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  • Jul 6th, 2012 10:21 pm
[OP]
Banned
Nov 27, 2006
2200 posts
444 upvotes
Toronto

Real Advice

Every day I read alot of threads on here about people applying for jobs, an impossible job market, how you need 30 degrees to land a low paying job, etc, etc, etc.

I am going to share some advice with you guys here.

You would think that giving out good advice to people would help them, but it doesn't because most people won't act on it.

Anyway, first the story and I will make it vague:

I got hired right out of school. I didn't finish from a prestigous business school. I didn't get hired into the CEO position. I didn't get hired making $90K a year. Infact Im still the bottom of the barrel if you ask me. However I did get hired and I make more money than most of my peers.

What did I do to beat out my friends that applied for the same job? How is it that me, an average dude beat out alot of people?

PRACTICE

1) I knew I had an upcoming telephone interview. What did I do?
a) I went to the career centre at my school and spoke to a councilor. We went over all the questions that they could potentially ask.
b) I wrote out responses for the standrad question pool
c) Although I didn't memorize them, I remembered the important parts to help me create things to say about it.

2) I knew I had an upcoming behavioural interview over the phone. What did I do?
a) I looked up all the common behavioural type questions
b) I created answers that would high light my skills and abilities important to the job.
c) I practiced them.

3) THE ACTUAL IN PERSON INTERVIEW. What did I do?

a) I spent HOURS infront of a mirror practicing the simplest question..... TELL ME ABOUT YOUR SELF.
There is an entire ART form out there on how to answer this question. How long it should be and what it should contain. I memorized this. When my interviewer/hiring managers (it was 2 of them) asked me, so XXXXXXX tell me about your self, it flowed like water from my mouth. PERFECT. If you can't start on a good foot, you're pretty much screwed.

b) I wore my best wardrobe that I had at the time.

c) I was confident, but not to confident to make me look cocky. I didn't come off as a "I am entitled to this job" I came off as a personable human being that the interviewers could talk to and level with.


And that is it.

If you think you are going to go into an interview for a job that you desperately need, without taking the time to prepare for it then you wont get it. Many of my friends were very envious of my success because many had applied for the same job. None of them practiced. They went into it acting like it would be the easiest thing ever and they would smooth talk their way out of it because they had done it at their McJob before. When they failed, they blamed it on other circumstances "the ***** HR people" "the stupid questions" etc.

Not saying the market isn't ***** . But if you don't believe in your self first, you're not going anywhere. So practice and make those things you are good at, jump out.
14 replies
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May 4, 2010
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People have to want to inherently do these things....I've met far too many people who were beyond clueless, despite having the world at their fingertips who didn't do even the most basic research. In fact it didn't even cross their minds. They just kind of naively expected it to work out.

That point of view always boggled my mind but my class was full of these types who acted totally helpless, ignorant and clueless.

It it totally up to you.
[OP]
Banned
Nov 27, 2006
2200 posts
444 upvotes
Toronto
Ya, I really can't emphasize the word Practice enough. Just like you practice math problems.

I just hope that some people with a bad streak can turn it around because as bad as the job market is, I see new people getting hired every day.
Sr. Member
Mar 9, 2008
739 posts
86 upvotes
Winnipeg
My advice: Bring REAL skills to the table and you'll never have to worry about being unemployed/underemployed.

A monkey could probably sit in a desk and browse rfd all day, but unless that job is in government, it probably pays crap.

I know that there is a lot of hostility towards the trades in this forum, but any kind of apprenticeship beats the hell out of most university degrees. Same with a lot of professional career programs (MLt, respiratory therapy, etc).

I used to frown upon individuals who undertook these routes, but most of the professionals I know are in meaningful jobs doing what they love doing. What the hell is wrong with that?
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Feb 16, 2010
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mastercool wrote: My advice: Bring REAL skills to the table and you'll never have to worry about being unemployed/underemployed.

A monkey could probably sit in a desk and browse rfd all day, but unless that job is in government, it probably pays alot.

I know that there is a lot of hostility towards the trades in this forum, but any kind of apprenticeship beats the hell out of most university degrees. Same with a lot of professional career programs (MLt, respiratory therapy, etc).

I used to frown upon individuals who undertook these routes, but most of the professionals I know are in meaningful jobs doing what they love doing. What the hell is wrong with that?
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[OP]
Banned
Nov 27, 2006
2200 posts
444 upvotes
Toronto
mastercool wrote: My advice: Bring REAL skills to the table and you'll never have to worry about being unemployed/underemployed.

