Interview Prep: How To Get Ready To Snag The Job Of Your Dreams

by Erica Francis

Interviewing for a job–especially when it’s a job you really want–can be overwhelming and stressful, which can cause issues for you when you’re speaking to the person in charge of hiring. You want to be relaxed, confident, and prepared in order to show how well you can handle yourself under pressure; this will give your potential employer a good idea of what you’ll be like if you’re hired. It’s not always easy, so it’s important to prepare as much as possible before the interview so you’ll feel comfortable.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to get ready for the big day. From holding a mock interview to get familiar with possible questions to looking for ways to boost your confidence, you can start preparing weeks ahead of time. Ask a friend or family member to help you out, and start thinking about your physical appearance as it can be important when it comes to a first impression.

Keep reading for some wonderful tips on how to prep for a job interview.

Hold a mock interview

Ask a friend or family member to help you hold a mock interview; you can find some possible interview questions here. Thinking about your answers will help give you confidence on the big day and will prevent you from fumbling over your words when speaking to your potential employer. Think about how you want to present yourself, and write down sample answers to prepare; remember to speak eloquently and professionally, as this will reflect on you and your ability to interact with clients.

Get ready for your first impression

First impressions are incredibly important when it comes to job interviews, because it’s your chance to let your employer know what you’re all about. Don’t underestimate the power of a great outfit or a good haircut, and consider buying some new makeup or hair styling tools to help boost your confidence and give yourself a leg up on the competition. Go here for some great tips on how to get started.

Do some research

It’s imperative to do some research on the company you’re interviewing with so that when you’re asked what you know about their history, you can show how invested you are in the job. Get online and find out how many people they employ, what year they were founded, who the president is, and what their goals are. For instance, many companies these days are making more of an effort to go green for the environment; if this is important to you, it’s a great talking point in the interview.

Get some sleep

It can be difficult to get good rest the night before the big day, especially if you’re nervous. However, it’s imperative to get a good night’s sleep so you’ll be fresh and at the top of your game. Put away all screens–computer, television, and smartphone–at least an hour before you go to bed, and refrain from drinking anything with caffeine or eating meat (which is hard to digest and can interfere with your ability to go to sleep).

Getting ready for a job interview can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The best way to stay calm is to prepare as much as possible beforehand, and to give yourself plenty of time to do it so you won’t feel pressured. With a good plan and a little help from a loved one, you can make sure you’re ready to blow away your potential employer and snag the job of your dreams.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–be prepared to nail that job interview.

5 Simple Steps For Landing A Seasonal Job During The Holidays

*guest post by Erica Francis

seasonal employment

5 Simple Steps for Landing a Seasonal Job During the Holidays

Interested in a little extra cash this holiday season? A seasonal job is a great way to buffer a period of unemployment or offset your spending on gifts. It might even be just what you need to get your foot in the door for a more permanent position of employment. Check out these tips to help you land the perfect position this holiday season!

1. Consider if a Seasonal Job Right for You

Before you start searching for seasonal work, go over the pros and cons with yourself. On top of making some extra money, seasonal jobs can get you big discounts on holiday purchases and help you build up your resume for future job searches. But the work doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Many seasonal jobs offer low pay and little training so they may not be great options if you’re looking to advance your career. Additionally, you have to be ready to accept a tough schedule, which may involve working during evenings and weekends. This can conflict with travel plans and reduce your free time to spend with friends and family,

2. Take a Look at Your Options

Not all seasonal jobs are retail positions. Although you may be happy to fill in at the mall during the holiday rush, you have other options. Customer service representatives, social media assistants and seasonal recruiters are in high demand during the holiday season. Additionally, seasonal decorators and event planners are highly sought after by stores, offices, and homeowners alike. You may even want to consider personal gift shopping or working as a professional Santa. If you aren’t interested in a holiday position, pet sitting might be a great option for you. Many people travel during the holidays and need someone who can tend to their pets while they’re away.

3. Start Searching for Opportunities

Care.com recommends seeking out work that you enjoy rather than taking the first job that comes along. You can find hidden career opportunities by looking for entry-level positions in a field that you enjoy. If you’re interested in fashion, try applying for work in a clothing store. If you like journalism, start with a job at the library. Try to network as much as possible by talking to friends, family, and even strangers who may be able to help you get a lead on a job. Reach out to people online and be sure to meet them in person to establish valuable relationships. Volunteering in your community during the holidays is a great way to make connections, gain references, and test out your field of interest as well.

