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Archive for January, 2014

Archive: Career Complaints can lead to bigger problems — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 31st, 2014 Comments off

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Over the course of any career, you are sure to have complaints both large and small. It is a simple fact of life that our work is not always perfect. That said, some people can fall into the role of the constant complainer – someone who always has a complaint at hand, ready to toss it into any conversation, whether appropriate or not. Worse still, these people can lead others down the wrong path and enable them to become a constant complainer, as well.

Now, this is not to say that you will never have anything to complain about, but complaining without thinking or attempting to resolve your problems first is absolutely worthless. Complainers that rebut any attempt to help them out of their situation, or those that constantly find one problem after another, will soon find themselves outcast by both their co-workers and possible even their company. You need to make sure that if you have a complaint, you are the first one to offer up possible solutions to the problem. Your initial solutions might not work, but they pave the way for others to get involved and work on the problem with you. Constant complainers can sometimes get their problems resolved, but it is usually out of the frustration of others than any sincere attempt to solve the problem itself.

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Complaining can be dangerous to everyone in a company, as well. It has a way of spreading throughout a company if left unchecked. Even the smallest complaints can take on a life of their own, especially if there are some accomplished complainers to keep the issue alive. Complaining can also be dangerous to you individually, too. There have been times in my career when I have had to actively avoid some co-workers in order to remove myself from a bad situation. You have to be aware of what is happening and short circuit the complaint cycle if is becoming unproductive. Otherwise, you run the danger of being lumped together with the complainers when management decides to address the issue. The fact is, management could decide to remove the constant complainers rather than address the source of the complaints.

Due to all these issues, it can be very helpful to have outside resources to discuss your career and work complaints. In this way, you can work towards resolving your issues without effecting your day-to-day reputation. I consider this the best of both worlds. In some cases, this might be your friends who work for other companies, your mentor or anyone with a kindly ear. I know I often call upon my friend, Sam, when I am facing a difficulty with a client. He knows me well enough to offer good advice and knows that I will accept that advice without reservation even if I can’t act on it, at the moment. Sometimes, the most important thing we need is simply someone to listen.

To offer up another resource for discussing your career issues, I recently started a regular Career Complaints topic on the Career Opportunities forums at forums.friendsintech.com. Here you can discus your career issues, work issues, fears and wishes with a dedicated group completely disconnected from your workplace. I only have one stipulation for this forum, beyond the usual requests to be professional and polite. If you have a career complaint, you have to have one thought, one idea, one plan on how you can address the issue before you bring it up in the forum.

I know, sometimes it can be difficult to see your way out of a problem when you are buried inside it, but by looking for one possible change, no matter how small, it forces you to think about your problem as unemotionally as possible. It is in this conscious thought that you find the beginning of a solution. This is as true for life as it is for your career. Don’t worry, though, I will respond to any posts to this forum area and your fellow Career Opportunities readers and listeners are sure to chime in, as well. You won’t be alone. I only ask that you take the first step in building your own personal solution to your problem.The next time you are tempted to gather around the water cooler and complain about your job or your career, I hope you will turn to your friends and family, or the Career Opportunities forums, so you can develop the solutions you need without damaging your reputation or your career.

***

Attend college to develop a life and career, not just get a job — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 27th, 2014 Comments off

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Even in this year of 2014, I still meet lots of people, either just entering college or just finishing, who think that their time in college was intended to just get them a job. Like following some class rubric, they put in the time, check the checkboxes and expect to be hired within weeks. While I don’t think a college degree ever necessarily worked this way in the past, I think it is even less true to today. You don’t go to college to get a job. You go to college to learn facts and skills that you can apply to any number of jobs when the time comes. You never can tell what curves you will be thrown in your life and trying to learn just those items you need to a specific job could leave you unemployed once you graduate.


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If you want to make yourself most employable — and who doesn’t — you need to think about your career in a wider sense. You aren’t going to graduate to be an accountant. You are going to graduate to be someone who works with numbers in a business settings. The range of jobs outside the typical scope of “accountant” is far greater than within. If you focus too tightly or too closely on any specific job, you could be greatly limiting your opportunities. Even in a role as specific as an architect, there are an infinite number of gradations and colorations to the job you might eventually find.

