order to secure a position versus the 2 or 3 interviews that was more of the “norm” in healthier economic times. So by developing your interviewing skills you will develop the ability to “outsell” your competitors and land the job.


Anyone who has ever been through the job hunting process has probably walked away from at least one interview knowing right away that they botched it or even if they feel confident about the interview, they know that they still could have answered one or two questions much better than they did.

Remember that any activity that we value creates a certain degree of angst or anxiety which is a natural human emotion. The only way to remove this “pressure” and to perform in a way that we know that we are capable of is preparation!

The Industry

Question: What is happening in the hiring companies industry?

Resources: Major news outlets, stock market reports etc.

The Market

Question: What is happening to other hiring companies in the local market (Twin Cities)? How is the hiring company perceived in the local market?

Resources: Local news outlets and community or philanthropic annual reports. Unlike the standard annual report, which focuses largely on financial performance, many companies produce a second publication that highlights “soft topics” like culture or community outreach. This will give clues about how the company lives its image or brand. This can help you decide if there’s consistency between what the company says it is and what you observe.

The Company

Question: What is the “tone at the top”? Is there a strong, positive workplace culture? The leadership team (CEO, CFO, Chairman or President) sets the standard for workplace culture.

Resources: The company website will typically reveal the names of senior leaders, and a broader Internet search using those names will often turn up revealing media coverage about executive actions, providing insight on the team’s values, which have the greatest impact on a company’s culture.

Question: What is the company’s mission or vision statement?

Resources: Again, the company website will provide these statements which will reveal what a company wants everyone to believe about its culture and values. This is a good way to discover if the stated characteristics align with their personal values system.

Question: What is the workplace environment like?

Resources: The physical location! Is the interviewee brought in for an onsite interview, the physical environment can provide a snapshot about the workplace culture i.e. fancy offices near crowded cubicles can illustrate cultural norms about rank and power. Similarly, a polite, respectful interview process – rather than one that is seemingly rushed or poorly coordinated – offers valuable cues about the overall environment.

The Job

Question: What are the roles and responsibilities for the position? What are the expectations for the role? What does good look like?

Resources: The job posting. The HR / recruiter contact.


Apply the same rigor to one or two of the hiring company’s closest competitors.


“Do you have any more questions for me?” may seem innocent and simple enough to answer, but candidates who give a weak response are usually the ones screened out of consideration for the job.

Utilizing the research results, create a series of questions that will help you fill in the blanks and assist in your determination if both the company AND the job are a right fit for you!

Please be aware that every question you ask is an opportunity for you to sell yourself as the most outstanding, must-have candidate for the job.


All of the above preparation is for naught if you fail to show up at the right place or on time, so plan accordingly.

Do you clearly understand:

  • The location of the interview?
  • The amount of time it will take you to get there?
  • The start time?
  • Who you are interviewing with?
  • Expected duration of the interview?
  • Do you have a copy of your resume?

As with most professional’s today – everyone is busy, hurried and subject to the same delays and roadblocks in their day-to-day activity. So being where you are supposed to be at the right time with the ability to be “flexible” will go a long way to establishing you as an easy individual to work with and a good “fit” for the company.


Smart, formal business attire even if the interviewer is in jeans.

Communication Style

Interviewers will form an opinion of you within the first 5 minutes of the interview and this opinion is not always based on what you actually say, but on something you are doing i.e. your “body language”.

85 percent of what you communicate is not with words, it is through the tone of your voice, the way you sit and a wealth of other messages that your body involuntarily sends.

  • Be natural. Greet the interviewer with a smile that engages your eyes, and offer a firm handshake. Say something like, “I’m pleased to meet you” to provide a positive anchor. Maintaining good eye contact shows respect and interest.
  • Watch out for excessive energy. The more energy you have, the more will need to be vented. This often results in fidgeting i.e. repeatedly touching your face, throat, mouth or ears, a definite sign that you’re nervous or ill at ease
  • What to do with those hands and arms. Clasped hands are a signal that you are closed off and palm-to-palm gestures with one thumb over the other thumb sends the signal that you need the interviewer’s reassurance. To come across as confident, receptive and unguarded, have your hands open and relaxed on the table. When your body is open, you project trustworthiness. Avoid crossing your arms over your chest. When you do, you signal that you are close-minded, defensive or bored and disinterested.
  • Crossing those legs. Don’t cross your legs as this posture creates a wall between you and your interviewer. It can also become a distraction when you keep crossing your legs back and forth. Crossed ankles are a “no-no” because you are signaling that you want to be elsewhere.
  • Posture. A straight posture is imperative during an interview. Pull your shoulders back and sit up straight. You’ll give yourself a burst of confidence and allow for good breathing. This can help you to avoid, or at least reduce, feelings of nervousness and discomfort.
  • Finger gestures. Never point your index fingers like gun barrels as these are the types of aggressive messages you want to avoid sending.

