Why Should You Be Hired?

“Why should you be hired?”  The dreaded interview question right behind “Tell me about yourself”.   If you are unable to confidently answer why you should be hired, then an employer certainly will not know either.

Employers seek confidence supported by tangible evidence answering why you are the best candidate for any given position.  Often times, interviewees come down with a dangerous case of timidity and humility during interviews which results in disaster almost every time.  The source of your job search marketing campaign is you and employers look to you for confident answers to their questions.  Balance that humility with confidence.  As you plan for your next interview, take an inventory of your approach to answering questions.  Humility is highly admired, but do not portray yourself as overly humble at the risk of showing lack of confidence and ability to succeed in the prospective position.

When responding to why you should be hired, delete the following from your answer:

1. I feel, I believe, I think:  If you are not confident in your ability to succeed, then the interviewer most certainly will not.  Ask yourself this question: How would you feel if a surgeon told you he felt like he could remove your appendix?  Know what you can do.  Be confident in your ability.

2. To gain experience:  Employers do not hire to just give people experience.  Employers hire employees who can deliver positive results.   You should be hired because of what you can do not because of what you want to receive.

3.  You want to see if you will like the career:  Once again, employers hire people who can deliver results.  You may not have direct experience in a given career, but you do have skills.  Identify the transferable skills from your past and confidently connect your past success into your future success.

Always show confidence in what you know you can do coupled with the humility of what you seek to learn.  Be a solution.

 

Do You Love Your Career?

When asked if I love what I do for my career, my answer is very quick and said with confidence.  Yes!!!   I love career coaching.  I love guiding my students and clients to realizing their strengths, taking on the challenge to minimize their weaknesses, and encouraging job seekers to chase their dreams.  I love writing resumes and cover letters.  Helping a client identify and articulate their strengths and past accomplishments is not just rewarding to the client but also to this coach.

I enjoy watching my former students navigate their careers after graduating.  After 20 years, I could share with you some of the best stories that would make your heart burst with joy.  I have tagged my LinkedIn contacts who are former students.  All I have to do is scroll through that list to see what everyone is current doing with their careers and where.   Talk about inspiring.

As I stated above, I love being a career coach?  Yes.  Do I always like being a career coach?  No.  I do not like to see my students and clients struggle in their job search.   But as I remind each of them, great reward comes from overcoming the struggles and frustrations to reach a goal.  Some of the best job search stories come from those current and former students who overcame rejection and disappointment to eventually seeing their career goals come true.

Just a few weeks ago, I had a student come tell me about an offer she had received.  She was literally shaking with joy.  She had experienced frustration.  She had been through peaks and valleys in her job search.  While anyone would rather not struggle in any endeavor, she would be the first to say that her frustrations fueled her determination to overcome and succeed.  That is an example of one of my best days as a career coach and one I will never forget.

Can you say the same?  Can you describe your best day on the job?  Can you say that you love what you do?  I’m not asking whether you like where you work, the salary you receive or the size of your office.  Do you honestly love what you do at work everyday?  There will be days when you do not like what you do. There will be challenging days that stretch your patience, but do you honestly love your work?   If your answer is no, I challenge you to rectify situation that starting today.  Seek out a career or life coach who can help you realize and act on achieving your career dreams.

 

Career Answers Every Prospective MBA Should Know

MBA Admissions activity is in full swing.  Programs are in the process of traveling the globe to recruit the best of the best. Work experience, GPAs and GMAT/GRE scores are top of discussion in MBA Admissions offices.

If you are planning to get your MBA, think of what you can offer as a candidate and future business professional.  It’s not enough to say that you want to advance your career and are open to any career path.  What do you want to do with your future?  How do you plan to achieve your goals?  Develop a marketing plan which includes a targeted value proposition message that you can deliver to both business school programs and potential employers.  The job market for MBAs is competitive, so any potential MBA must be ready to meet this competitive challenge not just in the classroom but also in the job market.

As you start to think about seeking an MBA, make sure you have solid answers to the following questions:

  1. What is your value proposition?  What do you have to offer?
  2. How can you contribute to the education of your fellow classmates?
  3. What are your goals?  You don’t have to have specific answers, but a successful prospective MBA must be able to talk future direction.
  4. Why do you want to transition into management? Career changers coming from a non-business background have to provide a better answer than to just want to make decisions and manage people.
  5. What indicators for success can you demonstrate to a potential MBA program as well as a future employer?  Prove your skills that transfer from your former career or position into the career path you plan for the future.

Whether you are changing the trajectory of your career by seeking an MBA or planning to completely change careers, start with your skills as place to start building your “employability” case.

As you attend MBA recruiting events both around the world and on campus, be confident in knowing what you can provide a potential program.  You must be able to talk about why you want to get your MBA and how the program and future employer can benefit from your knowledge, skills and experience.

 

Seeking H1B for Just a Few Years

It is a common career goal to work in another country for a couple of years for that global experience.  International students come to the US for an education and hope to stay for at least a few years for this very reason.  US Citizens look for international experience themselves for this very reason.  After that time, they typically plan to return to their home country to be close to family and their home.  From a completely internal point of view, that is natural and perfectly acceptable.  For employers, it’s an entirely different story.

It costs thousands of dollars to recruit, hire, train and replace employees in today’s marketplace.  In many positions, it takes almost a year if not more for a candidate to get up to speed with all of the ins and outs of a position and company.  It is expensive to hire and retain the best in today’s market.  Therefore, it is incumbent upon the employer to identify talent who will not just succeed in the short term but also long term with a career with that organization.  It’s just good business sense.

