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Getting Ready For A Job Interview


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Getting ready for a job interview can be one of those anxiety provoking situations that we are prone to face at any point in our professional lives. Whether newly graduating, or shifting to a new job, you could make use of some tips to get a favorable impression when you’re at it. You’ll find, below, few requirements that serve every stage of the process.

Allow me to start by posing a simple question: What do you think the first thing the interviewer sees? No, not your face. No, not your attire. They see your CV (i.e. Curriculum Vitae). It’s the first thing that gets their attention. Even if you had little experience, your CV tells a lot about you. Do some good researches on CV design, writing, format, etc… before you complete your own. It can evolve to give a very good impression about your creativity, organization, your social make up and interests. Do include the latter because these enhance your image and potentials. You might need to tailor your CV for the specific job you’re applying for to include more, or less depending on the job requirements.

So you got your CV all ready, sent it, and it was impressive enough to get you that preliminary interview. How do you further prepare?

Home preparations: It may be necessary to revise any pertinent material relevant to the position you’re applying for. Prepare a file of more copies of your CV, application, portfolio, references, and other documents you may need to take a long with you. Learn about the target organization (i.e. their strategy and vision). As you get to know the organization you’re applying for, prepare some smart questions about it and rehearse the answers for common questions about you. Get clear about the location of the interview and how long it would take you to arrive there. Finally, prepare your attire for the interview a day before and get a good night sleep. As prepare, visualize the best scenario of the interview when you’ll be sitting there with confidence replying to all the questions posed in the most composed way. Anxiety is provoked, usually, by imagining the worst case scenario.

On interview premises: In order to arrive there in a good energized state, it helps if you sing an upbeat promising song along your way.  Arrive 10 minutes early and take some time to freshen up (e.g. check yourself in the mirror). It is important to start giving a good impression by greeting the staff when you arrive (they too will be studying your moves). If you’re not sure about the pronunciation of your interviewer’s name, double check it with the secretary. Put your phone on silent. As you wait for your turn, avoid listening to your Ipod, playing mobile games, or talking on the phone. Observe, instead, what’s going on around you. You may have more material to talk about during the interview. Visualize, again, you’re being your best during the interview and how relaxed you will be while speaking.

The first encounter with your interviewer: so you go inside the office and naturally it’s time to greet. Maintain good eye contact as you offer a firm handshake topped with a smile. In a forceful high energy voice, introduce yourself and address your interviewer by their name preceded by their proper title (i.e. Mr., Dr., Ms., ….). Careful in calling a Ms. Mrs..

The interview process: As you sit down getting even readier for the process, scan the office around you. You need to identify something you like about it (to compliment); and other cues that point to common grounds you might have with your interviewer. These can be addressed as you effectively communicate to reflect what a great addition you could be for the position you’re applying for. Don’t hesitate to clarify any question you did not understand; and offer examples of your skills when you’re replying to questions while relating your answers to the organization. Check the review of guidelines for “Effective Communication: Guidelines and Tips” here. These focus in details on several essentials; mainly:

–          Proper use of your voice and body language to convey confidence and a relaxed attitude.

–          Establish rapport by matching your interviewer’s voice, body language, and words used. This is when you’d want to use the commonalities you found between both of you to get them to like you better.

–          Maintain eye contact as you speak. It serves establishing a connection and reflects confidence. Don’t let your eyes wander everywhere, stare at your shoes, or get fixated on a wall frame.

–          Be a good listener during the interview to properly answer their questions (never interrupt them speaking).

–          Empathize with your interviewer in wanting the best fit to the position; hence, you can offer being a good fit.

–          Address your interviewer frequently by name (and title). This will seem like flattery to them.

–          Ask good questions to get them to talk about what they need (this will help you sell yourself better).

–          Use positive words to convey any idea you’re addressing.

Wrapping up the interview: Ask if there is anything you can still do to facilitate their decision. Seal the deal by making sure you understand the next step in the hiring process (i.e. when and from who to expect an answer).

