It's a JUNGLE out there...whether you are hiring or looking for a job.
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The Bosses – Thoughts from the Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 30, 2016 in Building Confidence, Career Path, Job Search

jungle3As a recent graduate starting out in your career, or a seasoned professional looking to make the next move, the most influential person you will interact with in your new position will be your boss. The majority of our waking interactions during the week are going to be at work with our boss. That is a lot of time to spend with one person. A boss has the opportunity to make you feel completely inadequate to the point of wanting to reevaluate your career path OR so empowered and encouraged that you can move mountains with a click of a mouse. Much like choosing a major in college, where often times we end up picking our academic career based on one teacher who changed our perspective, the decision to continue on a career path can be dependent on the bosses you encounter.

A good boss doesn’t just want you to fill a gap or need within an organization. They want you to grow into an employee that is able to do much more than a job description requires. They want you to move towards the tasks that are in line with your interests so that they can see the passion your eyes. They want to challenge you to exceed expectations and go out of your comfort zone so that you are prepared for the position that comes next. A good boss wants to hear your ideas and welcome new perspectives outside of their own while trusting you to accomplish your work unsupervised and without micromanagement.

When faced with a job offer, always make sure you really know who it is you will be reporting to. It may seem like an obvious thing to do but depending on the role, you sometimes only have the opportunity to interview with the head of the department or other members of a team, for example. You want to make sure that before you accept a job, you are able to at least meet your manager face to face. If possible, try to see if there would be an opportunity to shadow a team member in a similar role to you. That way, you are able to see not only how the team interacts with each other but also with the boss. It is important to know your work personality to identify which management style aligns with your needs. There are some people who enjoy the structure of clear guidelines while others prefer flexibility to stay creative. Young professionals believe earlier in their careers that a boss is just someone you will be working FOR to pay rent, but really, it is someone you will be working WITH, day in and day out.

At the end of the day, people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses.

Tori Zalewski

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The Jungle Weed – Navigating The Drug Free Workplace

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on May 16, 2016 in Job Search, Lessons Learned

WeedsEmployers who advertise a drug free work place will likely have drug testing in place as a condition of hire. With the legalization of marijuana in several states, this has caused some confusion for job seekers.

There are many kinds of drug tests that are administered for pre-employment checks. The drug test form will ask for all the medications you are taking so have a full list with the proper dosage information handy. If you have a prescription, you need to list it on the form. This should be done for ANY medication you take regularly or frequently. If it is prescribed, and it turns up in your test, your employer will consult their personnel policies when determining whether or not they will hire you based upon their established guidelines.

Some states border others, like in MD, VA and DC, so be mindful of what is legal in each jurisdiction when applying for work. Even if your state has a legalized marijuana policy, the federal government still lists marijuana as a controlled (illegal) substance. Federal laws take precedence over state laws especially if the company that you are applying to is a national or multi-state corporation or if that employer receives any kind of federal funding. This means that a company could still deny you employment for testing positive for marijuana even if marijuana is legal in your state and even if it is being used medicinally with a prescription.

Where we have advised job seekers to be forthright about criminal convictions in the application process, it is not a good idea to overshare about drug use. If you have questions about the company’s policy, ask them anonymously BEFORE you apply. Asking during the process may be detrimental to your application depending on the company, who you speak with, and them not fully understanding your personal situation. Try to get a person on the phone to discuss it vs webchat which may track your email and contact information.

If you pass the initial drug test to be employed, workplaces with a drug-free policy may do intermittent, random, and/or “reasonable suspicion” testing so if you are a prescription holder for marijuana, testing positive for the drug while you are currently employed- even if used off of company property and on your own time- can be cause for dismissal in a drug free workplace.

As more states legalize marijuana, more employers have to take a closer look at their hiring practices and policies. As you navigate the jungle, stay away from the weeds if you can avoid it.

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The Army Ant – It’s Not About The Size, But Being A Team Player!

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Aug 6, 2015 in Self Improvement

Army AntWhile singing the praises about the dominant creatures in the jungle, we often forget the ones who are timid, but portray equally significant characteristics. The dynamics are such that each member, be it big or small have their own role to play. Don’t you sense an analogy here?

Likewise, the workplace too has its own dynamics. Every employee has a definite role to play with an indispensable need to work in a team. We often wonder that how can two completely different job roles be intertwined!

