Adding Shine to your Resume, Cover Letter and
Recent questions I have received:
Ryan, you bring up a good point. The key is not to say that you are enthusiastic, that can sound phony, but to let your enthusiasm show through your description of past achievements.
Phony: "I would really love to work for your company. I know that I will excel in its fast pace environment, and if given the chance, I will do a great job".
Genuine: "During my summer internship, I very much enjoyed answering calls and helping solve customer problems. The experience was fascinating; it honed my communication skills and taught me to think on my feet. " (03/28/10)
The first question is a "bow and scrape" question, and I am sorry that you have to be subjected to this sort of thing. Some interviewers want you to grovel a bit and prove that you are worthy. Nonetheless, you still have to come up with a solid response.
The first thing to recognize is that this is an aggressive question, and aggressive questions should be answered with aggressive answers. Since this is a rather stupid aggressive question, you would be best off tactfully redirecting your response by answering a slightly broader, and better, question. What your interviewer really should be asking is why you are interested in a particular field, not a particular firm. Answering this question will get you where you need to go, but with more useful, honest content:
"From my past work experience and independent research, I realized that my skills are a strong fit for advertising and I am confident it is the right career direction for me. Being an assistant brand manager would be a great way for me to enter this business and I would be very excited to start my career at XYZ, a recognized leader in this field."
The questions you ask at the end of your interview should primarily serve you, and help you decide if the job is a good fit. Culture or work environment questions are good for that. Yes, if you do not ask a question, it could be interpreted negatively, but you should not worry about trying to impress your interviewer with a pithy question to make a strong impression; you have already done this or not!
Just don't say anything risky or inappropriate. I once had a candidate ask me to comment on a recent legal issue concerning my company. I guess she thought that she would win points for doing her homework, but I didn't take it that way. (03/01/10)
First impressions are key. Make sure that you are on time (which means getting there early!) and make sure that your appearance is smart. This will give you a boost of confidence. Also, practice answering possible interview questions in your head the night before. You want your delivery to be fluid but not scripted.
The most important thing during the interview is to make sure that you answer the question asked and don't ramble. Good luck! (2/25/10)
If you are an inexperienced job seeker, it is my opinion that you are better off giving examples of your skills for one simple reason - skills are often transferable to different situations whereas tasks are not.
For example, if you had a summer job working in a biology lab, your analytical and analysis skills may be similar to the skills needed in marketing, advertising, finance or administration, but your tasks of running tests and documenting your experiments are specific to a science laboratory and most likely will not be seen as transferable. (2/10/10)
First, your claim that you have excellent communications skills is an opinion. If I am reading your resume, I am not looking for your opinions. I am looking for your skills and evidence that you are a good fit for a particular job for which I am hiring. I want you to give me the supporting evidence and I will make my own decision as to the level of your skills.
Second, superlatives are a source of risk. People have widely different definitions of what "excellent" means and you will not always fit with their definition. If you fall below their expectations, you have seriously compromised your chances. (1/28/10)