J Patrick + Associates Blog

Five  Certifications every sales engineer should have in 2022

Posted by Jarrett Zike & Kevin Seche on Wed, Jun 22, 2022 @ 11:22 AM

CSE, CPSP, and EIT certified

So you’ve been hearing about the increase in demand for Sales Engineers (SE’s) and you want to give it a try. As is often the case in highly sought-after positions, you will need to set yourself apart from the crowd if you hope to land a role in this highly competitive field. Where should you start?  

As it happens, there are certs for that. Sales Engineer certifications can make you stand out in a competitive job market. They show employers that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job.


Here are seven of the best Sales Engineer certifications to consider in 2022:


1. The Certified Sales Engineer (CSE) certification from the North American Association of Sales Engineering (NAASE)

This certification is designed for sales engineers who want to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in sales engineering. It covers topics such as sales process, product knowledge, and technical solution selling. In order to enroll in this certification program, you must have the following:


2. The Certified Professional Salesperson (CPSP) certification from the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP).

This certification is for sales professionals who want to demonstrate their expertise in sales by affirming skills in sales process, selling skills, and account management. Takers learn to move customers along the buyer’s journey, improve sales strategies, and develop the habits of successful Sales Engineers by completing daily modules. 


3. Engineer in Training (EIT) certification from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). 

This certification is issued by all state engineering boards after successfully completing an Engineer In Training Exam. It is available to students who have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. The primary function of this certificate is to indicate that the FE has been passed and that the holder fo the certification is halfway to becoming a professional engineer (PE). 


4. The Certified Sales and Marketing Engineer (CSME) certification from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

This certification is for sales engineers who want to demonstrate their knowledge in mechanical engineering. It covers topics such as sales process, product knowledge, and technical solution selling.


5. The Certified Sales Engineer (CSE) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

This certification is for sales engineers who want to demonstrate their knowledge in project management. It covers topics such as sales process, product knowledge, and technical solution selling.

Each of these certifications can help you build your skills and knowledge in sales engineering. They are all recognized by employers, and they can help you stand out in the job market.


So, which of these sales engineer certifications should you get?

It depends on your goals and interests. If you want to focus on communicating your proficiency in coordinating moving parts, you might investigate what is on offer from the Project Management Institute. If you're a little earlier in your career, but still want to set yourself apart as knowledgable in your area of expertise, then perhaps the EIT from the NCEES is right for you.

No matter which certification you choose, be sure to prepare for the exam and get certified! The skills and knowledge you acquire will help you succeed in your sales engineering career.

Crafting a Living Resume to Stand Out in 2022 and Beyond

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Fri, Dec 17, 2021 @ 10:31 AM


2022 is here, and while many are still trying to navigate the fallout from (gulp*) 2020, others are bearing witness to the perennial wisdom that upheaval creates new opportunities. Industries across the board have had to retool and rethink strategies that reliably produced results until all of a sudden…they didn’t anymore. Change, the other cosmological constant, was intensified to a revolutionary pitch. 

We are all in new territory, and employers are looking for innovative, forward-thinking assets to help them capitalize on new opportunities presented by–among other things–the decentralization of the workplace. This means, in part, that candidates who are equipped to gracefully maneuver across shifting ground are in high demand. On a practical level, presenting yourself as just such a person with a living resume is a great way to start.  

A “living resume,” is one that is dynamic, ever-evolving, and reflective of your individual competence, flexibility, and potential. The following 8 strategies are steps that you can begin taking immediately in order to ensure that your invaluable first impression is memorable, impactful, and effective in 2022. 


  1. First the elephant in the room–you must be disciplined. Building a standout resume takes discipline and dedication, especially when you find yourself in a comfortable position. As we all know, the days of working a few decades in the same role are long gone, which means that you must force yourself to be constantly thinking about the next opportunity. Acknowledging the uncertainty of the future and consistently acting with this uncertainty in mind is the first step; it is the “inside job” that allows you to prepare and position yourself effectively. 

  2. One great way to do this is to develop a pattern of consistent and thorough documentation of your accomplishments and responsibilities. You don’t have to add them to your resume right away, but you should keep a running list of any new projects, skills, and responsibilities you assume in your current position. If nothing else, such a document will allow you to update your resume quickly when the time comes. This is especially useful if the worst-case scenario forces you to find a new job yesterday. Stress is inimical to memory, and if you have to send out resumes in a hurry, the last thing you want is to short-change yourself. Document now so you don’t forget later.   

  3. Schedule specific time slots for updating your resume and stick to them. This isn’t exciting work, plus it forces you to think about the contingency and possible precariousness of your employment. These are strong disincentives that must be overcome. The best way to do this is to set dates for yourself. Think of it like scheduling an appointment with the dentist or going to the gym. You will never feel like doing it, but will inevitably appreciate the effort when the time comes to present your resume to a new potential employer. 

