How Far Can Your Smile Take You In 2021?

A smile can say so much about you. It can communicate warmth and openness, but it can also convey the wrong message. The saying is “eyes are the gateway to the soul,” but it can be said that the smile is the open/closed sign hanging above the gate.  Now that most interviews are happening online, your smile is even more important because instead of the interviewer seeing you from four feet away, they are going to be up close and personal in their view via the camera.  How can you ensure your smile is communicating what you want in a job interview or on a Zoom meeting?

Smile

 When job searching, it is important to put your best foot forward, come across approachable, nice, and open to opportunities. Start by checking your smile and your entire face in the mirror before getting on that Zoom interview.

Smile Tips For Interviews

What do you see?

Are your teeth clean? Be sure to always brush and floss before heading to an interview.

What color are your teeth?

Discolorations can cause someone to shirk away from you. If you see that your teeth are discolored and yellowing from all of the coffee, red wine, and soft drinks consumed, you may want to consider a tooth whitening toothpaste, whitening mouthwash, or professional teeth whitening in a dentist’s office.

Don’t forget your hair

Is it clean and neatly styled?  No one expects perfection, but you don’t want to look like you just rolled out of bed.

Facial hair matters too

Your beard and mustache should be clean and neatly trimmed.

Make-up neatly applied

If you wear make-up, make sure it is neatly applied and not overdone.  You want to only use make-up to enhance your natural beauty.

Dress professionally

Yes, you are just on Zoom, but you still need to appear professional.  It is best to wear a solid color near your face and the color should be one that flatters you.  A pattern draws attention away from your face, so stick with a solid.  It can be a scarf, shirt, sweater, or tie.

If there is any chance you will need to move at all during the interview, you might want to make sure you have appropriate attire on your bottom half as well.  You don’t want to jump up and show your underwear, PJs, or stained sweats.

Meeting In Person

If you are meeting in person, there are three additional personal hygiene items to be concerned with.

What do you smell?

Cup your hand and do a “breath check”. Bad breath can be caused by a number of factors, some of which indicate gum disease and other issues within our mouths that need the attention of a dentist. Bad breath will kill an interview faster than you can say, “excuse me”.  An interviewer would prefer to end the interview quickly and get you the heck out of there than offer you a mint.  After all of your hard work and interview preparations, don’t allow bad breath to prevent you from moving forward in the interviewing process.

Hands up!

If meeting in person you will be shaking hands and perhaps moving your hands around as you talk.   Make sure your hands are clean and your nails are clean and trimmed.

What is that scent?

If you desire to wear cologne or perfume, use it lightly.  You don’t want the perfume or cologne to be overpowering.  Remember some people have allergies to scents.

You can find other tips for Zoom etiquette for meetings here.

A strong job search strategy will open interviewing doors for you, and a smile that looks great, is warm, and communicates that you are approachable, will keep you on the screen for a Zoom interview or in the seat in the interviewer’s office.

Do You Need Help?

If you need help updating your resume, practicing for an interview, or organizing your job search information during these challenging times, consider reaching out to Rachel Schneider, CPC at Career Find to assist you.

By |2021-06-10T00:48:19-05:00February 16th, 2021|career search, Interview Prep, Job Interview|Comments Off on How Far Can Your Smile Take You In 2021?

Zoom Interview and Meeting Etiquette

Have you participated in a Zoom interview or meeting?  I’m sure you have.  In this day and age of working from home and still needing to keep in touch with your coworkers and clients or participating in online job interviews, Zoom has become a necessity of life. Having your coworkers, clients or potential employers see into your personal life through a small camera means that you have to consider what they can see and how much of your personal life you want them to be able to view. 

We have all seen the Zoom footage on Facebook where the person forgot they were on camera and recorded video and sounds of things they probably didn’t want the world to see or hear.  

zoom interview etiquette

Meeting Etiquette on Zoom

Proper Zoom meeting etiquette can help you ensure that you’ll come across as a professional in all of your meetings and interviews.  Here are a few handy tips and tricks to keeping your Zoom communications professional.

1. Use the Video Option

While it’s tempting to turn the camera off so that you’re only heard and not seen, it can be unsettling for the people on the other end of the conversation. If you are going to be speaking, always use the video option when it’s available. In conferences and webinars, you may not need to use the camera if you’re only listening and not participating, but a camera is essential if you’re participating.

