Learn to nail that promotional interview!

career progression
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A recent client of mine asked for help in how to demonstrate that she could step up to a more senior job in her current team and outsmart her competition during the interview.

We spent some time together discussing a few ways to prepare and I was delighted when I heard she secured the role.

I thought it would be helpful to put together a few quick tips for anyone who finds themselves in this position:

Find a mentor

Ask them for support – volunteer this information in the interview to show that you are taking the right steps to be successful in your career and you are challenging yourself.

Be a master of your current role

Be able to demonstrate how you are an expert of your current role and therefore ready for the next career step. Talk about this when you are summarizing yourself in the interview, for example being able to solve problems or improve processes.  You need to show that you cannot just handle your current role with ease but that you are exceptional!

Focus on your impact on the company as a whole

Try to focus on how you can make a bigger impact outside of your current role/team, perhaps in the wider department or region. Use examples in the interview to show that you understand how your work impacts the organization.

Understand what is different about the job prior to the interview

Study the job description and understand the key competencies (managing a team, innovation, creativity) for the role so that you can prepare suitable examples to show you have had some of that experience prior to the interview even if it’s not necessarily part of your current job description.

Make sure your boss knows you want it!

They might be able to help you develop in any areas that need work.  Ask the question What do you think I need to do to move up to the next level?” See more here about taking on a growth mindset.

Talk about experience outside of work

Make sure you include any relevant evidence of leadership skills outside of the workplace. This is still relevant experience that can add to the success of the interview.

Thanks for reading these quick tips. I am truly passionate about helping people find happiness and fulfillment in their careers.  I’m able to offer coaching in the following areas:

⁃ Specific work goals such as how to prepare for a promotion at work or how to become an effective leader;
⁃ Decisions regarding career change, using a variety of creative thinking and planning tools;
⁃ Enhancing your LinkedIn profile or resume and learning how to use LinkedIn to network effectively;
⁃ General interview preparation, or interview coaching for a specific job as well as how to create a personal brand during your interview.

I offer a 10 minute free session to assess coaching needs prior to any payment. Please message me if you are interested at https://atomic-temporary-122440534.wpcomstaging.com/contact/

Never forget to write the perfect post-interview thank you message!

typewriter person typing

You nailed the interview, you’re still really interested in the job and of course desperate to find out if you will progress to the next stage or get an offer.  Its really important to now follow up with the employer/recruiter and even more important that you do it in the RIGHT way!

So what exactly does that look like?  Should it be short, should it be long?  Should it be email or a fancy notecard?  What should I include to get noticed and have the best possible chance of securing the role?

FIRST – Congratulate yourself on your performance (in whatever way you like to celebrate)  in the interview and the huge amount of preparation (hopefully) you put into it!  We all know how much hard work needs to be put into interview preparation these days, its no easy task.

lady jumping

SECONDwoman-hand-desk-office.jpgThink about how the interview went, what you learnt about the role from the people you met on the day and why you think you will be a good fit for the job and the organization – take the time asap after the interview.

THIRD – Start to write (an email will do just fine, but if you want to start with a shorter physical note, that works fine too):

  • Begin by thanking them for their time and giving you the opportunity to meet with them, naming the specific job you are interviewing for (this will do just fine for the first physical note if you choose to send something immediately following the interview – just add in that you look forward to hearing from them).
  • Focus on what you understand the job to entail and what you think the interviewer was looking for in a candidate – this could be one or two short bullet points.
  • Share a challenge you believe the team/organization to be facing right now.
  • Aim to come up with a similar issue you have had in a previous role and how you have successfully resolved the situation.
  • Finally, state that you are looking forward to talking with them more about the role.

This approach to following up with the hiring manager shows that you are still keen on the role, that you listened carefully during the interview, have a good understanding of what they are looking for and that you have thought about the value you can add to the company.

Please contact me for any help or support for interview preparation and career support.  I offer a free initial consultation.

The importance of knowing your personal values for career fulfillment


notebook vales

Knowing your personal values can help you keep on track with a happy healthy career

One of the first things I do when working with a client is to work with them to identify and solidify their values.  To me this is absolutely essential in order to be able to work through subsequent exercises such as identifying their vision, dealing with any obstacles and deciding on a course of action to move closer to their vision.

