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Making it to the “yes” pile is not as easy as you may think. Recruiters spend just a few seconds looking at resumes before deciding which ones need a second and deeper review. A creative resume that doesn’t go overboard can help you going through the first review process successfully. Download this free template now!
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You are in a job that you love, but your work life is being made difficult by someone at work or even a few people that are making you feel awful or uncomfortable. It can be difficult to work out how to stand up for yourself in the workplace without making things worse.
Everyone needs to feel valued and comfortable in the workplace, but not every company that you work for is going to be perfect. It doesn’t matter if you are new to the company or you have been there a number of months or years, should you start to feel uncomfortable or anxious at work then something needs to be done to confront a workplace bully, whether that is a team mate, someone in another department, or even your own supervisor.
Getting your timing right
When you need to stand up for yourself at work and speak out about a conflict or issue with a workmate, there can be good times and appropriate moments where you can take your concerns to your boss, line manager or the HR department. This can be at a regular review or performance meeting you have with your boss or appointed officer.
If you are not due a review any time soon, then you don’t have to wait to report your concerns. You can ask for a meeting with your boss or HR member to raise your concerns if the situation is getting too far out of hand or your worries are escalating pretty quickly.
It can be handy to document and record the issues you are experiencing and any individual instances that are causing you anxiety. These can be examples such as the following:
Being emotionally manipulated by a workmate
Being excluded from team meetings or ignored in meetings
Someone else constantly taking the credit for your ideas or work you have done
It is better to raise your concerns with your boss or HR officer and be able to give solid examples rather than going along empty handed. Should you be challenged over your concerns, you can then more easily back up your issues with proof of what has taken place.
Standing up for yourself in the workplace
It may be that the situation that is making you anxious hasn’t yet escalated into something of a major problem. If you can nip things in the bud early then it could save a lot of problems from building up in the future. However, how can you stand your ground and make your point without making too much of a scene and making things worse for yourself?
When you need to take someone aside for a quiet word, the chances are that you will have already practiced and rehearsed exactly what you will say to them in your head over and over again. Being prepared for a confrontation is always your best bet. But you don’t want to rely on your memory alone when it comes to your big moment.
Putting pen to paper can help here. Take some time to actually write out what behavior you want to address with your talk and what you want to say. Having a guide to follow can really help, especially if there is a risk that you will let your emotions get out of hand.
Keeping a clear head, calm voice, slow and clear speech can also help to get your message across to a person without the exchange becoming too heated.
Think of what you have written as an actual statement that reflects how you feel and how unfairly you have been treated. Having a script to follow can help keep you going all the way to the end without worrying that you will forget what you want to say or start to feel overwhelmed by the situation.
Keeping yourself cool, calm and collected all the way through your statement will show the other person that you will no longer tolerate being pushed around at work and will demonstrate that you are made of stronger stuff than they realize. Take a breath before you speak a line. Never react emotionally if the other person says something to provoke you. The chances are they will be trying to make you look bad to win the argument. Take a moment before you speak and stick to your script.
Learn to say ‘NO’
Many people are so concerned with making themselves invaluable at work that they often forget how to say ‘no’. While it is good for your working relationships to help out when a colleague is struggling or under pressure to get something done on time, remember to only take on extra work if they are genuinely struggling and never at the expense of your own work and deadlines.
Saying no can be difficult, so if you are the sort of person that cannot say it out loud as an answer to a request, look at different ways to say no without actually saying ‘no’. an example could be when you are given a stack of work to do that you know you cannot finish on time, instead of saying no, say ‘I can do this but I need to complete X Y Z first so it will have to wait’. You are not saying no, but you are making it clear that you will prioritize your existing work first.
No matter what issue or anxiety you are suffering with at work, you should take appropriate steps to get it resolved as quickly and smoothly as possible with the least repercussions. Leaving issues unresolved can lead to them taking over more of your thoughts throughout the day and eventually end with you taking your worries home with you. The last thing you want is to take your work anxieties home to spill over and affect your family life.
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As every jobseeker knows, you need to present a recruiter with your perfectly honed hard skills that make you a perfect fit for the role on offer. Without these technical skills under your belt, how on earth are you going to win the job of your dreams, right?
