Summary of Slides:
Career Q and A Session
Hi everyone and welcome to today's Career Q and A session. Today we're going to be answering your most pressing questions about job interviews, career progression and how to use LinkedIn for career advancement and job searching.
So let's get started. The first slide is the snap shot of concerns with regards to interviews. Over the last few weeks we've had a lot of survey responses coming in to say that these are the five most common areas that people want to get help on, so we'll go through them one by one.
The first concern was on the question on how to answer the weaknesses question, "tell us about your biggest weakness” Now for this question I would always state something that is probably already known because it was lacking in your resume and cover letter. It might have been something with regards to knowing the in-house system or having specific expertise in specific tiny, little area that was nominated in the job advert and it's quite clear in your resume and your cover letter that you don't have that experience. I would say that generally, because it's already known to them they already know that you don't have that skill so you're not giving anything else away that you haven't already given.
And the fact that you got to the interview means that it's not such a big deal to them anyway. The other thing I would say in regards to the weaknesses question is, if there is nothing on the job advert that you can think of that you don't have, think about something that doesn't affect that particular job in any way. It can be something where you don't have a specific experience in something that you know is not important to that job advert. It's sort of one of those dumb questions, I don't know why people ask it - they're probably just thinking and watching how you deal with a difficult situation that's more to the point of what they are evaluating when they ask that question.
I definitely would never say anything related to the job and I definitely wouldn't say anything that they couldn't train you up in. So if there was nothing to do with your character or attitude of your values if you always leaned towards something that you can be trained
that they couldn't train you up in. So if there was nothing to do with your character or attitude of your values if you always leaned towards something that you can be trained anyway, then it's an easily overcome weakness. For example technical skills would be the thing that I would focus on there.
The next one is, not being clear about the intention of the questions -this is a really important one. I think the best thing to do before you answer any question is to think about the question, think why they are asking you that and what is it they really want to know. If you get down to that point of what’s the purpose of asking that question, it will be either that they want to learn more about either your skill set or your technical abilities or your personality, values, your character, that top side of you. So once you get clear on why they are asking the question then you can give the answer in a most appropriate way, you can give a relevant answer. Now if you're not sure that you've given the answer that they want to hear, you can just ask them. Just say, does that answer your question I'm not sure if I've answered it in a way that you are looking for; it’s a two way street the whole interview process is communication, you're not going to be marked yes or no you just ask for feedback and if they want any more information, then they should ask you some further questions.
So the third point is, not knowing what to say to these really difficult questions, and that again is sort of like the second point. I would go back to those 5 or 6 key points that were requested in the initial job advertisement that you applied for, or if you are lucky enough to see the job description, go through that and remember all those key points that were in that document and focus your answer on promoting one of the core competencies that they are looking for in an ideal candidate. So by the end of the interview every single answer that you've given should have covered off how you demonstrated the knowledge and the experience in each of those 5 core areas that they are looking for. So it's your responsibility to make sure that you give examples of times that you have excelled in the key areas that you are looking for you got to show them that you got the breadth of knowledge and the scope of experience. So that's the way that I would figure out what to say, so you've got a lot of structure almost like you've got a checklist of things that you need to cover off in one way or another in your answers.
The next point is on salary questions. Now salary will change from city to city across Australia so the best way to do it is to Google salary surveys 2015 and then you could put your area of specialty like engineering, operations, plant management, business development or whatever it is. Usually you'll get the big recruiters will come up and the big recruiters spend hundreds of hours gathering information, they make colleagues call these companies asking what their pay rates are and they'll be able to give a download link on their page to show you the range of what they are willing to pay for small companies and also for large organisations. So it will change from the size of the company like the smaller companies pay less than the bigger ones for example, but you'll be able to get that feeling of the range. Now saying that I would download 3 salary surveys because you want to make sure that they are all right, it's like getting 3 quotes. So definitely look at the salary surveys of up to 3 major recruitment organizations. The next question with regards to concern came from the large interview panels and this is where there is like 3 or more people. Now the best way to tackle this is to feel like you're in a friendly sitting where the objective is to build rapport, they are not against you in any way the purpose of what they are there for is to find someone to join their team so they are hoping for someone good to come in. So you can just go in calm definitely not nervous, but just showing who you are then they get to see the real essence of who you are and they get to feel if you're going to fit into the team or not. When they are all asking all those different questions, firing off different questions each one at a time just give that person who is asking the question a little bit of eye contact and build that rapport and generally looking at the other people occasionally but just focus on that one person for that one question and then the next one that asked the next question. They put you into these situations and they know that you're going to be nervous so I completely understand that but I guess what they are also testing you for is your resilience and your ability to cope in difficult situation. So just smile pleasantly and just go with it and show your natural personality and just relax and then they get to see the real you, that is, not the nervous bottled up type of person. So that would be my suggestions for that.