A monkey could probably sit in a desk and browse rfd all day, but unless that job is in government, it probably pays crap.

I know that there is a lot of hostility towards the trades in this forum, but any kind of apprenticeship beats the hell out of most university degrees. Same with a lot of professional career programs (MLt, respiratory therapy, etc).

I used to frown upon individuals who undertook these routes, but most of the professionals I know are in meaningful jobs doing what they love doing. What the hell is wrong with that?

Bring REAL skills is great, except every other Joe Shmoe out there has real skills at well.

The reality is, if you think you have REAL skills, you'll be surprised how many people out there are better than you. So unfortunately, real skills isn't the only metric to calculate success.

Most jobs out there, trades, computers, etc, can be done by monkeys. The point is to prove that you are the right monkey to do the job.

The thing is, your post reflects EXACTLY what is wrong with the logic most people use. They go into interviews thinking that somehow they are more superior than the next guy - its a flaw with most people actually. And that's where you lose out and the person that practiced wins out.

This is where the word entitlement comes in and why people have issues with interviews.

One last thing, you have to be able to explain your "REAL skills" before someone will just invest you, and part of showing off your real skills is having the reference experience to prove it - e.g. talking about what you've done in the past - at school or work.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 18, 2003
5729 posts
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Mississauga
Good advice but the problem is even getting to the interview stage...you need to know someone.
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May 4, 2010
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It's true....most jobs can be done by multiple people. You're not a special snowflake to do it alone. There are a lot of people out there with the same titles doing the same type of job - you are not irreplaceable.

As cliche as it sounds, a lot of the time it's about personality and 'fit' more so then how great your technical skills are especially in particular industries where the work isn't necessarily difficult or specialized. Don't forget this factor, people want to work with those they like and can relate to.

It really is a hit an miss....a lot of it is luck, timing and then you.

All you can really do is change up whatever you're doing if it's not working for you and KEEP YOURSELF EDUCATED on what's going on out there and in your industry. It always made me laugh when I could talk intelligently about the industry and what was going on trend wise with my age group to my peers, it gained me respect and showed my intelligence/initiative.

I remember being naive and sheltered wondering why I couldn't get any job in the midst of the recession (2009) and I started reading the newspaper/the business section and it opened up my eyes and make me much more wise. I didn't blame the government etc. it just made me grow up and realize some hard truths and gave me perspective. All too often we remain willfully ignorant, this will literally get you nowhere.

You have to want to do what it takes, have the drive for it. I was willing to start a low wage doing really low end work just to get the experience and now I can say I'm working in the industry I went to school for - I proved myself and got a promotion. Don't expect things to be handed to you, or compare yourself to others. Everyones journey to the same place is different. Don't place to much emphasis on your degree - its one in a million. You need the experience to go a long with it.

I'm always very blunt with people who don't get these things and they view it as harsh but it's just how things are done, I view it as a nice wake up call - especially now a days.
Sr. Member
Mar 9, 2008
739 posts
86 upvotes
Winnipeg
sirex wrote: Bring REAL skills is great, except every other Joe Shmoe out there has real skills at well.

The reality is, if you think you have REAL skills, you'll be surprised how many people out there are better than you. So unfortunately, real skills isn't the only metric to calculate success.

Most jobs out there, trades, computers, etc, can be done by monkeys. The point is to prove that you are the right monkey to do the job.

The thing is, your post reflects EXACTLY what is wrong with the logic most people use. They go into interviews thinking that somehow they are more superior than the next guy - its a flaw with most people actually. And that's where you lose out and the person that practiced wins out.

This is where the word entitlement comes in and why people have issues with interviews.

One last thing, you have to be able to explain your "REAL skills" before someone will just invest you, and part of showing off your real skills is having the reference experience to prove it - e.g. talking about what you've done in the past - at school or work.
When I'm talking about REAL skills, I'm not talking about that generic resume writing/interview prepping BS that any monkey can learn on their own...

A 'monkey' cannot walk into a pharmacist, doctor, or a chartered accountant job. Same can be said for a fully licensed trades person. These skills typically require a lot of time invested and have a high barrier to entry, thus pay well. You make what your worth. If you don't like the pay or opportunities presented, you shouldn't have problems finding work in another area of the country, or world.

