Why Only Three Interview Questions “count”

What the recruiter really wants to know

1. Can you do the job?      

2. Will you do the job?

3. Will we enjoy working with you?

Tell me about Yourself

Tell me about Yourself


Believe it or not, those are the three main questions the recruiters need to ask and they are the focus of every interview.

Every interview question you’ve been asked was designed as a deeper dive into those three key questions. With varying words and scenarios and situations, every question is simply a follow up to better understand you in three areas:

  • Your skills and abilities
  • What motivates you
  • If you are a good fit for the organization.
  1. Can You Do the Job? – Skills, Abilities, Experience & Strengths

It’s not just about your skills, but also about leadership and interpersonal strengths. Technical skills get you in the door but those other attributes help you climb the ladder. As you get there, managing up, down, and across become more important.

Recruiters can’t tell by looking at a piece of paper what some of the strengths and weaknesses really are. They ask for specific examples of not only what’s been successful but what you’ve done that hasn’t gone well or a task you have, quite frankly, failed at and Continue reading

When the recruiter asks “Tell me about yourself”

Learn from my mistake……..

I recall, early in my career, when I responded to that interview question with a not so brief biography, starting with where I was born, where I went to school, my family members and do I need to go on?

Tell me about Yourself

Tell me about Yourself

The recruiter stifled a few yawns but didn’t interrupt me.  I was well into my 10 minute life story when I suddenly saw the look on his face and knew I was doomed; it was no surprise that I was not hired.  I couldn’t even chalk this faux pas to a case of the nerves; I was just not aware how to interview.  Interesting that I later found a career in human resources management and was responsible for selecting candidates.

No one teaches you how to interview. 

Guidance counselors and career services offer overviews and there is information on the internet but you probably haven’t had someone guide you Continue reading

SELF EMPLOYED? Why you still need a resume

Entrepreneurs need similar marketing tools as job seekers.


I recently received a request from a successful business owner  – a resume and professional bio.  Since most of my clients are professionals seeking new career opportunities,   I assumed she was

Even the Boss needs a resume

Even the Boss needs a resume

changing life directions and seeking a corporate position.  Wrong.  She shared that she was redefining her marketing strategy and had been asked, by potential investors, for her “credential documents.”

If you have your own business or considering a start up and you think “no more resumes – ever!” think again.  Thinking you will never need to go through the grueling process of writing about  your experiences and accomplishments? Continue reading

New Career in 2015?

Another year is behind us and many of us look ahead to exciting changes in the new year.  Typical resolutions are: “I will exercise more; I will lose ten pounds or I will finish my degree”.

New year - new career?

New year – new career?

To those of you who respond “I want a new job or career direction in 2015”  I’d ask you “Do you have a Career Plan?”  The most common response I hear is “Well, no but that’s a good idea.  Where do I start?”

Don’t fall victim to “Ghosts of Jobs Past” (sorry; I couldn’t help myself from making the correlation of past jobs to ghosts of Christmases past as in the Christmas Carol. Even though you may have not reached your career goals or have even had some negative career experiences, you can wipe the slate clean, just like Scrooge, and pursue a new life and, in this case, a new career.


Continue reading

Want to get Hired? Take a lesson from Santa


Would you hire Santa?

Would you hire Santa?

Would you Hire Santa?  Believe it or not, you might learn a thing or two from ol’ Saint Nick about conducting a strategic job search. Think about this:  in good and bad times, Santa has been in demand for over a hundred years.  Though we are seeing a glut in talent and there are more job seekers for every job posted, people seek Santa out every December for the busiest and happiest time of the year.   In fact, he is finding employment earlier each year – sometimes before the ghosts and goblins disappear and the kiddies finish eating their treats.

What’s Santa’s Secret? Here are 3 tips:

Did Santa have a great career coach to support his job search?  Maybe; his action plan and strategies are successful time and time again.  Follow these tips to your own career success and don’t let anyone tell you that “no one is hiring during the holidays – that just isn’t the truth!”

What does Santa’s Resume look like?  

He knows the needs of his customers:

Santa identifies the perfect toys and gifts for all the children around the globe.  Almost everyone in the United States celebrates Christmas, regardless of their faith, so he is in big demand. People not only need his services but they want more and more of it as we spend more on Christmas each year. Brilliant job of identifying a unique niche, Santa!

Santa does his research and he “delivers” on his promise:

Santa’s product lines have changed over the centuries but he keeps current with modern trends and tastes. He delivers what he promises because he prepares far in advance of Christmas.  He monitors the behavior of children all year long and his elves analyze the data with positive precision.

