Archive | August, 2013

What Will Go Wrong When You “Wing It” in the Interview

August 29, 2013

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What Will go wrong if you dont prepare for an interviewEven if you’re a natural people person… even if you have amazing experience and you feel like this one is “in the bag”… even if you have a raving review from the CEO of the company… there is never an excuse for “winging” an interview. An interview should be viewed like a formal exam. Each one requires a significant time of study, preparation, and practice. Without it, you will likely fail and regret it. It took a lot of effort to land this interview, so don’t let that time be wasted. If you do, here’s what could happen:

1. You’ll be completely tongue-tied.
Imagine getting drilled with calculus equations…. in Spanish. That’s how you’ll feel when an interviewer starts drilling you with the toughest interview questions and you haven’t spent a single minute preparing. Interviewing well is a skill that must be practiced. Review the toughest questions you can find and write out your best answers. Study them. Learn them. Memorize them.

2. You’ll make a total jerk out of yourself.
Want to know the quickest way to biff an interview? Don’t research the company. Any interviewer will see right through your quick skim of a Wikipedia page. Research recent news articles and really learn the company inside and out. Reach out to your network and see if anyone has any insight into this position or this company. Then show off your detective work during the interview.

3. You’ll ruin your chances of working for this company in the future.
Companies remember strong candidates even when they don’t get hired. Perhaps they’ll reach out to you when a similar position opens up. That is unless you fail the interview. Interviewers will also remember lousy candidates and won’t want to give them a chance in the future. Do your future self a favor: make a good impression, not a bad one.

Image via Cameron Adams/flickr

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Q) In a job interview, does the handshake really matter?

August 27, 2013


Job Interview - does Handshake really matter?A) No. But here’s what does matter: a first impression. And often the first thing a potential candidate is doing is shaking hands with their potential manager or coworker. So it’s not necessarily the handshake itself that matters but all the qualities that surround it.

Focus on making strong eye contact — it shows that your confident. Start the greeting off with a smile — it shows that your friendly and easy to work with. Focus on your body language — don’t turn your body away immediately before or after the handshake or you’ll look a little closed off.

If you want to seal the deal by giving a firm grip during the handshake, by all means, go for it. But keep in mind that the most important parts of a handshake are not the strength of your grip but the strength of your character.

What do you think is most important during a handshake? Comment below!

Image via Alvaro Canivell/flickr.

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How to Rock the Second Interview

August 22, 2013


How to Rock the Second InterviewYou did it! You made it through round one and you’re well on your way to that elusive job offer. The good news is that not just anyone gets asked to a second interview — the bad news is that the pressure is on! You’ve made it this far, and now you need to continue to rise to the top. Here are a few things you can expect and a few secrets that will help you succeed during round two.

1. Get ready for a group interview.
During a second round interview, it’s likely that you’re meeting with your potential managers or supervisors as well as some potential coworkers. While they might ask you some of the same basic interview questions from the first go around, they’ll be feeling out your personality as well. So stay engaged and excited during this process.

2. Practice talking about yourself.
If you’re meeting with multiple people during multiple rounds of interviews, you’ll likely have to give your elevator pitch again and again. Really focus on perfecting an “about me” spiel that’s relevant to the company and the position. Now’s the time to brag about your best experiences.

3. Ask for everyone’s name and contact information.
Sending thank you letters just got a lot harder! Anyone who interviews you should be asked for a business card. If they don’t have one, don’t be afraid to jot down their name and email address. Send those follow-up thank you emails or cards immediately after the interview.

4. Don’t forget basic interview etiquette.
You’ve already made a great first impression to some, but don’t let the momentum waver during a multi-interview process. Read up on our ultimate interview recap and follow through each step of the way from a strong handshake and a smile to eye contact to closing the deal.

Image via Daniel Ted Feliciano/flickr. 

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3 Time-Saving Tips for Your Job Search

August 20, 2013

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3 Time-Saving Tips for Job SearchesJob searches are exhausting and it can feel like they are taking over your life. While your extraordinary efforts will always pay off in the end, we wanted to share a few tips that will help you stay motivated — and save time — throughout the process.

1. Set email alerts.
The easiest way to stay in touch with the latest listings for your favorite company is to sign up for email alerts. If your favorite sites don’t have this feature, bookmark their job listings pages for easy access then set a schedule in which you check each website once per week or once per day at the same time.

2. Create a master resume.
Every job seeker needs an overly detailed master resume that covers everything they’ve ever done. From here, you can copy and paste the relevant information for a specific job listing into a new document. The end result is a perfectly tailored resume that didn’t take too much time to make.