Well, a machine never works without each component functioning in the most synchronized way, right?

To proliferate further consider an army ant. It might seem small, but you would never see one moving alone. There’s always a group of them, either carrying granules of food or simply one of their own when injured. In simple words, it exemplifies the importance of team work, something which can be well applied at the workplace. For it helps you to stay motivated at workplace, the discussion to follow will build on the same line of thought and suggest some ways to be a team player at work.

Don’t Ignore Delegation

A team that works in cohesion, always knows the strengths and weaknesses of each member, much like the army ants. They always have roles assigned to lead the lot, carry food and look after the route to be taken. This way synchronization is never compromised on and every task is accomplished in the most efficient way possible. Likewise, at work you need to divide assignments and project responsibilities according to the proficiency level of each member. This way the work load on each member can be minimized and objectives can be achieved within a smaller time frame.

Take Ideas From Every Member into Account

You’ll never see a group of ants having members being treated unequally, may be that’s the reason for the impeccable team work they put on display.

Similarly, at workplace for a sense of equality to be inculcated, there is a need to respect every opinion that’s voiced, because you never know what idea might just click right and solve a problem. No employee would want to work in the same team as yours, if you don’t take everybody’s viewpoint into account. The need of the hour is for you to create an environment, where each of your co-workers is comfortable suggesting different solutions and ideas.

Be a Pro-active Participant

Seldom are the chances that you’ll see an army ant resting in a shade, being least considerate about its lot. Well, there’s immense you can learn from the same. To be a good team player, you need to be pro-actively involved in what’s going on with your co-workers and friends at work. Come prepared for all team meetings and instead of watching things passively, give valuable inputs.

Team members holding this feature always take an extra step to make things happen efficiently. Be it volunteering for assignments or extending a helping hand to your colleagues, there’s so much you can do.

Adapt To Your Surroundings

An essential quality that is direly required to be a team player is being adaptable in different work environments. Ants make their shelters in deep lying places, cool enough to sustain themselves. But, as soon as it gets uprooted, they quickly move out with speed and bore a new hole in the vicinity. That’s exactly how you can be a team player.

In the modern corporate environment, people join and people leave. Plus, with the increased amount of diversity at workplaces, being adaptable is something that can really set you on the right track!

It’s amusingly beautiful how you can learn so much from a creature as small as an Army Ant. However, the glance alone wouldn’t work. Putting the aforementioned into application is what that’s required at present.

This Guest Post was contributed by Anshuman Kukreti. Anshuman is a professional writer and a keen follower of the global job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics related to employment across the globe. Reach him @ LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Leapfrog – Being Positive in Career Transition

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 14, 2015 in Executive Coaching, Interviewing Skills, Job Search, Thinking Positive

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Frog2All frogs hop, but no frog hops like the red-eyed tree frog. The red-eyed tree frog stealthily roams the jungles of Central and South America in a way different from the rest of his rainforest pals. The red-eyed tree frog is not only able to leap great distances quickly, but his feet have distinct sticky pads that allow him to hop from place to place with poise, precision, and grace. It is a given in today’s economy that career transition is the norm. As you navigate the job search jungle, you will want to act with the red-eyed tree frog’s finesse and poise as you leave one employer and interview with the next.

There is never a time when landing with grace is as important as when you are interviewing. Twice in the past couple of weeks, people have been passed over for great job offers because they spent too much time in the interview focusing on why they left something that was broken rather than moving towards something that was better for them. As you leapfrog through the job search jungle, positivity is the key to successfully landing gracefully.

For instance, when the interviewer asks you why you are leaving your present job, this is not an open invitation to bad-mouth your current or past companies. This would not be transitioning with poise.  Even if your experiences have been negative, or if the company has more problems than profits, delving into the miry pit of your poor employment situation will only hurt you. Any negativity you project in the interview will set the tone regarding your personal outlook and most likely reflect poorly on you. The more you detail the negative aspects of your job, the more the interviewer will wonder, “If we hire her, what would he/she be telling other people about us?”

Positivity, on the other hand, pays off. So, how do you frame your story when it’s not all sunshine and roses? It should not be about what you are leaving; the point is you don’t look for reasons why something wasn’t a good fit for you in the same way you may not have been a good fit with the job. There is always something wrong with every organization. You will want to answer why the position you left or are moving towards is or was a positive step. How is it an opportunity for personal learning or professional growth?