  4. While working on your resume in the allotted time slot, focus on impact. Employers want concrete examples of how you have delivered results. This is particularly true regarding your demonstrated ability to encounter the unexpected. Here, numbers are your best friend. How many days before a deadline did you complete a project? How much money did you save your employer? What specific actions did you take to solve a problem? Impact is demonstrated in concrete terms. Don’t claim to have simply “improved” a situation, tell a story about precisely how your actions constituted an improvement for your business.    

  5. Check on details that affect style and readability. Believe it or not, there are trends in resume writing that stand to affect your reception by a potential employer. Click here for a checklist of style considerations to make when updating your resume.

  6. Selectively cater your resume to each position in which you are interested. It is extremely tempting, once finished, to clap the dust from your hands and bombard any and every interesting position you find with your freshly refurbished resume. This is not ideal, and in all likelihood will not work very well, especially as the desirability of a given opportunity increases. The last thing you want is for a recruiter or hiring manager to look at your resume and have to connect dots in order to understand how you are a viable candidate. Take the time to investigate the particular job descriptions in which you are interested, pull key terms from those descriptions, and explicitly incorporate them into your resume.

  7.  After tailoring your resume, save several iterations of it for future use. If, for example, you know that you are interested in positions that are not peculiar to a specific employer (project management, corporate training, or human resources, for example), craft and save a version of your resume for each and reuse it whenever an appropriate position blips your radar. You should still tailor your resume to each position, but the number of changes needed will be minimized if you have several versions of your resume on deck.

  8. Include a “hobbies” section in your resume. Your hobbies might seem irrelevant, but briefly including them highlights your curiosity and individuality. Employers want human beings, not robots, and your hobbies are a reflection of your personality. That being stated, your hobbies should not take up too much space in your resume and should not appear to take precedence over your education, professional experience, and accomplishments. Think of hobbies as garnishings–a little goes a long way.  

    Every time January 1st rolls around, we take stock of the previous year while anticipating the future and imagining how we might improve it. We set goals and mark up calendars, magnet photos of ourselves to refrigerators that remind us of where we have been or where we would like to end up. We invariably consider our careers and how they stand to be improved. If you have found yourself dreaming of new opportunities in your career, one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your situation is to ensure that you are as appealing as possible by maintaining a living resume. 

Your resume is the invaluable first impression that sets the tone for all subsequent interactions with a potential employer. Make it a goal this year to give yourself every advantage that is within your power. Schedule time each month to enliven your resume. You’ll thank yourself when 2022 rolls around, and ‘23… 

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Tags: Job Search, Resume Optimization

The Pros & Cons of Contract Work

Posted by Glenda Gregorio on Mon, Sep 20, 2021 @ 11:01 AM

contract work

The word on the street in Silicon Valley is that we are currently in a “gig economy.” What that means is that more and more people are opting to work as independent contractors, as opposed to traditional full-time employment. The swing toward contract employment can be explained by several factors, such as the need for a flexible schedule, to the desire for increased autonomy.

But, if you find yourself thinking about joining the growing ranks of contract workers, you need to first understand the pro and cons of this kind of work.

The Pros and Cons of Contract Work

PRO: Potential for Higher Earnings

Companies looking to hire contract staffing because it provides the flexibility they need, it saves time, money and resources. However, they are looking to hire experts, not neophytes. They do not want to invest in training or other onboarding expenses. A contractor who knows what to do and how to get it done in a timely manner is worth top dollar. They come in, do the job and don't put any further drain on company resources.

CON: Increased Uncertainty

The potential for higher earnings is a great benefit of work-for-hire, but there’s no guarantee you will keep working once a contract expires. (no guaranteed job security after contract) And since the nature of the work you’ve been hired to do is finite, you have no guarantee that you’ll make the money you thought you would. Another thing to consider is that the project you were hired to work on can be unexpectedly canceled. All of these factors can add up to increased financial instability --if you’re not working, you’re not getting paid.

And finally, there’s no way of knowing the amount of time you’ll spend between contracts, or during your next job search.  

PRO: Lifestyle Flexibility

According to Randstad’s Workforce360 Study, about 86% of independent contractors reported their level of job satisfaction to be good/excellent. With this kind of work arrangement, comes more freedom. You are able to control your career path without having to wade through office politics for a promotion, pay raise, or time off. You negotiate to get the employment packages that suit you best, and you take as much or as little time off in between contracts. If this type of flexibility is appealing to you, then contracting out may be the best of all worlds.  

CON: Outside Looking In

All that flexibility may be nice, but the price you pay is that you’ll always be the outsider.  Contract work makes it difficult to create connections that might help advance your career further down the road. There’s also the fluid and ever-changing nature of social engagement at work. As we all know, you spend more time at work than at home, so your social life tends to stem from your work life. Relationships are fleeting and long term bonds are rarely formed.