If you only have one idea of what it means to be an architect, you are going to find your job opportunities very limited. Even worse, your concept of what an architect “is” might not even exist by the time you reach the job market. Look at the changes that have occurred in all areas of work and you will see this is not that farfetched an idea. Entire swathes of jobs and careers have been virtually eliminated in the last 20 years. You must be aware of this and direct your education accordingly to provide for the greatest opportunity once you emerge.

You need widely applicable skills

No matter what your area of study, general or specific, scientific or artistic, high-tech or high-touch, you are best served by developing skills that are widely applicable to any number of jobs. Sure, if your interest lies in architecture or engineering there will be some very specific facts and skills you will need, but you also need to consider others. A few that come to mind include presentation skills and the ability to speak in front of others — and do it persuasively. There isn’t one architect who doesn’t need these skills to help insure their projects get built and yet these same skills apply to any job you might seek.

The fact is, the job and career you develop after you leave college often little resembles the career you might have envisioned. Life and reality have a way of pushing us about sometimes. Maybe you can’t or don’t want to move outside the area where you grew up. That puts immediate limits on the available jobs. Perhaps you discover during college you aren’t that fond of certain aspects of your chosen work. You are going to have to seek out jobs that better suit your wants and needs. This changes things yet again.

By developing widely applicable skills, you gain the freedom to bob and weave your way through your life and career, just like an expert basketball or football player. When you have enough skill and education, you can zig one way while everyone else is zagging the other. This is what will allow you develop the career you deserve instead of settling for whatever life hands you. If college fills you with unneeded skills or skills for a particular type of work you dislike, it blocks you out of certain jobs and careers and can even leave you feeling trapped by decisions you made 4-6 years ago.

While colleges, advisors, your friends and family, will often counsel you to focus on a very specific goal, job and career, I believe you are better off understanding that life often changes quite drastically and you need the ability to be flexible. Have goals, surely, but be adaptable when faced with change and adversity. Never stop striving for something you want, but be very, very sure you actually want it before you sacrifice everything else.

***

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Archive: Turning one client into many — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 24th, 2014 Comments off

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Recently I wrote about how computer consultants could find an entirely new set of clients, and maybe even a new place to live, by building connections with hotels and resorts. It only makes sense to develop relationships where one client is in a position to refer you to many more. Additionally, I have also written about the importance of referrals to any consulting career.

This week I had an experience that expanded this concept even further. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but, as with many good ideas, I only discovered it in the course of my work. It is a natural part of any consulting business that you often make clients of people who once worked for you. In my case, a contractor who remodeled part of our house has hired me several times over the last few years to maintain his office and home computers. When he launched a new endeavor, running a high-end photo studio, he called me in once again.

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As it happened, this studio was connected to a property management company that owns both residential and office properties. In fact, they were remodeling part of the photo studio building into office suites which were rapidly filling up. Before I really knew what had happened, I became the de facto computer consultant not only for the photo studio and the property management company, but everyone who rented from them. Through this one connection, I have added 3 new clients in the last 2 months. Even better, they are all at one location, so I can make one visit to handle a number of problems. Sweet!

You don’t have to wait for situations like this to just occur, though. There are a variety of ways that you actively and aggressively pursue these opportunities. First, start with your existing clients. Do they have the ability to make you the default recommendation for all their clients? Maybe they haven’t even thought about it. You need to plant the idea in their mind and see if there is a way for you help to make it happen. You should make it as easy as possible for them, too. Give them special business or referral cards and include a code so you can track the source of all your referrals.

Depending on the nature of your current clients, though, you might need to look for other methods of expanding your client base. Using my experience above, one great source could be courting property management companies. As I said, I never really thought much about these companies, but now I keep seeing greater and greater opportunities there. You don’t necessarily have to pursue the big companies that run huge high-rises, either. Connecting with the owner of a local mini-mall, or a small group of office suites, is a great place to start. In some ways, you might even generate more work with these smaller groups since there tends to be more turnover among the clients. Since most of your work will probably come from new tenants moving in, this will probably be a bulk of your work. These small organizations are also a better place to start for an individual consultant like myself. Since the number of clients is limited, and in one geographic area, you should be able to serve them by yourself.

Now, of course, if you can partner with a larger company, it could be a major stepping stone to growing your business into a major consultancy. Think of the number of individual businesses in a typical high-rise. Also, think about the specialized needs of one business over another. You might have medical practices, law firms, online services and more, all waiting for someone with your technical expertise.