So I hope that's covered off on those 5 points today, if there are any questions I'm going to have a comment section below this video so just ask away if you've got any questions about interviews, because we're going to move on to the next section which was talking about career. Now with regards to career a lot of people who are not working think they have enroll into a course and they think what sort of course should I do. I actually don't agree that you need to another course, I think that you need to get out there and use your resume and knock on doors of recruiters and employers and go and see them, go and start to become a little more assertive in actually finding the jobs; because doing the another course is not going to be the answer. But if you if you are interested in doing another course because you feel that you haven't done one for maybe a year or 2 definitely look into that, but just don't let that be the main focus if you're not working. So the way of finding out which course to choose I would think of where do you want to be in 2 or 3 years time; if you are looking at becoming a manager in a specific area then go and look at some seek job adverts at the types of roles that you're interested to go for maybe 2 or 3 ideally if you had your own way and have a look at what course and what certificates and what type of experience those sort of people have and then use that as your guiding light to get skilled up in those specific areas of expertise. So that's the way that I would decide what I was going to learn, like what courses I would bring myself through. In 2 or 3 years time when you're ready for that management role or that high level executive leadership position you've already been doing the necessary courses and you got your mind set right and you know the skill sets that you need to have exposure to so theoretically you've ticked that box.
The next point goes on to what's my long term focus. Now this is no longer as easy as you would like it to be, the thing is with the way the world of work is turning out at the moment there are so many opportunities that are opening up to you. The one that I would suggest to do is think about what you want to do in the next 12 months, 2 years as a single primary focus, so think about where am I now, what am I doing now, what do I like about what I do now and then use that as a pivot to go- I want to do more of what I want to do more of what I love to do now over the next 12 to 18 months. So I'm going to really explore positions that have a major focus on this particular area and it could be technical skills or could be developing your project management skills or maybe learning how to be a really great leader and putting yourself in management roles and really being able to make good decisions and really honing your ability to be that person that people can turn to for answers. So whatever you want to work o over the next 12 months make sure that role has that as a major focus and then over the next 2 years when you're doing that role, new opportunities will come up and basically present themselves to you.
These are opportunities that you didn't even know existed 2 years ago but that's the way that the world of work is going, so that would be my quick answer to, how do you find your long term focus. Generally go in a direction that you think that you'd like to go towards but be really open to the fact that there's always awesome job opportunities that are coming up that you might not know exist that are absolutely perfect for you. If you've got any questions about this just drop a comment below because I know this is going to be a big, big subject what we're talking about. I think the more you spend your time thinking about these types of topics the better off you'll be in the long run, so it's a great topic to have going on in the back of your mind. So if you have any questions related to this just jot them down below in the comment section and I'll help you along the way if I can.
So the next career concern was the choice in selecting a career path and it sort of does relate back to that middle statement so I won’t spend too much time. The person who wrote this is an electrical engineer and he had really broad background and he felt like he needed to start to focus, so that's what he put in there. I think the answer to that is you need to: A-focus on the area that you love to do and that you're interested in. B- Focusing on making sure that that area is where the market is growing as well. So you wouldn't want to be going into the automobile manufacturing sector at the moment, you need to keep half an eye on where the market's going and half an eye on what you want to do and make sure you're in a direction that's going to be good for the long term with respects to also consider what the market is doing. And if you are not sure ask recruiters they got their finger on the pulse and you can ask them as a general question- from my background and what you see that I've done what would be good career choices to start moving in, like where do you see the market heading towards? And if you ask 5 of those recruiters or head hunters they'll all start giving you perhaps a slightly different response but from that you'll be able to start getting a feel for what you want and they will also give you ideas as well so you can make up your own mind.
We'll move on to the next point which is LinkedIn.
This is a big one actually people are a little bit apprehensive, they know they don't need to go onto LinkedIn because they know that recruiters go to LinkedIn and employers. They'll cruise LinkedIn and they'll be searching for you specifically if your resume has popped up in a search result and they are interested in having a look at a profile seeing what you look like seeing if what you are saying on your resume is what you're saying on your LinkedIn profile. But other people also use it to actually search for candidates so they'll actually be saying I need an electrical engineer in Perth who's got this much experience and they'll just tap it in to the event section of LinkedIn and then they will find a whole heap of candidates. Now the candidates who are connected to the most second degree connections, those profiles will appear on page 1 of the search results. So this is why it's a good idea to connect with as many people in your industry as you possibly can. So connecting up with all the recruiters in your industry, in the town that you want to work and all of the hiring managers in the companies just send them a request to connect and you can do that through being in the same groups as they give you a good excuse to link up. Just say I notice we're in the same group I'd like to link up with you on LinkedIn would you like to connect?