While body language is a very important component of your communication style, no one ever received a job offer purely on the strength of their handshake or posture; regardless of what was actually said.

Interviewers will often rely on questions that start with “tell me about a time when?” or “give me an example?” To provide meaningful answers to those questions, you must prepare and have some stories in your pocket. As human beings, we love a good story so practice your ability to paint a good picture around your experiences.

Painting a Picture

Stories to prepare in advance of the interview should include “good examples about how you’ve interacted with team members – what kind of team player you’ll be.

Interviewers also frequently ask how you have dealt with a difficult problem. Being negative is a pitfall, so describing the situation succinctly, focusing on what you were thinking when handling the situation. The interviewer’s goal is not to learn about the company you were working for or the people you were working with, but about how you maneuvered through difficult situations.

Don’t forget to ask early on, “Please let me know if this is not what you’re getting at or if you need more detail?”

Interviewees can also create dialog by asking questions like, “Tell me about the characteristics of the people who are most successful in this department or role. What kinds of people or experiences have worked well? What won’t work in your group?”

Rehearsal is key so talk out loud to yourself, family or friends. Listen to how it sounds. When the right answer doesn’t come to you fast enough, you miss the golden opportunity to share your best story.

The Close

The key is to have a great interview, where the interviewer actually pictures you doing the job.

If you want to be that person, utilizing and practicing the steps detailed above will allow everyone who interviews you – the recruiter, hiring manager to picture you filling the position and to visualize actually hiring you — ASAP.

Diligent preparation will guarantee that you will stand out from the crowd and shoot straight to the top of the “must hire” list.

Finally, KEEP SELLING your services and the value that you would bring to any hiring organization, with the same vigor and enthusiasm all the way through to signing on the dotted line.  Why? Because you never know………………!

Graham Riley

Follow Graham @GrahamKRiley

CareerToolbox International, LLC

For the latest in personal branding, job and career-related updates, please consider following us at @CareerToolboxUS or join us on LinkedIn

This article was first published on Graham’s website on May 23, 2014
Graham will be a featured speaker at our You Can Get Hired Kickoff on February 16th. You can get a seat up front if you register here:

Eventbrite - *2/16/16 You Can Get Hired! - Mystery man "Mr. X" RETURNS with Graham Riley!

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Adam Wallschlaeger

Wallschlaeger, Adam Sit


There was a time, not all that long ago, when the word brand meant something similar to everyone.  When you think of branding you think of Ford, Nike, McDonald’s and Apple.  They are companies that represent products that we all know, like and trust.  They help define our image, and tell the world what we stand for.

These mega companies will likely always exist.  But even if the aforementioned companies fail, others will take their place.  But a new revolution is underway.  I like to call it the Self-Branding Revolution.

The first time this was presented to me, I was a deer in the headlights.  I seized the opportunity to sit down with a VP of the company I was working for.  I could sense that he knew something that was eluding me, and could tell he was on his way to bigger and better things.  He told me to immediately start building “Adam Inc.”  This, as I was told, was a process of building my skills, education, and experience.  I had a hard time wrapping my mind around this, because I was used to showing up at work, doing what was on my to do list, and then heading home.  In the past, building your skills, education and experience was what you did to boost your resume to GET the job you currently HAD.  Once you HAD it, you just lived your days awaiting your next pay raise right?