Take some time to think about the possibilities and I am sure you will discover a number of ways to expand your business. How about partnering with your banker? If they deal with small businesses getting loans to start their business or expansion projects, the companies might also need help with their technology decisions. Finally, check out all the small computer sales and service shops in your area. Do they offer on-site service? If not, perhaps they would recommend you to their customers.

Imagine all the possibilities and I am sure you will find a lot of opportunities. Can you set up a meeting with the owners of that high-rise office building on the corner? How about the small set of office suites above the dry cleaners? How about that 5-star resort in Beverly Hills, Sedona or Las Vegas? It is possible that their clients might just be your clients, someday, soon.

***

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Archive: High-Tech Hybrids — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 22nd, 2014 Comments off

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Reader letters over the last year have had me thinking about the exact definition of a high-tech career. Just a few years ago it would have been easier to describe. If you worked in high-tech you were either a programmer, in network management or tech support. Today, though, as technology has crept further and further into our everyday lives, high-tech workers might show up anywhere in a business, with titles not necessarily reflecting their high-tech work. These “hybrids” have combined their technical skills with other talents and created an entirely new group of high-tech workers. Even more, these new hybrid jobs might become the future of all high-tech work.

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Moving over

One of the most frequent questions I receive involves people who are seeking to make a move from their existing career into high-tech. In some cases, they have found that their current careers are not a good fit with their temperament or desires. Others are simply looking for the monetary benefits of working in high-tech, which traditionally pay better than most other positions.

Whatever the reason for their change, my usual response to them is to develop a hybrid job. It has been my experience that when you are transitioning into a high-tech career, experience is the most important factor of all. In order to get hired and make this career move, you need demonstrable technology skills that provide a solution to a company. One way of developing this experience, and your resume, is to find a position that combines some traditional skills and knowledge with your technology skills. For example, a para-legal might look for positions that could use their legal skills to help develop or sell software for law offices. If you have an engineering degree, perhaps you could become an important resource for engineering companies who are seeking to expand the use of technology in developing their projects. The goal is to develop a hybrid position, which can develop your high-tech resume so that you can move into a more “pure” high-tech position in the future.

As I was developing this column, though, I began to realize that a hybrid job need not be just a stepping stone. As technology becomes more and more integrated into our lives these hybrid careers may become the norm instead of the exception. I see now that hybrid careers could help companies better utilize technology while also helping you achieve higher levels of job fulfillment.
Imagine being on a building project and talking to a tech support person who understood not only the CAD program they were supporting but also had a grounding in the basics of architecture and engineering. How about a programmer who was able to use his/her knowledge of accounting to design a better system for tracking budgets and expenditures? It would even work for the network manager who had a deep understanding of the needs of salespeople on the road, so that the corporate network was accessible no matter where staff members traveled. There are almost no areas in business where combining technical knowledge with another specialization would not lead to better technology design and use.

Finding a balance

Not only does the concept of high-tech hybrids work for those entering the high-tech world, it can also be a boon to those of you already deeply involved in a high-tech career. Pure high-tech jobs, such as programmers, require a very specific temperament and personality. Too often I encounter people who have developed a high-tech career only to realize that, perhaps, it isn’t the best fit for them.

Maybe they are spending all day developing programs to manage ATMs at your local bank when they have little to no interest in banking. Perhaps they are developing a network for retail stores, but have no desire to understand the workings of this environment. This type of situation can lead to worker dissatisfaction and quick burn out.

If you find yourself increasingly dissatisfied with your current job, perhaps you should be investigating some form of hybrid career. If you have a deep interest in photography, why not find a position at a company that produces digital cameras and the software that operates them. Not only would you be more interested in your job, the company would gain someone who could bridge the gap between the art, science and technology that is digital photography. Everyone wins.

You owe it to yourself to make a change. There is no reason to continue slogging away in some generic corporate environment, working on projects that hold no interest for you. Find a position that not only engages your technology skills, but also your heart. This is a sure way to better your life and your high-tech career.

***

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Speaking: Douglas speaks on “A Year of Opportunity” at Tuesdays with Transitioners, February 18 @ 12 Noon, Northridge, CA

January 21st, 2014 Comments off

Dew 2013

I’ll be speaking to one of my favorite groups, Tuesdays with Transitioners on “A Year of Opportunity”, a topic based on my recent Career Opportunities column of the same name.


