How to Master an Interview

Mastering an Interview

Interviewing is an art versus a science. There are no tricks. There are no gimmicks. 

Mastering an interviewing comes down to pure communication. You have control over some of this communication but you’ll never have control over all the communication that occurs in an interview.

While you can prepare for an interviewer’s questions, you’ll never know exactly what will be asked of you in an interview. 

What you have 100% control over is what you choose to say during your interview.

  • You have control over how you choose to articulate your past stories of accomplishment, contribution and value delivered to previous employers.
  • You have complete control over knowing how to articulate what it is that you bring to the table in terms of skills.  Focus on skills that matter most to your interviewing audience.
  • You have control over how you talk about past successes and past failures. You should use both successes and failures as opportunities for learning and growing. How you express what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown makes all the difference in an interview.
  • You have control over the questions you ask in an interview. Ask questions about the company. Ask questions about the job itself. Ask the hiring manager to articulate his / her management style. Research shows that people leave bad manager relationships far more often than they leave because of larger company issues.
  • Those who strategically take interviewing to the next level invest in learning their unique personal strengths. They know how to articulate what they have potential to be great at and they know how to articulate what they should say “NO” to based on how they are wired.

Those who approach interviews with extreme Clarity, Confidence and Direction are the ones who get offers for the best jobs.

Jeff Snyder’s, Jeff Snyder Coaching Blog, 719.686.8810

 

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How Do I Write a Resume That Opens Interview Doors?

Interview Door Opening Resumes

It’s About You but Never for You

While your resume is always about you, it is never for you. The purpose of writing a resume is to help someone else, someone in your resume’s audience, to get to know you quickly.

By quickly, I’m mean real fast.  Research suggests that resume reviewers give your resume 6 seconds of initial attention.  In those 6 seconds, it is your job to demonstrate what you have to offer that aligns with what your audience is seeking. 

The goal for your resume in the first 6 seconds of your audience’s resume scanning process is to give your audience enough evidence that your resume is worthy of their time to read.

You have to earn your audience’s commitment to read before they’ll move past visual scanning mode.

People Don’t Read Anymore

Think about it.  Our minds have been conditioned to scan 120 characters in a Tweet. When people write comments on Facebook, how often are those comments short and incomplete sentences? It isn’t that nobody can read. The reality is that most people will start out scanning before they commit to reading.

Write your resume so that it can be visually scanned in 6-10 seconds and make sure you are delivering what your audience cares about more than what you care about.

Your Resume is a Highly Complex Document

If you’ve ever struggled with resume writing, it’s okay.  Writing a great resume requires a mix of Technical Writing, Business Writing and Creative / Strategic Writing.  Knowing exactly what matters to your resume’s audience is where you begin the process of creating your own resume.

 

Jeff Snyder’s Jeff Snyder Coaching Blog, 719.686.8810

 

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TOP 10 Business Skills for 2020

Business Professionals
CREDIT: Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum

CREDIT: Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum

Top 10 skills required in 2020 according to the World Economic Forum report

All of the top 2020 skills listed above can be measured with the combination of the Clifton StrengthsFinder and the EQi-2.0 Emotional Quotient Inventory.

Your Unique Strengths

In the hands of an experienced Strengths Coach, the results of the Clifton StrengthsFinder™ can be interpreted to show a coaching client exactly and precisely how they are internally wired.  The 34 traits represented in the Clifton StrengthsFinder™ are broken down into Strategic Thinking Traits, Influencing Traits, Relationship Building Traits and Executing Traits. How a person's traits uniquely line up determine whether they'd be a better Engineer or a better Engineering Manager, a better Accountant or a better Chief Financial Officer and so on.

Notice in the chart above for example that People Management, Coordinating with Others (Collaboration) and Emotional Intelligence are all people-oriented topics.  People skills or Soft skills are, have been and will continue to be highly valuable skills moving into the future.

Emotional Intelligence

The EQi-2.0 Emotional Quotient® Inventory is an assessment used to measure a person's Emotional Intelligence.  This assessment can only be purchased and interpreted by someone who has invested in training and certification through the assessment's owner.

Through this assessment, a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach can show their client where their Emotional Intelligence stands relative to other people who do similar work. The good news is that the 15 different emotional intelligence skills measured by the EQi-2.0® can be improved upon when working with an experienced coach.