Flash forward 6 years.  We live in a whole new world.  Social media has given us an opportunity to brand ourselves.  Anyone, anywhere can quickly become a thought leader and even expert in any particular niche.  You don’t have to go back to college and spend 25K per year to do it.  Most of the resources you need are free, or very inexpensive.  You don’t have to spend 40+ hours at a dead end job.  You can now pick what you are passionate about in life, figure out a way to brand yourself and support the lifestyle you want to live.  But it all starts with the Self-Branding Revolution.  You are your own Ford, Nike, McDonald’s or Apple.  You can set up your own website, brand yourself on social media platforms, and automate a system that allows you to profit from your new skills, education and experiences.  It’s not easy, and there is a lot to learn, but life if so valuable and so short, we really can’t afford to waste any more time building someone else’s brand. It’s a brave new world!  Will you join the Self-Branding Revolution?


Adam Wallschlaeger will be one of our featured speakers on August 23rd, 2016 from 9-11:30 a.m. in Maple Grove. To register for this free event, CLICK HERE or go to our “Event’s” tab above and learn more about what more he will share to affect your Job Search!

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Mr XWell begun is half-done. But far too many resumes being with objective statements that can only be described as … half-baked.
As a professional resume writer, I review and analyze nearly 2,000 resumes each year. And the opening objective is an area where almost everyone could use a little help with their resume.
To show you what I mean, here are three example objectives from actual resumes sent to me for analysis by job seekers just like you. (My comments are in parentheses.)


To obtain a responsible (as opposed to irresponsible?) and challenging (what, you don’t like dull work?) position where my education and work experience will have valuable application (like finding a cure for cancer?)


Seeking a position in the sales department with an opportunity for advancement (in effect, you’re saying to the employer, “Give me a job where the pay is good … and keeps getting better.”)


Seeking a challenging career with a progressive organization which will utilize my skills, abilities and education in management, product management, operations, purchasing and buying. (Zzzzz. You won’t bore anyone into hiring you.)
You can stand out from the crowd if you’ll just write your objective from the employer’s point of view, instead of your own. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
It is.
All you have to do when writing your objective is make sure it answers this question: “What’s in it for me?” That’s the question on every employer’s mind as he or she reads your resume.
Here’s an example objective, to get you started:


Management position in procurement where over 10 years of experience will add value to operations.
Avoid such trite phrases as: “seeking a chance for advancement,” or “where my skills will be utilized,” or “where I can further my career.” I’ve seen each of these on resumes that were badly hampered as a result. So, to keep your objective from being objectionable (and torpedoing your job search), put the focus where it belongs — on the employer and their needs. Best of luck to you!

Mr X will be featured at our September 22nd You Can Get Hired! workshop in Maple Grove from 9-11:30 a.m.

Please click here to register and reserve your seat—only 40 tickets are available.

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Over the course of my career in Corporate America, I had to have a solid resume each time I changed jobs-which seemed to be every 18 months! I got pretty good at writing how my experiences were a perfect fit for the role. On the flip side, I also hired a lot of great people. And during the long process of finding that amazing new hire, I saw many resumes that were good. More often than not I would always have a few that were ‘not up to par’.  Even if the person was a great fit-having a less than stellar resume didn’t get them very far in the process. Sometimes it was simple mistakes.

Your resume is your first impression to a recruiter, human resource professional or hiring manager. Mistakes can take you from an interesting candidate to a non-existent candidate getting thrown out before they can see how amazing you are.

In all my years as a hiring manager and career coach, there are a few things I have seen as consistent mistakes. I have highlighted FOUR.  All it takes in one mistake….isn’t that the saying?


A Book of Experience.

Many times, I see three to four page resumes. The best approach is that if you have over 8 years’ experience, you should have a 2 page resume (front and back or two pages stapled). Less than 8 years, one page is adequate. In my career management workshops, this is the toughest one for people to get over. We all want to shout to the world how great we are right?

Your resume is a highlight of who you are – your summary section demonstrates your brand statement and skills that support the role you are applying for- and your accomplishments that back it up. Too many times I see people list their job duties. A hiring manager doesn’t care that you were responsible for pulling up a monthly report. They want to know how you are going to come in and be a rock star because you have proven you have done it before.

The main purpose of the resume is to get them to say “I want to talk to that person more” and get you an interview where you can spend the time going into the depths of your experience.  So, pick your best accomplishments and shorten that resume. (Know where to find those great accomplishments? Start with performance reviews-where else are you expected to talk about the great things you did over time!)

Misspelled words.

