Thursday, July 26, 2012

Preparing for that Big Interview

Finally, it has finally happened! Your stellar resume and cover letter has landed you an interview. Now what? This is the moment you have been waiting for, the moment when you can sell yourself and get that dream job.

A successful interview is divided into two parts: the preparation and the actual interview. Each part requires time and effort.

Remember an interview is a two-way street. Not only are you being interviewed by the company but you are also making a decision if you want to work for them.

Prior to the interview, research the company and learn as much as you can about the following.

- Its history.

- Its Mission Statement and goals.

- Its philosophy about its people, the community and the environment.

- Its products, services and markets.

- Its locations.

This information will help you shape your answers to the interviewer’s questions. It will make you appear really interested in the company and the position.

You also need to research how to be interviewed and what are typical questions asked by potential employers. The internet provides many examples of interview techniques and sample questions. Practice your answers to the basics questions and always mold your answers to fit the employers’ philosophy wherever possible. You will find it easier to answer the hard questions when asked.

Review your resume and be prepared to expound upon each of your bullet points.  Most interviewers will ask you to elaborate on your accomplishments and successes. This is a time for you to brag.

Another key element to the interview is your appearance. Remember the old rule of “Dress for Success.” It is true that most interviewers form a lasting opinion of you in the first few seconds of meeting you based on your appearance. Here are a few tips.

- You need an interview outfit.

- It should be conservative, tasteful and not a fashion statement.

- It should be appropriate to the job level to which you are applying.

* I recommend dressing one level above.

* Business casual will be appropriate for most non-executive job      interviews.

- Wear appropriate shoes.

* Polished and clean.

* No tennis shoes, flops, or casual sandals.

* Depending on the nature of the job, ladies may want to avoid wearing high heels. This is for safety reasons if there is a facility tour.

- Limit jewelry and especially limit cologne.

Arrive on time. Being late is the kiss of death for an interview. If you are running late call and let them know.

Now all you have to do is WOW them with your brilliance.

Order your copy of How to Find a Job by Larry B. Gray today:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Using Props during a Presentation – The Wow Factor

Using Props during a Presentation – The Wow Factor
(An excerpt from I Have to Give a Speech – Now What by Larry B. Gray)

With the advent of computer generated presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint it is now easier to make a professional presentation. Speakers now have the ability to present a lot of information in a format that emphasizes and reinforces their message.
This has also created a phenomenon that I call the “Wow Factor.” It can have a positive or a negative effect on the message. One negative effect can occur when the speaker has added so much “razzle dazzle” to the material being displayed that it distracts the audience from the true message.  When the audience is more interested in the display they tune out the speaker and miss the key points.

Here are a few tips to help improve your next presentation:

Follow the KISS principle, Keep It Simple Stupid. Try not to make it more complicated than it has to be.

Avoid the temptation to WOW.

Keep your presentation slides as simple as possible. 

Use large and legible fonts.

Spell Check!!

Practice with your slides.
Keeping it simple means don’t overdo it. Cover your subject and make your slides interesting but relevant. It is easy to over describe a topic when one or two sentences and/or slides have covered it. Don’t lose your audience by boring them with needless information.

When you over emphasize the “Wow Factor” you run the risk of causing two problems. Your audience may become more interested in your slides than in you and too much “Wow” may be mistaken for a lack of knowledge of the subject. Be sure your slides emphasize the subject of the presentation without distracting from it.

There is also the temptation to put too much data on a single slide. This can make the slide unreadable or confusing.  Remember, your audience is trying to read the data from a distance and too much data will make the slide look jumbled.

Order Your Copy of  I Have to Give a Speech – Now What by Larry B. Gray

Monday, July 9, 2012

He Was A Good Christian Man

The other day I was standing outside my work with a couple of guys when a funeral procession drove by. One of my co-workers said, “He was a good Christian man.” I then asked him did he know the man. He responded “No, but he was a good Christian man.”
I thought to myself what a marvelous way to be remember, “He was a good Christian man.” One of the definitions of Christian is to be more like Christ. We all think about what our epitaph will be when our life is over. How will people remember us and what will we have accomplish with our life?
Will I be remembered as a good businessman and hard worker? Will I be remembered as a good teacher or leader? These are lofty aims and I work hard to achieve them every day.
Will I be remembered as a good husband and father? I have worked hard to accomplish this but have I done the right things?
Have I been a friend when needed? Am I someone who is there in good times and bad? It is good to have friends and to be a friend.
What kind of impact have I had in other people’s lives? I once had a young man come up to me in a grocery store and thank me for being his Boy Scout Leader years ago and that I had made a difference in his life. Recently I had a man thank me for being his mentor in the past and giving him the courage to try new things. This felt good, but have I been able to influence others.
Yet, the true test of our impact on other people’s lives is not what we think we have done, but what other’s see in our life. There is a saying, “not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.” When someone looks at my daily life what do they see? The way I handle myself daily is my greatest witness. In the end it doesn’t matter what I say I have done but what I actually did each and every day.
People are watching our every move. It is not only your friends and family that are watching you but strangers, people you hardly know. Your entire life serves as a witness to everyone you come in contact with, even people you are just passing in street. As is often said, “You may be the only Christ someone ever sees.” What do you want them to remember about you?
I hope when I die strangers are able to say, “He was a good Christian man.”

My prayer: “God, help me be more Christ like, more Christian, in every aspect of my life.”

Friday, July 6, 2012

Saturday Mornings With Dad

Here is a little snippet from my next book, A Boy From Down East, do out late this year.

Saturday Mornings With Dad

I was on Facebook today and came upon a group for Bill’s Hot Dogs in Washington NC. Memories of my Dad and me eating there in the early 1960’s came flooding back.
Back then Dad worked for Beaufort Equipment Company as a mechanic and later in the Parts Department. He worked Monday through Friday and a half day on Saturday. When I was young I often went to work with him on Saturday morning. There was always something fun to do.

Some Saturdays Dad took me to the Turnage Theater, which often had Saturday morning kid movies. Back then parents could let their children go to movies and not worry like we do today. With 25¢ for admission and 10¢ for a drink and popcorn you had a couple of hours of great entertainment.

On other Saturdays I went on equipment deliveries with the sons of Mr. Snows, the owner. This was always fun. I got to travel all over the area and at times I got to ride on the new tractors and harvesters. We often stopped at a little country store on the way to get a Coke and a pack of Nabs. It is amazing to think back on how filling a couple of crackers and a 6 oz. Coke were. Now you need 32 oz’s. No wonder this country has an obesity problem today.

Almost every Saturday, when Dad got off work, we went to Bill’s Hot Dogs for lunch. When I think back to that time I remember the hot dogs tasting better than they do today. Maybe it is because going out to eat was a special treat, especially when it was ME and my DAD.