Some additional “Do”s: Make sure you had a shower and brushed your teeth for the interview. Go alone to the interview (i.e. no friend or parent). Sit still in your seat (no fidgeting or slouching). Be honest; be yourself. Treat the interview seriously and have a positive attitude. Implicitly convey you’re determined to get the job. Show what you can do to the company and not vice versa. Stay relaxed and hide any frustration you may have because of the process. Finally, be friendly. You’d want to give the impression that you’re a pleasant person to work with.

Some “Don’t”s: Don’t chew gum, or smell of smoke. Don’t wear strong cologne either. Don’t make excuses for earlier life or professional choices you made. Act responsible. Don’t criticize previous employer/professors. Don’t treat the interviewer casually as a friend (and this does not conflict with being friendly). Don’t give the impression that you’re only interested in the company’s geographic location. Don’t inquire about the salary or benefits until it’s brought up by interviewer. Don’t try to overly impress (talk about your achievements in context and match these to what they’re looking for). Don’t act desperate for employment (or ready to take anything for that matter). Finally, don’t offer negative information about yourself by bringing up personal, health, or family issues (these are for your doctor, therapist, or life coach).

Post interview action steps: Take notes of critical details you need to remember. Re-evaluate your performance when you’re done. This was yet another experience to learn from in order to improve. Evaluate your interviewer and the organization. Were you treated with respect? If not, you can always file a complaint to a director. Write a thank you note/email (within 24h) re-iterating your interest in the position. Follow up with a phone call or email if you have been waiting too long for a reply.

Lastly, unless you’re fired up with enthusiasm to give a good professional impression, you won’t be hired with enthusiasm for the profession. Go ROCK’em!!!

All the best…..

 

Lessons I’ve Learned in 2011


At the dawn of yet another new year, I can’t but ponder about how the past year went by. I have achieved plenty more and encountered many roadblocks all teaching me some hard earned lessons. These affected my choices, decisions, and what I know about life in general. I’d like to share with you some of these reflections that I base highly on both my personal experiences and the patterns I observed in others around me.

In 2011, I’ve learned that:

–          When health matters are seriously threatened – yours or your loved ones – everything else seems so secondary. Act is if these are always truly threatened.

–          The more you reflect on life matters, the more you’ll realize how wide those gray areas are. Rare are the things that are purely black or white.

–          Admitting your emotional vulnerabilities is not a sign of weakness. You are strong enough when you accept that these come with the beautiful package of human nature.

–          What confuses us, many times, is that we exist in multiple contradictory profiles. That version you work on most, keep up front and nourish is what defines you after all.

–          The reason why some people enjoy spending some time alone is because they’re never really lonely. They have their own most interesting company.

–          Confusion is the corner stone of creativity and clarity. If for only a short while, it’s the best thought entertainer. If prolonged, it confines one to an idle mode of inactivity.

–          Giving someone your undivided attention and time are of the noblest thing you can ever do. It’s not the end of the world if some turned out to be undeserving or unappreciative.

–          Everyone is looking for love – knowingly or not – from different sources (i.e. romantic partner, parent, friend, or co-workers). When love is lacking, it is substituted for in healthy or unhealthy other ways.

–          Frustration or hitting rock bottom are the greatest motivators propelling one to take action into changing, but we’re all at different levels of readiness to take charge.

–          When you head something, you’ll have a lot of headache. You’ll be fought, ridiculed, and criticized, but you will still find many more followers and supporters to play the game.

–          Dealing with tough people is a good exercise of your patience, communication skills, and growth. These people show you exactly what you’d want to avoid being like.

–          Many will force their way into your life uninvited. Give them a chance. They could either be a blessing, or yet another lesson.

–          Of all existing languages, that which speaks your emotions is most profound. Never hesitate to be nicely expressive (to yourself and others).

–          You may remain ground chained by what’s real despite visions of your wildest dreams. It’s okay to keep one foot in reality and the other in dreamland. That’s how you eventually break free.

–          There’s a limit to how many times you give others a chance to be more respecting, appreciating, and understanding. You can always withdraw, or keep asserting your boundaries.

–          The brighter your light, the more you attract both: moths and butterflies. You’d put the moths in captivity if you focus on the butterflies’ activity.