The business wants, needs and expects job candidates who have a blend of Strategic Thinking skills and Emotional Intelligence skills to name just a few.  It takes time to fine-tune and polish the traits found in the Clifton StrengthsFinder™ into Strengths.  It also takes time to fine-tune and polish the skills found in the EQi-2.0 assessment.  

Those who invest themselves to learn about their natural Strengths and those who invest in themselves to improve their current level of Emotional Intelligence are the individuals who will earn the best jobs of the future.

Jeff Snyder Coaching

 

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Hey Technology Professional…They Didn’t Teach You This in Engineering School

Psychological research suggests that a person’s IQ (Cognitive Intelligence) is worth +-10% of career success. The same psychological research also suggest that EI / EQ (Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient) could be worth +-60% of career success.

If you want to progress in any career, what initially gets you going and what gets you to a certain level of success is frequently going to be a different skill set than the skill set you need to continue progressing.

What is the skill set required to progress in any career?

Here are some specific examples. This is what the business is currently asking for from the Director to the “C” Suite in technology job descriptions. Every trait or skill mentioned below that can be measured can be improved upon if a person is naturally gifted with a specific trait.

For some skills or traits, you either have them or you don't. We're all wired differently and we all have potential to deliver a great performance. It's simply a matter of figuring out how a person is uniquely wired and then aligning them with the right work to maximize their performance.

Notice that most of the traits or skills mentioned below are people skills or soft skills.

  • Leadership Presence (can be developed)
  • Leadership that is both Visionary and Strategic (can be measured)
  • Leadership that inspires people (influencing skills can be measured)
  • Thought Leadership (can be measured)
  • Deep Problem Solving Skills (can be measured)
  • Complex Analysis Skills (can be measured)
  • Excellent Verbal Communication Skills (can be learned)
  • Excellent Written Communication Skills (can be learned)
  • Excellent Collaboration and Partnering Skills
  • Superior Presentation Delivery Skills
  • Integrator of People, Process and Technology
  • Change Management Skills
  • Consensus Building Skills
  • Budgeting Skills
  • Business Analysis Skills
  • Contract Negotiation Skills
  • Vendor Management Skills
  • There's more...this list just gets the discussion started!

It is a person’s cognitive skills that gets them into an engineering degree program. It is their cognitive skills that gets their technology career started. Cognitive skills are the skills the brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, calculate and pay attention.

What you see in the list of employer requirements above require some cognitive skills. Most of what is required to move beyond leaning almost purely on cognitive skills are emotional intelligence skills, soft skills or people skills. 

These are the skills that when developed, enable us to lead, influence, persuade, mentor, manage, collaborate, build partnerships, negotiate contracts, manage vendor relationships and more.  Additionally, beyond what a person learns in engineering school, the further up the ladder one wishes to climb, roles require much more emphasis on business skills than on technical skills.

What if you don’t want to be a manager, director or “C” suite technology leader? 

At the Analyst, Engineer or Architect levels, development of the soft skills mentioned above will provide exponential return on investment to your career. Not everybody is built to lead, guide, mentor and grow other people and you shouldn't feel as if you have to move in a managerial direction in order to progress in your own career development.

In addition to people skills, there are also business skills mentioned above. Business skills in this case include the ability to read and interpret financial statements. The ability to present one’s case for technology in terms that a business audience can clearly understand without having to bring in an interpreter. The ability to speak to a CEO, COO, CFO, etc. in their language rather than your technology focused language.

When you invest in yourself to master skills that go above and beyond your IQ or cognitive skills alone, your career progression will go places.

Jeff Snyder Coaching

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"As You May Have Noticed, I am a Director of Information Security"

Great Resume Writers

“To be frank, I was really looking for someone just to write my resume. I was not looking for guidance. As you may have noticed, I am Director of Information Security and have very little time to devote to resume writing.”

This message came to me a while back.  When I read it, I cringed.  Why did I cringe? 

Because the best resume writer on the planet who might have come up with the best resume examples and the best resume templates can't write a resume for someone else without first having proper information.

The only person who has walked in your shoes is you. You are the only person who can properly talk about your accomplishments, contributions and the value you've created for businesses you've worked for in the past. If you’re not willing to put information on the table for a talented resume writer to help you, the resume writer can’t help you.

It’s great that this person is a Director of Information Security but that doesn’t matter at all in the context of getting a great resume written.  When a person needs help with anything in life, it is wise to show humility by stepping aside in order to let the expert they’re reaching out to step in and stand by their side.