What should international students do about this news?  They should structure their career decisions and job search plans to match that of business’s need today.  You may eventually want to return to your home country one day.  Someone within the United States might take a position in another state with the hopes of returning closer to home one day.  But, don’t forget that as a job seeker, you are marketing a product to a prospective employer.  The employer is the buyer.  As the manager of your job search marketing campaign, you must align your goals with the needs of business today.  You want to be employed in a profession that matches your goals, strengths and experience.  At the end of the day, business hires people who can help the company make money.  They want to hire people who can learn the company and stay long enough to make a profitable impact on the organization.

The sweet spot for any career manager is to identify where your goals and skills overlap with those of a prospective employer.

 

LinkedIn and the AggieNetwork

The value of LinkedIn has increased yet again.  Now that LinkedIn has partnered with colleges and universities to launch the “Alumni” piece, school connections and networking are skyrocketing.  As a Former Student (that is what we call ourselves) of Texas A&M University and a current Career Coach at this dear institution, I could not be happier to see this partnership blossom.  Texas A&M University knows the value of current and former student networking.  Our Association of Former Students does an amazing job keeping our Aggie family strong.  Anywhere you travel in the world, the Aggie Ring is easily noticed.  So why not take it virtual.  These types of partnerships between colleges and universities and LinkedIn are growing everyday.

Of course Texas A&M has a website for alumni which also provides opportunities to connect with fellow current and former students, but the partnership with LinkedIn has taken it to a whole new level.  You can now connect your LinkedIn URL and profile to your AggieNetwork account.  In addition, I can go to LinkedIn and find Aggies through this resource using their Alumni section.  My online Rolodex just got even stronger.  We still share business cards, but gone is the day of worrying about maintaining an up to date physical Rolodex.

There is a saying here at A&M that Aggies love to hire Aggies, and I’m sure other schools feel the same about their own schools.   When you become a student at A&M, you join a network that is thousands and thousands strong.  Tapping into the AggieNetwork for any current job seeker is imperative.  It is widely known that networking is the best way to find a job.  The AggieNetwork builds and strengthens relationships between current and former students.   This Network has proven time and time again that employed Aggies love to help current students achieve their career goals.  Let this Network work for you and return the favor once employed by paying it forward to our future students.

Before you stop reading my blog today, please do the following:

1.  Log into the AggieNetwork (or your collegiate alumni organization) and connect with your LinkedIn account if this feature is available.

2.  Log into your LinkedIn account, click on Network, and click on Find Alumni.

3.  Reach out alumni based on your interests and goals, connect for guidance and networking, and build your professional presence.

 

Negotiating Internship Offers

Typically internship salary offers are not up for negotiation.  Funding for internship salaries usually comes from a completely different budget pool than full-time salaries and are fixed making it very difficult for companies to provide salary adjustments for interns.   With that said, companies do not use an internship salary/full-time salary formula when making offers. Graduate level salaries are evaluated in a much different manner.

How does a potential intern know if their offered salary may be up for negotiation?  Here are some tips when evaluating your internship offer:

1.  Is the internship part of a formal and established program?  For companies with formal internship programs, interns are almost always brought into the company receiving equal pay packages.

2. Has a bonus, relocation allocation or living stipend been attached?  Be sure to consider any additional benefits when reviewing your internship offer.  If a company is providing you living expenses or a company apartment for the summer, remember that these funds are a part of your salary/benefit package.  Some companies may offer a smaller salary if living expenses are provided.

3.  Was the selection process for the internship highly competitive?  If you were among thousands of candidates experiencing multiple interviews, it is extremely unlikely that you have any foundation for negotiating your internship offer.

4.  What is the opportunity itself?  If you are seeking to intern with a smaller company, a start-up business, or a “foot in the door” industry, such as sports, make sure that your salary expectation and the opportunity itself are comparable.

5.   Is the salary a good offer?  This may be the most important point of all to consider.   If the internship provides an opportunity for a full-time offer in your chosen field and industry, focus on the long term opportunity rather than the short term gain.

Internships are meant to provide you and a prospective employer an opportunity to evaluate each other for a future partnership.  Be careful not to focus on salary when a long term career opportunity is being considered.

 

 

Career Rx: Take a Break

I just returned from a wonderful vacation break and agree that some time off is the best prescription for recharging the career batteries.  While not many people are happy to see their vacations end, it is always nice when a person can return to work with a clear mind to create and tackle new ideas and projects.  I am no exception.  I did something I very rarely do when on vacation…I did not check my email.  GASP!   Did I pay a heavy price when I returned from my vacation?  Oh yes.   An astronomical number of emails awaited my immediate attention upon my return, but I stand firm in saying it was worth it to unplug.  And let’s face it, it is probably good for our colleagues and clients to have us re-energize.  *SMILE*

Whether you truly enjoy what you do with your career or not, you will be susceptible to burnout if you do not find a way to relax your mind.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about my work while away.  Of course I did.   But the break was exactly what the doctor ordered for me.  Now I am back renewed.

How often do we tell ourselves that we cannot take a break?  Do you tell yourself that you can’t take even a few days to relax your mind?  We have brainwashed ourselves into thinking that we can not separate.  Technology and those handheld devices have changed our lives in a million ways and not always good.  But, you know what?  Those little devices do, in fact, have an off button.   I was shocked to see that mine worked.

Even if you do not have the funds to travel, have you ever thought of taking a few days for a StayCation?  Just stay at home?  Yes!  I’m a huge fan of StayCations myself.

No matter what works best for your lifestyle, it is important for you to take time to clear your mind and rid yourself of the dust that can fill your head.  We spend such a very large portion of our lives at work; therefore, it is important that we pay attention to keeping ourselves energized and focused.

Career Management is about navigating opportunities for advancement, and part of that navigation includes identifying and addressing opportunities for improvement.  Every battery needs to be charged at some point, and your mind is no exception.  Take a break and unplug every now and then.  You will love the results.