These are the 8 extras that will get you hired

The process of job hunting can be quite overwhelming.  Whether you are trying to get back into the workforce or looking for a career change, its not easy to know exactly how to go about doing it.  Where do you find the jobs, how do you apply, how do you get selected, etc.  Those are important questions you should be asking when on the search, but the most important one to ponder is ‘how do you make yourself stand out?’   For every job you see, there are probably hundreds of applicants for it, so how, in the sea of countless job seekers, can you catch an employer’s eye?  You have the obvious answer, which is a strong resume.  A good resume is key and you can read more about how to build an impressive resume here.  However, that is not what I’m talking about.  Besides the obvious ways of how to get an employer’s attention, you need to go above and beyond to set yourself apart from the rest.  You have to let it be known that you are the right person for this job and no other candidate will do.  You have to go the extra mile and be relentless in your pursuit of the position you want, almost to the point of obnoxiousness (I said ALMOST, so don’t get to that obnoxious point).  So how do you go that extra mile?  There are many ways you can achieve this, but I’ve put together the list below of the best things you can do to add value to your candidacy.   Some of these are small gestures, but I guarantee they go a long way.

  1.  Email the hiring manager – Don’t just apply online.  Most times, employers want you to just go online and fill out the application and will contact you if they choose to interview you.  They prefer not to get hundreds of phone calls and emails from candidates.  Call or email anyway.  Most people won’t bother to do this.  Remember or at least tell yourself that you are not “most people.”  A quick online search of the company may even get you the name of the hiring manager for the department of the open position.  Once you have the name, go to the company website or even google to find a contact work email.  I realize that its a bit of detective work, but it pays off to make the extra effort.  Even if the person you email turns out to be the wrong hiring manager, they will likely forward it to the correct person.  I would go so far as to also find out a direct email for the HR department and email them, as well.  Prior to sending any emails, complete your online application first.  You want to show that you have already gone through the proper steps, but just going a step further.  You want to reiterate your strong interest in the position in the email and attach your cover letter and resume.  For example, “Mr. Smith,  I am writing to express my strong interest in the open Corporate Accountant position in your department.  I have already applied online, but wanted to reach out to you directly to reiterate my strong interest in the position and in the company.  As you can see in my attached resume, I have a strong background in this area and I truly feel like it is well aligned with this position.  [insert a summary of skills here].”  You get the idea.  This is a great way to make yourself stand out and if anything to get you on their radar.
  2. Interview preparation – If you are chosen as part of the select few of candidates to be interviewed for the job, you MUST prepare.  The more prepared the better.  I will be writing a whole other article about the interviewing process because there is so much to discuss about this.  For the sake of brevity, I will mention the following for now about interviewing.  Prior to going on the interview, research research research.  Research the company you are interviewing for.  Show them that you are knowledgeable about the company and what they do, not just about the job.  If they see that you are truly vested in the company, that shows your level of commitment to it. This speaks volumes to employers, especially if the position has had high turnover.  Be prepared to ask questions to show that you are genuinely interested.  In an interview, you are usually given the opportunity to ask questions.  Don’t just stay “no, I think you’ve covered everything.”  Show that you care by asking them questions like “What is the company culture like”, “What is the day to day like for someone in this position?” “Do you enjoy working here?”  “Why is the position open?” These are just examples, but good ways to show your interest.
  3. Be early! – Always arrive to the interview early.  I mean, if you are there 10 minutes before the interview, then you’re already late.  Be there 15-20 minutes ahead of time to show that not only are you punctual, but you arrived early because you are that anxious and excited about the job.  Also, you want to avoid any unforeseen obstacles like traffic or road construction that could make you late and ruin your chances at landing the job.  Research the route ahead of time and know exactly how to get there and even an alternate route just in case.
  4. Don’t ask about pay – This one is tricky because you do need to know how much a position pays, but if it is not listed in the job posting and they don’t openly mention the salary in the interview, do.not.ask.  Even if it’s not the case, it will make it seem as though that is all you care about.  Reserve any salary talk and negotiations for when you are further down the process, like during a second interview or if and when they select you.  Most companies try to stay competitive with salary, so you can research online for an average salary range for that type of position.  It will most definitely be discussed at some point in the hiring process, but it shouldn’t be a main topic right off the bat.
  5. Dress for success – No matter what type of job you are interviewing for, ALWAYS dress to the nines.  You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a good one.  If you don’t have a suit or nice dress, then rent one or go to a thrift or discount store and buy one.  Dressing and grooming for that first meeting is essential.  It shows how much you care about the job.  I don’t care if you are interviewing for a waitress position at your local BBQ restaurant or interviewing for a broker position on Wall Street.  Dress as if your job depended on it.  Oh wait a minute…it does.
  6. Make eye contact – This one is a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many people won’t make eye contact during an initial meeting or interview.  Perhaps it is nervousness or just shyness.  Either way, get over it and make direct eye contact with anyone you meet and steady eye contact during the interview.  Looking around the room too much as you’re talking can make you seem disingenuous or not fully committed to the job you are interviewing for.
  7. References – Have strong references, and mostly professional.  You might have some personal references, but the ones that make the biggest impact are your professional references, such as any of your former managers or team leaders, or other colleagues that you’ve worked with before.  Make sure that any names you give will provide the employer with a strong reference.  The worst thing that could happen is you giving a reference name of someone who doesn’t have strong feedback about you and worse, gives negative feedback.  So please take the time to talk to your references beforehand and make them aware that you are listing them and ask them to please only give positive feedback.  Bring your list of references with you to the interview.  Also bring extra copies of your resume to the interview.  Many times the manager will forget to bring it.  This shows that you are prepared even if they are not.
  8. Follow up – Always follow up after an interview.  Make sure you know the names and emails of everyone you met with, even if you have to write it down while you are there or just simply ask for everyone’s business card.  Send a thank you email after the interview to thank them all for meeting with you and to reiterate your interest with something like…”after meeting with the team today, I’m even more excited about the prospect of joining the company and feel strongly  that my career goals are closely aligned with this position and the company.”  So many candidates don’t bother to do this, but this small gesture goes a long way.  You could even go so far as to write handwritten thank you notes to mail each interviewer.  Either way, it sends a big message to them that you are truly interested and willing to go the extra mile for this position.