Seems obvious right? Unfortunately it happens often. You spend a lot of time working on your resume. Crafting the right accomplishment statements and nailing down the perfect brand statement. It isn’t until you hand over your resume to a potential hiring manager that you notice it. The typo. How could you let that it happen?

The fact is the more you spend time looking at your resume, the easier it is to skim over that dreaded typo that spell check didn’t catch. It doesn’t know you meant to say ‘Their’ vs ‘There’.

How can you prevent this? Find someone else to read your resume. Heck, find two. The more eyes on your resume, the more confident you can be that it’s right. Also, try reading your resume from bottom to top. Changing how you approach your own proofing can help.

Inconsistent Formats.

It’s great to show uniqueness in how you approach your work but a resume is not the place to do this. A recruiter or hiring manager spends less than 30 seconds looking at your resume to determine if they are going to spend more time looking at the content.

Keep your formatting consistent. Use fourteen point font for company name. At least 12 point font for job titles and eleven point font for your accomplishments. Keep you margins at an inch. Same spacing between paragraphs. No borders at all. And as much as you may not want to, remove any italics from your resume.

Crisp and clean resumes are the way to go. Show your creativity in the interview when you can bring supplemental documents to showcase your work.

Fabricated Truths (misrepresentation).

We all know lying is bad. Our parents taught us this.  It’s easy to misrepresent on your resume. Nobody will know right? I cannot stress this enough – It is NEVER okay to tell a little white lie. NEVER. It’s also not worth it. If you saved your company 100k on a project. Say it. Don’t tell them you saved 1M. If you have completed only 3 years of college, don’t tell them you graduated. Things can be validated. Information can be checked. People talk. Be honest. That’s all. It’s not worth losing a great opportunity by fabricating the work you did. Ever. Okay, I won’t beat that one anymore.

Some other things to remember-keep acronyms to a minimum and don’t use any personal pronouns.

Hopefully these are helpful tips. Avoiding these simple mistakes will help your resume get noticed!

For more outrageous and crazy resume mistakes, check out the 2013 Career Builders study of Common and Not-So-Common Resume Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job.  Find interesting things like how someone listed on their resume their objective was “To work for someone who is not an alcoholic with three DUI’s like my current employer”.  I am not easily surprised these days…but that one threw me for a loop.

To your development, growth and amazing potential



Lisa is one of our valued experts who will be speaking and sharing some great tools at our August workshop. Please join us if you are available. Click here for more information and to register!

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It’s a common question. You know it’s coming. But that doesn’t stop you from waffling and fidgeting when you hear it: “What are your greatest weaknesses?” You know you have some, but you don’t want to reveal anything too terrible that will potentially cost you your interview. Then again, you don’t want to be dishonest or gloss over the answer with something like, “People say I work too much and am too dedicated to the company!” No interviewer is going to be impressed with an answer like that. It’s disingenuous and doesn’t tell them anything about you, except that you’re good at studying stock answers for interview questions. So how to approach this question?

First of all, be aware that sharing your challenges and flaws—the very things that make you human—can actually help you come off as a more authentic, relatable candidate. Joe Grimm of the POYNTER INSTITUTE, an organization dedicated to integrity in journalism, suggests that interviewees faced with this question should always be honest and avoid mentioning character flaws because they seldom change. Instead, mention areas where you’re determined to improve. Consider saying something like, “I’m not as Excel-savvy as I’d like to be, but I’m currently improving my skills through internet tutorials.” Never mention strengths as weaknesses.

Don’t overthink your response to the point that you panic and don’t have one. As WASHINGTON POST journalist Lily Whiteman reminds us, “the worst responses are ‘I don’t know’ and the comical ‘I have no weaknesses.’”

You should also try to cater your response to the position and organization to which you are applying. Anticipate the motivation and interests of the interviewer when selecting your response and personal story. For example, if you are applying for a position as a financial adviser, you might talk about one of the specific areas in which you lack experience—say estate planning for people with over $1 Million in assets. And then (as mentioned earlier), demonstrate how you will familiarize yourself or how you are already working to improve in this area.

Remember: this question mainly exists because it reveals whether you, the applicant, possess key qualities such as self-awareness, authenticity, sincerity, adaptability, and foresightedness.  Reveal that yes, you have weaknesses, but you will not let them stop you from doing the best job you can do for their organization.

