By CSP Sheryl Nicholson
Sheryl Nicholson, CSP
Congratulations you’re now on the adventure of your life. And today you have so many more choices than your grandparents could have ever dreamed of. Know that according to research statistics, you will hold 5 different careers in your lifetime…so this job you’re now looking for will probably be your first stepping stone. And it’s important that you step not lightly, but solidly!
You’ve taken a class on getting past the interview. You’ve bought your new suit to look the part, maybe even decided on a new hairstyle and made a professional opinion about wearing glasses or contacts. You’ve invested both money and time in your education and believe you have a great chance with such a well-prepared resume.
Today’s employer is learning how to read between the lines and with a personal interview now’s your chance to leap from the paper and show them that you’re the best candidate for their job.
As a People Productivity Expert ™ I’ve asked several employers why they will take college graduates over non-college graduates and they stated simply “It proves they can finish something they start.” I then asked what two things that don’t show up on a resume will get someone hired and move them up the corporate ladder. Want to know the answer most often given?
1. Risk Taking Skills
It’s not your daddy’s job anymore. In your daddy’s days, you could show your credentials and get the job you were “most qualified for” and then work there to build stability and retirement…for years! The workplace has changed significantly now. Everything in the workplace is changing: software, equipment, employees, job descriptions, mission statements, product…and so employers are looking for people who are risk takers and can adapt to change quickly.
A proven risk taker is adventuresome – but not someone who takes a flying leap and then looks back to see if he/she prepared a parachute. Risktakers are constant learners. They are fascinated with life and the opportunities it offers. Risktakers tend to be positive attitude thinkers. Risktakers tend to be leaders and are often looked up to by their team members.
Companies want people who are comfortable with analyzing and preparing for risk and who show leadership skills to get others on board. So what have you done throughout your life to show your risk taking skills?
Give Examples – Maybe you lived and studied abroad. Maybe you take “unusual studies” outside your field of expertise so that you’re testing yourself for growth in other areas. Maybe you took a risk by being a leader for a new fund raising project and built a team for success. Have you invented something? Have you done research on a particular area that could show promise to change things? Maybe you took a risk and along the way mentored someone to be a risktaker in their life that has given them higher confidence and success.
Risktaking examples should be on the tip of your tongue and if you aren’t asked about that talent – make sure you add it into your interview. How do you do that? You could simply state: “Are risktaking skills valued in your organization? I’d like you to know that it’s a quality I possess. I enjoy helping an organization advance while being flexible in the process.”
2. Presentation Skills
Can you speak with confidence to audiences of 2 or 200? It’s often quoted that the fear of public speaking is listed above the fear of dying in the Book of Fears. So when you tackle that fear, you get recognition and respect from all. Taking a public speaking class in college is a start but it’s only the beginning. Have you taken a Dale Carnegie class and are you involved in your local Toastmaster meetings to further your talent?
When an employer knows you possess that envied skill – you get the opportunity to demonstrate your talent at employee meetings, conferences, and even to vendors.
It’s all about knowledge of material, speaking with confidence, and being authentic (leave the ego behind).
Again think of past examples you can offer in your interview. Did you lead a debate class? Are you a spokesperson for a non-profit organization that you helped? Do you lead a Bible study? Have you been on stage as an actor in a play? Do you do karaoke (sober) in front of a crowd? Have you volunteered in the political arena campaigning for a candidate? Did you make sales presentations while you were working your way through school? All that counts!
The worst thing you can do is alert your interviewer that you do not possess these two talents. If asked – make sure you respond positively with a committed answer like “I’m actually looking for ways to improve that skill. What books, or groups would you recommend I read or join to get more knowledgeable?” Then follow-up on that information. Send a thank you letter reminding them that you’re taking action on the tips they gave you.
I have a saying “if you are unique you have no competition”. So what are you doing uniquely different to help that interviewer remember you from the dozens or hundreds they have been interviewing? No I don’t mean calling everyday or becoming a stalker. Yes, always send a thank you for their time and interest with a note that you’re looking forward to being a part of their team. Then send an unusual postcard once in a while to stay in touch. Keep an eye on what that organization is doing and let them know it by sending a congratulatory email or basket. Did you know you can get a Google account that will send you press releases about the organization? This can be a valuable tool with up-to-the minute information that will benefit you in staying current with what’s going on with that industry.
You have the look, you’ve got the tools, and now you have some “insider information” about two skills you can boast you own that can give you that edge when interviewing and just may be the connection to get you that job. Remember success is always in your hands!
About Sheryl Nicholson – CSP Sheryl Nicholson is an International Professional Speaker and Author. She has been doing training since the 1980’s and also has a private coaching business. She is known as a People Productivity Expert™ focusing on skill development in sales, leadership, time management, goals, communication, and life balance. As a private coach she focuses on Successful Presentation Strategies, For more information go to www.sheryl.com