PRO: Increased Technical & Professional Knowledge

You’re an expert in your field and have a certain skill set that companies in your industry want. But, contract work also provides the opportunity to sharpen your expertise and work in different sectors. It allows you to broaden your experience in your field and perhaps gain new skills in other industries. You’re at liberty to choose the skills that you would like to further develop in other industries, allowing you to enhance your CV and marketability for future jobs. It can also be part of your story when explaining an employment gap to a potential employer.

CON: Career Development

The freedom provided by contract work to broaden your technical and professional skills means that you are in charge of your own development. Great, right? Maybe not. Although it feels empowering to be in charge of your own career development, it is a heavy burden to bear. You no longer have the human resources department or a talent management team to ensure that you’re properly trained and qualified for the job. It is now up to you to make sure that your skillset is up to par with the current trends of the industry.

Like everything in life, contract employment has its benefits and drawbacks. Although it might not be a career-long plan, if you’re returning back to the workforce or need a flexible work arrangement, contract work very well might be a great option. Although there’s no fixed amount of time you can guarantee being unemployed between contract positions there are definitely a lot of pros to short-term positions.



Find A  Job!


Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

How to Ace your Virtual Interview

Posted by Joseph Barrera on Tue, Jun 23, 2020 @ 11:17 AM

How to Ace Your Virtual InterviewCovid 19 has wreaked havoc on many Businesses, Industries and peoples’ lives as a whole...

For those seeking new job opportunities, the option to attend an in-person job interview is simply not viable. Therefore, virtual interviews have become the new norm.

However, what exactly is a virtual interview? What equipment do I need to have for a successful virtual  interview? What makes a Virtual interview so special?  How can I prepare for a virtual interview?  

What is A Virtual Interview? 

Simply put, a virtual interview is an interview done over Video Conferencing Software. The interviewer will send you a link to a call, either on Zoom, Google Meets, or Skype.  You can then talk to and see the person on your computer screen.

What are the differences between Live and Pre-recorded Interviews? 

Video interviews come in two forms chosen by the company: Live and pre recorded. 

A pre-recorded interview is when the interview questions are shown on your computer screen and you record your answers in a given amount of time. The interviewer will review your answers at a later time.

A live interview is when you join a video call from the interviewer on a conferencing platform.

What are the Benefits of Virtual Interviews?

Interviewing remotely has many facets that can benefit both the candidate and the employer.

  • Hire Globally: Candidates that live in geographic areas far from the business headquarters can still be interviewed via Virtual Interview to work in the office or do remote work. 
  • Hire the Best Employees: Being able to interview candidates from various locations can help increase a company's talent pool.
  • Faster Hiring: Pre-recorded interviews can save the hiring manager a ton of time and make it easy to share candidate responses with other team members.
  • Reduce Cost: Additionally, this eliminates the travel costs employers incur when traveling to interview people.
  • Flexibility: Do you have to get your kid to a soccer game at 3PM but have time mid-morning or after dinner to interview? No problem! Virtual interviews can be done at a time that is convenient for both you and the interviewer.

How do Virtual Interviews differ from traditional in-person interviews

Face to face interviews have preparation steps that we have all been familiarized with. However, virtual interviews have some different steps to take.

Here are a few virtual interview tips:

  • Reliable Internet Connection: You will need a wifi connection and bandwidth speed at least one megabit per second. 
  • Professional Space: You will need a space that is well lit, with a professional appearance and free of any distractions, including family, pets and loud distracting sounds. 
  • Alternative Solutions: If you are lacking a good wifi connection or private space, consider checking out your local library. They offer private rooms you can rent, additionally they may be able to provide you with any equipment you're lacking. Or ask a friend or family member if you can borrow equipment.

Equipment preparation for Virtual Interview

Having a functional work space with the correct equipment is key. You will use several pieces of equipment to make your video interview work. 

Some of the equipment needed include: a webcam (internal or external), a headset or microphone, adequate lighting and the software required to interview on whatever platform the interviewer uses, usually Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet.

Interview Space

Are you a detail oriented person? 

Well… that dirty pile of laundry in the corner of your room might make your interviewer think otherwise.

The space you choose for your interview should appear professional and organized. Your bedroom, a guest room, your home office or kitchen are usually good places to orchestrate your virtual interview.



Most computers come with a pre-installed webcam. However, external webcams are a better option for most as they give you more options in terms of image control, positioning and image quality. Additionally, many external webcams come with software to adjust exposure, balance, and color. 

Pricing for external webcams will vary depending on quality, and features and can range from $25 to upwards of $200. If you are looking for something of quality, yet cost-effective, the Logitech HD Webcam C270 is a great option.

When setting up your webcam, be sure it's approximately eye level, slightly pointing downwards. If necessary, place some books under your computer to raise the height of your webcam. You want to make sure you can make eye contact with your interviewer.


If you really want to give off a professional impression, lighting is key to your success. Regardless of the webcam you decide to go with, if you are doing the interview in a dimly lit space, you are putting yourself at a huge disadvantage. Since the interview is virtual, your body language is important therefore it must be seen.