Good luck on the job search and I hope these tips help you land your dream job.  Even if they don’t guarantee the job, they will surely get you that much closer to it.  Happy Hunting!

Mom Truths Friday: Why Moms are so Tired

Why are moms so tired?  What do they do?  Everything!  From the cooking, laundry, cleaning, laundry, chauffeuring, working, bathing, laundry, projects, homework, practices, programs, recitals, laundry, tournaments, and repeat.  Did I mention laundry?  And those are just the tip of the iceberg.  Let’s not forget we must try to keep our little humans alive, on top of making sure they grow up to be kind, decent, humble, respectful, smart, and generous.  “Have you ever tried raising a doctor or a lawyer?”  It’s exhausting.

So if you ever wonder why moms are so tired, here are a few good reasons why.  Watch mom correspondents, Cat and Nat, share some of the funniest reasons here.  I can most certainly relate!

 

Turning the tables on my son

Moms, if you’re anything like me, you probably grow a wee bit tired of some of the fads and crazes that the kids bring home from school.  In this past year, we have had our fair share of Pokémon madness.  What in the world is this Pokecrap? Why are they so important?  All I know is that the cards have flooded my house and I find one of these little creatures at every turn, under every couch cushion, underneath all of our beds, and even once in the fridge. The only one I can even stand is Pikachu. Pikachu is cute.  The rest can go back to Pokeland.  Then the constant dabbing for everything.  I’ve seen my son dab so much, that I now find myself unwittingly dabbing to adults.  Its contagious.  I’ve caught the dab fever.  I don’t want it, but I have it.  Oh, and let’s not forget the water bottle challenge.  Whoever invented this gem is a genius. Really, its so fun to hear and see the constant flipping of bottles over and over and over again.  And again…and again…and again….just to make it land on its bottom.  That really makes me want to land my hand on his bottom.  All the flipping is flipping annoying.  Have y’all seen the latest and greatest craze?  The ever so purposeful fidget spinner!  Do you know what it does?  It spins!  That’s right, it spins! This is somehow very amusing and we have spinners spinning out of control in our house.  I’m tired of picking them up and I even find myself sometimes spinning them just to see what the fuss is all about.  For a moment I feel like Spinderella, right before I come to my senses and realize that these spinners are merely for parent and teacher aggravation, but I can certainly see the hypnotic effect they have.