Unfortunately, no one is going to pay you more money because you bought a bigger house or because the job you accepted isn’t perfect. However, an employer will pay you more if your expertise is in demand. Try to make the connection between your skills and enthusiasm and why this new job is an even better and exciting opportunity. If you can articulate this, your interview will come across as positive, and you, will be seen as a positive person. You will be transitioning gracefully.

Why is positivity so important? Based on your resume, the interviewer is aware of many of your skills, many of your accomplishments, your employment history, and your education. When they contact you for the interview they are giving you the nod that you could be making the right leap. By the time you are sitting face to face, the interviewer is just trying to figure out how you might fit in with the team, what it would be like working with you day to day, and how you respond to stressful situations in the office. When you demonstrate positivity, you assure them that you will effectively make the daily challenges easier to bare, and you will not bring in an attitude that demoralizes the team.

As you consider your next job, think about that nimble little red-eyed tree frog. Hopping from place to place can be awkward when you are not expressing the positivity necessary for a sticky landing. Your job transition is not about leaving a negative situation, it is always about moving positively towards opportunity.

This post was contributed by Jenny of Merito Group. Visit www.Meritogroup.com for more information and current job openings.

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The Woodpecker Approach: Importance of Persistence during Job-Search

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Mar 10, 2015 in Job Search

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The job-search jungle has long been ruled by members of the cat family. Power and ability to dominate being the foremost reasons, of course. However, there have been sufficient anomalies to prove that securing the most desirable job is not only the prerogative of those having power or resources. It is quite as much within the reach of other members too.

Your job-hunt might have been moving forward on the ‘ideal’ lines, but you aren’t finding returns favorable enough, right?

Well, that does force you into a deep introspection about things that might have gone wrong. Yes, speculating is a human tendency and so is getting hopeless.

An Ivory-billed Woodpecker stands as a great example in such a case. Boring nests in the tree trunk with a short and narrow beak, clearly indicating that with due persistence in one’s kitty, everything is achievable. The Woodpecker might find the tree trunk hard enough to penetrate with a timid beak, but driven by sheer will-power, the incessant taps never go in vain. That’s pretty much what you need to imbibe at the moment. Giving up on a job application and resting your case won’t land you in the workstation you desire. However, the spirit of not giving up definitely would!

Yes, you need to give calls repeatedly, drop messages on LinkedIn, follow the same process with a multitude of recruiters, find referrals and meet people, in short- you’ll have to be an opportunist from the get-go!

Here are some subtleties you can work on and be pleasantly persistent to land in your dream country job.

 

  • Have a Concrete Reason for Contacting

The Woodpecker doesn’t tap the wood without a reason. It cares to bore a nest and is putting all its energy towards it. Likewise, you need to have a specific reason to contact a person during this process. ‘I’m just calling to follow up’ often sounds like a phrase stemming out of formality.

During your first contact, an introduction from a mutual acquaintance or because you read an article the person wrote, come across as legitimate reasons. Once you form a connection, an update on some prior discussion could be the reason to drop a call or schedule a meeting.

 

  • Try and Schedule the Next Few Steps

A key-mistake most of the job-seekers commit after getting a recruiter’s attention is leaving the follow-up, up in the air. Always try to schedule the next chat or meet-up. The least you can try is to get permission to reach out again, within a certain timeframe.

In case you’re given a specific advice to follow at the first instance, reconnecting to give an update on what you did is also a worthwhile idea.

 

  • Be in Touch with Multiple Professionals Rather than One

A Red-cockaded Woodpecker often prefers staying in a group of up to nine during the breeding season. Obviously, the power of a network holds due significance in nature’s every element.

Similarly, you can be in simultaneous touch with more than one personnel in an organization. If you targeted professional isn’t responding, try connecting with someone else.

Always avert being cynical about a person who isn’t being responsive and make sure you don’t spam an entire company.

 

  • Being Explicit Would Work

Chipping off wood, flake by flake is how it goes about building a nest. Yes, perfection does lie in the details and that’s exactly what you need to keep in mind during your job-hunt.

Sometimes, it might just happen that the above strategies don’t work despite your best efforts. Such a situation demands for you to give the person a good enough reason to talk to you and give you a share of his valuable time.

This has worked on multiple occasions and has led the person to apologize for being unreachable. Going into the details and being explicit in your approach makes it hard for someone to believe that you’re annoying. Usually a last-ditch effort, but using this tactic more than once might not be a lucrative avenue.

