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Andrea Kay column: Be eager to tell how you achieved success

6:35 PM, Apr. 28, 2013  |  Comments
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Employers tell me things they don't usually share with job hunters and people who work for them.

I like to pass these items on, so you can improve your chances of getting what you want - a new job, promotion or plum assignment.

Take this conversation an employer told me he had while interviewing a candidate for a public relations position.

This manager really wanted to understand the candidate's skills. So the employer asked her to tell him about a sample project she had worked on recently. The candidate mentioned an awards program she had developed for a large company, describing it simply as "a big success." When the employer asked her specifically what she did to create such a success, here's how the conversation went:

Employer: "What did you do?"

Candidate: "You know, I let people know about it."

E: "How? Did you send out a news release?"

C: "Yes."

E: "Who did you sent it to?"

C: "Well, you know. News media."

E: "What else did you do?"

C: "You know. I worked on it."

E: "What did you do?"

C: "I called some people. I sat in on some meetings. It was very successful."

E: "What makes you say that?"

C: "Everybody was happy."

Clearly, she had not thought through how to talk about her past experience, what she did and how it could be valuable to another firm - the crux of why this employer might want to hire her. Employers tell me this is one of the most infuriating things about job interviews.

Employers are hungry for details. And it's your job to provide the fine points of information if you want your interview to go well.

When an employer is deciding whether to bring you in to talk or you are eyeball to eyeball with a hiring manager in an interview, these are details that will help a prospective boss understand four things:

? 1. What you know. What is your particular expertise? Is it in manufacturing operations, retail sales, technical support and service, secondary education? What kinds of projects have you worked on? What specifically do you know about? Web analytics, landscape materials, horse breeding, press conferences, critical communications, succession planning?

? 2. What you can do well. Do you research and analyze data, build relationships, translate concepts into useable language, write code, fabricate costumes, teach adults, manage complex projects?

? 3. What kind of person you are. Are you adventurous, self-motivated, disciplined, imaginative, cooperative, empathetic, intuitive, resourceful, quick on your feet, open to constructive criticism, funny, polite?

? 4. How what you've done in the past can help them be a better company today. Perhaps your skills, knowledge and ability to think quickly on your feet enabled a company to secure $200,000 in financing for a capital improvement project. Or your ability to persuade management to try a new fee-based model led to thousands of dollars of increased revenues. Maybe your resourcefulness and strategic approach to projects led to the development of a new bar coding system that saved thousands of dollars.

When you share this kind of detail, you're getting to the heart of what every employer is hoping you have, which is everything it takes to help the company be successful now and in the future.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
575 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
856 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1017 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1271 votes

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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