How can you relate to this step?  Make sure you do your own research of positions, industries and professions in order to target 5 – 10 for your own job search.  Being laser focused can make the difference between applying to hundreds of posted jobs and being selected based on your concentrated efforts. Your research pays off when you can customize your resume and cover letter.

Santa is the networking ninja!

Everyone who is anyone knows Santa or is connected to him through someone else.  His linked in profile connections exceed  billions and he has more endorsements than any of the other 332 million on the most successful social media site for professionals.

The key to Santa’s networking success?  He is a giver and not a taker.  You can be too; when making a connection, always remember to ask how you can help before indicating you would like assistance.

Zappos might have the market on corporations delivering happiness but Santa delivers happiness to the whole world.

Santa has branded himself as the global delivery support of happiness. What’s your “career brand”?  Knowing the answer to that question is key to your job search success.

I’ve helped hundreds of professionals identify their own key strengths and design smart and focused  job search strategies that are results oriented.  Contact me at Patricia@CareerWisdomCoach.com

Photo credit: from  SD Schindler’s book How Santa got his Job



Is Your Cover Letter working for or against you?

COVER LETTERS – those innocent but dreaded  letters or emails introducing your resume (a.k.a. your career history masterpiece  which you have painstakingly written and re-written until it is a piece of art). 


Ask someone if cover letters are still necessary and you will get two definitive answers:  “yes!” or “no!”

Is your cover letter killing your job search?

Is your cover letter killing your job search?


I get that question, too, in my role as career coach/job search strategist and reply:  “Of course and I will help you develop a cover letter the recruiter will love you for because it makes their jobs easier.”  But, then again, that was the intent of the following example  found recently on the internet and guaranteed to be the perfect cover letter for anyone:

Continue reading

PROMOTION: It’s an Inside Job

You enjoy your job, love your company and are ready for more responsibilities, new opportunities and, oh yeah, more money.

It’s rare for employees to be automatically promoted based on seniority or time spent in the job. Regardless of your organization, there is no doubt a process to get promotions.

“So How do I get Promoted?”

Know your Strengths and compare them against the job postings or descriptions you want.  What are the keywords and themes of this job?  If you have an internal resume, are those key words listed?  Internal recruiters will search for them just as external recruiters will.

Showcase your accomplishments in your current role. Arm yourself with several examples to demonstrate your successes and be able to respond to anticipated questions.  Be prepared to speak to what you have done so far, whether it is in an interview, in the elevator or at the company picnic. Provide a summary of the situation, what you did and the results.

Quantify your accomplishments with metrics such as scope of responsibility, number of people involved and impacted and monetary results – whether you saved money or increased revenue.

Continue reading

Missing Something on your Linked In Profile?

As an educated and informed job seeker, you know that your Linked In Profile is as crucial as your Resume.  You have added detail and you look at it one last time before declaring it as “final”.


Photo uploaded?     checkmark2

Headline under your photo?

Contact Information?  Experience?

Skills & Endorsements?


Member (and participate in) Groups?

Hold on; are you missing something? 

What about your “Summary”?  Beneath your photo, headline, contact info, one of the most important sections of Linked In waits to be used but commonly is forgotten.  By not completing, you are compromising your profile’s effectiveness.  Some job seekers don’t think the summary statement is important but it like an “open door” to the rest of your profile.


open doorThe Summary statement leads the reader to the remainder of your experience and credentials.  If the recruiter’s interest is piqued, by the summary statement, s/he continues to read your profile, recommendations, endorsements and the “rest of your story”.  If it is not, s/he moves on to the next profile and you lose your opportunity of what might have been a position perfectly matched to you.

Need more reasons to write a compelling summary?

  • SEO – search engine optimization.  A keyword rich summary statement will help you rank higher when recruiters search for people with your qualifications.
  • Branding – keeping in mind that the linked in profile is not the same as your resume, you can utilize creativity to describe your career history in terms of a value proposition to potential employers.  Ask yourself:  what message do you want to create?
  • Be Yourself – unlike with your resume, the linked in profile allows you to express your personality and uniqueness.  What connection do you want to make?
  • Tell your story like no one else can – you have a unique set of education and career experiences.  Share exactly what you want a potential employer to know without being restricted by any prescribed notions or expectations.  A word of caution:  be “professional”.

Just as an elevator speech is critical if attending a network function, a summary is critical to your linked in profile success.  Use metrics and data to showcase your accomplishments and grab attention so the recruiter will want to interview you and learn more about how you, such as these examples:

  • Increased sales by 37% in 6 months
  • Reduced costs of sales training by 51% and saving $19,500

Bullet points are easy to read but freely use your 2,000 character space to tell your story.  It’s yours and your career depends upon you telling it well.