How do I turn up in searches related to jobs in my domain and how do I rank?
Now that's a very good question that relates to whatever the keywords that these recruiters and search consultants are popping in to their search, you need to make sure that you've got the right keywords. So if we did your resume on your LinkedIn profile we would have taken responsibility for making sure this was right.
I would be looking firstly on the job advert and looking at the keywords that have been used in the job adverts that you'd be applying for and then making sure that they are in that skills and endorsement section. Then I would also search for people who are similar to you and I would check out their profile and I would also check out what skills and endorsements they've got on their profiles; because you ideally want to make sure that you've got all the right keywords that all your competition do.
These other candidates are your competition because basically you are competing for jobs that have been advertise or not been advertised. So definitely make sure you got the right keywords and then you will start to rank, you need to connect with the recruiters and also the employers, HR people, the operations managers, the general managers, just send out request to connect.
They can only say no, it's not like they're going to grab you and tell you off or anything it's a yes or no question, it's not a big deal asking for connection on LinkedIn.
So the last point was how to update your profile depending on the criteria and I do believe we've just answered that question. So you make sure whatever is in the job advert whatever the key competencies are for example stake holder management, you'd make sure that on your profile, maybe in the summary section you have the work stake holder management and you also have it as a skill set in the endorsement section.
So that's the best way, to make sure you're speaking the same language and using the same keywords is speaking the same language as the recruiters and that's how you're going to be found on LinkedIn and be offered jobs that aren't necessarily being advertised anymore on seek.
Seek attracts thousands of spam applicants and recruiters and hiring managers would much prefer just to use LinkedIn, it's a quick search, it's a quick fix, and basically they can find really good people; and it's the savvy people who are on LinkedIn.
So if you've got a nice profile you could spend a hundred or two hundred dollars to get a nice profile photo so you really are putting the best foot forward; you're definitely going to increase your chances of being offered roles that you might have not known had existed unless you done that. So that's LinkedIn, now have you got any questions about that, just put them down, if there is anything I will do my best to respond within 48 hours.
So that is the general summary of today, there was a couple of other little concerns that people had that came through and I’ll quickly talk about that.
There are a couple of people who've just moved to Australia and they find really hard to get their first professional job, like in IT or engineering. They've spent 10 years and they've done a great job and now are very, very, very well respected, you could see it from their resumes that these people are fantastic at what they do. But they can’t find a job in Australia everyone wants Australian experience.
The best way that I would recommend to get around this is to put yourself at one level down than you used to be, so if you're a senior manager go for a middle management role and explain in the interview that yes you have been a senior manager in your home country but you do realise that there's quite lot to learn especially with regard to culture and fitting and would the way it works in Australia in the world of work and you are quite happy to start at a middle management type of role to learn the ropes. Then within 2 or 3 years time yes you'd be looking at something more until then you are just happy to step back into the industry that you love and enjoy. So that would be my answer to that question.
The other concern is how do I get a recruiter to take interest in me because they don't return any phone calls?
The only way around that is to get a resume and a LinkedIn profile that really makes them interested in you. They only call people back who they believe are going to be right for the job and everybody else just gets left behind and their phone calls get ignored and there's no follow ups done with any of them.
The recruiters they do make commission and place people into jobs and if the resume and the LinkedIn profile and the cover letter don't speak to that recruiter immediately and tell them that you are worth an interview then you are just a waste of time in their point of view, they are very protective with the way that they spend every minute of their time.
So it's a cut-throat industry and I'm really sorry if you felt jaded with the way that they treat you and the fact that they don't return phone calls etc, like there's nothing that can be done to work around that because it's just the nature of that industry.
There are a few great ones that do and they just hold on to those set of people like they are gold but in general you can’t expect them to return your call just because it’s courtesy. That's my thing, get their attention by getting a great resume and a great cover letter and a great LinkedIn profile and making a phone call before you send the resume I would do is a little trick that would tweak their interest. And then I would also find directly after 2 minutes after I've sent them the application and just say I'm having a bit of trouble with my email just want to check in to make sure you've received it. And just those 2 little points of contact do bump up your success rate for being offered a face to face interview.
Okay well I hope that answers all your questions, if you got any others just drop them in the comments below. I'm going to try and do this once a month I hope this has helped thanks for your time good luck out there will talk to you soon, thanks bye.