2. Dress Appropriately

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean other people want to see your pajamas. Sweats and pajamas are an option on days that you don’t have Zoom meetings, but if you’re going to be on camera, dress as you would in the office. And don’t forget pants!  I remember the video of the guy who spilled his cup of coffee and had to jump up quickly and only had underwear on.  Comedy for the viewers, but not the way you want to make a good impression.

3. Stage Your Area

Find a place in your home where you can easily participate in a meeting without distractions, then stage the area behind you. Don’t let your camera catch an open bathroom door behind you; hang a curtain or close the door. Make sure the area behind you is clean, organized, and presentable. 

If you don’t have the option of a clean background, try using the Zoom virtual background feature.  Set it up in advance with a photo of a clean office or nicely decorated professional wall and check that the correct background is selected prior to turning on your video.  (Don’t select the moon shot or other neat but unprofessional backgrounds.)

4. Show Your Best Self

Make sure you’re not hiding in the shadows or blinding the other participants with too much light. Try having a lamp nearby instead of harsh overhead lighting. And look into the camera. Lifting your camera up just a little so that you look up at it instead of down will help eliminate a double-chin effect. Place your laptop on top of a couple of books to raise it to a higher level if necessary.

5. Test Your Connection

Before your meetings start, go to zoom.us/test to check your settings and make sure your internet, camera, and microphone are all in good working order.

6. Mute Yourself When Not Talking

If you’re not talking, use the mute option to help eliminate any background noise that may disrupt the meeting. Your coworkers and clients don’t want to hear the dog barking, your husband watching TV, or your neighbor cutting their grass.

7. Don’t Eat

Having a bottle of water or a cup of coffee close by if you need it is fine, but try to avoid eating and only take a sip of your drink when you’re not talking. No one wants to see you eat your lunch on screen.  Some businesses are hosting “Lunch and Learn” Zoom webinars.   If you are participating in a webinar where you are only watching, turn off the video and sound if you are eating.  

8. Stay Focused

Do not check emails or browse Facebook while in the meeting; the other participants will know that you’re not paying attention via video. Stay focused on the meeting until it’s over.  Remember many meetings and interviews on Zoom or other conference platforms are recorded and replayed at a later time. Your every move is recorded, make sure what a viewer will see is appropriate.  

9. The Meeting Host Should Be the Last to Leave

When the meeting host leaves the meeting, it abruptly closes the meeting for anyone that’s left. This is why the meeting host needs to make sure everyone has logged off before closing the meeting. Or at least waits a few seconds to give everyone the opportunity to leave before ending the meeting.

Zoom meetings and interviews will be with us for a long time to come, so be sure to use proper etiquette so that you can maintain your professional image to your coworkers and clients.

Do You Need Career Search Help?

If you need help updating your resume, practicing for an interview, or organizing your job search information during these challenging times, consider reaching out to Rachel Schneider, CPC at Career Find to assist you.

By |2021-06-14T17:35:43-05:00February 4th, 2021|Interview Prep, Job Stress|Comments Off on Zoom Interview and Meeting Etiquette

Thank You Note Secrets

When you are in the process of interviewing for a job, don’t forget a very important step… the post-interview Thank You note.

In this competitive job market, people write Thank You notes more than you may think. An emailed Thank You note is better than sending nothing, however in order to stand out from the crowd, you have to write, not type, a killer Thank You note.  Consider doing both – writing and sending an email Thank You note right after the interview ends, and then sending a handwritten note to follow up!

Thank you note secrets

Why Do Both?

Isn’t it redundant, you may be thinking? Well, we are in a very technologically connected society. It would be odd to not email a Thank You note right away, in which you thank them for taking the time to meet with you, express your interest in moving forward in the hiring process, and indicate that you want the job.

Then, you write a handwritten Thank You note and send it the same day.

The emailed Thank You note shows them that you are tenacious, very interested in the role and are excited about the opportunity.  The longer you wait to email a Thank You note, the less interested you look, and they may move forward with someone else who shows more enthusiasm.

Not many people write Thank You notes by hand anymore because email is so easy.  Taking the time to write a handwritten Thank You note, finding a stamp, putting it on the letter and dropping it in the mailbox shows potential employers that you are very interested in the role and are willing to take extra time to show them how much you want the job.  By the time your handwritten Thank You note reaches their desk, the potential employer will have moved on to other tasks and will be pleasantly surprised and impressed by you, days after your interview. It makes a fantastic impression.