It is no wonder that job candidates will craft their resume to reflect these skills and emphasize their technical skills above all else. However, you should never underestimate the importance that recruiters are now placing on soft skills. In fact, the desire for soft skills has risen sharply over recent years to become a priority in the eyes of many employers.
With this in mind, do you possess the right set of soft skills that could give you that winning edge at your job interview?
Examples of important soft skills
You need to be able to demonstrate how you have used your soft skills to resolve issues in a constructive way in the workplace.
Employers are more concerned these days with creating a productive and happy workplace and promoting good mental health and well-being at work, and this is where your soft skills can come in to play in a positive way.
You can give them an example of how you sorted out a conflict or disagreement with a co-worker, or used your good communication skills to appease an unhappy customer or supplier and turn around their experience into a positive one that saved any damage being done to the company reputation.
A lot of soft skills can be developed over time with experience and wisdom. From an employer’s point of view, it can be easy to train someone to operate a software program for example, but not quite so easy to teach them how to handle a difficult or uncomfortable situation in the workplace. This is why your soft skills can come in very handy and could give you an advantage over someone else at interview who may have the exact same technical skill set and qualifications as yourself.
Highlighting your soft skills in your resume
This is why it is just as important to highlight your soft skills in your resume as your technical skills or experience that makes you a good fit for the job. If possible, you should try to strike an equal balance between your hard skills set and your soft skills within your resume, but taking great care to choose the right soft skills that you possess that would catch the eye of and appeal to the recruiter.
This can often be easy to do when the nature of the job makes it obvious about what sort of soft skills would be more desirable. For example, if the role involves dealing with the general public, customers or suppliers over the phone or face to face, then your communication skills and negotiating skills are going to be of great value to mention and highlight.
It is interesting to note that according to the 2018 Skills Gap Report released by LiveCareer, nine out of the top 20 desirable skills are actually soft skills! These are results coming from current and recent listings and mentions in job adverts coming from major employers. So you can work out from this research alone that employers are placing a high priority on identifying soft skills when assessing potential job candidates.
It also means that you will have a much higher chance of being invited into interview when you include all those highly sought-after soft skills that you possess in your resume. It also shows that employers are placing a much higher value on the potential of job applicants who can display evidence of good soft skills.
So, what are these very desirable top nine soft skills that were identified in the report? They are:
The actual skills gap report set out to see if there was an actual skills gap in these area, or was it that the majority of job applicants were actually guilty of under-reporting their soft skills. Going back to when you create your resume, it seem almost automatic that you will want to list and highlight your hard skills to get across why you qualify for the job. But favoring hard skills over soft skills can in some circumstances risk losing you the opportunity of landing an interview.
At the end of the day, employers are seeing both hard and soft skills in your resume, so by overlooking one in favor of the other may result in you not getting your foot in the door.
How can I emphasize my soft skills?
To make yourself a more appealing candidate for the job, take some time out to sit down and work out a list of your soft skills. Soft skills are not those that can be learned like hard skills, so are more intangible to define.
Think along the lines of your communication skills, negotiating powers, reasoning and compromising skills, conflict resolution, empathy and good listening skills.
Take a careful look through the job description. Identify and pick out those soft skills that would be very handy to have in this role. Try to think about what sort of soft skills an employer would be looking for in a candidate for a job like this. Check your soft skills list and match up those that are required or desirable for the role that you have identified. These are the skills that you should be highlighting within your resume.
By including your soft skills in your resume you will be making yourself much more desirable to the eyes of a recruiter.
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Job interviews can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of our lives. Not only can they be overwhelming, but it certainly doesn’t help that you need to remember so many crucial things while being put on the spot with tricky interview questions.
Sometimes it is hard to stay cool, calm and collected, but as long as you take the time to do some research before your interview, you will have the very best chance of getting through it unscathed. However, should you start your interview and begin to feel that things are not quite going your way, there are a few things that you can do to quickly turn things around.
Overcoming your nerves
No matter what job you are going for, you will probably feel a bit nervous or apprehensive about the interview. Remember to take a few long, slow and deep breaths before you enter the interview room. This will steady your pulse rate and give you a few seconds to straighten up your posture to enter the room with confidence.
Should you find yourself getting a bit tongue-tied during your interview where you are stumbling over your words, then take a few seconds to stop and breathe deeply. Ground your mind and your thoughts and stay connected to the present moment. Keep good eye contact with your interviewer and focus on their words. This will help you organize your response to their question and say what they need to hear.