It’s simply not enough to appear in an interview and waiting to hear back. Employers look forward to people with drive, passion and will-power to secure a job. So, arm yourself efficiently to go the extra mile. Results will surely be in your favor.

This Guest Post was contributed by Anshuman Kukreti.  Anshuman is a professional writer and a keen follower of the emirates job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics related to employment across the globe. Reach him @ LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Chameleon – What Your Recruiter Hopes You Don’t Do During Your Next Interview

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 11, 2014 in Interviewing Skills, Lessons Learned

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Weird Tales from Behind the Recruiting Desk:  Chameleon

The jungle can be a tough place to find shelter, or in this jungle, a job, so let’s take a key piece of advice from our friend the chameleon – it can be in your best interest to blend in order to get ahead in the market. This thought came to light recently, as my last few months recruiting at the Merito Group has allowed me to uncover some of the more unique inhabitants of the jungle. Sticking out can be a great asset in an interview, but in these cases not so much.

In this blog series I will be examining a few candidates that were special cases – some facts may be exaggerated, skewed and twisted! These are meant to be lessons learned, not exposes of my stellar candidates, so please enjoy:

Be aware of your surroundings. The chameleon has an advantage above the rest of the jungle. They can slide under the radar of those trying to hunt them, but they still must be on guard! (It is, after all, a jungle out there.) Many companies in this day and age offer the flexibility of webcam interviews for those candidates who are still currently employed, but looking to make a move. Here at Merito Group we try to make the process as easy as possible for our candidates as well as our clients. I have had a few occurrences, though, that have made me wonder at the lack of professionalism exposed with this media.

Candidates who use their computer screen, phone, and other varying technologies as a security blanket: beware! Employers and recruiters will want to see you and meet you “in-person” so you must still present yourself professionally, even if it is from the comfort of your own home in a webcam or phone interview. Your interviewer will understand that your home is your place of comfort and exudes personality, but your cats, dogs, children, spouses, and cuckoo clocks are not a welcome distraction in an interview no matter where you are. Use a room where you have solitude from such distractions.

Technology is changing every day and to keep up with the times, we sometimes must use interfaces we are not used to. Please test your webcam, the platform, and your phone reception before calling in/showing up to an interview that is not “in person.” The most annoying thing our clients have to put up with on phone or webcam interviews is that the candidate doesn’t have great call quality or internet speed. Use a land line or go to a library, if necessary! Sometimes a webcam can freeze due to bandwidth limits, weather, or even user error. Please be aware that both sides may not always freeze at the same time: do not assume your interviewer cannot see you! Maintain your professional persona until after your interview is complete. Many technological issues can be avoided with the proper preparation.

Remember: You can’t re-do a first impression! More on that in my next post…

This guest post was contributed by Emily Craig of Merito Group. If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Whale Shark – Five of My Personal Tips to Help You Succeed in Your Finance Career

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 9, 2014 in Career Path, Job Search

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Whale sharks are the largest known extant fish species in the world. They are found in warm ocean waters and live about 70 to 100 years. The whale shark feeds by gulping in massive Whale Sharkamounts of plankton or fish with its giant mouth. Finance, like the whale shark, is one of the largest and most utilized careers in the world absorbing a massive amount of responsibility and careers into its domain. Everyone and everything has to deal with money. Even if you aren’t a professional financial analyst or planner, you may be paying for education, financing real estate and cars, paying loans, buying insurance, taxes, investing and saving for retirement, etc.

I started working professionally in the finance sector 12 years ago and I wish there had been someone to guide me in the right direction, and impart words of wisdom that could have influenced my decisions and choices. I relied heavily on outdated textbooks, and it did help in some ways, but things are much better now for those who are just starting out in the field of finance. I really believe that the internet is a powerful force for candidates and trainees – after all, there is a lot of easily accessible advice all stored in one location.

Therefore I thought I would do my own part for the people who find themselves in a similar situation the one I was in all those years ago; looking for help in terms of their career. If you are one of these numbers, here are five of my personal tips to help you succeed in your finance career…

Learn continuously

In business, many people make the mistake of finding a job and then taking a back seat. They let their daily tasks become a routine that is hard to shake. Whilst carrying out the responsibilities of your job is vital, it is just as important to continue your education in many areas. There are always advancements in industries, regardless of what they are, so it would be unlikely that there wasn’t a course or workshop that would benefit you in some way. The whale shark is an active feeder. It goes to where the food is!

