Finding a job, nailing the interview and starting your career in industry - Information summarized from S2BN talks given by Dr. Alex Lang and Kevin Maguire of MMGI.
The following topics will be discussed in detail below:
Establishing a Career Plan
The Job Search
Submitting a Proper Resume
Preparing for the Interview
Performing the Interview
The Interview Follow Up
Jump Starting that Career
STEP 1 – Establishing a Career Plan.
What do you want in 5 or 10 years?A certain paycheck?A certain position?A certain amount of time off?These are valuable things to know before starting your job search.
You almost certainly will not have a linear career path and that is okay!
Develop a strategy early.
PRO TIP: Starting out, target roles for which you would be one of the strongest candidates
STEP 2 – The Job Search
Know that a job search can be a full-time job.
Set goals (and timelines)
Contact 5 employers per week.
Update LinkedIn by [certain date].
Complete 2 relevant courses each week on LinkedIn learning.
Keep detailed written records of your job search activities.
Where to go to find jobs?
START – LinkedIn and Indeed
NEXT - Company websites
LATER - Recruiter sites (these are generally best after you have established yourself a bit).
ALWAYS - Networking (expand your circle)
Survey the job ads.
You do not have to have all of the “required” qualifications.
You can usually subtract 2-3 years from the years of required experience, especially if you have other relevant skills.
STEP 3 – Successful networking
STEP 4 – Submitting a Proper Resume
You NEED more than 1 CV. They NEED to be personalized for each job you apply to.
Start with a master copy. include EVERYTHING you have done, then cut out irrelevant items to tailor a CV for each individual application.
Use bullet points. Keep descriptions succinct.
Use strong dynamic language.
Have a tailored “goal statement” at the top.
Match your skills and experiences to the job description.
THINK: How will you address the challenges that company is facing?
Describe your career so far.
Do not only tell people what you did, tell people what you acheived.
STEP 5 – Preparing for the Interview
The company and its products.
The people interviewing you.
The job, deliverables and responsibilities.
Use their website, recent press releases, Glassdoor, annual reports, Google news, etc.
Be excited about the company and communicate that excitement by knowing who you are interviewing with (role, company, people, etc.)
Compare your skills to the job description.
Prepare to highlight your strengths and address your weaknesses.
Address skill gaps (if missing the required years of experience, why are you worth it?).
Be ready to communicate how you will overcome challenges faced in the role.
Prepare for Behavioural Interview Questions.
You MUST show up with good stories.
"Give me an example of a time you dealt with conflict” or “Tell me how you dealt with an impossible deadline"
You are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to develop STAR Stories: Situation or Task you faced, Action you took and Results you achieved.
Aim for a 1-2 min answer.
To prepare, write out 10-20 of your best stories in STAR format.
Focus on stories that highlight:
Ability to take on risk, step outside of the box, be creative, solve problems, be efficient, be organized and lead teams.
Then note potential interview questions your STAR story is applicable to.
PRACTICE – not to memorize, but to remember the stories and communicate them naturally.
Prepare questions to ask your future company.
These should be tailored to the company and their challenges.
Use behavioural technique on the interviewer, if relevant.
PRO TIP: Develop questions that help identify their needs (i.e. their challenges).
Indirect Question: “What does the team look like? What does the department look like?”
Direct Question: “What are the challenges facing this role/department?”
If you find a problem, develop an action plan on the spot to try and address it! Prove your value in real time and the job is yours.
GO IN WITH NOTES – this is acceptable and actually encouraged.
STAR stories – little dot jots to remind you of your stories and what topic(s) each addresses.
Notes about the company, the role, the deliverables) and a few points about the people interviewing you.
PRO TIP: Write notes in the margin of your CV to be ready to speak to ALL of your information in your interview.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION – How to Create STAR Stories
Best practices for STAR stories:
Start by writing down single sentence memories about different times you were successful at something work-related in your past.
Use professional life events (not that time you saved your friend from falling overboard during a boat party).
Focus on accomplishments.Did you overcome challenges?
Use “me” stories, not “we” stories.
Think of events that would not have turned out as positive without you being there.
ALSO: Think about your best quality in a professional sense. What has made you the most successful thus far?
BEST PRACTICE – Pick your best trait and highlight it. Explain this with a good story. This can become your “killer” STAR story.
A story of being innovative…
A story of improving a process…
A story of saving money…
A story of being a leader…
A story about dealing with conflict and ambiguity…
STEP 6 – Performing the Interview
Arrive 30-60 minutes early.
Dress for one position above the job you are applying for.
When given the opportunity, communicate how you will overcome the challenges of the role.
Your phone (keep it in your bag or pocket and on silent)
Bad smells (don’t be remembered for your scent; no scent is the best scent)
Fear, insecurity and self-doubt. You are being interviewed; you are already exceptional!
Close the Interview – DO NOT FORGET to ask for the job!
Use simple language; find a way to compel the interviewer to hire you.
Tell them how much you want to position.
Be professionally forward. Find the right moment near the end of the interview to say (in your own words) “I want the job”.
Consider asking something similar to: “Is there anything that leaves you unsure if I am the right candidate? And if so, is there a way for me to address that now?”
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Helpful Interview Tips
Questions you are most likely to be asked
Why do you want the job?
Why are you interested in the company?
What are your main strengths?
What is your biggest professional weakness?
Don’t disguise a strength as a weakness, this looks forced.
Find a weakness you are addressing and explain how you are working to overcome this weakness. This demonstrates self-improvement.
BE BRIEF – weaknesses shouldn’t have a STAR story.
What would be the biggest challenge for you in this role?
Biggest interview mistakes:
Failing to set yourself apart.
Winging the interview (e.g. not properly researching the company).
Poor eye contact – eye contact shows confidence!
Not enough interest or enthusiasm in the company. People do not want to hire an “average Joe” for a key position.
Lacking humour, warmth and personality (be real).
Over-explaining previous losses – be succinct, spin it positively and move on.
Every interview needs to be personalized, similar to your CV. Know your audience!
Be prepared to influence the person/people interviewing you. If you want them to hire you, be convincing!
STEP 7 – The Interview Follow Up
This is INCREDIBLY important, do not undervalue the importance of touching base after your interview.
Good opportunity to reiterate why you are a great fit for the job.
Remind the interviewers about something memorable you spoke about during the interview.
PRO TIP: Aim to follow up the morning after the interview by email. Do not wait too long (e.g. days later) and 30 minutes after may come off as too eager.
STEP 8 – Jump Starting that Career!
Working hard is not always enough.
Continue to build your network. If you think someone else near you is shooting up, work with them and shoot up with them.
From time to time, review the job description for the next job you want.
Ensure your current role helps develop the skills required for that next job.
TIP: You may need to move on earlier than you want.
TIP: Proactively complete qualifications for the next role you want (e.g. an MBA)
Always be looking to develop political skills.
Expect a non-linear career path .
Prepare to invest time into your job search.
Create a personalized resume for each job you apply to.
Tell people what you achieved rather than what you did.
Prepare for your interview to sound like you already work there.
Create STAR stories and practice, practice, practice.
Arrive to the interview prepared and with notes.
CLOSE HARD – tell them you want to work there and follow up within 24 hours.