I call this “getting out of your own way”.  There are times in life when the greatest gains will be achieved when we’re able to get out of our own way in order to let someone help us in areas where we’re not the expert.

Before you even consider engaging a resume writing service, you need to be willing to participate in the resume writing process. 

 

Jeff Snyder’s, Jeff Snyder Coaching Blog, 719.686.8810

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Is Your Job Search Stuck?

Resume Writing

The social media post read like this:

“I simply do not understand how someone can be out of work for any amount of time. I have been out for 4 months and we're almost heading to a shelter. I don't know what we will do if SOMEONE doesn't hire me soon.”
 

Out of curiosity, I dug deeper and looked up the LinkedIn profile of the person who wrote the quoted words.  The LinkedIn profile offered next to nothing in terms of evidence of Accomplishments, Contributions to past employers or Value this person has created along the way in their career.

No, I’m not suggesting that this person has no Accomplishments to report or that they don’t do anything of value. What I am suggesting is that they have invested minimal time into building what I consider to be a skeleton LinkedIn profile that doesn’t communicate value.

If you want results in any facet of life, you’ll have to take action. The person who wrote the quoted words above is likely good at something but I don’t know what that something is and neither will any employer who needs this person’s skills if they don’t do a better job in packaging and delivering their value.

Since this person needs to do some LinkedIn Profile Optimization, there’s a pretty good chance that they need help with resume writing and interview coaching as well. Don't let yourself slip into the position of the person who wrote the quoted text above. 

Jeff Snyder’s, Jeff Snyder Coaching Blog, 719.686.8810

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There’s Great Value in Understanding One's Personal Strengths

StrengthsFinder Coach

I’m referring to Strengths as described in the Clifton StrengthsFinderⓒ assessment. One of my strengths coaching clients is a technology sales professional.  I’ll refer to this client as Bob.

In addition to learning about himself, his own Strengths and how he could fine-tune his Strengths, an interesting realization came to Bob this week. This is what he shared:

“I fully expected to learn quite a bit about myself but what I didn’t see coming was how much I’ve learned about everyone else around me.  I now find myself in meetings and conversations where I’m able to get a much quicker handle on other people, who they are, and what’s making them tick.  In many cases I’m able to make an assessment of who I’m dealing with and adjust my expectations accordingly.  It’s actually reducing my frustration level and in some cases has helped me make better connections with clients and peers while giving me a better understanding of why I may not be making the progress I’d anticipated.  In certain situations and I’ve been able to make some adjustments.”

I look for results everywhere with my coaching clients.  The results Bob is reporting is his new-found ability to understand people more quickly because he now understands his own unique wiring and he is beginning to see the unique wiring of everyone around him.

By understanding the wiring of people around him, Bob is now able to tailor his communication to each unique individual he approaches in his audience.

How much more effective might you be if you intimately understood your own unique wiring and you learned to understand the unique wiring of people around you at work, at home and at play?

Jeff Snyder’s Jeff Snyder Coaching Blog, 719.686.8810

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Do You Possess a High ACTIVATORⓒ Score on the Clifton StrengthsFinder™?

Activator

Activatorⓒ is one of my top scores on the Clifton StrengthsFinder™. The more I coach people who have this strength and the more I learn about this strength, the more I understand just how unique it is.

Putting my opinion aside, here are the facts.  Out of the 34 traits measured by the Clifton StrengthsFinder™, ACTIVATORⓒ comes in at number 29 in frequency out of 34.  What that means is that 11% of people out of more than 15,000,000 who have taken the assessment have ACTIVATORⓒ in their top 5 strengths out of 34 possibilities.  In other words, having Activatorⓒ in one’s top 5 strengths is somewhat rare.

The more I understand about how ACTIVATORⓒ works, the more I like it. 

  • People who have this particular strength are always thinking about how to get started and how to mobilize others. 
  • They turn ideas into action and they often possess contagious energy. 
  • They make things happen!

If you are deeply gifted with Analytical traits as defined by the Clifton StrengthsFinder™ and you have a difficult time hitting the “GO” button, you might need to partner with an ACTIVATORⓒ in order to get your brilliant ideas into motion.

If you have this trait yourself, you should be in a position where you have the ability to get things going.  Remember that most people don't have the "GO" button to push that you possess.