–          It’s best to raise your expectations of yourself and lower them from others. The best helping hand you’ll ever have is at the end of your own arm.

–          Pity not those who did not grow rich, or old, or bold. Pity those who missed the opportunity to just grow.

–          You know there’s too much ‘on your plate’ when you wish the days were longer.

–          The most important date you can ever take is that with your own self.

–          Just as a house cannot stand on one pillar, so is life satisfaction cannot be reliant on only one source.

–          When you can’t change the existing system, create your own controlled system.

–          You can always decorate your thoughts with FAITH. It never goes out of fashion.

These are but a few. Let’s see what the year 2012 holds in stock for me. I can’t wait to learn more lessons.

2010 in review of Coaching Your 3Ps


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2010. That’s about 10 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 25 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 56 posts. There were 28 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 13th with 46 views. The most popular post that day was About Coaching Your 3Ps.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, learn.icoachacademy.com, icoachacademy.com, twitter.com, and linkedin.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for wait, coins, nlp, oak tree, and coach.3ds.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

About Coaching Your 3Ps August 2009

2

People Are Like Coins September 2010
14 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

3

Dealing with the “Culture of Time Neglect” November 2009
8 comments

4

Meet 3Ds August 2009

5

How Can NLP Improve Your Life? October 2010
4 comments

Categories: Uncategorized

Enjoy the Price Tag of Success: Keep Raising The Bar


“Success”…. Big word …. It can connote minor achievements like eliminating a bad habit, finding the right career, or even working out a good relationship to victory or recognition in a broader sense. It is true success can be a twist of fate sometimes, but mostly it characterizes the hardy ones. Those who plan, persist, take action, are focused, and constantly revise and ameliorate their strategies. It is a culmination of passion to what is being done. It typifies those who are determined to run the extra mile; those who endure the hardship and surpass the challenges. They resist being sidelined and refuse to live on the margins. They’re out there on a mission; determined to make a difference. And when they do claw their way to the top, it feels so good, but could it come at no repercussions? Probably not…..

You see, there’s a high price for success (a downside) despite its entire lure. To make it, the hard work entails incurring a physical tax and some psychological drainage. This is one reason why many would want to “play it safe” and not engage in the battle. Let’s consider those who become really noticed (i.e. prominent figures in their field, celebrities, etc…). They eventually become a smoking hot topic in circulation. They are either admired (by the mature), or resented (by the jealous). The latter category represents an additional toll. Successful people raise the bar; hence, become easy targets of envy, attacks, and undermining. If others are unable/don’t want to catch up with similar standards, they downplay the successful achievement by ignoring, searching for pitfalls and flaws, or vilifying. Those are considered the typical “kill-joy”.

Does that mean you give up attempts to thrive (even at minor matters)? Avoid all these costs? “To fly we have to have resistance” Maya Lin once said. Expect the “price tag” and along the way, take care not fall off the cliff edge. Keep in mind 3 detrimental expenses that can befall the unwary heading the path of great accomplishments: your relationships, your health, and your sanity:

 – Your relationships: Embrace those who admire you and don’t drift by deceit or arrogance. They look up to you as a leading example. Deal with those who envy you. Either ignore them as the nuisances coming with the new package, or team them up on your side. You can transform the battle from being combative to more cooperative strata.

–  Your health: Monitor your physical health routinely (take time to refuel). Too much hard work and focus can make you lose sight of bodily symptoms warnings. You need to intermittently fan the flames of your passion; and this only works if you’re physically fit to endure the battle. When signs of “strain” are not attended to, it can result in “burn-out”.

Your sanity: Above all keep your sanity in check. Emotional exhaustion from leading the battle can bleed you dry. You feel you want to chisel your success in stone, but fear of losing the achievement can enslave you; and the constant attacks can get to you. Resist attempts at isolation to escape it all. Expect, analyze, and arm yourself with insight at how things go and how best to cope. Make time for enjoyable activities and ask for a laugh here or there.