So, I decided to turn the tables on this kid.  I flipped the script on him to give him a taste of his own medicine.  I figured out that they key to getting your kids to stop doing something is for you to do it and make it seem like its so cool so they no longer think its cool.  Yep, it worked like a charm……or did it?  Watch and see his reaction.

What other fads did I leave out here, moms?  Comment below and share your kid’s latest craze!

 

The Message that Moved an Entire Middle School to Tears

Former professional wrestler, Marc Mero, tells the story about his relationship with his mother that brings this entire middle school to tears. “If you have a mother or father, tell them you love them!”

“Life is not about winning the race. Life is about finishing the race, and how many people we can all help finish this race. How we can start being kinder to each other.”

His speech is heartwarming, beautiful and sincere. Share this with the ones you love!

An open letter to single moms from a mom that doesn’t get it

Dear single moms,

I don’t get it.  How do you do it?  I am a married, working mom of 3 young boys. My day starts at 5 am and ends around 9pm right about the time when I am so physically and mentally exhausted that all I can manage is crawling into bed or curling up on the couch where I quickly and most times unintentionally fall into a deep sleep. Even when I know that there’s a mountainous pile of laundry that needs to be done, bills that need to be paid, spending time with my husband with no kids around, or simply catching up on all the things that slip through my fingers throughout the hectic day. None of those things are usually enough to convince my eyes to stay open just a little while longer. Regardless, it’s not a deep sleep for very long.  It’s the kind of sleep that often gets interrupted in the middle of the night by one of the kids, or the dog barking, or because I suddenly wake up in a panic worried that I forgot to do something important from the long list of to-dos that plague my daily routine.  Don’t get me wrong…I love my life and my family and I’m beyond grateful for the many blessings that I sometimes take for granted.  But being happy doesn’t mean that its easy.  I wake up in the morning to fix breakfast, pack lunches, pack bags, get kids and myself ready usually in a mad rush, get them to where they need to be and rush to make it to work with seconds to spare.  I make it through the work day to then pick all the kids up, get home to then make sure homework gets done, projects complete, and depending on the day get them ready for a school program, karate, soccer, or anything else they have going on throughout the busy week, prepare dinner, get them fed, get them bathed, squeeze in some quality time with them then get them all into bed, after which I find myself back on the couch or in bed fighting sleep so I can stay up for at least one more hour to tackle what I couldn’t when everything else took precedence. I can’t say that I do this all alone.  I have a husband who is a wonderful father and is as hands-on with our sons than any dad can be.  He helps with everything, even laundry.  It’s truly a blessing.  We’re a team.  Yet, even with all the help and support I get, I still find myself drowning in the sea of responsibilities.  During the most overwhelming moments, I often think to myself, I could never do this on my own.  I couldn’t manage all of this craziness and stay afloat without my partner, my life vest. In the times I feel like I’m drowning, I know he’s not far to rescue me.