4. Polish Your Resume

Seasonal work is competitive, so make sure you apply with an eye-catching resume to set yourself apart. Personalize your resume for each job you apply for, paying close attention to the skills and experience required by the position. If you have gaps in your work history or many seasonal jobs, try switching up your resume format to focus on skills and experience rather than past employment. Consider putting your related skills near the top of your resume so managers can see that you would be adept at the position. Have a separate section on your resume for any past temporary positions labeled either “holiday” or “seasonal” so recruiters don’t think you frequently hop between jobs.

5. Ace the Interview

Although the job you’re applying for is temporary, recruiters will still put you through a thorough interview. Be prepared to answer questions about your flexibility, why you’re interested in temporary work and what your plans are for when the season ends. Don’t forget to do your research on the company and have a familiarity with their products and services.

Although the holidays are rich in employment opportunities, start looking for work early. According to Snag, over half of employers have already filled their seasonal positions before the busy seasons starts. You’ll have more options to choose from if you get a head start. That way, you’re more likely to land a job that you can actually enjoy.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Let’s get that job!

*Erica Francis has an important mission: to help people prepare for successful careers in today’s tough job market. At ReadyJob.org, Erica helps develop lesson plans and other educational resources, all geared toward helping the site’s visitors build the skills needed to excel in any workplace.

Walking The Walk

I am sure there are others, but Mrs. Doreetha Daniels at the age of 99 is one of my inspirations.  After taking decades off she decided to give college a try. This lady has had a successful career, successful marriage, raised a family and has great-grandchildren. Getting a degree was something that she always wanted to, but as it is with a lot of us life just got in the way.

Her story is one that many people have endured. Some of things that she endured are listed below.

  • Unable to meet state residency requirements
  • Got married
  • Raised a family
  • Death in the family
  • Illness
  • Too old
  • Transportation problems
  • Unable to use technology
  • And on and on…..

None of these things deterred Doreetha Daniels from doing what she sat out to do.  She received her Associate’s Degree just before her 100th birthday and has not decided what she will do next–maybe a Bachelor’s Degree.  Sounds kind of like the average college graduate.

Take a look at Doreetha.  Let her be an example for all of us. She is a woman of a certain age who sat a goal and accomplished it.

What’s stopping you from accomplishing your goal of a new career, starting a business, traveling, writing, becoming a chef or anything else?

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  You can do it. Read more about Doreetha’s journey here.

 

It’s Never Too Late–Just Ask Me

It was a great evening being interviewed by Matt Blake and Casey Sanders of the show “Inspired to Greatness”. The discussion was about the subject It’s Never too Late.  As a woman of a certain age, it was an easy conversation for me to have.

Hope you will enjoy the conversation

 

To hear more conversations with Matt and Casey go to Inspired to Greatness.  Enjoy the conversations, and remember it’s never too late because “thisisyourbestyear”.

Women Building Leadership–WFF

The movement is strong and getting stronger.  Women are taking their lives and situations into their own hands.  They know that it is now or never.  Strong women in all fields of endeavor have started mentoring, sharing and encouraging women to become the best they can in whatever they desire.

In Dallas, Texas on March 4–March 7 WFF (Women’s Foodservice Forum) will continue their effort to lead the way to gender equity in the food service industry.  WFF wants to create a successful model that can be shared and emulated in other industries.

The food service industry is the second largest employer of women behind the federal government.  In 1989 the WFF was established to assist women in building their skills, expanding their knowledge and broadening their perspectives through education, mentoring and connections. Encouraging them to gain the leadership skills that will allow them to reach their full career potential is one of the main focuses of WFF. They strive to assist women develop their skill set all through their career journey–from beginning (entry level) to the end (CEO).

Hattie Hill, the President and CEO has been involved with WFF since it’s inception.  She sees the correlation of the national conversation  on #MeToo to #TimesUp, and now gender equity as one that has always been there, but is now out of the shadows. In her research she came across a study that indicates that at the rate women are going in the workplace, it will take about 100 years to reach gender equity.  WFF is striving to cut that time by many years. They are striving to be the solution to the things that are holding women back from success.

The leadership conference offers a variety of speakers and topics.  The topics are as varied as the women and the positions they now have, and the ones they are striving to attain. The conference is built to assist, teach and mentor.  The leadership conference content is driven by the participants.  Participants have given their thoughts and comments on speakers and topics they feel would be helpful to them.

This year the conference will launch the “Lead the Way” initiative.  Broadcaster and author Maria Shriver, broadcaster Gretchen Carlson and former first lady of the United States Michelle Obama have been selected to christen the initiative.