Lastly, with the above in mind, you don’t need to stay standing at the edge of life just because there’s a price tag to succeeding. Re-interpret the price of success from “paying” or “enduring” to “enjoying” the ride. The attraction is still out there. It still brings you a lot of satisfaction and admiration by the mature type. You’re a role model, an inspiration and a leader with many followers. Hard work cannot seep unnoticed. Yes…. Be there…. Illicit a “WOW! I want to be like that!” Keep raising the bar. And remember: “A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.” ~ David Brinkley. So, where do you want to make your mark?

The Perfect Escape


See that picture up there? This is where I am yearning to be. I usually don’t publish posts that I write during my weak moments. But I have few readers anyway :). To those I say: I am dreaming of this perfect escape. You see, I am human; and I perfectly understand that the good and the “not so good” people abound around. It’s expected…. Still, it bugs me to know that people try to take advantage whenever they can. Many would equate kindness with stupidity; and others would lie to my face as if I wouldn’t know. I can’t change these people though I do my best to draw the line. Many would persist and this frustrates me even more. I find myself dealing with others who are on a totally different wave-length.

I realize that there’s little I can I still do (I am assertive, but not aggressive).  I can only change the way I feel about all this. This is why I need to plan the perfect escape. Somewhere I can reorganize my thoughts, feed my mind, and detoxify. That picture is the ideal place for me to be with myself (I could be very good company for myself, you know). If that place is not accessible, I’ll settle for something similar (and I always get very close); and if that is equally not possible, I’ll dream it. In any case, I need some space. There it goes…. My thoughts about the harsh truth…. No editing this time 🙂

 

Categories: Coping, Uncategorized

Guard Your Reputation With All Arms


oaktreeGlass, China, and Reputation, are easily cracked, and never well mended.
 ~ Benjamin Franklin

 

A quote well thought of indeed. Businesses, groups, and foundations all try to establish a cutting edge reputation to advance forward. Wouldn’t you, as an individual, work on developing your own reputation on both levels: personal (or perceived character) and professional (in terms of achievements)? Your reputation represents your social evaluation; and hence, constitutes a portion of your basic identity. Because you are not invisible and are bound by civil interactions, your reputation matters. Like it or not, it follows you like a shadow everywhere you go; consequently, is one of those assets you need to maintain well-polished.

 I started pondering about this concept as I observed an interaction that took place between one of my colleagues and her superior. The latter was aggressive, sarcastic, and haughty as she denounced my colleague with reprimand over a really trivial matter. I stood there speechless about the notorious image that superior was portraying. I wondered why she degraded her own personal worth as such despite being professionally at a competitive advantage. It made me realize that some of us don’t really care about having a well-rounded reputation. In some aspects, they act on whim and let themselves be driven by uncontrolled inner forces. A little thing like that told a lot about that supervisor. Despite the many finer professional qualities of her in hindsight, I couldn’t but become myopic and map the shortcomings of her in that brief encounter. If I am asked to assess her now, I would say: she is professionally outstanding, BUT…so and so…. That BUT, being said, negates anything that preceded :(.

 Have you ever considered that your reputation maybe the only immortal aspect you have? Not only do you form judgments of yourself, others similarly form an impression of you. These accumulate to form your reputation. It forms in the past, is maintained in the present, and continues to compound in the future. You will forever remain a target for evaluation, as people take short-cuts in describing the person you are. From mere chatting, to gossip, to scandals most people might entertain, warn, or take your case as an example as they converse. Keeping that in mind, you might as well plant the seed for a sound reputation and nourish it with your attitudes and behaviors. It’s not something ephemeral; rather, becomes like an oak tree taking years to grow, but once well-rooted, stands tall and endures.   

  Some people are not concerned with social evaluation. So what if I deviate from social norms this one time, or do the things that I consider right despite opposing social consent – some would be tempted to say. Ones reputation is very fragile and it would take painstaking efforts to restore a crack there. I, personally, would rather remain alert and guard my reputation with both hands. My reputation determines how others will relate to me in any role I partake. I do care about being consistently held in high esteem. My reputation is among the few things I’ll pass on to my off-springs. I do care about nourishing that oak tree – strong, enduring, and ever green. I live with others and for others.  I, therefore, formulate a set of standards to abide by in my behaviors and deeds; would you want to do the same too? After all, don’t you think Benjamin Franklin was right when he said:

 

It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.
 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

I Got Promoted… Oh, Shsh-t!!