Seek the best opportunities

Of course it helps to find the right position in the first place, and I have plenty of advice on finding finance careers (www.nationwide-jobs.co.uk/), but I’ll try and keep it short. Don’t expect jobs to land in your email inbox, you will need to be proactive in order to find something special. Make a list of all of the companies you are currently aware of, and then search for their competitors online. You will then have a good place in which to start your job hunt, and you can start to learn the key decision makers that work in each company. Careers in finance are out there, but the exact parts of finance that you most want to work in and the companies you want to work for require some search and filtering. Food separation in whale sharks is by cross-flow filtration, in which the water travels nearly parallel to the filter pad surface, before passing to the outside, while denser food particles continue to the back of the throat.

Ask for feedback

In your job search and when you start working for a company, you should learn to ask for feedback. This can help you to identify areas for improvement when it comes to your interview style, as well as in your day-to-day work. Some businesses will have staff development at the forefront of their business and will automatically schedule appraisals for you, but you may need to ask for these directly in other companies. Whale sharks are actually very difficult to study in their natural habitat so keep an ear to the ground to get the most out of your experiences wherever you are!

Be friendly

It may also help you in the long run to be friendly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should roll over and accept what people say or do, just that you should ensure that your attitude doesn’t negatively affect your career. Try and be open-minded and you may find that people are more receptive to your ideas and actions. Despite its size, the whale shark does not pose significant danger to humans. Whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to catch a ride.

Don’t be afraid

Finally, don’t be afraid of taking some risks in your career – it’s something that is a strong theme throughout the finance sector! Take pride in networking and listing your skills on your LinkedIn profile; if another company is interested in them, it means you have been working hard to achieve what you set out to do. The whale shark grows to be so large in size, it does not have many natural enemies besides humans. So don’t hold back when you dive into finance!

This guest post was contributed by Victoria. If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Tiger – Bounding Over The Interview Questions

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jul 3, 2014 in Interviewing Skills

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Interviewing Questions Series: 7-8 of 29 Tiger2

Answers to popular (and sometimes tricky) questions you might hear in your next interview. Suggestions and requests are welcome in the comments. If you are currently a job seeker, a great way to help you prepare for the interview is to prepare a brief answer to all of the questions here. Download all of the questions here: Interview Prep Guide.

Would you be prepared to move?

When you are interviewing for a job that requires relocation, say “yes.”

If you applied to the position knowing that relocation would be required, it will usually be discussed in detail after the offer. Despite the fact that there are a lot of steps that will need to be accomplished for that to occur, the interview is not the time to discuss them – save that for after you have received the offer. Bombarding the interviewer with too much detail about all the things you will need to do to get moved and settled may actually be a deciding factor on who they choose, so when asked this up front, just say you will be able to relocate and leave the planning and discussion until after you have accepted the offer.

What is your anticipated salary?”

Start with a discussion of the cash you have received in your last position. Many discussions about stock options get complicated and the first or second interview is not the time to get into those details. Options are only as good as the cash you can or have received for them so make sure you know what your grants were and what that immediate or near term value is. Preparing a spreadsheet is a good idea in case you need it.

No matter what the total compensation is that you are looking for, let them know you are open their best offer. All companies have different pay and incentive pay plans that are pretty consistent across the board and the larger the company, the more consistency they strive to achieve. You could unwittingly under- or overprice yourself by bundling your base and bonuses together in a lump number so make sure you break that out so they have a firm understanding of the components of your previous pay.

Another thing to consider: Health insurance paid on your behalf is not generally used to negotiate more cash up front. Just because you don’t need the plan now doesn’t mean you might not need it later. While it may seem like a good idea to ask for $2k more per year since you won’t be using the benefits up front, it won’t usually work. If you need to initiate the plan later, they most likely would not reduce your pay so it’s best to just leave it on the table.

Never lie about your previous compensations. It will be verified.

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The Prey – Don’t Become Prey to Your Next Job Interview

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 27, 2014 in Interviewing Skills

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As if the job search jungle wasn’t hard enough to manoeuvre through, once you’ve found that ideal position it’s time to overcome the dreaded job interview. Make sure you don’t fall victim to the common tests and trials that you’ll be put through. If you go prepared, you’ll ensure your best chance of demonstrating suitably for the role.

