Saturday, September 7, 2019

How to Figure Out Which Skills You Need to Learn to Improve Your Career

By Scott H. Young

In my course I teach with Cal Newport, we encourage students to cultivate rare and valuable skills in order to improve your career.
Among the countless ways you could potentially improve your career, we focus on this approach for a few key reasons.
First, actually increasing the value you provide employers, clients and customers directly impacts your bargaining power. While many other suggestions (networking, resume building, credentials) also matter—they tend to change how you are perceived. Learning rare and valuable skills changes what you are.
Second, the more valuable you are the easier other parts of career development become. If you have a really useful portfolio of skills, networking and office politics becomes a lot easier. We like to associate with top performers, and so those who have rare and valuable skills tend to also have more allies and contacts.
That being said, this often raises a challenging question, which skills should you learn to reach this kind of enviable position?

Figuring Out The Skills You Need

In our course, we cover an in-depth method of interviewing people ahead of you to do this basic kind of research. However, in this article, I’d like to cover a few simpler methods you can use to get a relatively decent answer about which skills you should learn.

Method #1: See What Bosses/Clients Complain About

See what bosses/clients complain about

A good way to assess which skills are both rare and valuable is to see which problems are not getting solved (even though people struggle with them) in the actual marketplace.

Talk to employers and clients who work in your career space. Now ask yourself, which problems do they complain about, but struggle to solve?

If you can answer this, the skills you need to build are the ones which solve those problems.

This resolves two possible failures when trying to identify career skills to learn. The first is picking skills nobody really wants, or ones which they aren’t willing to pay for. If people never complain about something, chances are they don’t really value it fixed all that much.

The second failure is picking skills which are too competitive. Again, if people aren’t complaining about a problem, chances are they have no problem finding people to solve it at a reasonable price, indicating that the skill of solving that problem may not be all that rare.

Method #2: Ask What Top Performers Do (That Normal People Can’t)

Pick someone whose career you admire in your field. Now ask yourself what this person can do, that you cannot. What do you notice?

If you took over the job of the person you admire, what things can this person do that you don’t know how to do, or you think you wouldn’t be able to do as well?

Sometimes, this will point to readily available skills you need to master. Technical skills, social skills, industry experience and knowledge. Other times it will point towards assets that this person has built over time that you may need to cultivate—reputation, client networks, success track records.
Given the things this person seems to possess, you can then start working backwards and ask yourself what you’d have to learn or cultivate to match them. What would you need to get a lot better at, to do as they do?

Method #3: Do a Career Inventory

The final method isn’t to look at employers or top performers, but to examine yourself.

Write down a list of all the things you bring to the table when seeking a job in your field. This should include the core things you’re able to do, in terms of work, and also the secondary skills which support the main ones (people skills, reliability, organization, etc.).

What could you change about yourself to make that portfolio of skills more valuable to a potential employer or client?

Many professions have a common pattern whereby the early part of career development involves cultivating direct skills (programming languages, design software, writing talent) and the later stage involves cultivating supporting skills (leadership, networking, reliability). This is often because when you start, you are a resource to be managed, but as your career grows, you spend more of your time managing and connecting the resources in other people.

Doing a self-assessment can often help you identify gaps in your current skills which would cause you to be overlooked. You may also notice areas where you have decent skills, but not high enough to make them a strong selling point to a potential employer or client.

Now Learn Those Skills!

Once you’ve gone through the above three methods, you’ll find a few skills worth exploring. Now you actually have to go out and learn them.

Source of this Article :
Thanks to Mr  Scott H. Young for the article who is the author of this article


Saturday, August 24, 2019

How to Pass an Interview Part Three

Powerful Job Interview Tips From A Recruiter –How to Pass an Interview Part3


By Biron Clark

Part III: Tips for After Your Interview

Once your interview is done and you’ve left the room, there are still a few things you should do to boost your chance of getting a callback.

These interview tips will help you impress the employer AFTER the interview.

Always thank the interviewer

You want to thank your interviewer when you leave the room and send a thank you email the following day. 

Showing appreciation for the employer’s time goes a long way, and it’s one of my favorite interview tips because it requires no talent; just effort.

Act interested but not desperate while waiting for feedback

Sometimes you won’t hear from the employer for many days after your interview.

They might need to meet more candidates, or might need time to finalize their decision.

I’d recommend wrapping up your interview by asking when you can expect to hear feedback. That way, you won’t be too anxious waiting at home.