When: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 – 12 Noon – 2 pm [RSVP here

Where: Tuesdays with Transitioners, Congregational Church of Northridge, 9659 Balboa Boulevard, Northridge, CA [Map]

Topic:

Year opportunity

A Year of Opportunity

Every year Douglas E. Welch selects a theme for his long-running column and podcast, Career Opportunities. This year, Douglas believes it is “A Year of Opportunity”

Building a successful career in 2014 requires that we focus on 3 things this year, including:

  1. Attracting Opportunity
  2. Recognizing Opportunity
  3. Accepting Opportunity

Attracting opportunity to you begins with telling my those around you “what you do and how well you do it.” This can take many forms, but in today’s world it usually starts with social media like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. If you develop good connections, share great information and generally help those connected to you, you can’t help but attract opportunity to you.

Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” This is still true today. Work that expands our lives and careers should be sought out and embraced, even if there is a bit of hard work involved. In fact, most opportunities worth pursuing require hard work of some sort. Life doesn’t often give you gold simply for being you. You need to share your knowledge and show your worth and this often means some long hours, if not actual physical labor. In fact, if you don’t feel that a project is worth putting in a good deal of hard work, it is very possible that the project isn’t important enough for you to pursue. You may need to look for another opportunity that you love enough to commit to it completely — hard work and all.

Finally, you will need to accept the opportunities that come your way, even if they seem a little wild, a little challenging and even a little frightening. Remember, fear is a great indicator of projects and opportunities that we need to investigate further. It shows that there is a challenge there, a stretching of our thoughts and abilities in new and different ways. An open door can be scary, but it can also lead to a new, better, greater, more exciting, more fulfilling life and career than you can even imagine.


Douglas E. Welch is writer and host of Career Opportunities, a long running column and podcast dedicated to “Helping to Build the Career You Deserve!” Career Opportunities began in 1997 as a magazine column and expanded to a podcast in 2004. Douglas is also a New Media Consultant, Technology and Career Consultant with over 30 years experience in high-tech. You can find all of Douglas’ work at DouglasEWelch.com.

What works for others might not work for you — from the Career Opportunities podcast

January 20th, 2014 Comments off

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If you are like most people, you are constantly researching, reading and watching to find ways to make your career and life better. You read blogs, listen to podcasts, watch videos to see how others have achieved success — more importantly — how you might achieve success, too.


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While it is certainly important to learn as much as you can, you should hold one, fundamental thought in the back of your mind. No matter how much success someone else has achieved, what worked for them might not work for you. Each of us is unique, with our own set of wants, needs and desires. Therefore our methods can and must be different, too. Sure we can take advice from others, adapt their behaviors, try on their methods and tactics, but there will times when we simply can’t use their information, simply because of our own unique differences.

When we are younger, it is deeply important that you experiment, listen to the advice of others and see if that advice can improve your life. If you are like me, though, over time you will find that certain types of seemingly universal advice don’t work for you. In my case, every call to focus exclusively on one specific item in my career and life falls on deaf ears. While it certainly might be great advice, for some personal reason, it simply doesn’t work for me. I think you will find the same thing in your career and life. No matter how many times or ways you hear a particular piece of advice, you will find yourself unable or unwilling to follow it. Let me be the first to tell you something that I have had to learn in my own career — it’s OK.

Over time you can gain quite a deep knowledge of your own wants, needs and desires and this is exactly why some advice, — no matter how seemingly useful or appropriate — doesn’t work for you. There is some piece of self-knowledge that says, “You can’t argue with success in what that person does, but I simply can’t do it myself.” Sometimes you may know a very clear reason why you can’t take the advice, but at other times it can simply be a general hunch, a feeling, an unpleasant nudge that you can’t engage in this behavior or another.

When faced with this issue, many people will simply re-double their efforts, try harder, force themselves to do whatever needs to be done. I think this is counterproductive, though. If you have made an effort to learn and listen to others, but still can’t find a way to make their advice work, perhaps you need to stop trying to make their methods your methods. It is better to learn that some methods don’t work for you, and find other methods that do, instead of trying to “force the square peg into the round hole.” Try the advice on for size, sure, but then carefully watch the results both externally and internally. If the results are negative for you, personally, you need to discard the advice and look elsewhere.