Happy interviewing! Please CONTACT UXL TODAY to find out how we can help you transform the future of your business or career through guided professional coaching.

Margaret B Smith will be one of our featured guests at the August 11th You Can Get Hired workshop. Click on the Events tab to Register and for more information about our workshop.

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Statistics tell us that we are all connected to each other with as few as only six people (or six referrals) between us. Let’s think about this 6° of separation for a moment…

In addition to there being only 6 people between us in a network of connections, we know that over 85% of jobs are created for or secured by job seekers who actively engage in effective networking. Yet, many job seekers still resort to trying to find new jobs by the least effective style of job search known to job search; they read job boards exclusively, filling out applications, sending out resumes to cold contacts, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. And, unfortunately, if those same job seekers don’t know how to effectively complete electronic applications, or to develop resumes for scoring by Automatic Tracking Systems, they will still be waiting for a call-back for several days or months after the position for which they applied has already been filled. And they may still never know if their applications or resumes were delivered to the correct electronic destination because they never followed up.

OK, so we shouldn’t be surprised that doing things the same way they’ve always been done will produce results that are no different from those produced in the past. But it would seem that equally elusive is the concept that there is a difference between having contacts and having a working network of individuals who will help you build a working network that will ultimately lead you to your next job or career position.

You can have 5,000 or 20,000 contacts on LinkedIn or social media, for example, or 1,000 business cards stashed in a shoe box, but that doesn’t mean you have a network that will do you any good during job search or while building your career for the long haul. Being networked means having people in your life who know enough about you to talk about you with people in their own personal and professional networks. Being effectively networked means having a connection or a relationship with someone with whom you’ve shared contacts of your own that may help another person reach a specific network need. Having a network means being actively engaged in the lives of other people.

You are not networking during job search by sitting at home reading about jobs, talking on the phone with peers to complain about how hard it is to job search, or worse, to commiserate about the poor condition of the job market. Not finding a new job is not because of your age, the color of your hair or even your skin color or body shape. Not finding a job is the result of not talking to other people to learn about their jobs and how they decided to do the work they do, or why they don’t do something they enjoyed 10 years ago but don’t enjoy today. Communicating with other people allows you to learn about company personalities, the what, why and where of jobs people within your network hold and how they got to where they are. Networking helps you learn about yourself by learning about others. Networking is allowing first degree contacts (family, existing friends, teachers, insurance reps and the guy working in the local grocer) know that you want to learn more about what they do, why they do it and with whom they can connect you to help you learn more about the local economy, what employers are doing well, which ones are moving in, expanding, moving out or closing shop. Without other people in your life with whom you network during a job search, you are working in a vacuum and are likely getting sucked up by negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are capable of being emotionally and sometimes physically dangerous to your personal short- and/or long-term career growth.

Don’t do this to yourself. Get out there. If you can, take classes to meet people and get to know each other mutually so everyone has an opportunity to grow from the experience of connecting with other human beings. Participate in job-search support, transition, and networking groups—but don’t make the mistake that simply attending these events means you are actually “networking”. You must be making eye contact and doing something memorable, like striking up a conversation that leads to meaningful connectedness.

Don’t allow someone to tell you that introversion is holding you back. You may be introverted, but introversion is not about reaching out to others. Introversion is about where you get your energy with respect to being around and interacting with other people. Interestingly, for all the noise about the challenges presented in job search when someone is as an introvert, there are statistically far more extroverted people than there are introverts. But it isn’t only introverts who sometimes struggle with developing effective, working networks. Truth-be-told, extroverts are often as unwilling to establish functional networks because they are shy, or withdrawn for any number of reasons.

It is my personal premise that no one is too introverted to network. Shyness on the other hand is a behavior that can hold someone back from reaching out to or getting to know others socially. Shy people are capable of learning new ways to function, and networking is a skill that can be learned. And, like other things that can be learned, the more you practice networking, the more proficient you become, and the easier it gets to meet and interact with new people. Don’t hide behind excuses. Inhibited or shy, quiet or not accustomed to visiting with other people is admittedly extremely difficult for many people, but with some help from close friends and family, and active members of your working network, or even a counselor or coach if necessary, you can learn and practice communication skills, and you can get in touch with that person who is the sixth person out who may hold the keys to your next job.

