• 5 Ways to Rock Your Next Interview

    by Courtney Farris 

    Landing a job is the end goal for all job seekers, but a proactive job search isn’t as simple as that. It’s often a long process that includes5 ways to rock your next interview resume building, networking, seeking out positions and the dreaded interview. Job seekers can get stuck in any one of these job search checkpoints. One place that we commonly see our clients struggle is with the interview. Having dozens of unsuccessful interviews can be both frustrating and discouraging. Here are 5 key tips for better interview performance:

    1. Bring Your Resume. Make sure that your resume is up to date, personalized and customized to the position you are interviewing for. A well-crafted resume should include key accomplishments from your previous positions and use descriptive action words that clearly describe how you contributed to the company’s success. Make sure it speaks to the value you bring and why you are the best candidate for the position. Know the content on your resume well so that you can use it as a tool to address the questions they ask.

    2. Prepare Your 30-Second Commercial. You may have also heard of this as an “elevator pitch.” It’s likely that the interviewer will open with a general, “tell me about yourself” question. While the question seems simple to answer, the broad topic under the pressure of an interview can be tricky for some. Practice describing yourself in 30 seconds or less. You’ll want to quickly tell them who you are, what you do and the value that you bring. Make sure that it’s a memorable message that makes the interviewer want to learn more about you.

    3. Do Your Research. This is critical to your interview success. You don’t need to know the company inside and out, but you should have a very good ...

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  • Downsizing: Best Practice Advice

    Having worked with a multitude of companies who have had to manage a downsizing, I have observed many negative approaches to thisdownsizing best practices process. As such, I know of better and more sensitive ways. 

    The goal is to relay this difficult message to an employee in a sensitive way in order to avoid negative or extreme emotions and reactions. The fact is this message to an employee (losing one’s job) is a negative one, but you don’t want to handle this in such a way as to cause outrage or retaliation.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to handle a corporate downsizing.

    -       When possible, avoid delivering the downsizing message on a Friday. When releasing someone on a Friday, chances are your business will be closed over the weekend. This is important because at the time of hearing this news, most employees won’t hear all the information being shared and thus will have questions a day or two later. If unable to ask you/the employer, they may turn to friends and neighbors, who could stir up negative emotions within the employee. Then by Monday, the employee may have become highly agitated. Therefore, consider releasing on another day of the week.

    -       Give the notice in a private setting, as the employee could easily become emotional (crying, etc.) and should not be exposed to others walking or seated close by. You should also close the door for privacy.

    -       Have tissues available and give the employee time to ask questions or collect themselves before leaving. Be sure the employee is calm enough to drive him/herself home safely, as well as confirm they have transportation.

    -       Though some companies are advised by their lawyers to have security close by or even escort the ...

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  • Endorsements on LinkedIn – A Good Thing?

    by Shawna Simcik

    When LinkedIn first introduced the endorsement function, there was plenty of distress and uproar. We’ve all received endorsements for skills we didn’t know we had from people who don’t even know us.


    Though I think I could navigate compensation and benefits, I’ve never done it, so I was mystified when a mystery endorsement came from someone who endorsed me for “compensation and benefits.”

    So, in an effort to understand more about this function and to educate those in a job search, I went to explore the pros and cons of endorsements. What does it get me that recommendations don't already afford me? Are they worth it? Should I remove the skills that I don’t actually have?


    The conclusion that I’ve reached is LinkedIn endorsements are good!


    Back in 2011, LinkedIn introduced the “skills and experience” feature. Many of us have not gotten around to filling this out. So, first, let me highlight where to find your endorsements. LinkedIn endorsements appear near the middle of your profile and written next to each “skill” in a blue box is the number of endorsements you’ve received for each identified skill. The higher the number, the greater number of endorsements you’ve received. For example on my profile, you will notice, 99+ endorsements for the keyword “Talent Management":

    Linkedin endorsements - good or bad?


    You can edit your profile and select certain specialties that you deem you are skilled in. This is worth doing because you want people endorsing you to check off the skills you believe are most important. Pick at least 10 skills. You can also change the order that these appear on your profile.


    Second, someone may endorse you for a skill or specialty and you have the right to approve this endorsement. Once you have approved the keyword, ...

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  • Should We Still Write Cover Letters?

    by Susan Ruhl

    In a word? Yes. In today's world of increasing technology and decreasing human interaction, its easy to believe that a cover letter is noshould we still write cover letters? longer needed. However, if you stop to think about it, the number one way to get a job, by far, is still networking. Good old personal interaction. 

    Companies today are becoming aware of the downfalls of the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). However, they are not planning on getting rid of them. When you submit your resume to a company via an ATS, you probably can't attach a cover letter. These systems, in my opinion, do a better job of weeding out job candidates based on things such as GPA, minimum qualifications, bachelors degree, etc.  They are not designed to assess the positive attributes.  

    So if networking is still the best way to be successful in a job search, and the ATS is a necessary evil, it’s incredibly important that we use every tool at our disposal to help set us apart from the competition. One very powerful tool is the cover letter. Ideally, even when you apply using the Applicant Tracking System, you still want your resume and cover letter handed to the recruiter. Or even better, the hiring manager.  How do you do that? Networking. 

    Once you've been successful getting your information into the hands of the appropriate people, that is when the importance of your cover letter becomes clear. This is your 30-second commercial, the “Why Me” statement that tells the employer in your own words what you can do for the company. Remember, gone are the days of telling a hiring manager what you want out of the job. They want and need to know how you will make their jobs easier. What can you do that is better than ...

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The vOIce

The vOIce is written by many of the managing partners of OI Partners. Topics include our ideas on how you or your organization can be effective in areas related to career development, executive development, workforce development, career transition and more.

We welcome your comments!