5 Things to remember when Preparing for your next job interview

No Matter if this was your first job after graduation or you are a seasoned professional who is planning their next move. Job interviews are always tricky and they are not easy most of the time, and preparing for them – if done properly- demand a lot of energy (mentally, and psychologically).

This week’s tip can be useful for any week, and in any year; at the end of each year, I do the exercise of reviewing my profile as if there’s a big opportunity lined up for me, the exercise itself is very valuable. You really don’t need to have an interview to do it, you just need to have an on-going interest in growing yourself and your potential.

Of course, there are many books on the topic, and the below list is not exhaustive and is not meant to cover every single aspect of Job interviews, but at least here are 5 things to remember when you are preparing for your next job interview (or just do that periodically like myself).

1. Customize your CV for the Job

There’s no one CV that fits every position no matter how diverse your background is, your CV must shout one profile, or at least one direction; and it has to be the direction and profile that matches the job.

Get the habit of making multiple versions of your resume, 2 to 3, first because you never know when the opportunity presents itself, so being prepared to quickly adjust your resume is far more important than just attach the same version of your resume you used last year… (If you think there isn’t anything to add or change in your resume in over a year… You have a Bigger problem than you think.)

Craft your resume according to the job position you are applying to, use the proper keywords, and add the relevant experience and information and trim the points that are great but not very relevant.

Make it as personal as possible, you don’t want to show the interviewer that you are using the same exact resume and cover letter to 20 other recruiters and that you spend the least time working on your CV, hence your interest in their company is not that High.

I normally use the naming convention of Samer Chidiac’s Profile 2019 (<Job title >, May Refresh) in the name of the file, and in the Footer of the resume, I add (MAY 2019 UPDATE) <JOB TITLE> – Candidate | Samer Chidiac .

If you think there isn’t anything to add or change in your resume in over a year… You have a Bigger problem than you think.

Samer Chidiac

2. Prepare and Practice for common questions

Every interview is different, some can be very straight forward, and some can take the most interesting forms (like a dinner invitation or so); The first rule here, NEVER UNDERESTIMATE ANY FORM… And just because you got invited to lunch or dinner doesn’t make it less formal and that you should relax…

Despite how different the interview can be, there are some common questions that the interviewer can immediately take a solid impression on who you are, and to begin with a simple one: “Tell me a little bit about yourself”

I can’t stress enough, on the importance of this particular question, it may sound like an ice breaker, but in reality, it’s the abstract of your entire interview, and probably the single most important part.

To answer this question, you just need proper preparation, (it sounds silly, but trust me, you have no idea how many candidates oversimplify this and just start speaking random things about them in a poor flow, or they simply repeat their CV.

You need to properly write down a solid introduction about you, starting from a glimpse of who you are, what does your profile project, your experience (in a nutshell), your education, and state a paragraph of a particular interest with the role you are applying for, and finally end it with who you are after work.

It will be a few minutes, but this will lay the foundation to the interviewer that you are sharp, know who you are, know what you want and structured. (and that’s very helpful)

Another question that you need to prepare for, even if it wasn’t specifically asked in the interview: “Why are you the best candidate for this job?”

Think about the answer to his question as your bullet points for your entire interview… The more points you include there would be giving you more chances in other questions… (Try to keep it from 3 to 5 points only)

Finally on this one, you need to PRACTICE & REHEARSE! I write down my answers on Microsoft OneNote (mostly handwritten via tablet), and then I rehearse myself talking them out to the interviewer… I can literally repeat the process of speaking out loud the answers like 5-6 times, and before the interview, I normally spend time in a cafe nearby (an hour earlier) and review my notes and what I have prepared and have a final rehearsal.

3. Review and adjust your strong & weak points

There are no perfect candidates, those who were born to do this job and been practicing this all their lives… Trust me that can only be found in movies (and mostly about assassins…); and if you insist that you are simply the perfect candidate, one can argue that if the job role or function changed in the future, you may suddenly become obsolete.

So, in general, your strength and weakness are important to highlight, however, when you are preparing for that list, just remember that the points that are not directly relevant to the job description are not important to state here… (How many hot dog you can eat or how much you can hold your breath underwater may not be very relevant strong points..)

If you do the exercise properly, this exercise would be very helpful *Check-point* for you, to see where you need to improve and which strength are under-valuated. And remember, the group of regular points can produce an immense strong point, per example, you may be a lawyer who studied programming/coding and who loves cars, and you finally could end up writing legislation for Autonomous driving for a Government.

