Lock-downs, sheltering in, and remote working have increased online and virtual interviews. To prepare for this activity, consider these suggestions from career planning experts.
- Some things haven’t changed. Maintain a professional appearance. Wear solid colors; stripes and patterns can be distracting.
- Plan a quiet environment. Keep the door and windows closed; silence your cell phone. Close other sites on your computer to avoid pop-ups and maintain focus. Remove pets and children from the area to prevent distractions.
- Select an appropriate background. Clutter and other home items should be out of sight. Set up a blank background that doesn’t clash with your clothing color.
- Use a small chair. Check your lighting to avoid shadows and glares. Natural light is usually best, but beware of direct backlighting, like a window behind you.
- Choose an appropriate camera angle so the interviewer can clearly see you. Avoid using a phone for a video interview.
- Test in advance and practice. Try out the software, and install a backup copy on a second device. Do a test run before the interview day to verify that audio, video, and lighting are appropriate. Record your practice session to view how you might improve.
- Check your time, especially if in a different time zone.
- Maintain eye contact with the camera. Set notes on the wall behind the screen with reminders of key points and questions to ask.
- Show energy and enthusiasm. Move around and do light exercises before you start.
LinkedIn has introduced software when preparing for a virtual interview. Artificial intelligence programs give feedback on practice answers for common questions. The critique includes an assessment on pacing, use of filler words, and phrases to avoid.
For additional information on virtual interviews, go to:
- Have students practice their interview skills for a virtual interview.
- Have students talk to others about methods used to prepare for an interview.
- What are the main differences between an in-person and virtual interview?
- Describe benefits and drawback that might be present when using artificial intelligence to prepare for a virtual interview.
Many personal finance reports are published with advice that may not provide the best guidance. In an effort to avoid buzzwords and troubling phrases, consider these suggestions:
- determine who conducted the research; a company may sponsor a study that lacks the rigor of academic or government researchers.
- be wary of research that reports feelings or predictions rather than actual behaviors and actions of respondents.
- consider the number of people in the study and how the respondents were selected.
- avoid generalizations that about a certain age group, such as Millennials, Baby Boomers, or Generation X.
Don’t revise your money management activities based on some survey or research report. If your current actions are working, then you are on the correct path.
For additional information on avoiding personal finance nonsense, click here.
- Have students conduct online research to locate a recent personal finance study to evaluate the validity of the advice offered in the report.
- Have students create a video presentation reporting both valid and nonsense personal finance advice.
- What problems could occur if a person uses inappropriate financial advice?
- In addition to the suggestions in the article, what actions might a person take to determine the validity of personal finance advice?
When considering a career change, the following financial suggestions are offered:
- have an appropriate amount of savings for unexpected expenses during the transition.
- create a budget to live frugally; cut living costs to be prepared for sudden expenses.
- reassess your investment portfolio to reduce risk exposure and possibly eliminate fees.
- seek advice from a financial advisor.
- determine how a career switch might impact your ability to save.
For additional information on financial advice when changing careers, click here.
- Have students talk to a person who recently changed jobs to obtain information about their experiences.
- Have students create a video presentation with suggested actions when planning to change careers.
- What relationship exists between a person’s career choice and money management activities?
- Describe additional financial planning actions that might be appropriate when considering a career change.
Before a person views your resume, it might be scanned by a computer to screen your qualifications.
Career experts suggest preparing your resume for three audiences: a computer screening program, a human resources specialist, and the hiring manager.
To pass the test of automatic resume scanners, consider these suggestions:
- Be sure to include your contact information, and avoid putting required information in the heading where it might be missed by the scanner.
- Avoid fancy formats and fonts. Use a professional presentation. Bullets are suggested for an organized, easy-to-read appearance.
- Emphasize keywords that reflect your competencies and experiences.
- Connect to the job description. Use the requirements and responsibilities of an employment position as a guide for presenting your background, skills, and accomplishments. Avoid a generic resume; tailor your resume to the specific position. Especially look for keywords that are repeated in the job description.
- Use clear job titles. Adapt and simplify previous job titles to fit generally-accepted labels in an industry.
- Seek guidance. Ask for assistance from career development centers, professional colleagues, friends, and others who can help you prepare a resume appropriate for scanning software.
Of special note, job applicants with military experience should match job description keywords to their military service. They should also emphasize and communicate their background so the resume scanning software will easily recognize their employment competencies.
For additional information on automatic resume scanners, click here.
- Have students create a resume for a specific job description to connect their background to the available position.
- Have students talk to a few people to obtain suggestions for improving their resumes.
- Based on selected job descriptions, name keywords that might be appropriate to use in a resume for those positions.
- List various sources that might be used to obtain resume preparation assistance.
While many savings, investment, and retirement plans are available to achieve financial goals, other actions are possible to achieve personal ambitions. Financial advisors and counselors also recommend these actions:
- Learn a new skill, which can result in time away from shopping or expanding your career and income potential.
- Invest in friendships that does not involve a major monetary requirement as many free and low-cost activities are available.
- Participate in a reading challenge at your local library or through a community organization.
- Create art by getting involved with writing, photography, drawing, or sculpture through a community-based group.
Many activities are available to invest your time and energy without spending much money.
For additional information on non-financial goals, click here.
- Have students list free and low-cost activities that can enhance personal and career development.
- Have students talk to others for additional suggestions for free and cost-cost personal and career development activities.