Networking is an extensive exertion of energy. It can be exhausting. Networking can drain you of your energy at the end of several hours if you are truly an introvert. But no matter the reason that may be preventing you from truly networking, the barriers can be overcome and effective networking can be achieved. It is imperative that you develop, nurture, and use an ever-evolving working network of your own making to become part of the 85% of job seekers who successfully find that person who is their 6th degree of distance from their next job opportunity.

Kim is an Outplacement Job Transition Specialist who speaks for You Can Get Hired, and will be one of our featured speakers on May 5, 2015. You can find her on Personal LinkedIn, her company LinkedIn or through her website. Please see our Events page to register and learn more.

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It’s been one of the most quoted economic statistics in Minnesota public life, cited by a chorus of business, education and political leaders since the recession.

By 2018, 70 percent of jobs in the state will require postsecondary education.

The projection gained currency at the State Capitol and bolsters the argument that Minnesota suffers from a skills gap that leaves employers unable to fill jobs because workers aren’t prepared for them.

But five years after the claim surfaced in a report from Georgetown University, it isn’t coming true.

The share of jobs that require training beyond high school in Minnesota is growing only moderately, and the share of open jobs today that require postsecondary education is actually shrinking.

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Take preparation for Job’s Interview Questions and Answers

Author: Interview Questions

Interview Dos and Donts

How one can make an interview successful – some tips. It is very common matter that the jobseekers do much tension for the interview. But it is not good to do much tension for interview because it is a test of personality and your personality is much important than your knowledge. Jobseekers worried about the Interview Questions and they search for the probable questions in the internet and their friends. They go through about different books and magazines. This is a website where you will find effective tips for the interview and you will also get the probable questions and answers of the interview. Jobseekers will get a good training and knowledge about the interview questions and answers. It is very common that people cannot sleep well on the previous night of the interview and they think about the probable questions of the interview. On the morning they feel embarrassed and they go for the interview in an anxious mind. They are quite threatened and do not understand what should they do properly. This is why the jobseekers need a perfect guidance to attend and qualify an interview.

Shape your career in the right direction

You can take effective tips and guidance from this website and people will be more trained about the interview. They can train themselves on their own. No trainer is required to prepare for an interview. They can avoid the hassles of the embarrassing situation for the interview. This site has effective matter enough to prepare them well and make them tension free. In most cases fresher people are worried for the Interview Questions to Ask and they download a lot of question and answers from the internet. They do a lot thing to make prepare for the interview. Another good source of the questions and answers for the interview is Google interview questions and this is especially made for the fresher people. Basically what happened with the fresher people that after preparing a lot when they enter in the interview room and just by an eye contact they forget whole things they prepare for the whole night. People can avoid this situation by visiting our website and they can be well trained for the interview. Different type of questions and tips are there to guide them and prepare them in a systematic way.

Every individual is bound of human nature and it is quite natural for a human being to get worried when he is going for an interview first time. People become anxious and they go here and there to get tips and training for the interview. They cannot sleep well in the night and they feel embarrassed in the morning of the day of the interview. This portal provides enough knowledge and resources for the people are going for an interview. They can understand about the questions to ask during the interview. So why waiting. Fresher people please come and check our website for the tips and techniques of the interview. You will also get different questions for the different subjects to enrich yourself in all subjects. You will also get a good guidance of the personality development. For more info please log on

Article Source:

About the Author

Bidyut Bikash Dhar – I am a SEO & Internet Marketing consultant, speaker and trainer with proven efficiency for reputation management and personal branding activities. To get Free 30 Minutes consultation offer to grow and promote your business online – Email me at Interview

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Personal Professional Branding

How to build your professional brand

Personal branding is an elusive topic to most people, yet it is important for career success. Wise professionals with career success know it can mean the difference between landing that dream job and never getting noticed.

So what do you think of when you hear the word “professional brand?” Simply stated, a brand is a promise of the value you’ll deliver. “You may think you don’t need a brand, but the reality is that you already have one,” says Jana Fallon, vice president, Executive Development for Prudential Financial. “By managing that professional reputation you already have, you increase your chances of being known for qualities that can land your dream job or get you noticed by a company you have always wanted to work. If you do start actively managing your brand, you can find real power in knowing and sharing what your unique differentiators are.”