              A dear friend of mine recently got promoted to the position of the CEO of this reputable huge firm. I met with her just yesterday to discuss the great news only to find out that she was terrified by the news. Shock waves of worry were still coloring her perception of her pinnacle  professional accomplishment. Instead of being a chest-thumping Tarzan, she was dejected. I found her gritting her teeth mulling about the tantalized situation that firm was in. She thought that the prospects of enacting a directional shift towards growth were poor as demonstrated by the successive CEOs handling that same post. I saw things differently; and started dissecting with her the different aspects of her worries. She was disempowering herself with negative thoughts and bleak attributes of the situation; and that needed to change. She can’t decline such an opportunity and has all the right to worry, but whining about the problems surrounding her added responsibility did not serve her much. We first changed the term “problems” into “concerns”. We then started focusing on how to dissolve or solve those concerns. She had already begun that, and as we sat there more solutions surfaced.

                  Our dialogue led to an attempt at adopting a more empowering stance; thus, allowing more reign for positive thoughts. What she needed more than ever, now, was to muster all her energy and arm her self with few pivotal basics:

a) Faith. Fate/life (not the board members) has chosen her to have this post. There is something precious in there for her (a lesson, a reward, or an experience). She needs to trust what the cosmic energy is giving her! It is meant for a reason. A more “let’s look at it as a challenge” stance is to be adopted. Why not explore the marvels of having achieved and have a taste of being there at the top? She has worked real hard for a post that by now she deserves. She has all the expertise and the right credentials.

b) Positive beliefs about her yourself. Henry ford once said: “Believe you can, and you can; believe you can’t and you’re right”; and this is not just a quote. Accumulated research suggests that those who believe in themselves (and their capabilities) do succeed; those who are hesitant and are doubtful don’t often make it. Even if she had doubts in some areas, she is better off in focusing on what she is good at. Weak areas can often be delegated to subordinates to handle, or rectified with time.

c) Knowledge. She needs to get hold of all sorts of information needed for that new post. A gradual expansion of her knowledge data base was a requirement now more than ever. She needed to allow herself sometime to recap on filling the necessary gaps. She can’t possibly know all the details in the world, but can surely be selective. A supportive team can be the perfect back up providing her with the required essentials.

d) Experts, family, & friends: She, lastly, would need to contact those who were in a similar position and learn from their mistakes. Consultations with field experts were to be prioritized; Furthermore, modeling professionally the success stories of prominent figures would be an asset and a good guideline. At the same time, she needed to stay surrounded by family members and friends. She now needs additional eyes and ears to redirect her once she drifts away with the added responsibility. Family members and friends love her; and she needs to be open to their suggestions on a personal level.

                In addition to equipping herself with the above resources, she needed to utilize additional strategies to succeed on her new endeavor. Our discussion touched on:

1. Having a clear vision of what that new role entails. Moreover, it was important for her to establish the legacy she wanted to leave behind. All outstanding organizations have clearly stated “Vision” and “Mission” statements. They hang these everywhere. Why wouldn’t the same apply on us as people? She needed to write these in her journal. It facilitates goal setting in order to achieve the mission. Research suggests that 97% of those who achieve their goals actually write these down. It keeps one focused and organized. No one has to be overly rigid once the goals are specified (reassessment and revision can be undertaken as the need arises). Clarity is a key to success.

2. Added responsibility might lead to over-working herself. She needed to keep an eye on “her-self” as a person (with all her extended roles as mother, wife, friend, etc…..). No one on his/her death-bed ever wished having worked more. All regret the precious moments not spent with loved ones. Some work-family balance needs to be struck and stays in check.