While you do not need to have expensive lighting, the quality of the light projected is important. A budget friendly solution is to purchase some inexpensive clamp lights and some full spectrum bulbs from your local home improvement store. 


“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that” “What did you say?” “Could you please repeat the question?”

Interviews are stressful for both the candidate and the hiring manager. A smooth interview is one without technical difficulties including echos, background noises, and poor sound quality. That being said, it is imperative that you invest in a proper headset and microphone. 

The Logitech H390 USB Headphone is a fantastic option and won’t break the bank. 


There are many different platforms that hiring companies may choose to use for their interviews. The most common of these are Google Meets, Zoom, and Skype for Business. 

You should take the time to familiarize yourself with these platforms. Make sure the username that you use is professional. "Skateboardkid08" may have been cool in the times of AIM, but times have changed. 

Best Practices for Virtual Interviews

Your equipment is set up properly and you're able to use it....great, now what? Similar to how you prepared your equipment you need to prepare for the big day itself.

Preliminary Research

The more time you spend researching and preparing for the interview, the more comfortable you will be, and the more confident you will seem to the hiring manager.

  • Educate yourself on the company and role for which you are applying. 
  • Check out the company's Social Media Channels and website. 
  • Learn about any exciting news that has occurred within the company or industry. 
  • Connect with people associated with the company to get some key insider information. 
  • Take the time to find out some of the frequently asked interview questions. This way you can think of relevant past work experiences or projects to answer the questions and show your capabilities.

What is the proper dress code for a virtual interview?

When it comes to virtual interview attire, the general rule remains the same; dress to impress. 

Having a professional and/or business casual look is still important for a virtual interview outfit. Studies show people feel more authoritative, trustworthy, competent, and confident when wearing formal business attire.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid loud, distracting patterns
  • Avoid black and white colored clothes
  • If you were glasses, make sure the are glare free
  • Keep the jewelry to a minimum
  • Go light on the makeup 

How to deal with nervousness

Interviews are likely to give even the most experienced interviewers nerves. The best solution for nervousness is preparedness. 

Log into the platform where your interview will be hosted 10-15 minutes before your scheduled start time. Do a final equipment check to make sure everything is operating properly. Review your keywords, talking points, and make sure your documents are organized and ready to go.

Take several deep breaths and focus on being relaxed and centered.

If you are feeling nervous about your interview the day before give this a try...

When laying in bed and before falling asleep, reach into your memory bank and find your most successful interview. Replay that over and over in your head. Try and feel how you felt during that interview and if possible recall what you said or how you behaved. This will put positive energy in your head and help you relax for your big day.  

What to do if things go wrong

Things don’t always go as planned. Technology can be finicky, even challenging at times. Before your virtual interview make sure you have a contact with a phone number. That way, if something happens, you can call the person and ask to reschedule or continue over the phone. 

How to Rescue Your Interview from a Bad First Impression

Follow Up

If you want to leave a great impression on the interviewer, make sure to write a follow-ep email.  

In this email you want to:

  • Thank the interviewer for their time
  • Highlight the ways your talents are suited for the role
  • Include anecdotes from the interview and job description

A well-constructed follow-up email showcases your communication and active listening skills; both of which are highly sought after soft skills.

Now, go to ace your virtual interview!

QSC: A New A/V Vendor In A New World

Posted by Daniel Lehman on Fri, Apr 24, 2020 @ 02:00 PM

QSC_ A New Vendor in a New World

The World is Changing, the AV Industry is Changing too

There has been a trend in the AV Industry of moving from a hardware to a software based business. This trend has never been more important than right now, as a global pandemic has forced government leaders to take unprecedented and decisive actions. Businesses are being placed into uncomfortably cut and dry categories of “essential” vs “nonessential”. The inevitable result is many people are being furloughed, laid off indefinitely, or out right terminated.

However, in every gray cloud exists a silver lining: this situation has caused the AV industry to enjoy a moment in the sun.

The Software Based Solutions

Business leaders across the board are moving operations from their offices to their living rooms, and are connecting with employees and customers over zoom, WebEX, and other software based Videoconferencing applications. The migration may be clunky, but it highlights the importance of A/V and collaboration services. It also presents a few questions:

  • What will happen when things get back to “normal” ?
  • Are people really going to be in any hurry to get back into commuter traffic, or crowded subways to go and high five team members at the office (without hand sanitizer)?
  • Will we go back to exactly as we were OR remain largely virtual-remote?

Somewhere in the middle seems a very likely scenario...

In a recent article with Sound & Communications, David Danto, Director of UC Strategy with Poly made the astute comment:

“With no other option but to remotely collaborate using the tools we’ve been advocating for years, people have discovered to their shock that they are actually easy to use and reliable.”

This is not to say that integrators are going to stop designing and building collaborative meeting spaces for their corporate clients. On the contrary, these services will likely be in higher demand than ever! However, a more simple, streamlined solution may be what’s in demand for smaller team gatherings.