What exactly are personal values and why are they so important to your work and career?

Our personal values are simply the things that are most important to us.  They tend to be shaped by life experiences and people (such as friends and family) but you can also choose other values that are most important to you (we will come onto this process later on).

Your personal values will be most valuable when you are confronted by a situation calling for a difficult decision, perhaps at work or making a significant career decision. Your values will guide you and help you make the best possible decision.

values woman reflectingHow will you feel if your decisions/life actions are aligned with your values?

Aligning your decision making and actions with your values is the best way to live the life you desire and to achieve the career you want (as our values are simply just the things that are most important to us).  Why would you not want to ensure you are being respectful of the things that matter the most to you?

And how exactly do I determine my values and measure my decisions against them?

The goal here is to create a set of values (your judgement of what is important in life) that you can easily refer to when you are making key career and life decisions.  What I like to do is start by working through some questions which will identify things you like to do that get you most fired up, what your ideal day looks like, what positive traits people say you have, identifying key times in your life when you were amazingly content and understanding why and also getting to grips with what your biggest challenges are right now.  By working through the themes that come up and delving deeper in, you will get a good understanding of your core values and how they are currently expressed in your life. This can help you get a greater understanding of what is truly important to you. I love to use a colorful and vibrant mind map to really bring the values to life which helps with reflecting on, labelling and prioritizing values later in the process.  Finally and most importantly, finding a way to display your key values in a creative way that works for you is such a great way of being able to regularly check in with how your actions are aligned with your values.

In what sort of situations and how often should I refer to my values?

This is really up to you – you could refer to them every day as you will make decisions based on your values every day.  However, it is imperative that you refer to your values when making key decisions such as changing jobs or accepting a values tree fruit picturepromotion or relocating your job.

When considering a job, you want to be sure that the company has the same values as you.  You will have a much better work life if your values are aligned.  You can ask questions about the company’s values in the interview, such as “what is it like to work here?” or “what are the best things about working here?” or even more specific questions that relate directly to your values.

If you would like to find out more about how I can help you identify your core values, create a vision or work together on a career action plan, please contact me.


Calling all 2018-2019 graduates or parents of graduates! Are you ready and prepared for the job search process?

grad1Perhaps you are graduating this year or maybe even next year (and you’re looking to get ahead of the game) or perhaps you are the parent of a graduate or ‘soon to be’ graduate.  In my latest blog series over the next couple of weeks, I’m hoping I can provide you with enough useful information that you can feel that much more prepared to execute a highly effective job search within the graduate market.

In an ideal world, the job search process starts way before you’ve even graduated. However, it’s never too late to follow these tips that I’ve put together for new grads if you haven’t yet decided on what you’d like to do or you’re still looking for a job.

And remember, the process of getting paid to do what you love isn’t always straightforward – it may be a longer journey for some to get to their ideal job/lifestyle – but hang in there – everything you do along the way will be part of the learning process, rich in experiences and hopefully fun!

So, let us get started….