I believe that trying to force yourself to use other’s methods can damage your career and your life. Trying to force yourself to become something you are not, to act in ways you find uncomfortable, use methods you find annoying or even unethical lead to anxiety, fear and unhappiness. The advice you are forcing yourself to follow becomes a burden, not something that lifts you up. Don’t blindly accept the advice of others as the truth, nor beat yourself up for being unable or unwilling to follow it. Rather, accept that you are a unique individual and, no matter how successful, what works for others may not work for you. This doesn’t mean the advice isn’t valid or doesn’t work for some. It only means it doesn’t work for you, in this particular place and time in your life and career.

Never stop seeking advice and methods to improve your life and career, but adopt a new attitude. Embrace that advice that helps you grow and build your career and leave behind that advice that goes contrary to your own, intrinsic beliefs. This doesn’t make you are bad person — or a failure — but rather someone who has developed deep self-knowledge or your wants, needs and desires. Sometimes the best you can do with advice is ignore it, for your own personal benefit and the benefit of your career.

***

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Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – January 19, 2014

January 19th, 2014 Comments off

Jobs offered

 CareerCampSCV (Santa Clarita Valley) 2013 - 88 

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, organizer of Tuesdays with Transitioners posted these job listings recently. Join Tuesdays with Transitioners Meetup group to receive these job listings directly via Meetup.com and email. 

  • Vice President of Marketing, ICON Aircraft (Los Angeles)
  • Sr. Executive Administrative Assistant, Medtronics (Northridge)
  • Director of CRM Analytics, 20th Century Fox (Los Angeles)
  • Full-time Bookkeeper (Glendale)
  • International Sales Coordinator
 
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Jobs Available – Listings of all types at Jobs.WelchWrite.com – Search by keyword and location

January 17th, 2014 Comments off

Looking for a job? There are a host of job listings available on Jobs.WelchWrite.com every day.

Enter the keywords you are searching for and your location to get fresh and focused listings.

Career jobs

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Archive: Take time for a mid-year review — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 17th, 2014 Comments off

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Here in the U.S., the end of one year, and the beginning of the next always brings out our desire to reflect on the past and plan for the future. We look back over the past year and note what we would like to change and then look forward, through New Year’s resolutions, goals and other plans. Unfortunately, by the time we reach the mid-point of the year in June, many of those thoughts have been forgotten, resolutions have been abandoned and we might find ourselves so immersed in our day-to-day work that we have lost all memory of what we had planned to do. If you aren’t doing it already, I highly recommend taking an hour, a day or even a week to re-evaluate the current state of your life and career so you can re-adjust your actions to re-focus on your goals.

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As you head into the height of the summer, it is easy to lose sight of your goals. Business is moving at a blistering pace, family obligations are increasing and vacations might even be on the near horizon. There is so much competing for your attention that you tend to jump from one activity to another. So the first step in your mid-year review is to stop. That’s right. Carve out a portion of a day, or maybe several days, just to review and think about where you want to be by the end of the year. If you don’t do it now, it is very likely that you will be well off target when December arrives. This review gives you a chance to adjust your direction or even turn it completely around.

Maybe you have forgotten to follow up on an important issues, client or project. Perhaps you have discovered that this project is no longer important or has moved you in a direction you don’t want. It could be that some goals have been achieved or rendered unimportant. What new goals should be added? Life changes a lot in 6 months and you if you don’t take the time to review, you are likely to be pulled along with the current of life until you are reminded at the end of the year, “Hey, how did I forget about that?”

This is also a great time to review your relationships with friends, family and, especially, your significant others. June is a popular month for marriages in the U.S., so many of us, myself included, will be celebrating an anniversary this month. While you might want to take each other out for dinner and a movie, do a favor for both of you and talk together about your life and what adjustments you need to make.

At the most basic level, getting a handle on your schedules is a great place to start. I know that trying to coordinate the 3 wildly different schedules of my wife, son and myself, can be more difficult than I ever imagined. What plans do you need to make for summer vacation? What major projects are coming up in your work? Are their family events that require travel planning like airlines, hotels and rental cars? Get it all on the table now, so it doesn’t spring back to mind at the worst possible moment.

Take the time to talk about your plans and goals for the next 6 months. I find a quiet evening and a bowl of popcorn help to facilitate this. Make sure that everyone is aware of what everyone else is planning and doing. I can guarantee you that you will discover conflicts that you knew nothing about. Typically this includes items like the Scout camping trip falls exactly during the time of your big business trip to New York, or the family wedding, where you are the best man, happens before the kids are out of school. You don’t want surprises like this when a little review would have given you an opportunity to address them long before they occurred.