3. Save cover letters, and stay organized.
Each cover letter you write should be saved safely on your computer and labeled by company or job title. Although each cover letter should be perfectly tailored to each company and each position, there are likely some well-written paragraphs that can be reused throughout your application process.

Image via Brent Moore/flickr.


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Your Personal Brand and Why It Matters

August 16, 2013


Your Personal Brand and Why It MattersEven if you think you don’t need a personal brand or you think you don’t have a personal brand — you’re wrong. Your personal brand is the accumulation of all the information about you that’s out there, like one big Wikipedia page on yourself. What would it say? What tone would it have? What would it look like? If you can’t answer these questions, it’s time to reassess. Here’s what you can focus on to start taking control of your image:

1. Your Bio
These days, your online image comes first. That’s what employers see before they bring you in the door. During a job hunt, make sure your personal bios — both online and off — are consistent and clear. The focus of your LinkedIn profile should mirror that of your resume and vice versa. Don’t be afraid to be too confident here. You’re trying to get hired! Toot your own horn.

2. Your Elevator Speech
Can you take that personal biography and say it out loud on demand? Make sure your career intentions can be easily summarized for any upcoming networking events, phone interviews, informational interviews, or face-to-face interviews. Again, it should be consistent with the bio that’s plastered on LinkedIn and your resume or cover letter.

3. Your Look
If you want to get hired, you better be on your A game when it comes time to dress for your LinkedIn profile picture, any interview you land, and any networking events you attend. Find a signature style that works for you — one that makes you feel comfortable and confident.

4. Your Voice
It’s okay to be yourself. Just be consistent. If you’re a funny guy, don’t paint a picture of an uptight drone. Show your personality tastefully in a cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and during any interviews or networking events. Find a way to mention your unique traits, interests, or experiences during the application process.

Image via Stefano Principato/flickr.

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How to Close Your Cover Letter Strong and Land the Interview

August 14, 2013

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How to Close Your Cover Letter Successfully

The dreaded cover letter. While some job applicants may find it a waste of time, they should know that time spent on a cover letter is time well spent. After all, this is the one chance recruiters have to hear your real voice and the story beyond the bullet points of your resume. It’s your opportunity to put it all on the line in hopes of landing an interview. You must express why you are a perfect fit for this position at this company at this time. (Hopefully we don’t have to remind you how important it is to TAILOR each cover letter to each application!)

Just like you have to close in an interview, you have to close in a cover letter. It’s not just about wrapping it up — it’s about reiterating your interest in the position and giving one last push toward the finish line. So how do you do it? The Glass Door blog gives five great phrases you can use to close your cover letter. We’re going to share our three favorite sentences here:

1. “If I am offered this position, I will be ready to hit the ground running and help XYZ Company exceed its own expectations for success.” 
A confident end to a letter from a highly-qualified candidate. If you can’t imagine yourself succeeding in this position, how will anyone else? Illustrate how smoothly you’d transition into this opportunity and how your experiences can benefit the company.

2. “I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how my qualifications will be beneficial to your organization’s success.”
This closing statement has the right focus: how you (the candidate) can help them (the company). That’s how you want to phrase most of your interview. It’s now about what they can do for you, but what you can do for them.  Never underestimate that sentiment.

3. “I am very excited to learn more about this opportunity and share how I will be a great fit for XYZ Corporation.”
While a more timid approach, this closer works just fine. It’s a combination of the first two that shows confidence and focus on how your experiences are aligned with the qualities necessary for this position and for this organization to succeed.

Which closing statement is your favorite? Comment below!

Image by bearstache/Flickr.

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How to Take a Real Vacation From Work

August 8, 2013


How to take a real vacation from workSummer is the time for enjoying a cool drink on an open patio, a charred burger fresh off the grill, and hopefully a week of relaxation. Using that vacation time is something we look forward to all year, but sometimes the impending trip causes tons of stress. Frantically trying to finish work and worrying about unfinished projects while you’re out of the office is no fun. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your time away.

1. Be proactive.
One to two months before your trip, start thinking of what important deadlines are looming. Now map out each week before your trip to meet those deadlines early. Try to wrap everything up a few days before you leave if possible so you can answer any questions that arise. Ask coworkers if they’re willing to answer any questions or tackle any last-minute changes on your behalf while you’re gone.

2. Tell people.
Start planting the seed that your vacation is coming up a few weeks before you leave. Remind coworkers that if they need anything or if they have any questions, the time to ask is now — before you leave.  And get that out of office reminder on your email cued up. Be explicit about the days you will be gone and remind people that you will not be checking email (even if you will!). Remind others of which other knowledge coworkers they can talk to during your absence.