Tips for Writing A Thank You Note

While a bad Thank You note will most likely not reverse the opinion of the interviewer, a good one may make a difference.  So how do you write that winning Thank You note?

Whether writing an email Thank You or a handwritten Thank You note, the following tips will help you to compose a memorable note.

Thank you note emailThank Them

Remember to thank them for their time and the interview.

Reference The Interviewer’s Comment

Don’t be afraid to reference a comment made by the interviewer.  Reflect back on the conversation and mention at least one point of interest.  For example, “You mentioned your group has been extra busy since the merger and I appreciate you spending an hour of your time with me.” or showcase your qualifications, “You mentioned the need for graphic design skills, I’ve created graphic designs for several years for xxx company.”

Provide Qualification and Experience Proof

Offer proof of your qualifications and experiences. Reference specific details from the interview that remind the interviewer how your skills could help the company.

Keep Your Promises

If you told them you would provide something or send links, be sure to include them.  Even if you didn’t promise them you can always send a link to an online portfolio or another item of interest that lends credibility to your application.

Keep It Short

The interviewer’s time is limited.  Keep your note short and sweet and to the point.

Use Your Full Name

Sign with both your first and last name and if sending an email, include your contact info. (There could be a dozen people with the same first name applying.)

Proofread - Thank you note secretsProofread

Besides obviously spelling the interviewer’s name wrong; are there typos or grammar mistakes in your note? If so, you run the risk of looking sloppy and/or unprofessional.  Always proofread and it helps to read it out loud to make sure the flow sounds nice.

Be Specific

Don’t be too generic. Could someone who didn’t even participate in the interview have written this? If your answer is yes, start all over.  Be specific!

Be Timely

Send the Thank You notes as soon as possible.  Keep your name at the forefront of the interviewer’s mind.  The emailed Thank You note should be emailed RIGHT AWAY after the interview.  Use nice stationery and nice penmanship when writing your handwritten note, and put in the mailbox the same day.

If you want the job, it’s worth the time to handwrite a Thank You note.  A well written Thank You note will help improve your chances of moving forward in the interviewing process. It’s one of those things that helps to differentiate you from the pack and shows that you are not afraid to put in the work and go above and beyond, which are all good things that employers want their employees to possess.

Thank you not secretsInfographic for Email Thank You Notes

Check out this link to an infographic created by a Recruiter I love to refer clients to (Diane Delgado LeMaire) that shows the steps in sending an email Thank You note.

Other Posts of Interest

You might also find these posts helpful.

How to Master a Phone Interview in 5 Easy Steps

9 Interview Mistakes To Avoid

Need Help With Interview Skills?

Call your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider at Career Find, to schedule a meeting to practice your interviewing skills and learn new ones that will differentiate you from your competition which will help you feel confident as you start the interview process.

By |2021-06-14T17:38:28-05:00September 10th, 2020|Interview Prep, Job Search|Comments Off on Thank You Note Secrets

Top 5 Job Hunt Errors To Avoid

Hunting a job is never easy.  But there are common job hunt errors that people make without realizing it that hurt their employment chances.

Job hunt errors to avoid

Job Hunt Errors to Avoid

It is easy to make an error when preparing for your job hunt.  However, even little mistakes can be very costly, especially in a very competitive environment. Here are 5 common job search errors to avoid:

  • It’s Not All About You

While finding a job may seem all about you, it isn’t for the employer. Your potential employers are looking to grow their business with the right team that needs the least amount of training and can help improve the bottom line. Instead of focusing on the “why I need this job”, focus on how you can provide value to your potential employer.

  • You Have Blinders On

Job Hunt ErrorsWhen you are looking for a job, don’t be afraid to interview with several companies at once.  You can also let the interviewer know you are interested in other positions with the company.  Perhaps they will see a better fit in a different position.  Learn more in this post by ZipRecruiter.  This way, you can be ready for any opportunity and are able to brush off disappointments that come along in the job search process.

  • You Forget the Thank You Note 

If you are rejected for a job, you should still send a thank you note. What? Yes! By thanking the employer for the opportunity and wishing them well, you open yourself up for future opportunities within that company. Check out this post to learn more about the importance of a thank you note.

  • You Forgot to Double-check Your ‘Real’ Reputation

Only give out references that you’ve prescreened. Don’t forget to Google yourself occasionally because the person interviewing you will. Don’t forget to clean up any social media accounts that might have anything negative posted including pictures.  Lastly, use your personal email on your resume, not your current employer’s email account. It sends the wrong message.