The conference hopes that the women in attendance will takeaway many things, but one in particular–they want the women to focus on themselves in developing themselves.  The conference itself focuses on three areas: the industry (attracting great talent), the organization (companies want to know how it leads and attracts talent at all generations) and the attendees (what talents do they have, what do they want to do, getting great connections and one of the most important things–how can they pass on this valuable learning experience).

To learn more about the WFF and it’s goals or to register for the conference, please go to: Women’s FoodService Forum.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear” we don’t have 100 years.

 

 

At The Texas Conference For Women–Women Rock

It is always great to be in the presence of women, especially smart women.  The Texas Conference for Women has so much to see, hear and do that it is hard to decide which way to go. That is why you see me rushing almost running in the halls of the Austin Convention Center with my two bags, comfortable shoes, and phone. I was off to races.

Texas Conference 2 Photo by Getty

I was able to snag two great interviews with two amazing women.  My first interview came as a surprise.  We just struck up a conversation, and I knew women would love to know about her company “iFundWomen”.  Below is the interview that I did with the CEO and founder of “iFundWomen”, Ms. Karen Cahn. For women who are looking for ways to fund their startup, she is the person to know.

20171102_120111 (2)

My second interview was with the Emmy award winner, Ms. Gaby Natale.  She is the host of the Emmy award-winning show Super Latina, and now the author of the book El Circulo Virtuoso.  Her story is one that a lot of people can identify with. She is inspirational.  My interview with Gaby is below.

Both women are successful entrepreneurs who have found their passions and turned them into their careers.  As each would tell you it has been a journey that has taken some unexpected turns.  They epitomize the women that attended and participated in the Texas Conference for Women.  This year there were 7,500 women in attendance from all over the United States.

Each of the women had their own schedule to adhere to and knew which sessions they wanted to attend and why.  All of us were able to hear the three keynote speakers, Ms. Anita Hill, Ms. Sheryl Sandberg, and Ms. Viola Davis.  Their presentations were informative and more.  You can see some of Ms. Anita Hill’s talInstagramFacebook Page–thisisyourbestyear, Instagram–thisisyourbestyear and Twitter–@mariciajohns.

If you have never attended this conference, you should think about it for next year.  There is something for everyone from, pitching your product to QVC, working on your Linkedin Page, coping with grief, fitness and much more.

This is one of the highlights of my year, seeing and hearing the speakers and meeting up with other bloggers, photographers, and other media again.  Hope you will take advantage of this great gathering of women.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

To find out more about how to fund your business go to the “iFundWomen” website.

www.ifundwomen.com

If you would like to know about Gaby Natale, and how to contact her for speaking engagements, book signings and more please visit her website.

www.gabynatale.com

Join me on Instagram!

We’re on Instagram as @thisisyourbestyear. Install the app to follow my photos and videos. https://instagram.com/download/?r=380485317

You can also follow us on Facebook–thisisyourbestyear, Twitter–@mariciajohns and of course our website–www.thisisyourbestyear.com.

          Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Enjoy A Great Meal and Make A Difference

I would usually put this post in the What “I” Like section because the food is amazing, but this is more than what I like. It’s about an idea that is not only changing the food scene in Dallas, but it is teaching future chefs and others life skills. It is not a culinary school, it’s not your typical classroom, and these are not your typical educators or your typical students.

Cafe Momentum is a non-profit restaurant and professional training facility that is located in downtown Dallas. Cafe Momentum is in the restaurant business, but more importantly it is in the business of transforming the lives of young people who have been inside juvenile facilities. The restaurant, culinary school, life skills university is the brain child of Chef Chad Houser. Working in collaboration with the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Department, Cafe Momentum strives to teach young men and women that it is possible to break the cycle–the cycle of crime, violence and poverty.

The students rotate through a 12 month paid internship program where they do work in every position from dishwasher to server to working along side world class chefs. In addition to culinary skills, they are taught anger management, money management and other life skills. Upon successfully completing the intense program the interns are placed with partners of Cafe Momentum for employment.

The food was scrumptious to the eye and to the palette. Making the night even more enjoyable was the knowledgeably, friendly, professional and courteous staff. We tried and shared several items, but one of my favorites was King Oyster Mushroom Scallops. I love scallops, but I hardly order them because if they are not done correctly they are not very appealing to eat. The mushrooms reminded me of the best scallops that I have ever tasted. They had the same buttery texture–they were wonderful. If I had not been told they were mushrooms, I would have thought I was eating scallops. It is usually hard to fool me when it comes to taste. You know how they say “it taste like” and it doesn’t–this did.

