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Interviewing Tips

I attended an informative session at the library on The Art of Interviewing. The main takeaways were skills are the name of the game and making those skills stand out is key. This speaker, who’s a recruiter for IBM, didn’t think much about soft skills, while I’d thought that skills get you to the final round and “Who would I like to have lunch with?” gets you the offer.

Since I’m hoping to transition out of teaching I wanted to see how other fields hire. Here are the recommendations:

  • Here’s the best tip: If you’re interviewing for a job with Bank A and have 75% of the desired skills, look at the ads for the same position at Bank B and C. You may see that you have some of their desired skills that aren’t listed by Bank A. In you interview point this out. Show that you’ve done this homework. Tell them that the competition wants someone who can do X, Y and Z and that you’ve got those skills. You’ll really stand out.
  • When discussing a work gap, tell the interviewer how you’ve spent that time acquiring new skills — seminars, online courses, etc.
  • Before an interview check out the LinkedIn profiles of the people you’ll talk to. Notice how they communicate in addition to their associates and background.
  • “Tell me about yourself” means how are you the solution to our problem.
  • Don’t include jobs from more than 10 years ago. (I’m wondering though. I’ve been in education for more than 10 years and I want to show that I’ve functioned successfully in other areas.)
  • “What is your ideal job?” Answer is the job you’re interviewing for. Five years doesn’t matter to them. You basically want to communicate that “based on what I bring to the table, the next step for me is to build a foundation from a position like this.”
  • Stand for a phone interview. Keeps you thinking.
  • Write bullet points to prep for interview.
  • Always follow up on interviews.
  • Cover letters address gaps, career transitions. Recruiters don’t read cover letters anymore. (It used to be that cover letters showed writing and thinking skills. I guess people don’t care about that anymore.)
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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. chava61
    Nov 10, 2017 @ 12:53:54

    At the NYU event I attended we were told not to give excuses for work/unemployment gaps. Also I read that is acceptable to have your resume go back up to 15 years.

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  2. smkelly8
    Nov 12, 2017 @ 13:17:41

    Thanks. Any tip is helpful. When they said not to give excuses did that mean not to say, “I took time off to help my sick mother” or “I decided to take a year off to write a novel”? How did they suggest people respond to questions about gaps?

    He also said resumes shouldn’t normally be longer than 3 pages. One page if you’re just out of college. He suggested that college students don’t try to pad their resumes with jobs they had as high school freshmen. Add relevant volunteer or course projects to make the resume take up a page.

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  3. chava61
    Nov 14, 2017 @ 06:16:26

    Here is something a woman I met at the NYU event for women with a work gap put on her blog: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/14918624/posts/1663774329

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