Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Save Your Stories

One of the best ways that I've seen for acing an interview is to have stories to tell about experiences. When someone asks me questions about challenges, about projects, about successes or failures, I tell stories about my career.

That's something you should be able to do. While you might have specific questions in your field (which tasks lest me direct ETL rows based on some value in SSIS), I find that many questions are more open ended. Even somewhat technical questions can be answered with a few notes about the way you've handled a technical implementation in the past.

However you need these stories to be on the tip of your tongue. Whether you're putting them on your blog, or you're keeping track of them in Word (or Evernote, or some other service), make sure you keep track. You won't remember some of these stories when you need to prepare for an interview, so make sure they're stored when they happen.

When something interesting happens, good or bad, make some notes. Use this to relive your accomplishment, or unload your disappointment. It's cathartic to revisit bad experiences and evaluate them again. It's exciting to go over good ones.

Just keep track of them.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Beware of Humblebragging

I had never heard of humblebragging until I read this piece on it. Apparently it's a backhanded complaint combined with some level of bravado about your life. You should read the piece, and make sure you aren't using too much in your public persona.

I've noted that humility is important, but not in a job interview. That's certainly true, but make sure when you talk about yourself in a positive way, you do so with confidence and authority. I'll include honest as well, and don't humblebrag. It's a turn off, or maybe a sign that you are either covering something up or you don't really believe in yourself.

Prepare for the interview. Talk about yourself openly, emphasize what you do well, with confidence, and admit what you don't know.

Above all, make sure you are using "The Test" in your public writing and posting about your career. You never know when the interviewer will have researched your posts and have doubts or concerns about the way you portray yourself. Be careful what you post, and temper your honesty with some good judgment about what you disclose about how you conduct yourself, as well as what you know about your particular field.

This sounds like you're managing your life by being careful about posts, but it's really managing your career. If you want to be free about all of your life, I really, really encourage you to have a separate account or blog for your career.