We started with a pickle plate that contained bourbon pickled green tomatoes, sweet cucumbers, hot, very hot jalapenos, Italian cauliflower and more. it was a great taste mixture of sweet, tangy and hot. Everyone at the table seemed to have their favorite. The next item that we shared was the magnificent Charcuteri Plate–it was magnificent. It featured torchon, duck ham, homemade sausage, two types of goat cheese which they lovingly called Lucy and Ethel, and so much more. To see more about this amazing plate (video) go to our Facebook Page–thisisyourbestyear.

Another amazing dish that everyone wanted to have a bite of was Ninny’s (fried) Okra Salad. I am one person who likes okra almost anyway it can be prepared, and this dish was one of the best ways that I have eaten it.

At this point I was a bit full so I order the Ninny Okra Salad for my entree, and nibbled off of everyone’s plate. Someone ordered the Smoked Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, collard greens, biscuits and gravy. I tasted it–OMG. The Pork Chop with brown butter, green tomato salad and a 4 bean salad was ordered by a couple of people. I didn’t taste this one, but there wasn’t much left on their plates so I think that makes the point.

The fish of the day was an Opah, yes Opah, not Oprah. Having never heard of it, I was interested in it, but too scared to order. This Opah fish was tasty, not a fishing fish, but a flaky light fish.

At the conclusion we ordered the Olive Oil Cake and the Chai Ice Cream with a chocolate brownie. Everyone at the table got a bite of the Olive Oil Cake while one person hoarded the Chai Ice Cream and chocolate brownie.

Dining at Cafe Momentum is not only an amazing culinary experience, but it is chance to give back to the community of Dallas and beyond. Take some time to learn more about Cafe Momentum and see how you can assist this great endeavor.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Eat, drink, be merry and assist a worthy cause.

Interview The Interviewer

I haven’t gone on a professional job interview in eight years, but I do keep my resume recent since it will determine if I get to the next step, the interview. During an interview we all know the answers to most of the standard questions that are asked, but do we know what questions we should ask?

If you have been out of the job search market for a while you will need to brush up on your interviewing skills.  It’s not the interviewing you learned BC (before computers). You can have a face-to-face interview, a phone interview, a video interview and/or a combination interview.

 

The days of the interviewer asking if we have any questions, and we smile and say “no” are gone.  Don’t fret that is a good thing, because we all have unanswered questions after an interview.

First of all you should ask a couple of questions that you have prepared beforehand.   This will show the interviewer that you are interested in the position, and you will get answers to questions that are not on the company website or in their handbook.  It’s a win, win situation.

 

There have been a lot of articles written about this subject. Here are some questions that I think a person should ask when interviewing for a job.

  • What is a typical day for a person in this position? This question is important because you will be able to gain some insight into the structure of the work day for this position.  You will also learn what specific skills that are needed for this job.
  • What is the culture of the company?  This helps you know the company’s values, their beliefs and their working environment. You would be surprised that this question does not get asked.  You must be able to fit into the company to have a great working relationship.  We have all gone places, and thought that this is not for us. We have all felt like a fish out of water.
  • What are the expectations for this position in the next 30 days, 6 months–a year and beyond? This will tell you what the company is expecting from you if you get this position.
  • What’s did the previous holders of this position consider to be the hardest part of it, or what do you consider to be the most challenging part of the position? Even great positions have something that is somewhat challenging.
  • What is the average employment stay with the company?  This will show you if they promote from within.
  • Can you see where the position is housed?  This will enable you to see where you will perform the job duties.  You will also be able to talk with people who will be your coworkers.

If your interview consist of interviewing with multiple persons at different times, you can ask them some of the same questions, and you can also ask others that you jotted down while doing your research of the company.  Asking questions shows the interviewers that you are serious about the position.

Remember to send a thank you note–handwritten. You can also email a thank you letter, but not in place of the handwritten thank you note. Be sure to thank the receptionist/secretary when you leave–they have the ear of the boss, and their opinion counts.

If you really want the position, you will have questions about it?  Remember thisisyourbestyear“.  Interview the interviewer.

 

Do You Have Enough To Retire?

The article below is an interesting article on how much the average household nearing retirement has in savings for the retirement years. How much do you have in your retirement account?

Take a look at the article written by Austin Smith for Motley Fool.  Can you really retire comfortably?

The Average American Household Approaching Retirement Has This Amount Saved Up

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Save and invest for a comfortable retirement.