Thursday, July 1, 2021

“Tell me about yourself”--one more time.

By Alex Freund
The Landing Expert

All of my career coaching clients go through “Tell me about yourself” during our first 10 minutes together. Why is this so pivotal? It is for several reasons. The most important one is that the first impression is a lasting impression. In a job interview situation, it is of utmost importance to make a good first impression. If you don’t make that good impression, it will be very hard--if not impossible--to dig out of that hole. “Tell me about yourself” sets the scene. If you answer it well, you’ll be riding a good wave, and everything you say after that will be viewed through a positive prism. Otherwise, the opposite is true. 

You may want to ask,” So why am I being asked this question?” After all, the interviewer (hopefully) has read your resume and knows everything about your professional past and respective accomplishments. Nevertheless, the test contained within the question is twofold. First, do you know what your accomplishments are? And second, if you do, can you recount them eloquently and succinctly? 

More important than everything I’ve said so far is your understanding of the reason you were called in for an interview. Think about it for a second. Oops, you’re wrong! It’s not about you having the opportunity to tell the hiring manager how great you are and to sell yourself. It’s clearly about one thing and one thing only: what you can do for the hiring manager. Now, if you agree with that contention, go back and rethink your personal marketing program. Your interview answers should universally focus on how your past experience and skills can help meet the hiring manager’s challenges.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

How Long Should Your Interview Answer Be?

By Alex Freund
The Landing Expert

How Long Should Your Interview Answer Be?

I’m not sure whether you’re like me. I’ve stopped reading! I read no more. I skim and browse and hover over the surface of words, and when I find something interesting, only then do I dig in and absorb the content. Nowadays, because of ubiquitous electronic media, you can immediately suffocate from constant immersion in more information than you could ever deal with. 

Why is it that everyone’s suddenly become so prolific? Twitter came up with the brightest idea of all: 140 characters. Period. The answer to the question is because it’s so much easier to write in abundance versus to write eloquently and succinctly. Try this: think of a noun and describe it as if you’ve been asked to write a dictionary definition for it. Now look up the word in the dictionary and read what the dictionary says. Have I made my point?

So, how does this apply to job seekers? Hiring decisions are being made during the interview. The hiring manager asks questions, and the candidate answers the questions, but often--instead of giving a short summary--the candidate thinks this is the time for a lengthy answer, including the whens, hows, whys, why nots, and so on. The answer becomes an endless rambling that ends in complete failure. The candidate is not happy after realizing what happened, and the interviewer lost the candidate because of a much, much shorter attention span. Both parties lost. This is not a good answer.

The only way to create a win-win situation in an interview is for candidates to be prepared with short answers to a variety of job-related questions. And practice, practice, practice. Know why? Because practice makes perfect!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

You’re Fired! What Now?

By Alex Freund
The Landing Expert

 You’re Fired! What Now?

I hate to sound like Donald Trump, but what happens if you get fired? or laid off? or downsized? Whatever term you use doesn’t matter. The thing is that come Monday, you have nowhere to go and you feel angry, guilty, puzzled, confused, and a hundred other feelings. You’re panicking because suddenly, it’s not business as usual. And your self-esteem is at a new low.

You’ll have to face the world and explain your status. Plus, you must face the economic facts of life because the money spigot has shut until a new job is secured. Unfortunately, your financial commitments remain unchanged from when you had a job. Panicking doesn’t help. On the contrary: you have to approach your new situation logically and find a solution—quickly. But where to start? Yes, you’ve heard about others who lost their jobs, but that was different somehow. Now it is you.

Start with a self-assessment

As a practicing career coach, I developed a simple self-assessment tool for reentry into the job market. (It’s available for free by downloading it from my LinkedIn profile.) 

The first thing to assess is your emotional strength. You’re not ready for a self-calibration or for making logical decisions if you’re distraught. If your mind is not strong and you’re not clearheaded, you cannot be logical. 

Next, look at your most recent résumé, and update it. All of the people you’re going to talk with about possible jobs will need your résumé. This is a critical issue because the vast majority of people do not have their résumés done professionally. And upon separation from their companies, those lucky enough to have ex-employers who pay for the services of outplacement firms still get only limited assistance from those firms. Among other services, outplacement firms assist with the construction of résumés. Regrettably, though, the final result typically falls short of the quality of a résumé done by a professional, certified résumé writer. The outcome is that you think your résumé is good because after all, you received assistance from an outplacement service. But in reality the document is not producing the results you expected. In this case I know what I’m talking about, and my suggestion is that you engage a recommended résumé writer. If you cannot come up with several such writers for comparison shopping, I can send you a list of them if you request it by e-mailing me at 

In addition to your résumé, you must have an equally solid LinkedIn profile. The same rule applies here: get it done professionally. Time is short, and your future career and financial well-being are at stake.

Sixty to 80% of people get their next jobs by networking

Are you good at networking? Have you developed your sphere of influence so that when in need, you can reach out for help? It is not too late to start today. Yes, I understand: you’re an introvert, or you had a full-time job and didn’t need to develop such relationships. But now you must.

Communication skills

From here on—and even after you start your new job—you’ll have to communicate with various parties verbally and in writing. If you’re not very good at that, I suggest you use a professional editor. I’ve been using the services of with confidence and great success.

You are called for a video or in-person interview

This must be scary for some despite that in the past they’ve landed jobs and so therefore they must be good. Well, think again. So much has changed in the workplace lately, including the level of intensity of the competition for that coveted job. I know this well because for the past 10 years I’ve been preparing people at all levels and from all industries for getting ready for job interviews conducted by all sorts of methods, including in person, of course, as well as by Skype or videoconference.

Are you scared about negotiating the job offer?

People in transition feel traumatized. Then, finally, after an arduous and protracted period, an offer comes their way. They feel grateful to have received a lifeline and are in no mood to start negotiating and potentially jeopardizing the offer. Big mistake! This is the final step whereby those who know how to maneuver within the maze can make big bucks with little effort.

Good luck to you!