 I often think about you.  I think about how you do this all on your own.  I wonder how you have so much strength, so much endurance to conquer each day as a single parent.  It’s a thought that humbles me.  It makes me think twice about complaining of all the to-do lists and the chaos of everyday.  While I think about how overwhelming it is to be a mom even with the help and support of my husband, I remember that not only are you just as busy trying to be a mom, that you are also busy being a dad.  You are doing the job of two.  You are teaching them how to be compassionate, but also strong.  You are teaching them how to cook, but also how to throw a ball.  You are teaching them how to be kind, while also showing them how to defend themselves.  You are nursing them back to health, while still trying to make them tough. You are pulling double duty, all the time.   And I just don’t get how you do it. I think of how hard it is to be a full-time working mom of 3. Then it occurs to me that you are not just working full-time, you work countless of hours overtime. You are the sole breadwinner. You have to make one income look like two. You are the one who comes home after long hours to then cook, clean, bathe, tell bedtime stories, tuck them in, all without any help.  You are the one who has to wake up in the middle of the night to tend to one of them every single time because there’s no one there to do it for you.  You have to kiss all the boo boos and nurse all the fevers, even when you are also sick and no one is there to take care of you.

As much of this has already become part of your daily routine, you are probably used to it all.  You probably just take it day by day and do what you have to do for the sake and love of your children. You probably have forgotten or just no longer think about how much you have sacrificed.  I am writing this because I want you to know that what you do, doesn’t go unnoticed.  I want you to know that its not just your children who appreciate or will someday appreciate everything you’ve sacrificed for them. It’s not just your family who sees your struggle and how you find the strength to keep everyone above water.  I notice it too. Even if we are complete strangers, I admire your strength.   You are a warrior and whether you realize it or not, you make me want to be a better mom.  I’m sure there are moments when you are so completely overwhelmed that you hide in the bathroom to cry or sit alone in the closet so that the kids don’t see you at your weakest. Know that I also have those moments, but it’s the thought of you that makes me stronger.  You are a woman of unbelievable strength.  You are a woman that inspires me to just keep going. You are a mom and a dad.  You are a hero.  Not just to your children, but to me, and I’m sure to many others. I have a profound respect for you and whether you know this or not, I am a better mom because of you.

No, I don’t get how you do it…but I get why you do.  It’s out of love and love knows sacrifice.  Love knows putting others ahead of yourself. Love knows that when your children become parents someday they will then know what you did for them, what you went through. That’s the kind of love they will pass on to their own children and that is the greatest inheritance you can leave them. I don’t get your strength, but I understand your heart.  And I hope that at your weakest, that love always makes you the strongest.  

So, how do you do it? I’m pretty sure that love is the answer…and the greatest part of that answer, is that it never fails.

Sincerely,

An Inspired Mom

 

 

A powerful tribute to mothers: You Are Mighty.

This video is a touching tribute to mothers.  I was in tears watching it because it rings so true.  We often get lost in the ordinary of motherhood, without remembering that what we are doing is truly extraordinary.  I took it upon myself to transcribe the words from the video below.  They are impactful.  Watch the video, read the words, remember them, and share them with the mighty women in your life.  If you take anything away from this tribute, take away these words:  You are mighty. 

“There are those who say that this is ordinary, but don’t’ let that fool you. Motherhood will always be the greatest, least ordinary, most difficult, utterly challenging career that anyone ever hopes to lay claim to.

While others might hear diaper-changer, food-maker, laundry-doer, carpooler, bottle-washer, sweat pants-wearer, life on hold, want to be doing anything else woman. The truth is, whether it feels like it some days or not, you are in fact a shelter from the storm. You are a cape of good hope. You are a warrior who will do battle for your children’s hearts, souls, attention, innocence, education and memories. Go to battle my friends. This is your time. We will hold strong on either side of you. We will pray for those bottles through the dark watches of the night and when doubt comes and children break when adults fail them; and when they push and push as hard against us as the day we delivered them into this world, WE WILL NOT BE BROKEN.

We may ache and see cracks tear through our hearts, but we will get up again tomorrow and we will load the clothes and the words that need to be said again and again and again. When the world tries to paw at them, to break them, to smash the beauty in them, may our wall hold true. May the lessons we’ve told them, truths we’ve lived, the light we’ve spoken into them, come back easily, predictably, with wash and repeat ease. Kingdom business. Jesus work. This shaping of souls, this raising tiny humans. There are those who say this is ordinary. Don’t buy it for a second. Mighty. You are mighty…because you mother.”