Don’t wait until the calendar rolls over to another year to review your life and career commitments. Take some time this month to re-evaluate, re-adjust and relax, comfortable in the knowledge that you know where you’ve been in the last 6 months and know where you are headed for the rest of the year.

***

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Video interviews and putting your best self forward — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 13th, 2014 Comments off

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In today’s connected world, video interviews are becoming quite typical when you are looking for a job. Whether the position is near or far geographically, the realities of gathering a hiring committee in one office at one time can be quite daunting, so many companies are turning to video interviews to allow the the most flexibility possible, especially early in the hiring process.

First, all the typical rules about interview dress, preparation and demeanor apply to a video interview as much as a face-to-face interview. Dress appropriately and neatly. Dress completely, even if they will only see you from the waist up. You never know when you might need to move away from the computer to get paperwork or something else. Telephones and cell phones should be off and out of sight unless needed for something like noting a future appointment.


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Get your tech in order

Next come the technical considerations for a video interview. First, do some practice calls with a friend or family member long before the actual interview. Make sure your computer and software are working properly. You don’t want to have to be troubleshooting technical issues on your end when you are supposed to be interviewing. Even worse, you don’t want to miss the interview entirely because you are having technical issues.

Video

Find a place in your home or office that has decent lighting and a decent background. You want the interviewer to be able to see you clearly and you don’t want distracting (or embarrassing) items in the background. Set up your camera, laptop or mobile device and look carefully at everything in the background. You might be surprised what you see there.

Light should be coming from in front of you (behind your laptop) and be a diffuse as possible. A north facing window is a great source of light for a video interview. Painters have been positioning their studios to take advantage of that light for centuries. Avoid direct overhead lighting or harsh lighting from the extreme sides.

Position you laptop or mobile device so that the camera is at the same height as your eyes. This will look the most natural and avoid the “up your nose” view so common in video conferences. This might mean you will have to place your laptop on some books or box, but it certainly worth doing. You can see a demonstration of this in my previous video, “New Media Tip 20081229 – Up your nose”.

 

If you are using a mobile device like an iPhone or ipad, make sure it is on a stand and stable on a tabletop or desk. Do not hold the device as the constant movement will be distracting to your interviewer. Snugg has iPad covers with integrated stands and the Glif for iPhone can hold your iPhone upright and stable for video calls.

Also, when using a mobile device (or in fact any camera) make sure you look at the camera itself and not the screen of your device. If you do not look at the camera, it will appear to the other person that you are not making eye contact. This can be very disconcerting and off-putting to your interviewer — almost like you are trying to avoid eye contact. It can be difficult, but keep reminding yourself to look at the camera, not the screen.

These photo show the difference using my iPhone camera.

 Looking at camera Looking at screen

Looking at camera lens | Looking at iPhone screen

Audio

Always wear a nice set of earbuds for any video conference. This allows you hear clearly, but more importantly prevents feedback and echo during the call. Pay attention to audio quality during your practice calls. Make sure that you sound good and there aren’t any distracting background noises. If you think you might have issues with noise from roommates, neighbors or pets during your interview, you may want to plan on being in a different location for the interview. That said, don’t try to do a video conference from a coffee bar or other public place. The noise and distractions will make it very difficult and your interviewer may even question your judgment.

Other considerations

If you have roommates, make sure they are aware of your interview — even warning everyone again when the call comes in. While pets can be cute during a family video call, having your cat jump on your lap during an interview is probably not the best idea unless you are interviewing with a pet store or pet food company. Additionally, if you need to lock them out of the room, make sure they don’t spend the entire call scratching, whining or barking in the background.

Does your neighbor’s gardener — the one with the supersonic leaf blower — always arrive on Tuesdays at 9am? Consider scheduling your interview for a different time or place. Neither you nor your interviewer need this distraction.

Make sure both you and your interviewer can contact each other via telephone, if practical. Then, even if there is a breakdown in the video technology, you can still — at least — have a voice interview.

Video interviews are a great way of expanding your career possibilities, especially when you are applying for jobs that are geographically distant from where you are currently living. That said, they do possess some technical complexities that can catch us all off guard. This is why it is so important to prepare not only your answers to various interview questions but also prepare the technology side so the interview goes as smoothly as possible.

***

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