For more information on optimizing your Linked In Profile, learning advanced Linked In functions or other job search strategies, contact Patricia@CareerWisdomCoach.com. 

Photo sources: fotosearch.com and ct.gov

Your Career Passion – Risky Business?

Note: This post was originally published June 22, 2014 and, due to extraordinary interest on the topic, I am re-posting.

In the beginning, you might experience a gnawing, a feeling of frustration, exhaustion or disappointment.  It grows in intensity until one day you realize all the energy you put into your work is not enough.  It may have been at one time.  Yes; at first, it’s thrilling to get a steady paycheck and buy nice things. Or you see your name on the business card, moving up the organizational chart or on a management report you co-authored.

Discover your Career Passion

Discover your Career Passion

Your job fails to satisfy your soul anymore

Other days, you wonder– will I still be here in another 5 years, doing the same job, in the same office, and working with the same people another 5 years, another 10 years?

And you start to take stock of your talents, your strengths and realize you aren’t doing the things you do best and, more importantly, enjoy doing.  Your “bucket  isn’t getting filled anymore”.

And you ask yourself “why”.  Or worse, you may have a work “melt down” and realize that you cannot continue to do what you’ve been doing much longer. Folks, that may be the first step of discovering your passion and know you must make a change in order to share that knowledge, expertise or that “something special” that only you can do or you will explode.  Your career passion requires you to take a risk. Continue reading

Can Emotional Intelligence get you hired? The Harvard Business Review thinks so.

Can Emotional Intelligence Boost my Job Search?My Career?

Though the Harvard Business Review has published many articles, over the past decade, on the role Emotional Intelligence pays in successful careers, I was delighted to see this publication on the magazine rack recently.  It is a special printing of a collection of articles from all the leading experts who claim Emotional Intelligence is critical to career success.

What may be surprising, and even disappointing, to job-seekers is that there are skills and characteristics that are even more important to potential employers than those directly job-

Harvard Business Review endorses Emotional Intelligence with a special edition publication June 2014

Harvard Business Review endorses Emotional Intelligence with a special edition publication June 2014

related. Your education and work experience, skills and abilities are crucial; however, other skills that speak to the candidate’s “emotional intelligence” could carry more weight than those acquired through specialized training or hands on experience.

  • Great sales people are those who develop a trusting relationship with customers
  • Brilliant IT pros can relate to the end user’s needs and provide solutions by listening and problem solving
  • Outstanding customer service employees know how to turn angry customers into loyal “fans”
  • Gifted miracle-workers (healthcare professionals) offer empathy and hope in an ever changing, fast paced and stressful high tech work environment
  • The best managers are those who care about, develop and unite their teams

Time after time, career success is found to be strongly influenced by personal qualities such as:

  • Self awareness
  • Impulse control
  • Perseverance
  • Influencing others

Emotional intelligence is an awareness of your actions and feelings and how they affect those around you. It also means that you value others, listen to their wants and needs, and are able to empathize or identify with them on many different levels, including influence, handling conflict and building teamwork.

EI & Your Job Search

As part of your job search strategy, you can demonstrate emotional intelligence in your resume, social media strategy and job interviews.

Self-Awareness– People with high emotional intelligence are usually very self-aware. They understand their emotions, and because of this, they don’t let their feelings rule them. They’re confident because they trust their intuition and don’t let their emotions get out of control. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many people believe that this self-awareness is the most important part of emotional intelligence.


Self- Control – This is the ability to control emotions and impulses, not allowing themselves to become too angry or make rash statements. They think before they act. Characteristics of self-control are thoughtfulness, integrity and resilience.


Motivation– People who are self motivated are able to defer immediate results for long-term success. They set goals to keep themselves on track, are highly productive, and challenge themselves.


Empathy – Empathetic people are insightful to others’ wants, needs, and viewpoints. As a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships, listening, and relating to others.


Relationships with Others– It’s usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, another sign of high emotional intelligence. They are excellent communicators, resolve conflicts and are masters at building and maintaining lasting relationships.


How Can You Improve Your Emotional Intelligence?

As a certified facilitator and trainer in Emotional Intelligence, I can offer you a personalized assessment to determine your level of EI.  The most effective way to improve EI is to follow the following  “3 step” plan:

  1. Assessment
  2. Action Plan
  3. Accountability Partner

I’ve written other posts on this topic.  Search under the categories to the right.

For more information on Emotional Intelligence boosting your job search strategy, contact me at Patricia @ CareerWisdomCoach.com or call 813/843-6934.