Finally on this subject, when you are preparing your weak spots, buckle them with learning and keep them relevant; you may have had an office job for the past 10 years and the role you are applying requires different types of commitments (like traveling a lot), you will need to highlight how (while you had a desk job, you were doing extra-activities like volunteering, that gave you the opportunity to exercise more than just a desk job.)

Always remember, that you don’t need to hide what the interviewer can easily spot from your resume… If it’s a weakness, they will ask you – directly or indirectly – on it, and you need to acknowledge it and match it with learning… (I don’t have a diploma in this field, but I studied online and took extra courses / read books about the topic, and I’m planning to continue in this… etc)

4. Identify & Highlight your added value

Best candidates are judged based on the value they will be bringing to the role and to the organization; you may have an exceptional past performance, but it might not be as relevant as you may think towards the future of the company, so you need to show how you can add value to the role you are applying for by mapping your strengths to the company and to the role, and have a clear value proposition.

After all, when you are hired and challenges are faced, you can talk as much as you want about your past victories and successes, but they can mean nothing if you can’t leverage them and apply them to the current situation.

Remember: Your Past performance is very important but not nearly as important as your future one.

5. Match your path with the role you are applying for

One of the other common questions in an interview that you need to prepare for (re-check step#2), is “Why are you applying for this job?”, and it includes 3 elements that you will be answering, Your Past, Your Present and Your Future.

Your Past: Your experience is relevant, you have passion for that.

Your Present: Your current position allowed you to learn this and that, and now it’s time to move to the next step.

Your Future: Your ambition and passion making you look to a future where you can make an impact in _______ and that’s why you have chosen this line of business (or want to change into), and if given the opportunity, this job will be a very important step in that future.

Saying stuff like “It’s my dream to work in _____ ” is nice (but lame as well), but let’s say if you were given the opportunity to work in a much bigger organization, you would still consider it, so it’s better to state that your plan/path, is to create an impact in the _____ field and you are exploring opportunities within entities that share the same values and ambitions as you and that it would be a Win-Win for both.

Have a wonderful week and may you find success in your next interview.

Cheers,
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Samer Chidiac is a Strategic Innovation Advisor, a Business Psychologist, a Philanthropist, an Author and a Speaker. 

You can check his Books on Amazon, Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and check his Website for More.

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Be ready to make mistakes, don’t take things too seriously

By the end of 2015, I got asked a simple question, it was more of a concern than it was a question… “What if I failed?” combined with “What if taking this step was a mistake?”

I normally smile when I hear such concerns, because they reflect a lot about the person who is asking the question… And My answer would be that simple… “It’s Ok! So What?”

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ~Dr. Seuss

We normally fail to achieve so many goals, because of the chance that we will fail in doing them, because of the chance that we may be wrong in the first place, or unsure about our capacity, and most importantly, because we are too AFRAID of Failure.

In the practice of Creativity and Innovation, one needs to be willing to make mistakes, and start all over, or even divert to a different direction as part of the process and repeat that over and over and over! and believe it or not, that’s the way you would be able to come up with great ideas.

This week’s tip, is not about being afraid, or about failure… It’s about the attitude, YES, the attitude. 

You need to start your project, with the attitude that you might fail, and it’s OK;
You need to start your project, with the attitude that you will embrace your mistakes;

You need to start your project knowing that the ending point, might not be the same as you expect it to be and it’s Still OK!

Do you want to succeed? then be ready to make mistakes and don’t take things too seriously… It’s not the end of the world, the more you do mistakes, the less your mistakes will have a major impact, and slowly, you will start having less and less… until you have very few.. It’s called Experience!

Cheers,
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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

Sometimes you need to start walking first

Sometimes you need to start walking first

In my humble experience in the field of education, and especially when talking about “Innovation in Education”, I get stumbled by the old and new approach of problem solving techniques, especially how teachers used to teach students on how to use a specific process that should pay off.

For so many years now, I’ve concentrated my work on Innovation, whether in Business, in Life and in Education; there was a common item that, depending on how you perceive it, can make or break your plan or solution all together… It’s your attitude and reaction towards making mistakes. In Schools, students were mostly NOT encouraged to make mistakes, and therefore possibly the most noted successful entrepreneurs of our age, were either college dropouts or whom received a negative feedback from their professors and these same people did stick to what they were after even though most considered them in the status of committing an academic and business suicide.