You missed a question
Sometimes it is easy for us to lose our concentration during an interview. It can only take a split second to lose the thread of a conversation or miss a question being asked. When your mind goes blank, make sure that you say something. The best thing to do here is to ask them to repeat the question once again. There is no shame in doing this as your interviewer will understand that this happens. From their point of view, it is better for you to ask for the question to be repeated and get an appropriate answer than for you to waffle or fudge a reply that completely misses the point.
You answered incorrectly
If you feel you blew a very important question with a less than perfect response, don’t think that you have blown the whole interview. Explain to your interviewer that you need to clarify a point about the question being asked. This will give you the needed time to better phrase your answer without losing your cool or coming across as a scatter-brain. Doing this can also demonstrate that you can think deeply about things and can come up with more that one answer or solution to a problem.
Up-selling your skills
If you are ambitious and want to forge ahead in your career, then you may well be applying for jobs that are a little (or a lot) above what you are currently doing. While there is nothing wrong with showing your drive and determination to improve your career prospects, what if your interviewer thinks that you are under qualified for the role on offer?
In this situation you need to convince your interviewer that you are capable of taking on this role by giving them examples of your achievements outside of your qualifications. This can demonstrate that despite your lack of qualifications, you are a strong candidate and deserve to be considered. Spell out your transferable skills that you will be bringing with you to this role and explain how you have used these in the past job positions to achieve targets and desired results.
If the employer wants a candidate to possess a particular skill or qualification, then make it clear to your interviewer that you are more than willing to learn new skills and study or train to gain new qualifications while on the job. This can show a level of dedication to the company that the employer will like. They will be more keen to hire someone who is going to be loyal and that will stick around for a good long while in the job.
A switched-off interviewer
It is a sad fact that many people going to an interview will be greeted with a switched-off interviewer. This can be for many different reasons, but one of the most common reasons is that they have already interviewed someone that they consider perfect for the role. This can be a real disappointment to anyone else left to interview that day.
What you need to do here is to engage with your interviewer to grab their attention. Think outside of the box and start asking them questions instead. People love talking about themselves, so try asking them what they like about working for the company. Smile a lot and try to build a connection on a personal level. This can often help to break their mindset that they have found the perfect candidate and make them think twice. This could be enough to get your foot in the door.
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So, you have managed to land yourself with the chance of a dream job – you just need to get through the interview first! It is time to polish up your act and put your best foot forward to help secure your new role.
We have some top tips about the best way to get yourself noticed (in a good way) at your interview to help you stand out from the crowd. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to impress and leave a positive lasting first impression on your interviewer.
Dress to Impress
First impressions really do count, so before you set foot through the interview door, make sure you look the part. You will want to make yourself look like you already work there. This can help your new employer to more easily see that you will fit in well with their existing team.
According to recent career related research, 49% of employers know if a candidate will be a good fit for a job within five minutes of starting their interview. The first impression you give as you enter the room and take your seat will get you almost half way over the threshold before you have even highlighted your skills and talents that make you perfect for the job.
The way you dress, the way you hold yourself and walk as well as your demeanor will convey a lot of useful information to your potential new employer even before you have spoken. You will want to create the right first impression, so do your homework well in advance of your interview.
Do your homework
You will want to check out the company history as well as their ethos, mission statement and plans for the future of the company. Take some time to watch the employees leave the building to see how they dress. You can pick up a lot of clues by observing their dress code and style of clothing. The last thing you will want to do is to turn up to your interview in a smartly tailored, navy three-piece-suit if the company culture favors a more relaxed, smart-casual approach to their workwear.
Make a bold color statement
Here is a great tip – wear something yellow! I know that this may sound like an odd tip, but studies have proven that wearing an eye-catching color at a job interview helps you to be better remembered. Yellow is a color that will stick in the mind, so wearing a yellow blouse, a yellow tie or a yellow scarf can really help to make you stand out from the crowd, especially if its a corporate role that you are applying for. Having a visually attractive color such as yellow will make you stand out in a sea of navy blue or black suits.
Sit up and look alert
Displaying a good posture indicates that you are engaged with the interviewer and that you are paying attention. Keep up good eye contact, but be careful not to overdo this. Staring down your interviewer could be seen as challenging behavior, so it’s a good idea to look away every now and then. The best advice is to maintain good eye contact while the interviewer is speaking to you. This shows that you are listening and taking in their questions or information about the company.