A typical conference room includes a control processor, audio processor, video cameras, video distribution, LFD screen, and an end-user control point (touch screen or keypad) along with loudspeakers and amplifiers. A big part of what integrators offer is install, programming, troubleshooting and testing all of this audio, video and control hardware to make sure all pieces are communicating the way they should. According to Commercial Integrator,

“Each hardware piece is dedicated to a specific task and as such, needs to be managed individually and requires specific programming in order to integrate with the rest of the room...This not only presents a ton of work, but also a mess to manage, particularly when changes are requested.”

QSC and the Q-SYS Ecosystem offers a modern solution

Enter QSC, and their Q-SYS Ecosystem: “a software-based platform built around an open IT-friendly ecosystem. Q-SYS offers fully integrated audio, video and control on a singular platform…” rather than a mess of divergent hardware pieces associated with these different functions.

As a recruiter for the AV Industry, I can say that even before this global event took place hiring managers at AV Integrators were talking about clients woes for a simpler AV System (they were also on the hunt for Engineers versed in programming and integrating Q-SYS products). In a clever advertising video by QSC, an “integrated software platform” is explained to a confused and befuddled IT professional:

“Your phone is an integrated software platform: you don’t carry a calculator, video game console, and gps in your pocket...right!? You just download those features onto your phone...same with Q-SYS”

This is possible because Q-SYS leverages Intel processing and a Linux operating system, creating a simple and flexible audio, video, and control (AV&C) solution built on IT standards. Of course you cannot get rid of all the endpoints: cameras, speakers, touch screens, etc. These pieces may come from a variety of manufacturers.

However, the Q-SYS ecosystem has another unique ability: it accepts custom scripting from other programming languages; that way third-party hardware can still be controlled with Q-SYS, with the use of plug-ins built by integrators. This functionality differentiates Q-SYS as a plug and play solution for building upon existing conference room gear.

Not to mention all of this hardware is offered by the company as well.

What will the future hold for the AV Industry?

Now to the big question…

Will discussions of expanding business operations in a physical sense ever take place again? Or will we remain trapped at home; only to communicate virtually through small screens, for the rest of our days?

That is probably a stretch.

We may look to simplify, and our work-life balance may be more of a blend of virtual and onsite. What is clear however, is that AV/IT and VTC solutions are the technologies that will usher in this new normal. Our technology needs will likely scale up accordingly. Product suites like Q-SYS, which have the flexibility to easily deliver new features to the platform with a simple software upgrade, will be increasingly important and continue the shift away from purpose-built hardware.

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Traditional Recruiting Methods vs. A Recruiting Firm

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Feb 21, 2020 @ 12:51 PM

Traditional Recruiting vs hiring a recruiting firm

Whenever a business has to hire that new employee, they have to decide whether they should search for candidates on their own, or elicit the help of an outside agency.  Traditional recruiting methods versus a recruiting firm is the typical conundrum, so why is using a firm the better option? 

Finding an employee has always consisted of the traditional methods.  Examples of these methods include online recruitment job boards, online ads, classifieds, and career resource sites.  Online recruitment has become a HUGE influencer in the job market, websites such as monster.com, jobs.com, careerbuilder.com, and other sites have dominated the online job scene.  Another traditional method is an employee referral program.  This entails finding job candidates from referrals that may come from other employees, family members, friends, or anyone that can get in touch with you and influence your decision.  So the question still remains, what benefit does a recruiter have over the traditional methods, and do I want to pay someone to find an employee for me?

When you decide to work with a recruiting firm to help fill your job posts you enter into a relationship with a recruiter who has a wealth of knowledge in a specific field that you are trying to hire for.  Placement after placement, these recruiters have learned the industry from front to back, side to side; they know their stuff to say the least.  When you choose a recruiting firm, cost effectiveness goes hand in hand.  When you mention cost effective around the “head honcho” of a business their eyes light up, and visions of improved margins can quickly become a reality.  Nothing triggers the “let’s do it” side of the brain like saving money.  Recruiters can save you money, in fact LOTS OF MONEY because they provide the right person to fit your employment needs.  In other words, you don’t go out and hire some person who you thought was great, who turns out to be unskilled or unstable, etc.  Imagine wasting an entire first years’ salary on the wrong person?…ouch.  Saving time is also a benefit of choosing a recruiting firm over the traditional methods.  Recruiters look through hundreds of resumes every month, this saves companies plenty of time in searching for that needle in a haystack.  Once these recruiters have searched through these resumes they present only the most qualified candidates to potential employers.

Going with the traditional methods could work, but if you want that perfect fit for your position and organization, it’s worth the time, effort and energy to work with a specialized recruiting firm Guaranteed it will save you time, money and unnecessary headaches.

