Recently Fired? Then You Need these 5 Interview Answers.

Career Track/Responsibilities Change

“I loved working at [PREVIOUS EMPLOYER] and [OUTLINE MAJOR JOB RESPONSIBILITY]. A little over a year ago, a new management team was installed, and they decided to change the focus of my department as well as my responsibilities. While it didn’t affect my performance, I ultimately decided to leave so that I could find a position that better catered to my strengths. Based on what I’ve learned so far, this role seems like a very strong fit.”

Culture Mismatch

“A new [POSITION TITLE] was installed, and as a result of the changes that occurred, the in-house culture and priorities shifted significantly. I no longer felt that my priorities and those of the organization were in sync, so with regret I decided that it was better for all concerned that I move on. I don’t foresee that as being remotely an issue here.”

Further Education

“I knew that a [DEGREE, TRAINING NAME] was essential to realizing my career goals. And I knew that trying to pursue both it and a full-time career wasn’t realistic. I dove in feet first, learned an incredible amount, and now feel empowered to move to the next stage of my career. Based on what we’ve been discussing, this seems like an excellent place to do just that!”

Internal Conflicts

“Our company has been suffering with low morale and high turnover for quite some time, and I began to understand that the systemic issues behind it were more than I could overcome. This is why I feel like this position would be an excellent match….”

“As rewarding as working at [PREVIOUS EMPLOYER] was, I felt disappointed by the lack of opportunities for career growth and wanted to change that. Based on what we’ve been talking about, I feel like this position would…”

How to Make Better Career Decisions

3 Major Career Decision Pitfalls (and what to do Instead):

Pitfall #1: Trusting SHORTCUTS over evidence.

Examples are trusting your gut instinct over all else, ideology, fear (“I need the money!”) and others.

Solution:

Gather data to help reach a decision BEFORE considering your feelings. Your feelings don’t matter at this stage- treat the whole thing like an intellectual exercise, THEN bring in the emotional piece.

Pitfall #2: Confirmation Bias.

Only seeking out data that supports which way you’re leaning.

Solutions:

Play DEVIL’S ADVOCATE. Create a folder with all of the information IN SUPPORT of your decision. Now create a second folder with all of the information AGAINST your decision. Be just as thorough in both cases.

Honestly ask yourself, “Do I really have a broad enough perspective to make and defend this decision?” If you don’t, then you need to entrust it to someone who can (ex. a mentor).

Pitfall #3: Going it Alone. 

Nothing kills solid decision-making like staying in the bubble of ego. You MUST break out of this!

Solution: 

Test out your decision on a FRIENDLY, someone with a vested interest in seeing you succeed and has the courage to tell you when your thinking is erroneous.

 

 

 

This is The Best Way to Answer “So, What Do You Do?”

The secret to answering “What do you do?” EFFECTIVELY is via a 1-line Tag Line. Here’s how to create it:

1) What’s Your Emotional Appeal?

How do I make people feel?

How do people benefit by working with me?

What words do others use to describe me?

2) Who Is Your Brand For?

What field or industry am I in (or do I want to be in)?

What are the words I would use to describe my work?

Who is my target audience?

3) What’s Your Function?

Are you a creator, an organizer? A connector of people?

What service do I have to offer people?

What do I do that makes me stand out from everyone else?

NOW PUT YOUR ANSWERS TO ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS TOGETHER…

“I help ambitious people reach a new level in their careers.”

“I transform the quality of patient care and the scope of healthcare services within large systems.”

“I help companies enter the digital health space and bring game-changing solutions to market.”

How Bright Is Your Beacon?

Imagine that you’re in the middle of the ocean at night. Surrounding you, just out of sight, are hundreds of ships loaded with treasure. Everything you want is aboard these ships: power, prestige, success beyond your wildest dreams.

How do you go about getting it?

Most people spend their time sailing to as many ships as possible. They busy themselves with logistics- having enough fuel for the journey, saying the right things to come aboard- and always wrestle with the doubts in their mind that whisper: what about the ships I haven’t sailed to yet? It’s an exhausting way to hunt for treasure, and requires an immense amount of effort to see any results.

Then there are those who don’t sail.

These people don’t spend their time fixing their boat and laboriously sailing out into the darkness.

Instead, they string up lights. And they connect it to a source of power, and they send out a beacon which draws ships in.

You need to think about your career in this way.

Recruiters are swamped with hundreds of emails per day, all of which represent people aboard their boats trying to gain access. The moment an employer posts a job on their website or LinkedIn, they can be assured of a veritable flood of applicants that run the gamut from “qualified” to “are you kidding me?”

Prospecting will always result in poor outcomes, and when you’re answering job postings and reaching out “cold” to people, that’s what you’re doing.

Positioning is all about being found. And when recruiters and hiring agents come to you, you don’t have to establish credibility and stand out. You’re already doing those things!

Here are some tips to light your beacon:

1) Create a Competitive LinkedIn Profile

The quickest way to gain traction on LinkedIn and start popping up on recruiter and hiring agent searches is to benchmark your competition, and adopt some of their strategies.

Let’s say you’re a General Merchandise Manager (GMM) at a luxury brand. Run a search on LinkedIn for GMMs at comparable companies, and closely study the profiles which turn up within the first 5-10 results. How do they describe themselves in the “Summary” section? Which keywords are in the “Skills” section? What LinkedIn Groups do they belong to? How do they engage with the community? Make a list of improvements, and then utilize these strategies for your own profile.

2) Turn Your Resume into a Networking Tool

Who says resumes need to be dull summarizations of your work history? Create a 1-Page “Networking” version designed to open conversations with people, and to further establish credibility when someone reaches out to you. Here are some details I use when developing these types of resumes for clients:

-Adding testimonials from peers, bosses, and colleagues. A great testimonial says more about you than pages of boasting. If you’re on LinkedIn, you may already have a few of these. If not, it’s well worth a polite ask to your network.

-Bulleted value-based highlights. Every detail within a Networking Resume should answer the same question: how did I add value to a particular situation? A good tip here is to describe the end result first (ex. Transformed IT from cost enter into a profit growth driver…) and then describe how you accomplished it.

3) Thought Leadership Through Writing

People get discouraged by the prospect of writing posts because they’re not starting out with a huge audience. Let’s face it, the first few (or few dozen) articles you publish online may not exactly be high traffic generators. But it’s important to remember that there’s a huge long-term upside to writing about your industry. These types of pieces establish your standing in the field, and help people to get a sense of your unique “voice”. Over time, it can lead to opportunities to publish in industry and mainstream publications. I’m still seeing clients come in from articles I’ve published back in 2009- there is no other form of marketing that has this kind of long-term traction!

-Start small but consistent. Schedule some time on a set day every week to write and publish at least 1 piece about your industry. You can expand your commitment as you start to see results.

This post originally appeared on WorkitDaily.com