Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Do you want a new job???

I wish I was a fashion buyer...Or something fun like that!! I am so so bored... :-(

I'm being pro-active about it - applying for new jobs, going for interviews and brushing up on my skills. So I thought I would share the knowledge I have gained form here and there thus far.

With interviews, even if you're not all that interested in the role - ALWAYS go. The experience is really good, and the feedback you gain is essential for you to improve for when you do go for the job you want.

I recently went for an interview for a job I knew I wasn’t going to get. However, the lady interviewing me really liked me and actually arranged a meeting between us for me to improve so that I could gain the skills to get onto her team. From this meeting, I learnt a few tips that I thought I would share, and add my own little bits in too!

When answering questions, a good process to go through is the STAR technique:

S – Situation - Describe the situation.

T - Task or Target - what was the goal or objective?

A - Action - What you did? How? When? Who with?

R - Result – Explain what happened using specifics and measurements.

Where you can, give quantifiable examples – e.g. I did so and so, and it saved the company £x a month in expenditure.

A lot of the time, interviewers are looking at your core competencies. Where you can, always show that you have the following qualities.

• Focuses on Solutions – How did you improve a WRONG process?

• Understands the Business

• Organises and plans ahead

• Learns and shares knowledge - Have you had any problems where you couldn’t solve it the first time?

• Manages Others

• Manages Relationships – Worked with people in other parts of the organisation?

• Focuses on the customer

• Manages self

• Adapts to change

• Delivers results – Delivered great customer service?

These competencies obviously vary in different industries. For example, if you were in sales, maintaining relationships, focuses on the customer, and delivers results would be the key competencies I would say you require. I find it really helpful to keep these things in mind when answering questions, so that if I get stuck, I can think of a competency and make sure I’m hitting it. Always brush up on possible systems they may use in the role, so that if they ask you about it, even if you have never used it, you know about it. It’s very important to show that you have done your research.

Another great tip I got from a friend was have a number of examples in your head that you want the employer to know about you. For example in your previous job, you created a system which made the job in hand more efficient. Then, when the questions come up, you can pick and choose your examples accordingly.

Strength & Weakness questions – These are the questions I hate the most! It’s so difficult to show how you’re bad at something, without making yourself look bad, or strengths without looking big headed! I always use the same examples lol:

Strengths – I believe my greatest strength is my communications skills, and ability to get on with all sorts of people. Which I then obviously elaborate on.

Weakness – being a perfectionist with my work, and not wanting to leave a job undone.
I have found a lot of great examples when I googled this, so it’s worth a try.

Another bit I hate is, at the end of an interview when they ask if you have any further questions. I always think NO! I have learnt though that you should have some questions prepared. I always ask what career progression is like at the company, or within the department. Then when they answer that question, I ask more according to what they have said. Saying this shows that you’re interested in staying within the company, and you’re ambitious and want to progress (so I’ve been told…!)

Clothes and Makeup – Depending on the role, and the company I think the dress code varies. For example, going for a fashion based role is going to require a more ‘funky’ dress code, to say a financial role. With retail/fashion roles, I think it’s essential to stay smart, but have a funky top, shoes and bag so your personal style shines through. With a more ‘serious’ role, I would dress in a shirt/trouser combo or a suit. I personally hate suits, so I would team my outfit up with a cardigan, and would wear a belt and smart shoes and bag. Don’t wear shoes which are too high and uncomfortable, you don’t want to be hobbling around, and you most definitely do not want to trip over…Omg, imagine the embarrassment…lol!
For makeup, I would go as natural as possible. If you wear too much, it’s going to detract away from your talents. People may be put off, as you do not know the person who is going to interview you. A full face of natural looking makeup is my answer lol! I would use foundation and finish off with a light powder, eyeliner and mascara (if you use it), and make sure your eyebrows are groomed. I would avoid any bright coloured lipsticks, stick to neutrals or a light gloss. Have your hair looking groomed. If you have your hair straight, make sure you hairspray (Elnett Flexible is great!) it down to avoid messy fly-aways. If it’s curly, make sure you use a serum to keep it looking neat, and frizz free (John Frieda Frizz-Ease is great for this). A neat bun or pony tail would also look really smart should you wish to tie your hair up.
If you are going to an interview in a different city/town, take all your essentials with you so you can freshen up when you get there. Always remember a spare shirt (in case of an accidental coffee spillage :-s ), deodorant, umbrella, a pair of comfy shoes for walking around in, as you never know when travelling, and your makeup – but try to stick it in your handbag, if you can! I take like a big, but smart over-sized bag and dump everything in! Also, give yourself at least 30mins lee-way, so in case you come into traffic or public transport lets you down (like it tends to do!), or you get lost you wont be late, or, well…too late. If you think you’re going to be late, always ring them up in advance to let them know.

Lastly, check out this site - it's great: http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/

I hope all this helps!

Good luck :-)

Love from MyFrostedWorldXXX

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