If that time passes, it’s okay to follow up with the employer to get an update from them. But be patient and never sound needy/desperate. Delays happen.

If they tell you, “sorry, things are taking longer than we expected and we are still making our decision,” the worst thing you can do is act frustrated or upset. This isn’t going to help you get hired!
The best thing you can do is keep applying for jobs while you wait. It’s never smart to wait around for one single employer because so many unexpected things can cost you the job or cause a delay in the process.  (Budgets change, people get promoted inside the company and they no longer need an external candidate, etc.)

So that’s another one of my favorite interview tips – when you finish one interview, try to get more lined up! Don’t stop interviewing for jobs until you’ve signed a job offer. 

Use These Tips for How to Pass an Interview and Get More Job Offers

If you’ve followed these job interview tips, you’re in great shape to pass your next interview and get the job offer.

Don’t forget: Motivation, interest, and how you explain yourself and the reason you’re interviewing are just as important as your actual resume/skillset. I can’t stress this enough in terms of important job interview tips to remember!

Reading this article won’t change your professional skills. But it can change something far more powerful- how you come across in the interview room.

You can beat out somebody with more experience and a more impressive resume because job interviewing is a separate skill that you’ve spent time mastering.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

How to Pass an Interview Part Two

Powerful Job Interview Tips From A Recruiter –How to Pass an Interview Part 2

By Biron Clark

Part II: Job Interview Tips

So, you’ve mentally prepared yourself with the interviewing tips from Part I. Now let’s talk about how to pass a job interview in the moment.

Describe your work history BRIEFLY

Most interviewers will ask you to give a quick walkthrough of your background at the start of the interview. That’s why I mentioned reviewing your resume beforehand. It’s a pretty commonly overlooked but it’s one of my favorite job interview tips and it’s so easy to do!

If you’ve prepared a good, brief narrative of your career, you can impress them right off the bat. What got you interested in this field? What have you accomplished recently?

But it has to be concise. Nobody wants to hire somebody that rambles on or sounds scattered, and that’s the biggest mistake people make with this relatively open-ended question.

Spend most of your time on the recent portion of your career. Go through the beginning rather quickly. 2-3 minutes total should be your target.

Explain why you’re interested in interviewing with them

After walking them through your resume, you’ll probably be asked why you’re looking to make a job change, and/or why you’re interested in their company in particular. This is where the research you’ve done pays off. You should already have two specific reasons for wanting to interview with their company.

When explaining your reason for job searching in general, I mentioned one example of how to turn a negative into a positive in Part I. Here are 2 more examples:

If your current company has no room for upward growth, say that you’re looking for a job with more room for upward growth. If you don’t like your coworkers, say you’re hoping to find a team that’s more collaborative. See the difference? You’re saying the same thing without sounding negative.
Whatever you say you’re looking for, be prepared for them to ask why you can’t get that in your current company. Just answer by saying that you don’t think there’s an opportunity to get this, and you considered this before starting to look externally. Simple and easy. That should end the line of questioning.

Answering technical questions- don’t freak out

After the basic questions, you’ll get into the meat of the interview. The content and questions here will vary based on the job, but here’s what you need to know about how to pass the job interview:
A good interviewer will test your limits. Especially if it’s a position involving some type of technical knowledge (math, science, engineering, etc). The only way they can find your limits is if they ask something you don’t know. So stay calm when you get this. Here’s what to do:

Try to work your way through the question as much as you can. Your thought process is often more important than answering correctly, so tell them what you’re thinking. Ask questions to clarify if needed.

Seeming genuine, thoughtful and honest can go a long way. It’s more important than answering any one question correctly.

Preparing yourself for how you’ll handle a question you’re not sure of or didn’t expect is an important piece of how to pass an interview. You can prepare for questions all day, but you still might hear something you weren’t ready for.

Ask your own questions at the end

You should ask a lot of questions after the interviewer has finished their own questions. How are you going to decide if you want the job if you don’t find out any info? The best job candidates are evaluating a company, not just trying to get a job in the first company that wants them. Once a company realizes this, they’ll treat you like a top notch candidate and try to sway you to join them.

Here are over 100 great questions you can ask the interviewer.

If you meet with 4 people, you should ask questions to all of them. It’s okay to repeat a question, but don’t tell the last person, “so-and-so already answered all my questions.” I’ve done this in the past and wasn’t offered the job. Lesson learned.

Some of the best questions are opinion-based questions because you can ask the exact same question to as many people as you want. Example: “What’s your favorite part about working here? What is the biggest challenge/difficulty you face here?”