Do your research

There’s no quicker turn-off for an interviewer than discovering an applicant actually knows nothing about the company. It shows a lack of interest and, frankly, professionalism. Be sure to do your research into the business with which you’re applying, even if they would not be your first point of call. We know the marketplace is hugely completive and the next job you land might not be with your dream employer… but show an enthusiasm for every organisation you apply for.

Things to consider as you research include current products and services offered and recent developments or news (good and bad).

Be inquisitive

It is common for an applicant to mistake ‘asking questions’ as a sign of weakness, but in fact showing that you are inquisitive can only be favourable. Make sure you have some questions prepared to ask at the end of your interview just in case none naturally arise as the meeting takes place. The questions you ask could be based on your recent research – perhaps you’re unsure of the future vision of the company, or maybe you’d like to know more practical formalities about the job on offer?

Think about your past

While you may be looking to the future as you apply for a new role, don’t forget to think about how your previous work experiences may apply to this new opportunity. It is common for companies to ask you about your last position and how the responsibilities you had there will have been useful to the job you are applying for.

Don’t be surprised if you are asked hypothetical questions that require you to draw on past business experience. You might be asked to talk through a previous job failing and how you handed it, or to describe what you would do to overcome an issue their company is currently facing in your department.

Educate yourself

Aside from industry relevant qualifications, IT is becoming a crucial skillset in every sector. Do you have what it takes to make it in today’s tech savvy marketplace? If you feel your lacking when it comes to keyboard skills and spreadsheet formulas, maybe it’s time to get trained. Click here for some more information on relevant IT courses that can help you expand your knowledge.

Be flexible and focussed

Perhaps the hardest part of a job interview is being ready to think on your feet. It’s not easy to predict the sort of things you might be asked, so don’t get hung up on planning the answer to everything in advance. Instead be prepared to take a flexible attitude. Relax and embrace the unknown! Listen carefully and answer honestly for your best shot at coming over confidently.

This guest post was contributed by Victoria. If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

 

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The Peacock – Making A Lasting Impression In The Wild

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 17, 2014 in Lessons Learned

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The ostentatious Indian Peacock’s tail plumage has many admirers, but little understanding of why the colorful feathers evolved. Theories of sexual selection, camouflage, signaling, and defense have circulated since before Darwin’s time without any satisfactory conclusions. Sexual attraction is currently the reigning theory, but studies continue to research the complexities of the peahen’s choice since the incredibly elaborate feathered train of the peacock does not seem to have sole control over mate selection.

Networking events are common in the business world. They occur nearly every day in every major city across many industries. It’s important to stand out at these events in order to make contact with people, but you don’t want to be the one that during the event debrief everyone asks, “Who was the person with the crazy [tie/hat/coat/outfit, etc.], and what were they thinking?” Your choice of peacock flair for the occasion may be a great conversation starter, but is it a great first impression?

First impressions are lasting ones, particularly when you are interviewing. Networking events are crucial for people seeking new jobs, but you want to be the one that stands out by your intellectual conversation, not your outfit or something eccentric about yourself that you (over)shared. Having a unique hobby, skill or passion is a good discussion at a social event, but avoid tales that delve just a little too deep below the surface for new acquaintances to digest.

Keep conversation light and thoughtful and stay away from your recent divorce, loan applications, and too much personal talk about your family, children and pets. Rather than talking about yourself and simply offering information that may or may not be relatable to the person you are speaking to, ask the other person questions about themselves. Explore topics around what they’ve been writing or reading lately and solicit their thoughts so that you can expand on things that are already of interest to them. This will make you stand out in the forefront of their minds as a qualified professional as opposed to the person who told the slightly uncomfortable story about such and such.

Trends in attire come and go, but looking polished never goes out of style. As far as clothing for a networking event, pairing a nice conservative suit with a colorful tie or scarf without over-doing it is key. Even a single piece of interesting jewelry such as a necklace or a ring can be a simple artistic addition that will nicely go with a conventional suit without being overwhelming. Again, you want to be the one they remember, but not because you didn’t look the part or because you wore something that was out of place at the event.

Ask a friend or colleague if you are unsure about what you are wearing and whether it’s appropriate for the event. You will certainly be remembered if you imitate the peacock, but you probably do not want your new acquaintances to theorize through the next day about your outfit.

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