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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

Tell Your Story To Get the Job

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Feb 10, 2020 @ 03:27 PM

The key to getting the job

When it comes to a job interview, what’s the one thing that differentiates you from all the other applicants with the same skill set, certifications and level of experience? The answer is simple: You, of course.

You know what you have to offer a prospective employer, and so do the people who know you. However, the hiring manager at your next interview only knows where you’ve been. In order to stand out from the crowd of other candidates, you need to be prepared to tell your story in a compelling and eloquent manner.

Knowing how to tell your story is what can turn an interview into an offer.

How to Tell Your Story to Get the Job

Connections Move People

Think back for a moment to the last five movies you saw, or books you read. Which stories stuck with you the most? Science fiction, true crime, romance, and fairy tales - no matter where your tastes lie, all good stories have one thing in common; the main characters feel like fully realized people with whom we come to care about them. We don’t even have to have anything in common with them, but their basic struggles feel familiar. Stories succeed when we can see something of ourselves on the screen or on the pages.

And while an interview is hopefully nothing like your favorite novel, it is your best and perhaps only opportunity to make a meaningful connection with a potential employer.

How Do You Use Storytelling In An Interview?

Prospective employers want to see how you think, how your experiences have made you smarter, sharper, and more efficient. Your resume only tells them where you’ve been, it’s up to you to fill in the heart of the story.  

Get Comfortable With Yourself

Come up with 5 words to describe yourself. Be honest and take your time with this exercise, do not just write down the first things that come to mind. Think back on the challenges you’ve faced and what attributes got you through.

Then ask two trusted friends or coworkers to come up with 5 words to describe you.

Do their words match yours? Or, are they wildly different? If so, drill-down and try to see what you might be missing, how your picture of yourself differs from the one others have of you.

Note: You may not necessarily use this in an interview, but knowing your strengths and how they’ve served you in the past is an important first step in defining your story.

Create A Narrative

Build a timeline of both your accomplishments and challenges, successes and failures. Then stand back and try to understand how one event led to the next. How did you wind up as a sales engineer when you started your career as a support guy? What happy accidents or perceived losses led to you where you are today?

You may be hesitant to share the pitfalls that befell you, but understanding how they all fit together frees you up to present your story in a cohesive and engaging manner. Remember, you want to make certain that you are seen as a resilient and thoughtful employee, one who is resourceful and always thinking.

Know Your Audience

Do your research on the company and your interviewer. Understanding who you are talking to, their management style, their values and interests helps you tailor your story. Read their LinkedIn profiles and/or blog posts, or turn to the recruiter or mutual contact to understand more about who you’re meeting with.  

Highlight An Achievement

Without making yourself sound like a superhero, relay how you were able to meet a situation head-on and work through to a successful conclusion. Draw on examples both large and small - how you handle daily problems can be as telling as major issues.

Listen To The Stories Others Are Telling

Listen to your interviewer and try to figure out where you fit into the story of the company, where your strengths can help, where past experiences can shed light on a particular problem they are facing. Being open and perceptive to the story of the company and then dovetailing the solutions you can provide makes you a candidate worth remembering.

Bonus Tip: Always Remain Perceptive

Do not iterate lists or stick too close to your idea of how the conversation should go. Be prepared to dial back or change your narrative to fit the reaction of the person sitting across from you.

When you take the time to understand how to present yourself so that others can see who you are, how you work and what value, you are far more likely to make a lasting impression. Leaving an interviewer with the sense that they got to know YOU is key to getting either to the next level of the interview process or better yet, landing an offer.


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Tags: Job Search

8 Tips For Acing A Phone Interview

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Fri, Feb 07, 2020 @ 02:06 PM

8 Tips for Acing a Phone Interview

When J. Patrick & Associates first opened 25 years ago, the vast majority of interviews we set up for our clients were face-to-face meetings, based on a resume and our recommendation. Phone interviews were rare and arranged primarily for remote candidates. Well, times have changed, and today more and more of our clients require a phone interview regardless of the candidates’ apparent qualifications.

Make no mistake about it, a strong resume is still of prime importance, but hiring managers have taken to the phone interview as the first point of contact. Certainly, there are obvious considerations of time and money saved, but phone interviews lower the threshold for the hiring manager. Fifteen minutes on the phone with a candidate is a far more expeditious way to answer some basic questions about a candidate’s suitability and appeal than having to sit through a longer meeting.

And while you might think an interview is an interview, knowing that there are some key differences between a phone interview and one held face-to-face can mean the difference between failing to get to the next step and landing an offer.

The phone interview is your first and best opportunity to make a good impression. Follow these 8 pro-tips to ensure it’s not your last.

8 Tips for Acing a Phone Interview

Just as you do your homework in advance of an in-person interview, you must do your due diligence for a phone call. Be careful of falling into the mindset that a phone interview is somehow less important or just a necessary hurdle you have to get past to get to the real thing.

1. Do Your Homework

Research the company and the interviewer. Understanding what their strengths are and what challenges they might be facing are key to presenting yourself as a necessary addition to their company.