- What factors might a person consider when selecting an activity to enhance personal and career development?
- Describe personal development activities that could result in enhanced career and income potential.
“The war for talent that obsesses tech companies is intensifying and is about to spread economywide.”
This Fortune article is a must read for job seekers in today’s world, Geoff Colvin explains that after nine years of sluggish economic growth, the economy has turned the corner and creating jobs at a record pace. The hiring boom is not only creating opportunities for unemployed workers, but also currently-employed workers who want to get a better or higher-paying jobs.
In the current job market, employers are seeking talented employees that have a great future. Traits that include creativity, the willingness to work hard, and love of learning often help employers evaluate potential. Digital skills are very important, but not restricted to just tech companies. For example, many retailers are hiring workers who can use digital skills to reach customers in new ways.
Human skills are also more important than in the past. Companies want workers to feel they’re part of the organization and a valued asset. These “same people” skills are very important for workers applying for management positions.
For more information, click here.
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to
- Reinforce that employers want workers who have the knowledge and skills that they need, but also are willing to work hard, become part of the organization, and keep learning once they get the job.
- How do you develop the traits and skills so that employers are willing to pay you a salary?
- If you were an employer, how would you choose between job applicants applying for a customer service position at American Airlines? What traits and skills are most important?
Nearly everyone has minor stumbles in a job interview. However, these flaws can be overcome with actions to engage the interviewer. Some ways to make yourself memorable in an interview include:
- Start the interview with a question or comment that reflects your preparation about the company.
- As appropriate, answer the questions you are asked with a question. This approach is usually only valid when talking with operating staff, but not with a human resources person.
- Remember to emphasize your awareness and potential contributions to the needs of the company, including ideas for addressing current concerns and market opportunities. Rather than a specific solution, communicate your sensitivity and awareness of their problems.
- Show your humanness through humor, openness, and vulnerability.
- Prepare with strong research on the company that allows you to better answer expected questions and to interact as you discuss your experiences and potential organizational contributions.
- Think and talk like a consultant to communicate confidence and competency.
For additional information on strong interview impression, click here.
- Have students role play situations interview situations that they might encounter when applying for a job.
- Have students create responses to potential interview questions based on the suggestions in this article.
- How might the advice offered in this article be used when you are in an interview situation?
- Describe some common mistakes people might make in interviews. Explain actions to overcome these mistakes.
“Letting Employees Work from Home Can Be a Win-Win for Employers and Staff Alike.”
For employees, the option to telecommute appeals to a vast majority of full-time workers. Research by Global Workplace Analytics found that there are benefits for employees and employers when employees telecommute and work at home. For employees, the chief advantages are
- Reduced time commuting to work
- Lower costs of commuting to the office
- Less stress of juggling the demands of work and family
There are also benefits for employers including
- Less office space is needed because not every employee works in the office every day
- Lower expenses for rent or costs associated with ownership of office space
- A new way to attract talent because employees like the option of working at home
- Increased employee motivation and engagement because telecommuting is considered a benefit
The top five companies and organizations that encourage telecommuting are:
- United-Health Group
- S. Department of Agriculture
For more information about this article and a complete list of the top 20 companies for telecommuting, click here.
- You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to point out the benefits of telecommuting.
- Not everyone is a candidate to work at home. What traits and time management skills are needed if you obtain a job where you can work at home?
- Are there disadvantages to telecommuting and working at home?
“What did you do to prepare for this interview?”
According to CNBC contributor and author Suzy Welch, the above question is the most important question that a manager can ask and the best question a prospective employee can answer. She explains she has asked this question for years and is always surprised at the answers she gets from prospective employees–answers that are the good, the bad, and the ugly. One answer stands out. When asked what she did to prepare for the job interview as my personal assistant, the applicant answered, I’ve been stalking you for three days. Welch loved the answer because stalking involved reading virtually everything she could find written about Welch plus reading and scanning everything I’ve ever written online and in print.
Not all answers display the passion that a job applicant should have. For example, one applicant answered, “Well I drove here last night with my boyfriend so I wouldn’t get lost today.” Not an answer that would demonstrate the kind of passion and curiosity and most importantly, the resourcefulness Welch was looking for.
For more information, click here.
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to
- Stress the importance of doing some detective work when preparing for a job interview.
- Point out there are many websites that can help job applicants prepare for a job interview.
- Assume you unemployed and have scheduled a job interview with a human resources manager for a bank teller position at a local Bank of America branch. What would you do to prepare for your interview?
- What traits or skills do you have that would make the bank want to hire you for this position? How can you tell or illustrate your traits and skills during the interview process?
Since the career objective presented on most resumes is too general and unfocused, hiring managers recommend a career summary. When developing a resume summary, consider the following actions:
- Plan a clear direction that emphasizes the skills and experience directly related to your career area. Communicate results and accomplishments that highlight your strengths.
- Research the industry to obtain an understanding of the trends and career competencies you will encounter.
- Develop phrasing that communicates the value you can add to an organization.
A resume summary can be appropriate for highlighting your work history and when transitioning careers. This resume feature also allows you to clearly communicate your personal brand.
For additional information on career summaries, click here.
- Have students search online for sample career summaries for industries of interest to them.
- Have students create a career summary that reflects their current competencies and experiences.
- Why are career objectives discouraged on resumes?
- What actions might be taken to develop an effective career summary?