Wednesday, February 29, 2012
doomed by lack of a CAP
The internal dialogue might have gone something like this: wow, a direct lead on a job. i’d better respond as quickly as possible. And respond he did. Unfortunately just a bit too fast, as the email to the potential employer read as follows. ‘Dear Ms. Smith—I just heard about your job opening from our mutual acquaintance, Mr. Z. I am writing to let you know that i am very interested in the position and have enclosed my resume. sincererly…..’
Did you catch it? That third i. Not a cap but small, casual, conversational and improper. If you didn’t catch it, rest assured the employer did. One job lead doomed before it could get off the ground and fly. A very sad ending indeed.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Acing the Phone Interview
An increasing number of job applicants are finding themselves faced with an initial phone interview, sort of a hoop through which to jump before getting some face time with a hiring manager. Though daunting in that the medium itself strips conversation of crucial non-verbal cues, there are a few ways to make this experience into more enjoyable and successful.
First, set up the right physical environment. For most people, that’s a quiet space at home, a room where there will be no distractions or competing noise. That includes pets, so make sure Fluffy has settled nicely onto the living room couch for a sound nap. One additional advantage of choosing a bedroom for this conversation is that typically there’s a mirror on the wall. And since you will have no one to look at while speaking, it’s not a bad idea to look at yourself. A one person audience, as it were. Granted, this might feel weird and most people don’t take me up on this suggest but it definitely does work. Looking at someone with a smile on their face—even if it IS you!—is much more energizing than talking into the air.
Second, not enough can be said about being prepared. Research the company, google your interviewer, print out a copy of your resume, write out notes (another advantage of the phone interview—you can glance at your notes and no one will notice) and think through your answers before encountering the questions. This is especially true for phone interviews where silence seems to stretch out longer than in real life.
Finally, relax and be yourself. Smile—seriously, don’t neglect a smile—and forget about trying to be perfect. Look to connect with the person on the other end of the line. They are, after all, trying to solve the knotty problem of a vacant position and you might just be the one to make their day.
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
What’s it like to be a…..missionary—with an engineering background?
My job title is: Missionary
My actual position is:
Project manager / fundraiser / administrator / teacher
What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
From the outside it might look like a desk job with lots of meetings, errands, and time doing strange things. While it is true that most of the work happens behind a desk or at a meeting table, the job is different every day. The goal is to make ministry happen as an engineering-type person. Some days the need is to prepare detailed plans, other days, detailed budgets. I might head out on some days to the projects or to the workshops or a training session. There are enough projects to work on that the ministry activities and special projects kind of average themselves out around the calendar. But the fall is generally the season for starting things and summer gets almost too hot to be outside. One big change over time has been a growing appreciation for the difficulty of doing international ministry. We deal with things the old-timers never considered – anti-terrorism laws, child protection policies, anti-money laundering systems, complex immigration laws, and other such things. Business and legal knowledge is a big part of ministry today.
What other, if any, positions have you held prior to your current job? How did you get to where you are now?
I have been a practicing hospital engineer, product designer, software engineer, business owner, and missionary field director. I got this position by trying to do the right thing when it was time to move on from the previous thing.
What kind of training/education did you have? What would you suggest? What qualifications/skills/attributes make someone successful in this position?
I have a Master’s Degree and a bit more in the field of Biomedical Engineering. I have tried to keep up with continuing education ever since. I wish I had studied a bit more economics, politics, and communication theory as they seem very relevant in today’s world. But I strongly suggest that people study what excites them. Project management requires the ability to see both big picture and details of the goal, plus the skills to keep people and things moving so that the goal is met.