3. Unplug and Enjoy.
When you are on vacation, enjoy yourself. The only way to do that is to walk away from technology. If you have to, check your email once mid-week and leave it at that. The work will still be there when you return and your coworkers are smart people — they will figure something out until you return.

Image by epSos .de/Flickr.

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How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile Today

August 6, 2013


LinkedIn is an amazing tool for job seekers — if they know how to use it. The first step in LinkedIn success is having a great profile. But many job seekers spend more time on their Facebook profile than they do LinkedIn. Take a few minutes today to revisit your LinkedIn profile and give it a good revamp. We promise you won’t regret it. (P.S. Follow Spectrum Brands on LinkedIn.) Here’s what makes a LinkedIn profile great:

1. Upload a professional head shot.
This is so crucial. If you don’t have a professional photo, ask a friend with a nice camera to capture an image of you in a suit or professional attire. Make sure the lighting is good (try standing outside just before sunset), you’re smiling right at the camera, and that the focus is clear.

2. Don’t leave anything to the imagination.
Make sure each job title has an interesting description of your responsibilities and your accomplishments. And if there is any period of time you spent unemployed or on sabbatical, don’t leave a gap. Explain that time by citing any relevant freelance or volunteer work. Read our post on how to deal with a resume gap.

3. Get active.
There are many ways to stay involved with LinkedIn. Post updates so they appear in your connections news feeds, join groups so you can network with others in your industry, and write recommendations or endorsements for others. Whenever you make a move on LinkedIn, your gesture will appear in your connections news feeds and you’ll stay top of mind.

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Spotlight on Spectrum Brands’ Rayovac Division: Launch of Portable Power

August 2, 2013


Firmly established as one of Spectrum’s cornerstone brands, Rayovac is arguably the most recognizable brand in the Spectrum family. Often regarded as one of the top three battery brands worldwide, Rayovac continues to set standards in innovation – with portable power as the crowning jewel.

2-Hour Power was developed for the cell phone user who is always on the run. It provides instant power to both Apple and Micro USB devices. Complete with long lasting power storage, enhanced portability and the absence of charging cords, this device relies solely on the Rayovac batteries that consumers know and trust – no cords, no outlets, and no electricity. The convenience factor of the 2-Hour Power is off the charts. It’s quickly becoming the #1 external cell phone battery!

A large population of mobile device users will settle for nothing less than a fully charged battery. To supply this demand, Rayovac has developed the new 7-Hour Power. Using just four Rayovac AA batteries, the 7-Hour Power is a portable USB charger that can give a cell phone a full 100% charge. Using a USB port to connect and deliver power, the 7-Hour Power is compatible with all USB-powered devices.

For a company like Rayovac, creating innovative products like portable power is just par for the course. Where other companies typically fall short, Rayovac follows a creative roadmap to ensure the initial phases of product development are strategically researched and given the proper focus.

Basic research has shown a dramatic increase in cell phone users worldwide. Capitalizing on this recent data, Rayovac developed an accessory that provides the one thing that everyone could use – extra battery life. With the creation of portable power, Rayovac is taking all bets that the mobile device will become an even bigger part of our everyday lives.

The secret to Rayovac’s product line success is hardly a secret at all. Research is the key factor when developing new products. Rayovac’s commitment to research and development shines through in the flawless design and masterful innovation of its latest product line.

Qualifications for those looking to join the Rayovac team include: passion, ingenuity, and creative spirit. Employees who thrive are innately creative and have a passion for innovation. Does Rayovac sound like a great place to work, or what?

Learn more about Rayovac and the launch of portable power by reading the latest press release. Read our previous post on Rayovac for more information on working with the Rayavoc brand.

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“Why Should We Hire You?”

August 1, 2013


It’s a dreaded interview question that’s tough to answer. After all, it’s weird to brag about yourself out in the open. But guess what? Job interviews are just one big sales pitch so you have to get used to tooting your own horn. Most importantly, you better be prepared when you walk in the door. If you don’t have something great to say about yourself, who will? Watch the video above from The Interview Guys then read some of our extra tips to use when you’re asked, “Why should I hire you?”

1. Show Off Your Qualifications
Don’t forget the basics here. Review the job description and illustrate exactly what experiences, skills, and knowledge you have that make you qualified for the position.

2. Tell Why You’re The Best of the Rest
Now is your chance to explain why you are the most qualified candidate. The key word here is “most.” There might be many qualified candidates out there but what makes you different — or better — than everyone else?

3. Show Confidence
As you’re talking yourself up, you better do it with conviction. Again, this is one big sales pitch and your goal is to get that job offer. So sell hard and back up your claims with specific examples.

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