JustJobs interviews professionals working in a variety of fields. The good folks there have given me permission to post some of their interviews here. So if you’re wondering what it’s like to work in a specific field, you might want to check in here frequently. I’ll be posting interviews as I get them.
The Best Indicator of Future Success Is Past Performance
This Manager believes that every experience builds character and skills that are useful in every future position. He shares his true story with us, as did a Maintenance Supervisor and a Night Manager.
My current position is first-line manager in a software support organization of a major software firm in the high tech industry. When the company first came to town, they conducted a number of job fairs that were held in the early evening. I left work early one day, changed into a business suit and headed for the job fair. I had a job at the time and wanted to take the step into management, and I knew that switching companies would be required.
I knew that my resume had to stand out from the stack, but the most important thing I knew about the professional job search process is an interview style called “Behavioral Interviewing”, which is a technique of questioning that probes the actual job experiences of the applicant. Interview questions are written ahead of time to address certain business disciplines and character attributes that pertain to the position. Since the applicant is not alerted that this method will be used, the interviewer must create a slower pace for the conversation so that the interviewee can think. My first experience with winning a job using this method was when I interviewed for my current position.
Every question I received from the first-round interview was based on my experiences with interacting with my teammates and coworkers. Since I had received training in “Behavioral Interviewing” earlier, I knew that my personal experiences were valid. Preparing for this type of interview is very different because old resumes and performance review documents are reviewed to refresh the memory. I had referred back to my old documents prior to the interview just as a way to remember, and that review effort really paid dividends. I could remember specific events and projects that were important for the open position.
I used to send my entire professional resume with every detail that dated back to the beginning. A resume should match the depth of the position for which the application is being sent. Skill-based resumes are valid when the job is not in the same industry where the experience was gained. If there are time gaps in the resume, a skills-based resume removes the gaps. Once the applicant has a chance to speak with the interviewer about the reasons for the gaps, a chronological resume can be presented.
I have used summarized resumes for volunteer positions because most of the terms on my full resume are technical in nature and do not convey my office skills. One of the very large charitable organizations in our community has an extensive application process for volunteers, and I refined my resume for that process. The dates were unnecessary, but my skills were essential for helping the volunteer coordinator to place me.
Since all of my jobs have been in the same industry, I could use a detailed resume with all of the terms included. Every term on the resume must be meaningful to the hiring manager.
Formal networking groups are one method for building a network of contacts, but every opportunity to speak with someone about your job skills is important. If you can find a contact in the same industry, make an appointment to simply speak to that person without asking for job.
There was a day not all that long ago, where a dream job would come along relatively often. When I started looking for a new job, I was struggling to figure out how my experience translated into the existing job market. Soul searching must be a part of the job search to make certain that assumptions are avoided. So, know your preferences, but accept variations.
When I was uncertain what I wanted to do next, I started talking to various friends, and ended up interviewing a first-line manager at a non-profit organization. I had the opportunity to ask questions about the responsibilities that come with the job title. I had some concerns about dealing with personnel problems. During our talk, I could ask questions that would not be appropriate in an interview situation. My fears were addressed, and I pursued my current position where I have had to deal with some performance issues.
Networking is one of the best ways to learn more about the company and industry that is hiring. Casual conversations deliver better results than formal interviews because the pressure to impress someone else is not present.
In my first job, I was a computer programmer, and it did not take long to decide that I was not suited for the position. Throughout that time, I looked for other duties that were more interesting. Those efforts led to the development of positions that matched my skills. When I set out to find a new company, I had to decide what was good about my previous company and what I wanted to see change.
During my job search, I spent some time determining what type of work and responsibility I wanted to have in my next position. I interviewed for other positions and talked to a lot of people before deciding on this position.