Now depending on who you are and how your brain functions, you may be the type of persons who would look for the solution end-to-end before starting the execution or someone who can think about the highlight and then dig into the details, or just someone who have no idea what he or she is doing, and starting to see where that leads to…

For this week’s post, i’ll be focusing on the person who doesn’t have a clue 🙂 

Sometimes in order to find a solution for a problem, you need to dive into a journey or possibilities, a journey of YES and NO; Instead of just standing there, you can start walking, and then change direction, and maybe come back where you come from and start over, and repeat the whole process all over, and All over again and again…. is that a Sign of weakness? a Sign or strength?? is the person who couldn’t find the solution less qualified than the one who can? well.. Not Really.

Here’s 2 Rules that I learned from working among professionals in the field of innovation and also from examining success stories:

  1. You need to be ready to make mistakes.. It’s OK!
  2. You need to keep an eye on what your mistake lead you to.

Some of the innovations that changes our world, were not originally intended to be like that, but instead the inventor was trying to get somewhere else…

So The tip for the week, whether you are trying to solve a personal or professional problem, start walking down your possibilities and see where that would lead you, cause in that process you might find something more valuable than what you were looking for in the first place.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Enjoy your Week!

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Samer Chidiac

 

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

 

Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall

So many of us would have a very common and specific question in our head… “The idea is not yet mature, should I wait till it is to start or should I just Start?” 

Well from the title of this article, you SHOULD Start… But only if you are planning to give your idea enough effort to succeed. You See Jumping without wings or parachute is the same as the intention to Suicide, but having all the tools and materials you need to fly is still an attempt to fly. 

How many times, you thought of an idea, and even decided that when “you have time” you will work on it, and then years later, you hear about it being built and promoted and made that person millions of dollars while you think that you would’ve done it better? my dear friend Wessam Zeidan always used to tell me.. “Your Idea is now Worth 20$, and that’s it will all be worth if you don’t execute it”

I would highlight to you the following: do you start typing your words and then you do a spell check, or you start looking up each of your words in the dictionary before you start typing? they both lead to the same outcome don’t they?

It’s almost the same when you are starting a project or you want to realize an idea, or even when you are taking a decision. You first need to have a vision of what you want to achieve, and then try to look up what you need to make this happen, and then START… and don’t worry, You Will work out the details as you go…

2015-09-04 15.26.10

Few days ago, the weather in Dubai was very sandy you can almost not see the buildings from the sand storm and driving was not very easy, but people didn’t need to see the entire road, they just need to see 50 meters before them, and accordingly they would take the decisions where to turn, when to stop, when to speed up and when to slow down.

It’s pretty much like Life, Put your goals in front of you, and start, and then start working out the details as you go. And just like the Highway of Dubai, you can always park in a gas station, refuel, have coffee and get some goodies to help you out in your way.

Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.
~Ray Bradbury

Enjoy your Week!

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Photo Credit: Elena Chepak
Photo Scene: Belarus
Model: Elena Chepak

Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

Patience is a virtue that pays off

It was back in 2010, I was scheduled to speak at an event about entrepreneurship, and the main audience was college students graduating the same year; The organizer was insisting that I talk about my career path and what were the lessons learned for me at a young age in a relatively challenging world.

It was about 45 minutes talk that covered many points, some were funny references, some sad and some very motivational… I finally ended up my speech with this:

One common attitude I used to find in fresh graduates I interviewed for various potions in my company was their apparent lack of patience, they want to reach to the top quickly and when you ask them where do they see themselves in 5 years, almost everyone would say : ‘A Manager’. Knowing that I love and admire ambition, I’m also a realistic person, and just because some 20 years old dropped out of college and made it big, doesn’t mean that it’s the right way to do things or it will happen to you JUST AS IT HAPPENED TO THEM.

But let me tell you a small secret: Patience is a Virtue that Pays off!