2. Make Notes Ahead of time

One great advantage of a phone interview is that you can use a “cheat-sheet” to refer to. Always have the necessary and vital statistics on the company close at hand so that you are prepared when asked what you know about the company.

Also be certain to print your resume, cover letter and any other supporting material you want to present and keep them close at hand. You don’t want to have to go digging for anything while on the phone, nor hem and haw as you try to remember why you left a previous position. Don’t make your interviewer feel that your attention is not 100% focused on the conversation.

Write out your questions ahead of time so that you can be sure to get the answers you need. Remember too that interviews are as much an opportunity for you to find out if the company is a good fit for you as it is for the hiring manager.

3. Clear Your Calendar

Assuming you have a scheduled interview be certain to allow yourself 10-15 minutes in advance of the call to prepare and clear your head of other business.

If you don’t have the advantage of scheduled time and the call comes in when you are not prepared to focus on it, you can always allow the call to go to voice mail - it’s unlikely it would be held against you. The better option, however, would be to say something like, “I’m not at my desk at the moment, when would be a good time for me to call you back?”

4. Dress the Part

It might sound counter-intuitive, but doing a phone interview from home in your sweats does not give you the best advantage. While no one might be able to see you except your cat, dog or pet fish, how you dress has a direct influence on how you feel. 

While you want to be comfortable and not on edge, watch your posture and body language. Your interviewer may not be able to see you but they will be able to pick up on subtle hints when you’re not fully engaged or energized.

5. Clear the Distractions

Thirty minutes or more before your call check that your cell signal is strong and even and/or that your Skype connection is stable. You might also want to disable call waiting and other features that might break up the flow of your conversation.

Put the dog somewhere else, send the kids out of the house and close the windows. There’s nothing more frustrating than loud, extraneous noises on the other end of the phone. It’s best to find as quiet and contained an environment as possible for the phone call. If your home is not a viable option, see if you can’t borrow some office space from a friend or perhaps book time a short session in a co-working space.

6. Listen First/Talk Second

Once the call comes in, answer with your name - it’s a small thing but can go a long way to showing the interviewer you are professional.

Be certain to listen attentively - even though they can’t see you, we’ve all experienced that sensation that the person on the other end of the phone is not quite with us. Let them know you are actively engaged in listening - a few well placed “I see’s,”’ go a long way to create a bond during a phone conversation.

Unlike a face-to-face interview where you have the benefit of body language and other non-verbal communication, it’s wise to wait a beat (a count of 2 or 3) before answering a question just in case your interviewer has not finished with their question. There’s nothing worse than interrupting or speaking on top of someone, especially in an interview.

The one advantage of not having physical cues during a phone interview is that it keeps the distractions down, you can make your pitch free from the very human instinct to constantly interpret visual clues.

7. Speak with Distinction 

Speaking on the phone requires slightly different inflections and an alteration in tempo. Slow down and articulate.

If you have a very low voice, you may want to try speaking at a slightly higher pitch - it will help with relay a better sense of engagement and avoid miscommunication.

Pro-Tip Not all HR and hiring managers do well on the phone. Some might ramble or be distracted themselves. If this is the case, use the opportunity to show them that you’ve done your homework and can keep the conversation focused on what you can offer the company.

8. End On A Positive Note

Thank your interviewer for their time and the information they’ve provided. If you’re interested in the position make certain to let them know that. Saying something like, “I’m very interested in all that I’ve heard and am confident I could add value to your company,” is a clear, professional message of your intent.

Send a thank-you note via email within the same business day to once again thank them for their time, reiterating your interest in the position and reaffirming the value you bring to the position.

As in any interview once it is over the next thing you have to do is let it go. As long as you were prepared, thorough, professional and personable, then you’ve done everything you can within your control. The rest is out of your hands, so change out of those work clothes, put your sweats on and let the dog back into the house.


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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews

Numbers Talk: Why You Must Use Social Media in Your Job Search

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, Feb 06, 2020 @ 03:13 PM

Numbers Talk_

You have read so many articles like “14 Ways to Use Twitter to Land a Job” or “8 Ways to Get Recruiters to Find You on LinkedIn.” You may have read many of ours giving this type of premier advice…but here is the million-dollar question…

Are you doing it? Any of It? Even a little bit of it?

Only You know the answer to that…

I have to believe you do not need any more convincing as to why you must use social media in your job search…but in case you do here are some numbers to consider.

Social recruiting is on the rise.

The use of social media to find candidates in recent years has only increased as recruiters learn how to maneuver it. And guess what…it’s not going anywhere.

According to a recent Jobvite study, 73 percent of recruiters have already hired someone using social media. Furthermore, 93 percent of recruiters will look at a candidate’s social media profiles before making a decision.

In fact, recruiters are now taking social media profiles more seriously. According to the study, 55 percent of recruiters changed their minds about a candidate based on something they had on their social media profile. (This is why it’s imperative that you be careful about what you post on social media.)