  • You Don’t Have a Clear Strategy

When submitting resumes for several companies or industries, you need to tailor every submission like it is the most important. Have a plan of attack to help keep yourself organized and on schedule in order not to miss a step in the follow-up job search process.

We Can Help

If you need help updating your resume or practicing for an interview, consider reaching out to me, Rachel at Career Find to assist you.

By |2021-06-14T20:36:05-05:00April 8th, 2020|Interview Prep, Job Search|Comments Off on Top 5 Job Hunt Errors To Avoid

Non-Verbal Cues of the Interviewer

So you survived your most recent job interview. Do you know what the hiring manager thought about you? Often people are so nervous and consumed with their own thoughts and feelings that they forget to pay attention to the non-verbal cues the hiring manager is putting off.

Non-Verbal Communication

Non-Verbal Cues

While your non-verbal communication is important, so is the communication from the person doing the interview.  In the post, Examples of Non-Verbal Communication, it states we send and receive nonverbal communication cues whether we realize it or not.   Here are a few non-verbal cues to look for during an interview:

Posture

When the interviewer is interested in what you have to say their posture is relaxed and leaning forward to show engagement in the conversation. If the interviewer’s posture is stiff or is leaning back with crossed arms or legs, beware. These cues can signify anxiety or discomfort and could indicate that the interviewer has already made up their mind about you.

Eye Contact

Eye Contact

If the interviewer is engaged in conversation with you and truly listening they will be making eye contact. If the interviewer starts to look around the room or glance at their phone that may be a sign that you are rambling and the interviewer is ready to move on to the next question or they already have their mind made up about you.

Gestures

Positive gestures include taking notes, nodding “yes” and genuinely laughing at your funny stories. Cues to watch out for are a cocked head to one side with a raised eyebrow and a shaking head “no” while verbally responding “yes.”
Being aware of non-verbal cues will allow you to modify your behavior during the interview.  This will increase your chances of success. If you would like to learn more or perfect your interview skills, give us a call. We’d love to help you get to the next level of your career.

Other Posts Regarding Interviews

9 Interview Mistakes To Avoid

Getting Past the Gatekeepers to Get a Job Interview

Interview Skills to Land Your Dream Job

By |2021-06-14T20:52:37-05:00March 10th, 2020|Interview Prep|Comments Off on Non-Verbal Cues of the Interviewer

How to Land a Job Via Video Chat

Whether you are a student in college or a job candidate in the real world, the way you interview for a job is ever-changing. The latest way you need to be prepared to interview is via video chat.  It doesn’t matter if you use Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or another video conferencing program, now is the time to prepare.

Land a job via video chat

Companies from all industries now interview for jobs and internships over live streaming video. University career offices have now started to train students in the skill of conversing on video chat. It’s time all professionals get familiar with this skill as well.

While you would think the younger generation would truly excel at video chat interviews, it is something everyone at every age has to practice. So how do you come across as your most professional self in a video chat interview?

Some Important Tips for Video Chat

So how do you come across as your most professional self in a video chat interview?  Check out these tips.

Dress as you would in person.

People often make the mistake of taking video interviews more casually, which translates to the interviewer as not taking the interview seriously.  Dress as you would for a live, in-person interview.  Look your best and you will appear professional to the interviewer.

Handle a technology glitch the right way.

It’s easy to get frustrated when technology does not work as it should. Instead of your normal, possibly aggressive reaction to a problem, stay calm, be prepared and make sure you have a very strong wireless connection before getting on the video call.  It is good to have a back-up device just in case.  For example if you are interviewing using a laptop, have a phone handy to use in a pinch.

 Be aware of your surroundings.

It is best to have an interview backdrop of a private office or uncluttered room. If you are at your home, make sure you will not have any family or pet interruptions and be aware of what is hanging on the wall behind you.

These are just a few important tips.  There are many more.   Read the Top 10 Tips to Ace Virtual Interviews and be totally prepared for your next video interview.

 Do You Need More Help?

If you would like more help preparing for video chat and virtual interviews, consider working with me, your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider, at Career Find.  We can schedule a meeting to prepare and help you practice virtual interviewing.

Other Posts of Interest

Is a Thank You Note Important?

Using Text Messaging In Your Job Search

By |2021-06-14T20:56:06-05:00November 26th, 2019|Interview Prep, Job Interview|Comments Off on How to Land a Job Via Video Chat
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