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Always at the Ready

You never know when your job search will pop up

➔ Some of the best advice you’ll ever receive centers around preparing for an interview. Whether it’s preparing what to say about yourself or learning about the prospective employer, getting yourself ready for an interview is critical.

But shouldn’t you take it one step further? Shouldn’t you be prepared to talk about yourself when you enter a networking event? An informational interview? Coffee with a colleague? Or, shouldn’t you have some things at the ready because you never know when you might need them?

Luck is where you find it

We know someone who was waiting to meet a friend for a strictly social lunch when she overheard two men at the next table talking about a potential job opening. She (politely) interrupted saying “I can do that” and, one thing led to another, and she got a new job. It does, and can happen.

So what kinds of things should you have at the ready? A few facts about yourself would be a good place to start. These could vary widely based on your background, experience, the industry in which you worked, etc. It could be anything that you think a contact might find interesting and/or helpful.

You also might want to single out one (maybe two depending on your circumstances) accomplishment of which you’re very proud. Again, it’s part of your story. It could center around cost cutting. A sales increase. An opening, a closing. A new product. Training. It could be almost anything.

Whether it’s an interview or not, people like to ask about your strengths and weaknesses. So you need to be ready with a list of plus-or-minus five words to describe yourself. You’re a “detail” person. You’re loyal; reliable; punctual. And as alluded to, one of your words should describe a weakness – whatever that may be.

You only need two things to create such a list: one, a healthy dose of honesty (aka self-awareness); and two, a trusted friend on whom you can bounce your list for accuracy and thoroughness.

When you’re in a job search, you never know when an opportunity might present itself. That’s why you always need to be at the ready.


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