If that’s not enough to convince you, consider this: 73% of recruiters plan to invest even more in social recruiting. It’s working for them, and as such, you should consider getting in on the game.

Social Networking Sites by the numbers.

LinkedIn is a recruiter’s top choice for finding candidates with 94% of them utilizing it. Facebook is in second place with 66 percent of them using it to find candidates.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of which social media platforms recruiters have already used to hire candidates:

  • 79% of recruiters have hired someone using LinkedIn
  • 26% of recruiters have hired someone using Facebook
  • 14% of recruiters hired someone using Twitter

This means that social media isn’t a fad. Social hiring is happening right now as we speak.

What recruiters do on Social Media Sites.

On Facebook, recruiters tend to focus on the employer brand (59%), post jobs (48%) and generate employee referrals (51%). While Twitter isn’t as widely used, recruiters are still using it for much of the same. In other words, if you’re not active on either of these networks you’re missing out on about half of the job opportunities available to you.

Of course, LinkedIn is the recruiter goldmine with 95 percent of them using it to search for and contact candidates. They also use it to keep tabs on potential candidates for future openings.

Social media as a means of getting referrals.

Another Jobvite study found that 55 percent of referrals get hired faster than candidates from company career sites. The rise of social media has made it easier than ever to create contacts and build relationships with referrals.

Numbers don’t lie. If you’re not on social media then you’re missing out on major job opportunities. You can download our free eBook to help set yourself up for social media success.


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Social Media, Job Search, Career Strategies

16 Super Easy Actions to Take After a Networking Event

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Jan 31, 2020 @ 02:39 PM

16 Actions to Take After a Networking Event

Let me ask you: Have you ever attended a networking event, met a new contact, enjoyed a really interesting conversation, exchanged business cards or contact information, and then… never followed through with reaching out to them after-the-fact, despite your best intentions? Is that you? Whether you are seeking a new job opportunity, career advancement, or growing a business, intentional and effective networking follow-up will help you succeed.

According to a study done by ICims, more than 27% of external hires in America are from referrals. In fact, it’s the top external source of hires today.

According to the New York Times, 65% of new business comes from referrals. A Nielsen Study cited clients are four times more likely to buy when being referred from someone they know and trust.

So we know why we network, but what do you do to follow up after a networking event? After all, it’s what you do AFTER the event that matters, as that is where the real work begins!  

16 Easy Actions to Take After a Networking Event

1) Google your new contact

You would be amazed at what you can find by Googling a person. You can find additional information to help you with reasons to connect—or to NOT connect. This info can help with all steps on this list. 

2) Write down some notes

Shortly after the event – same day, if possible – make some notes on what happened, record your thoughts and create a list of actions to implement. 

3) Compose an email

Write an email indicating that you enjoyed meeting them and why it makes sense to continue the connection or further the relationship. 

4) Begin a dialogue

You’ll want to stay in touch, if no need to meet again—start by asking them what they thought of the event via email. 

5) Connect on Social Media

Send your new contact a LinkedIn invitation including a note that you enjoyed meeting at the event where you met. Follow them on Twitter, which can provide real time data to improve the content of your communication. If you see a personal connection outside of work and/or it makes sense, connect on Facebook. 

6) Offer a Phone Date

Via email, suggest a 15-minute phone call, but sure to clarify the purpose of the call and how it can benefit you both to do so. 

7) Even better!

Here’s a novel idea… just call the person. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them and would like to keep the conversation going. Ask if they prefer to schedule a phone chat or coffee meeting as a follow-up. 

8) Meet face to face

Propose a face-to-face meeting over coffee right out of the gate with contacts that have the most potential, who interest you most, or simply where it makes sense. Show interest in what they do and who they are. 

9) What NOT to do

Do not automatically add them to any email list you may have! Instead, send an email asking if they would like to join your email list since you thought, based on your conversation, the content may be of interest. Don’t spam! 

10) Add their info to your contact management system

A contact made today, may not bring you business today, but that person may be the resource you needed (or needed you) for a situation in the future. 

11) Look to influence

See how you can introduce two people who can help each other and ask to make that introduction… it’s good karma, as you are always remembered as the person who made the introduction. 

12) Say ‘thank you’

Thank the host of the event. This is a great way to start a connection that you did not have before. 

13) Reach out within two days

Ideally, make contact within 48 hours, but don’t fail to reach out if it is later than that time frame. I have reached out 6 months after the initial meeting and have it turn out well—but this is not recommended at all!! 

14) Seek out influence

Look for people who can influence your business or job search—not just give you business or hire you. Influencers are more impactful than direct clients or hiring managers, since they introduce many opportunities.

15) Look for collaborators

Search for collaborators and joint venture partners. The best way to grow is by collaborating with others.

16) Send them something

Sending an article or book reference in an email or snail mail, relevant to something you discussed will show that you listened to the conversation.

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Tags: Networking