Thursday, November 13, 2008

Career Inklings from Columbia

Get Out of Your Shell to Find a New Career!

By Janet M. Ruck

Are you afraid to talk about yourself? Do interviews make you squirm? It can be difficult to speak positively about yourself and your accomplishments, especially if you’ve been taught that it’s “not nice to boast.” But to be a competitive, viable candidate for a new job or career during these difficult economic times, it is important that you get over your fear of bragging and develop some techniques for “tooting your own horn”.

In my work as a career counselor, I find that many of my clients shy away from applying for jobs because of their fear of interviewing. But, with some preparation, a few techniques to get over their shyness (which I call “fear of I-ness”) and practice, they are prepared to get out there and compete.

If you find yourself suffering from “fear of I-ness”, try this the next time you are called for an interview:

Before the Interview
- Research the employer
- Identify your talents and skills and relate them to the job
- Know your career-related interests and values
- List some accomplishments to answer the question: "Why should we hire you?"
- Develop a response to the statement: "Tell me about yourself"
- Anticipate and write out the answers to possible interview questions
- Practice interviewing (out loud) with someone who can coach you

During the Interview
- Get to the interview on time and with a positive attitude
- Dress appropriately, shake hands, smile, be yourself!
- Know what is in your resume, and bring an extra copy
- Be interested and confident
- Be able to articulate your skills

After the Interview
- Send a thank you note
- “Grade” yourself on your performance so you can learn for the next interview

Interviewing is a skill itself, and the more you practice, the better you’ll be. Don’t let your fear of I-ness keep you from coming out of your shell!

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