  1. Update your resume and cover letter with your degree if you have already graduated – Congratulations! This is a big reason to celebrate. If you don’t yet have a resume, there are tons of websites out there that provide templates to get started.  Just google ‘resume templates’. See my resume checklist to ensure you cover off everything necessary.
  2. Use your school’s career services – if you haven’t already made use of this, check them out – they will hold databases of graduate jobs, often companies will come to campus to interview students for job positions and they will also help you find internships and cover basic career search skills.
  3. Ask for References – Every recruiter will want to see these. If you’ve done an internship you can ask to use one of your superiors from that role.  Ask for letters of recommendation and include them in your application for any jobs. You can also name professors as your references.  If you think you have been shortlisted for a role, it’s just polite to let your references know that they might be contacted.
  4. Internships – look into doing an internship if you haven’t already done one to build up your experience. When looking for an internship, unlike when looking for permanent jobs, online searches can actually really help you find an internship. Try some of these sites; LinkedIn – go to the jobs tab and search for internships and you’ll be able to see which of your contacts works at one of the companies or know people who work there – so there are real benefits of looking for connections after setting up your profile! Also try google, glassdoor, internmatch.com, Internships.com, Idealist (non-profit sector) and Global Experiences.
  5. Set up a LinkedIn account and ask for ‘recommendations’ – Building a professional presence on LinkedIn is a must and it needs to be done well to get positive results! Start by writing a headline that attracts attention and include a professional looking photo of yourself – these two things are super important! In the headline (it needs to be short) aim to include what you’re doing now and what you hope to do and if you haven’t yet graduated you can include your Major and your aspirations. In the summary section, find a way to stand out and bring your personality into it so that recruiters are drawn to find out more about you – what makes you tick? What do you do for fun? What is your biggest accomplishment? In the Experience section, include any jobs, internships or voluntary jobs describing what you were doing and how it has helped you develop a whole range of skills.  Use the STAR approach to help you include information on (1) the situation you were in, (2) tasks you were required to do, (3) specific actions you took and (4) the results of work you did, ideally in a qualitative format. Its good to include plenty of detail of your work here. Make sure you complete the skills list section too. Fill out the education section and feel free to upload great school work/projects that you are particularly proud of and shout out your successes – the more you can do to grad2differentiate yourself from the competition the better. Connect with professors and any employers from jobs/internships.  Ask them for recommendations. Look for groups on LinkedIn that are relevant to your career goals – join them and aim to positively contribute to these groups so that potential employers get to know your name.  You will also learn a lot from industry experts in the groups you join.  You could also ask your school career’s office for details of alumni in the industries you are interested in so that you can connect with them too.  Ask parents if they know anyone you should connect with that might be in the industry you’re interested in.  If you want to explore a particular company, you can check if you have any 1st or 2nd connections that are connected to anyone that works for that company and ask them to introduce you on LinkedIn.  Don’t immediately ask connections for a job – ask them for advice or ask them questions about what its like working for that company – build up rapport first before asking to be put in touch with someone who might be good contact for your area of work.  And remember, not all graduate opportunities and internships will be available earlier in the year – not all companies will be in a position advertise early on, especially if they are going through restructuring during the year, so its always worth asking about possible jobs at any point in the year.  When searching for graduate jobs on LinkedIn ask your parents to do a search on their LinkedIn too as they may have more connections.
  6. Find a mentor – mentor picIt is a competitive job market, especially for those with little or no experience and mentoring can really help. Try to find someone in the field you’re interested in – LinkedIn is good for this and parents’ contacts of course.  Find out about what they do, what they like about their jobs and how their career evolved.  You might speak to several people before you find someone you want to ask to be your mentor.  You want to find someone who can offer you a supportive environment and encouragement and has good links in the field you’re interested in, perhaps even old alumni from your school.
  7. Put together a blog on a professional topic you’re interested in – this will highlight your professional knowledge and show your resourcefulness.
  8. Apply to jobs – ensure you tailor both your resume and your cover letter for each and every job you apply to. This means identifying something about the company and/or the role that you are particularly interested in and stating that in the cover letter. Make sure that your resume highlights any skills/experience that supports the application.  And finally, always follow up with emails and/or phone calls after making the application.
  9. Hire a career/interview coach – coaches can help graduates with a number of areas including writing resumes and cover letters, creating LinkedIn profiles, effective job searches and mock interview practice, putting you in a stronger position than other candidates.

For more information about how I can help you if you’re a graduate looking for work or parent of a graduate, please check out my website ‘thewinninginterview’.  I can provide you with the following support:

  1. Skills and strengths identification if you haven’t yet found your passion and just need a little extra support in working out what kind of jobs or careers you’re interested in.
  2. Resume and cover letter support, teaching you how to tailor these to each job that you apply to.
  3. Development of a LinkedIn profile to help you stand out from the competition.  This is a must in today’s job market.
  4. Mock interview practice tailored to the specific jobs/companies you are applying to, specifically aligned with the company’s recruitment approach/values.

In my next post, I’ll be providing you with information about how to prepare for upcoming interviews.  For tailored interview coaching, please contact me.

You can see full details of the services I offer here.

Joanna Brook