Falling off of the ladder

Anonymous wrote:

I recently lost my job after 12 years at the same employer.  What makes matters worse is this was my ONLY job since college and I fear I have lost the ability to interview well.  I read your books on Amazon, so I am curious what kind of pointers you have for me.  Can you help?


I am currently interviewing to fill a space on my team at my day job, so I will be happy to help with a few pointers though as well as share what I am currently seeing as growing issues.

1.  Dress professionally.  Don’t come in in khakis with a members’ only jacket and expect to be taken seriously.  Wear dress clothes and present yourself professionally, including the way you speak.  Make eye contact when speaking, don’t swear, use excessive slang, or speak rudely about previous employers.

2.  Spend some time on your resume, but not too much.  List experiences and tailor the resume to include relevant experience toward the job for which you’re applying.  Leave the objectives off and don’t write a three page narrative.

3.  Know your worth.  Don’t take a lowball offer just to get a job.  If you have skills and certifications, use those as negotiating tools unless the offer is non-negotiable.

4.  Take pay AND perks into account when considering offers.  Many people jump at pay, only to later realize that benefits are more costly than they can afford.  Ask for benefits information if you’re made an offer so you can consider the whole package.

5.  Be able to speak to your skills and abilities.  Learn to sell yourself and don’t feel ashamed explaining skills and accomplishments as they come up in conversation.  Just don’t get carried away and get negative about past employers or spend the interview bragging.

The two biggest issues I see are the lack of professionalism and an inability to interview.  While the fault may at times lie with an inexperienced interviewer, you should avoid the Q&A session type of interview and turn it into a conversational experience for the both of you.  If you’re nervous going in, think of chewing gummy bears.  Trust me, it works to calm nerves.

I hope you find something in whatever field you’re in.  If nothing comes along, learn a new skill and try something new.  Good luck!