Practically, no one will care about how hard your start was, when your end was not a success, in fact, ironically, when you become successful, the MORE Miserable your life was, the more admirable your success is… At some point in time one of my jobs was removing dust from books in the university library and re-organizing the books in alphabetical order for what is equivalent to 60$ per month before I leave to my night shift job that paid 100$ per month and then rolling in the weekend to do some work for some additional 10-20$ / week and so on… I never looked down at my self, and I knew this was not the end… This is only the beginning and I need to be patient, cause great things WILL happen.. And Years later, I started making in 1 day of what an average classmate used to make in a full month…

Patience doesn’t have a value if you’re not paying much attention to almost every aspect of your life at that time, you could be waiting for a train to pass, but if you fall asleep waiting, you might just miss the train, and remember that it’s the VALUE that you bring to the company you work at is what matters and not the time you spend there, And Most importantly, when you reach your destination, it doesn’t really matter what had to happen in the process, you just REACHED THERE! I don’t really remember the exams I had to pass nor the grades I had on these exams… And guess what! till this day, after I became CEO and worked for one of the biggest companies in the world, Those Exams grades Still didn’t matter.

So today, 5 years later to that talk, I recall a time when I used to look up Job opportunities that perfectly matched my skills but where I was not interviewed because my years of experience didn’t match the requirements, and I still recalled the time (that I was lucky enough to have had) when I met the same Hiring Manager few years later, who was attending one of my talks, and was surprised that I was the  Keynote Speaker introducing a technology that he, himself thought I didn’t have experience to even work in one of his teams.

My advice this week is the following:

Don’t try to take shortcuts if you find the road is too long, as no road is too long for a destination worth reaching… Patience is a Virtue that Pays off… So Be Patient, and Keep Going!

Enjoy your Week!

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Photo Credit by Samer Chidiac
Scene Location: Beirut – Lebanon
For Purchasing & Licensing refer to 500px.com 

Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project

You can’t lead a horse if you’re not clear where you’re going

I recently had an interesting chat with a friend of mine, she is in the middle of a career-shift and was asking my opinion on how to proceed and what advice can she get from someone who pays a lot of attention on strategic thinking and the value of KNOWING WHERE YOU ARE GOING 🙂

Therefor, this week’s tip, is multi-purposed, it goes both ways, whether you are in looking how to move forward with your career, or simply evaluating where you are today.

Probably to start, I would highlight what Gandhi said about life and how there is more to life than simply increasing its speed,

There is more to life than simply increasing its speed. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

If we look a little bit and try to learn from a very dear creature to me, the horse 🙂 , you would greatly realize that your career moves you just like riding a horse; How? keep reading…

1. Clarity is Key

You really can’t expect to reach where you are going if you don’t know where you are heading, who do you want to be? what do you want to do? how do you expect to write a resume that is designed to talk JUST about you.. Where you are right now, and where you want to be… And most importantly How clear you are about your self. A horse somehow sense that when he is being LEAD, Driven or just a transport mean…

2.Your career is honest

In my personal opinion, Horses are the most Honest creatures you may encounter…A horse never forgets and never forgives, they can be more honest than humans, and just like horses, your career is honest as well, you can take bad decisions or wrong moves, and it will impact you for a long time…

3. Confidence, Bravery and Patience

You can learn a lot from a cowboy, they know that it’s not easy to be able to manage, manipulate, and train an animal of that size and ability, it requires confidence, and a lot of patience, as the horse needs first to understand what you expect from him, and then to be able to get to the point where they can ride and be in total control to get the horse to jump over that fence smoothly… Now that requires Bravery!

 4. Responsibility

When horse accepted man onto his back and chose to carry his burdens, it changed the world. So you have a big responsibility, to come out and care for that horse day in and day out and when you are sick or lazy, you can’t just decide not to come in. They depend on you. Same thing with your career.

 5. Partnership

Unlike a car, a horse is a real partner in your journey, and not just a mean of transportation; The horse will stop both of you from falling of a cliff, even if you were not paying attention, he would trust your leadership, although to be honest, he’s the one doing most of the execution, but he would know that you’re an integral part of the success of the activity.

So for this week, just remember that you can’t expect to just ride on a horse and they would do everything for you, you need to spend a lot of time and some really hard work, before you could enjoy the greatness of what a horse can give you… And same thing with your career… You shouldn’t expect things to come easy, but after a while, things pay back handsomely… with the essence of clarity.

This post is dedicated to K.D. and inspired by E.Ch. 

Enjoy your Week!

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Samer Chidiac

Samer Chidiac is a Sr. Strategist, Author & an International Innovation Expert.

The Monday Tip Weekly blog is part of the “Influencing the Life of Others” project