Also what a lot of people in school may or may not realize is most university programs have 0% reference to what the real world is actually like. Sure there are group projects, the pressures of exams and, in some cases, a vibrant social atmosphere, but that doesn't change the fact that in most cases what you'll be doing in the work world will be significantly different than what you studied in school.

If your in one of these programs though, you can't go wrong with co-op. ANY education is useless without work experience and more of the reason why those qualifications I mentioned are so valuable is that they require years of work experience to become a professional in the field.
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Oct 3, 2010
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Ducky wrote: Good advice but the problem is even getting to the interview stage...you need to know someone.
Bang on. +1

I read the first post and there are some good suggestions.

The problem isn't at the interview stage (phone interview & in person interview) for some individuals. I guess the main problem is that most people aren't getting any calls in the first place (reasons: little experience, no experience, bad resume, too many candidates applied for the job, HR system filtered out hundreds of candidates).
[OP]
Banned
Nov 27, 2006
2200 posts
444 upvotes
Toronto
mastercool wrote: When I'm talking about REAL skills, I'm not talking about that generic resume writing/interview prepping BS that any monkey can learn on their own...

A 'monkey' cannot walk into a pharmacist, doctor, or a chartered accountant job. Same can be said for a fully licensed trades person. These skills typically require a lot of time invested and have a high barrier to entry, thus pay well. You make what your worth. If you don't like the pay or opportunities presented, you shouldn't have problems finding work in another area of the country, or world.

Also what a lot of people in school may or may not realize is most university programs have 0% reference to what the real world is actually like. Sure there are group projects, the pressures of exams and, in some cases, a vibrant social atmosphere, but that doesn't change the fact that in most cases what you'll be doing in the work world will be significantly different than what you studied in school.

If your in one of these programs though, you can't go wrong with co-op. ANY education is useless without work experience and more of the reason why those qualifications I mentioned are so valuable is that they require years of work experience to become a professional in the field.
To be honest, I only replied to humour you, because I really don't see the point of this post or the last one you made. It has nothing to do with the OP. The OP is about the interview process and what you need to do succeed.

Some people dont make the interview process, but there are also reason for that as well - They dont prep their resumes properly. You'd be surprised how many people can't do a proper resume, even after being told.

As for real skills, you keep going on and on about real skillz, but you still don't seem to understand or grasp that it is not the only thing that matters. You're not going to get the job if you can't present yourself. It doesn't matter if you're a doctor, lawyer, etc. No one will want to work with you, or be treated by you.

Your posts just seem to be geared against hating university grads and jobs that dont fit the "real skills" department that you've created out of some random bias.
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Feb 15, 2008
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Ducky wrote: Good advice but the problem is even getting to the interview stage...you need to know someone.
+1, this is the giant problem. Even if you're the best qualified out of the 50-100 that apply for the same position, chances are pretty good that you're not going to get the job if only 5-10 resumes are drawn from the pile for review. No matter how good your cover letter/interview practice/qualifications are.
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Deal Addict
Jun 29, 2009
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Ducky wrote: Good advice but the problem is even getting to the interview stage...you need to know someone.
world25 wrote: Bang on. +1
Network helps ...
but that also often just an excuse / scapegoat for your own weaknesses. The usual "it's always someone else's fault" attitude.

There are many people who are able to get interviews and jobs without having connections.
All my jobs so far are never through connections, either I applied directly or a recruiter contacted me just because of my LinkedIn profile.
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Feb 15, 2008
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damnos wrote: Network helps ...
but that also often just an excuse / scapegoat for your own weaknesses. The usual "it's always someone else's fault" attitude.

There are many people who are able to get interviews and jobs without having connections.
All my jobs so far are never through connections, either I applied directly or a recruiter contacted me just because of my LinkedIn profile.
Good for you, but there are fields out there that are saturated beyond belief with applicants. At some point, you can't just blame attitude. Some folks are just in hot fields, and they'll have better luck. In my field, yeah, in the 1990s, I had cold calling recruiters bugging me even in school. After the collapse, however...
TodayHello wrote: ...The Banks are smarter than you - they have floors full of people whose job it is to read Mark77 posts...
Jr. Member
Nov 8, 2009
133 posts
37 upvotes
Burlington
the most thing i do not believe about the interview is interviews are done by human, and all human have personal opinions on behavior choices.

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