Always act like you want the job

You have one goal in any interview: Convince them that you’re the best candidate for the job and get invited to the next round.

So you should be selling yourself in the interview, not deciding if the job is desirable.

Then you can go digest the info and make a decision once you get home. If you start using this approach you’ll have a big advantage throughout the entire interview because you’ll have one single thing to focus on. Other applicants will be juggling everything at once.

Don’t ask for feedback on the spot

I’ve seen people recommend that you ask for feedback or concerns at the end of the interview.

Something like this: “Based on what we’ve discussed, is there any reason you wouldn’t consider me for this job?” Horrible advice. Never ask this. Ever. Or anything like it.

First of all, they just finished interviewing you. Give them time to think. You’re going to go home and decide whether you’re interested, they need time to think too. Don’t put them on the spot like this.

Also you’re bringing the negatives to their attention. You’re literally asking them if they can think of a reason that’d stop them from hiring you. Even if they do think of something, they won’t tell you for fear of a lawsuit.

I like to say something like this instead: “If you need any more info from me or have any questions later, don’t hesitate to contact me.”

Saturday, August 3, 2019

How to Pass an Interview Part One


Powerful Job Interview Tips From A Recruiter –How to Pass an Interview Part 1

By Biron Clark

If you think most hiring decisions are based on hard experience and qualifications, better keep reading. A resume gets you in the door, but how you interview determines whether you’re offered the job.

This article will cover 2 types of job interview tips to help you pass a job interview and get the job you want:
  • Interview Preparation– steps you should take before your interview.
  • Job Interview Tips– the best strategies to use during the actual interview.
These are the best interview tips that I know, from close to 5 years working as a Recruiter.

After you finish this article you’ll know how to present yourself better than the competition and pass a job interview a majority of the time.

Part I: Job Interview Preparation

Each step below will prepare you for the actual interview. None of this is very time consuming but it will set you apart from everyone else applying for the job, making it easy for the company to decide who to hire (you!)

Here are the basic interview preparation steps to remember. I’ve put the estimated time next to each one.

Research the company (5 minutes)


Know what they do, know how they make money. You’re not expected to be an expert, but knowing nothing about the company makes it look like you don’t care. Talent doesn’t matter at this point, you will not get hired if they think you don’t care. 

All of this research can be done on a company’s website and on Google.

To learn the latest on a company, try typing the company’s name plus the word “news” into your search bar.


Think of two reasons you’re interested in the company (10 minutes)


Use the company research you’ve done to come up with a business-related reason you’re excited about them. It could be a new business model, new clients, new partnership, etc.

Actual example: I recently had a phone interview with a tech company that was built as a review/info website. They recently started handling transactions instead of sending the buyers out to other websites to complete the transaction. I read this in the news and mentioned it as an exciting development and a really good business move. The interviewer was extremely impressed that I had read the news, and understood the implications.  Total time spent researching: less than 3 minutes.

Along with one business reason, try to come up with a secondary reason too. Maybe community involvement. Or company culture. Almost every company has a blurb about their culture on the website. Read it and mention what you read as a secondary reason for being interested.

You’ll seem extremely well-prepared and well-rounded for having two very different reasons.


Think of an explanation for why you’re job searching (5 minutes)


Companies will often choose someone less talented if they also seem less risky or if their motivations make more sense. I’ve seen it first-hand.

Don’t lose out on a job to somebody with less skill than you. Prepare some legitimate reasons why you want to make a move (without talking negative about your current employer). Here are some examples:
  • You’ve accomplished ____ in your current role and you’re ready for a new challenge
  • Your company’s direction has shifted and you feel it’s time to join a new organization
  • You’re interested in a different type of product/service
  • You’re looking for a larger or smaller organization
You can get more specific based on your situation. These are general ideas. If you do a good job with this you can beat out applicants that have more experience than yourself, because they’re not using these strategies most likely.

Get familiar with your resume (5 minutes)


This is one of the more important interview preparation tips, and one of the easiest. Glance over your resume if you haven’t in a while. Be ready to explain past job changes in a positive light. If you left a job because your manager was horrible, say that you went to an organization that had more supportive management. It’s all about how you phrase it. More examples on how to deliver this in Part II.

Also think of a couple of challenges and accomplishments in your last 1-2 positions. Interviewers love specific examples of accomplishments.

That’s it, you’re done with Part I. At this point you’ve already done more than 80% of job applicants, and you have good answers prepared for some of the most common interview questions.

Please check the blog for 2nd Part in Next Week