               We discussed more specifics that worried my dear friend; and addressed each in sundry ways. When one impregnates action steps to any area of concern, the seeds of more solution focused coping emerges. It’s OK to acknowledge worries, but more importantly to process these and de-emphasize their grandiosity. As my friend and I departed, I deeply wished my friend to have become more galvanized to face a “challenge” not a “nightmare” as she perceived it to be. I assured her of lending my full support. I know it is really difficult to coach friends, but I just couldn’t resist the urge to be there with my “coach hat” on. As I mentally reviewed the points we discussed, I considered these applied not only to the case of her promotion per se, but to handling our professional roles any time along the way of progress…..

Before I Sleep…..



As you rest your head on your pillow, what do you think about? Ever thought about what systematically goes on in your head then? What patterns of thinking usually surface? A while back, I tried to introspect & observe myself every night. Sometimes I would be too drained & would find myself transcending to that altered state of consciousness in seconds. At other times, I toss and turn. My thoughts would be racing in seemingly endless motion.

To start with, I love to sleep & always look forward to that special time with myself. When I don’t get enough sleep, my mood suffers; no matter how hard I try to make believe that it’s not. I engaged in a lot of self-talk in an attempt to train myself to live with only few hours of sleep. Soon, I’d say, I will have no choice & be put to permanent sleep involuntarily. It didn’t work. I’ve grown to accept the fact that my biological endowment requires me to have a good-night sleep. I just can’t help it. I need to change my belief that when I sleep, I am actually losing time in being more dynamic in other matters. My incessant passion to get things done was a major driving force. I need to slow that down. Let me go with the flow. Respect what my body needs, accept it, and enjoy it while I can.

So what happens as I lay there? Very interesting observations conjured up. It has been noted that in waking states we have around 60,000 thoughts each day. Some of these recur during the day more often than others. What I noticed was an extension of these thoughts as I hug my fluffy pillow & attempt to sleep. Flashbacks of what happened during the day emerge. These could be major or minor events. The flow of similar thought processes continues to include planning ahead: what I need to do tomorrow & how next day will look like. I guess that is common & automatic for most of us. What I noticed, also, is a tendency for my thoughts to be more random-like & mixed up as I fall into the actual sleep state. This is known as the “hypnagogic state” during which thoughts become dream-like and resemble hallucinations. It is followed sometimes by a feeling of a free-fall into a dark abyss. And that is often times associated by a jerky movement in bed as if resisting the fall. The whole thing is just the beginning of something like a trance.

Another observation is that whenever I am not soon enough in that “hypnagogic state”, it is sometimes because my inner ramblings are so charged, intense & fast. It is in such instances that I needed to resort to slowing them down. (I) (s t a r t) (t h i n k i n g) (s l o w l y ) (a b o u t) (a n y t h i n g) . . . . I also resort to imagining that abyss & that I have, in fact, started falling endlessly. I just attempt to dive in there. I even deliberately make my thoughts chaotic: think of mixed up events, people, or settings randomly. This would be enough to prepare me to transcend beyond wakefulness. These techniques work with me almost every time.

One last thing I promised myself to do a long time ago & before I sleep is a quick assessment of the day. I still do that. Was it a productive day? How can I improve on this or that? Am I a better person today? Did I positively influence anyone? Was I helpful today? Am I closer to my dreams and goals? What are today’s lessons? And so on…… These questions crossroads with the flashbacks I have about the day & the planning for the next. It is by far the most important thing I can do to conclude my day.

During all this process, many times, I like to design my own conscious dreams. I know some things are too far fetched to come into reality, but there’s no harm in imagining the impossible. For me, the sky is not the limit. Conscious dreams serve two purposes: they are an escape to the ideal world I yearn, and they are in the form of goals to fulfill. They are under my control & I can shape them the way I like. In the end, the process “before I sleep” undeniably turns out to be something I look forward to. It is so varied and so fascinating. Am I to blame, then, when I welcome having a good sleep? Putting my busy head to respite – my own way – is one thing I will forever cherish & enjoy. The involuntary dreams that follow are even a more captivating experience. I won’t whine, after all that, for sleeping as much as I do (mind you it’s not more than 8 hours of sleep per day) :).

Categories: Uncategorized
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