Obviously, you don’t want to turn up late for your job interview. But your timing is crucial within your interview too! When asked a question, try not to dither or give an overly-long answer. Remember that your interviewer may have to see many candidates that day other than yourself, so the last thing they want is to sit and listen to candidates waffle on and over-explain answers to their questions. Being prompt with your replies is just as important as turning up on time.
Honesty is the best policy
We all know what it feels like to be put on the spot in a job interview with an awkward question. Remember though that experienced interviewers have possibly seen hundreds of candidates pass before their desk, so they will know if you are not being completely truthful with your answers.
Honesty is a major deal-breaker with employers. If you can be truthful with your answers, then you will have nothing to worry about. If you didn’t quite understand the question being asked, then ask your interviewer to clarify the question or re-phrase it for you. This is better than trying to interpret a question, getting it wrong and then giving an incorrect answer. This can be confusing for both you and your interviewer.
The most important piece of advice we could offer here is to show great interest in your interview, not only to your interviewer, but also towards the company as a whole. If you have done your homework and researched well before interview, then you should take with you at least two or three company-related questions to ask your interviewer. This shows good initiative and a connection to the company even before you have been offered the job.
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Employers are very busy people that have to sift through thousands of resumes and job applications every year. This can be quite a laborious task for anyone doing temporarily, but if you are doing this day in and day out, all year around, how often would you actually take the necessary time to read a resume all the way to the bottom? Not often I’m sure.
Not every resume makes it into the ‘yes’ pile, but those that do will go on to be read from top to bottom in the second stage of the recruitment process. When you are applying for what is potentially your dream job, you will want to do everything in your power to have your resume read right to the very end. By understanding how an employer looks through a resume, you will be able to improve your odds of having your resume read completely.
Short and Sweet
Everyone has heard the tried and tested advice to keep things short and sweet. Nowhere is this advice more important than with your resume. Imagine the reaction you would get from an employer when faced with your resume that is five pages long. Do you really think they will be encouraged to even get past the first page? Probably not.
An employer will be quite time-restricted with searching through resumes and job applications. They don’t want to sit there for hours on end every day sifting through applicants, so longer resumes are not going to grab their attention. Long resumes can be very overwhelming, especially if they pick one up to look at after four or five hours of sorting through applicants. It really doesn’t matter that the information contained on page four is absolutely outstanding, the employer is probably never going to reach that page.
Try to keep your resume short. About one or two pages long is fine for most employers to scan over and pick out the information they are looking for. If your two-page resume is particularly well constructed with easy to read highlights, then there is more chance of it being read in its entirety.
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Make keywords count
Using the right keywords within your resume will make it easier for the employer to spot the skills they are searching for. The best keywords to use are the ones that appear in the job advert and job description. Cast an eye over your resume and then compare how many preferred keywords jump out at you that match those you see in the job advert and job description. If there are very few at first glance, then you need to up your keyword count to include more within your resume text.
Look for the most common keywords that the company uses in their job descriptions and incorporate those keywords into your own resume. Look at the skills required for the job and rearrange your resume layout to make your matching skills appear near the top. Make them easy to spot by highlighting them in a separate skills box with a bold, eye-catching section heading.
The job advert the company are posting tells you exactly what that employer is looking for, so try your best to pick out your matching skills, experience and qualifications and present them in a way that makes them easy to spot. Remember that you are trying to grab their attention and show them that you have the necessary skills they desire.
Explain why you want this job
Once you have highlighted all your matching skills, knowledge and work experience and placed them at the top of your resume, you will want to keep the employer engaged and reading further.
Rather than simply going onto listing your qualifications or listing other information that is not directly related to the role on offer, write a short paragraph to make it perfectly clear why you want this job. If you are including a cover letter with your job application, then use this further to explain why you want the job and why you are the perfect fit. Keep your cover letter short too, with just a paragraph or two addressing the core things you want to get over to the employer.
If you are to the point and write with honesty, your potential employer is more likely to engage with your words and pick up on your strong desire to take on this role. They will be more inclined to read your whole resume if you cut out any unnecessary waffle and get across the exact information they need to make a decision.