Fallon recommends five specific actions you can take today to improve your brand reputation.

B = Build

Build your brand by first defining what you want that brand to be. To make this simpler, it should include no more than three or four characteristics that describe what you offer or aspire to offer. It is good to be aspirational but it also must be realistic. If you are having trouble getting started, begin by asking people you trust what they immediately associate with you. Ask for honest feedback and listen to what you hear.

R = Reflect

Reflect on your strengths and liabilities frequently. What is the unique value that you have to offer and what do you aspire to be? Think about your strengths and what you do really well. What do you want to be known for in business? What differentiates you? Use those reflections to establish your unique brand. Perhaps you want to be known as a very curious, engaged consultant. Or perhaps your unique brand is one of intelligence, candor and strong ethics.

A = Actions speak

In order to sustain your brand, you have to act accordingly. Your behaviors and the decisions you make daily impact your brand. Be bold in defining your brand and then have the courage to live up to that brand promise. If you are finding it challenging to start living your brand, find someone that has a style, behavior or an approach that you admire. Emulate what works. Try it yourself and see if it feels right for you. Experiment until you find your own authentic behavior.

N = Network nonstop

To get others to recognize your brand, you have to market yourself. This clearly takes time and effort, but it can be done effectively if you follow these key steps. To share your brand, network in the organization you work in, outside work with other professional contacts and in your community. Make yourself visible to those that can influence your career.

The key to a successful professional brand is having strong “word-of-mouth marketing” from friends, coworkers, customers and other contacts. Having a strong brand means finding ways to network and manage what those contacts know and then say to others about your capabilities.

D = Decide today

“Decide to make managing your professional brand a priority,” Fallon says. “Carve out time each week to fine tune and evolve your defined brand. Make time to reflect and try out new behaviors and to expand your network. There is real power in knowing where you are focused and letting others know for what you aspire to be known.”

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Law Enforcement Jobs

Know what employers want before applying to be in law enforcement

(BPT) – With the economy improving, more job opportunities are appearing, giving today’s students openings to show prospective employers their skills and professional talents. However, the job market is still competitive, and students need to know – and then acquire – the skills prospective employers want.

In the law enforcement industry, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts demand for police officers and detectives will increase 5 percent through the year 2022. This growth will make jobs available, but applicants must expect competition for these jobs.

Having knowledge of what traits and skills law enforcement agencies across the country want in candidates will help students strongly compete for open positions. Carl Cooper, chair for the Criminal Justice Program for Westwood College’s Chicago O’Hare Airport Campus, shares background information provided by members of Westwood’s program advisory council as well as training officers and supervisors from the Chicago Police Department, Harwood Heights Police Department and Franklin Park Police Department:

Writing and communication skills for law enforcement

Report writing is an important part of the job for law enforcement officers, and departments are looking for officers who can communicate well in those reports. They have the potential for being reviewed by other officers, by the media, involved in court cases, and reviewed by many other professionals, which is why good communication skills are so important. What may surprise some applicants is that these writing skills are exactly that – often handwritten. Many departments don’t have the high-tech computer systems found in the detective shows on TV, making computer skills less important than effective communication skills, both written and oral.


Police officers may face many ethical issues on a daily or weekly basis, and how an officer behaves in these situations could affect an individual, business or even the community as a whole. Westwood College requires all criminal justice students to complete an ethics course to ensure they’re prepared for the law enforcement working environment.

Community involvement

Many police departments require their officers to live within the community. Officers involved in the community are more effective in their careers.

“Students enrolled in the Criminal Justice program at Westwood College are shown how effective the community involvement is during their tenure at Westwood,” Cooper says. “For example, this past holiday season, students worked with the Franklin Park [Ill.] Police Department to collect toys for 13 adopted families in the community. Students also helped officers wrap and deliver the toys, seeing first-hand the community connection those families made with the department.”

Physical fitness for law enforcement applicants

Applicants shouldn’t be surprised that physical fitness is a requirement for most positions. Physical fitness prior to and during the testing process is critical if you want to get the career of your choice. Students wanting to be competitive for those open positions should begin additional physical training on their own.

These helpful hints about the law enforcement market, and what’s expected of candidates for jobs, were designed to help candidates have an edge when applying for those open positions. And even with the job market improving, that edge is important to getting the best position possible.