 

Jeff Snyder’s, Jeff Snyder Coaching Blog, 719.686.8810

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The Limitations of an Executive Leadership Coach

Stop Sign

Coaches who are gifted and talented to deliver the services they deliver can help their clients to take quantum leaps forward.

However, even the world’s most gifted coaches have a limitation 100% of the time. Dr. Marshall Goldsmith who wrote the book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” is one of my mentors.  On more than one occasion, I have heard Dr. Goldsmith suggest that unless someone wants to change and is willing to do what is required to change, there is no coach in the world that can make that person change. 

Dr. Goldsmith’s advice when a coach meets someone who isn’t willing to get out of their own way to face change is to walk away and to walk away quickly. If someone doesn’t see their need to change or they see the need but they don’t want to devote energy and efforts towards making change occur in their life, they are not coachable.

I always ask prospective new clients if they are teachable and coachable and then listen very carefully to their response.  If they’re not teachable and coachable, it doesn’t matter how large my results pile is, this person will not achieve the same results as my previous clients.

A while back, I received a call from someone who found me on LinkedIn. His introductory statement was a question. 

“Am I correct to believe that you do both recruiting and coaching? Please understand that I am not interested in any of the coaching services you offer that come with a fee attached.”

As I sat at my desk looking at this individual’s average resume, I had to bite my tongue and I remembered the advice from Dr. Goldsmith.  I was deeply challenged to not say a word when I already knew what the caller’s new resume could look like and I knew how much more effective his new resume would be in opening interview doors if he would simply trust me to guide him.

If you ever consider the idea of working with a coach, first ask yourself if you are ready to do what it takes to achieve positive change.  If you are not, there is no reason to invest your hard earned money with a coach. 

If on the other hand, you're ready to move forward and you're just not sure what that means and you're ready to be teachable and coachable, the right coach can help you to take quantam leaps forward that you might not have been able to achieve on your own.

Jeff Snyder’s, Jeff Snyder Coaching Blog, 719.686.8810

 

 

 

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When Seeking Resume Writing Advice, Focus On Results Rather Than Opinions

Resume.jpg

I recently read an article on LinkedIn entitled THINGS YOU SHOULD REMOVE FROM YOUR RESUME IMMEDIATELY.  If you want to read this article, simply click on the article title. I provided the hyperlink to take you to the article.

When I cut and pasted the text of this article into a Word document so I could read it later, it came out to 12 pages.  While I agree with some of the article’s points, I don’t agree with every point.

Instead of arguing over opinions, know that my resume writing opinions come from results, results and only results.  Here’s what you need to know about what I teach my clients about resume writing.

CISO Resume Writing

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If You Want To Lead, You’ll Need Exceptional Soft Skills (People Skills)

Developing Soft Skills

Not long ago, one of my 30ish year old coaching clients brought something to my attention that he encouraged me to ponder and to take action on.  I’ll call him Bob.

Bob told me that he wished I’d been available to him 5-6 years ago as a coach when he was a Team Leader for the first time in his career.  Because he knew more about a particular technology than everyone else in his company, he was asked to lead the team that was implementing a new version of the technology.

Knowing a lot about technology and leading a team are two entirely different skill sets Bob told me. 

Bob told his story as if it had happened yesterday.  The memory of being asked to do something he was not trained to do was fresh in his mind.  In the end, he admitted that he did a great job of leading the technology side of the project but he also admitted that he didn’t do so well when it came to leading the people side of the project. 

I sensed that Bob wasn’t happy with his previous boss for putting him in this situation without giving him proper preparation.

Bob continues to rise in his career. Today he is a Vice President.  The training he didn’t have around people leadership 5-6 years ago still isn’t part of Bob’s skill set.  That’s why he came to me for help. 

I’m working with Bob at his request to help him develop people skills or soft skills as Bob called them so he can deliver his best possible performance as a new Vice President.

Bob is a gifted technologist but he admits to not being a gifted people person.  He has to be one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met.  His high IQ unfortunately doesn’t translate into naturally having exceptional soft skills. 

In Bob’s current role where he routinely works with his company’s leadership group and he routinely meets with his company’s customers, Bob has come to the realization that the technical skills that propelled him to where he is today are not enough. 

It was the President of Bob’s company who told him he needed to develop better soft skills. This comment captured Bob’s attention. 

If you’re a rising technologist who is gifted with high IQ and you’re great at all things technical, the sooner you start developing soft skills like Bob is developing, the better. 

 

Jeff Snyder Coaching, 719.686.8810

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