Monthly Archives: January 2015

Rocking a Job Interview – Tips for the Nervous

So a LONG time ago I promised a post about interviewing for jobs…then I promptly started my new job and forgot my promise. But now, now’s the time!

I’m going to be honest: job interviewing is like a weird sort of natural high for me. I get really keyed up beforehand, I spend a few days prepping and deciding what to wear and making sure I have 8 alarms set (if it’s a morning time slot). I’m weird. I also like doing my taxes, what can I say?

Maybe this comes from one of my first job interviews, which was terrible. I didn’t get the job, I didn’t even get a follow-up phone call, so I vowed to NEVER have a terrible interview ever again. I’m by no means the master of interviews now, but I leave them feeling relaxed and happy and confident in my abilities. Here’s a few tips that I’ve come to rely on in the last years.

First – do your research. Make sure you have a decent understanding of what it is you’re applying for, and the background of the company. When they ask you “Why do you want to work for us,” have an answer that’s more specific than “this is a great opportunity.” Know something about their philanthropic efforts, their workplace environment, awards or accolades they’ve won. Make it personal – you want THIS job, and you want it for a reason. It was easy to do this with my latest job interview; I grew up wearing their clothes, and they were a big part of my childhood. I knew something about company history that I could bring up (I used to go to warehouse sales when the company was just getting off the ground). It was easy to establish a connection with my interviewer through this.

Practice practice practice. I have my husband ask me interview questions in the days leading up to my interview. You can find tons of interview questions online to practice with. Work through a few main points that you want to touch on. For instance, if you have a strong work ethic, figure out how to incorporate that into a few different answers. Ask for critiques and be flexible with your choice of wording and phrasing. Your practice interviewer might hear something in your words that you do not.

Be yourself, but don’t overshare. Your interviewer doesn’t need to know your quirks, not right off the bat. I’m pretty sure an answer to the simple question “what sort of books do you like to read,” is what made that terrible interview head downhill. I was too specific. So I read about religious cults, I find it fascinating…but I could have stuck with “I read a lot of non-fiction.” Don’t offend your interviewer or make them feel uncomfortable.

Dress comfortably. This obviously varies according to the business, field of work, etc., but here in the Pacific Northwest, we are generally pretty casual. Unless you know that the office is business formal ALL the time, I don’t feel that it’s critical to wear a suit. I always do slacks or a skirt, paired with a stylish top in a non-cotton jersey fabric, and maybe a blazer, or cardigan, depending on the weather. If you can’t walk in heels, don’t wear heels. It’s so easy to dress up flats, and stumbling into the room while you’re attempting to stay balanced on your stilettos isn’t the most flattering way to make an introduction.

Lastly, remember that the interview isn’t just for the company to decide whether or not they like you; you also need to decide whether or not you want to work for them. Try and get a sense for what it’s like at the office. When they ask if you have any questions, ASK some questions. I once heard that it’s bad if you don’t ask questions, because that makes it look like you aren’t engaged with the opportunity. Think up a few standard questions you can ask at all your interviews – this can help you compare opportunities if you are ever lucky enough to juggle multiple offers. Also, if you see anything of note in the research you did before the interview, bring it up. Show that curiosity! I did one interview where I figured out about halfway through that the job didn’t sound interesting, and I had no desire to work for the manager. Without asking the right questions, I may not have made that realization.

And don’t be discouraged! I graduated from college at the height of the recession, and it took me six months of applications and interviews to finally land a job. Yeah, it can suck to be rejected, but the right opportunity will come around, and it will feel oh so good.

I’ll leave you with a picture of me that was taken minutes before I interviewed for what ended up becoming my first real adult job. It helps when your cousins are around to photograph these moments for you! Stay confident, trust what you know, and go land that dream job!

Dressed for success!

Dressed for success!

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A 12th (Wo)man Kind of Sunday

Oh my word, ya’ll (I wish I was southern), what a WEEK. As much as I tire of the monotony of getting up and going to work and working and coming home from work every day, after this last week, a little routine and some down time ain’t a bad thing.

But first, yesterday was just magical. I am hoarse from screaming at my television over the Seahawks game. I have never had so much nervous energy pent up during one game. I really thought it was over during the third quarter and now I’m ashamed that I didn’t believe in the power of the 12th Man. Since Portland doesn’t have a team and I lived in Seattle for four years during college and consider it my second home, I feel some “hometown pride” for them. When I was up there in Seattle on game day this fall, I couldn’t believe how many people were rocking jerseys. A little sports success, which always seems rare in the Pacific Northwest, has really brought everyone together.

Ramsay hates football season because our yelling interferes with his nap time.

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After the game, I was so wound up that I took the dog out for a two mile jog to decompress. It was short but we managed to make it home just before the skies opened up and the apocalyptic rain started once again.

While I decompressed on my run, husband celebrated by baking some monkey bread which was a delicious smell and taste to return to.

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Now, it’s Monday again and I’m back on the train on my way to the office. Last week I got to go to my first ever company party, which was fun, especially considering it was at a swanky club on the east side and my previous company didn’t really have parties. Another night was craft night where I stayed up way too late laughing with friends and family and drinking All The Wine.

This week it’s just work, sleep, and keeping up with house work, and that sounds just perfect to me.

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I’m ready for my hike from train to office, which always makes me feel like I have the city to myself for half a mile and I love it. How did I live for so long without working in the city? I mean, my lunch game has really stepped up.

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So, your turn. Who are you rooting for in the SuperBowl? How do you entertain yourself during your commute? On a scale of 1-10, how tired are you right now?

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Random Rainy 5k

Sometimes your friends invite you to a random, free, early morning 5k fun run and you whine about it for hours and stay up late the night before and then just HAPPEN to wake up on time to go. So you go, hang out with some great people, and get a good run in that makes you feel great about your running goals for the year, because your mile splits were decent considering this was your second run since September.

This morning was one of those times.

The Roadrunner in NW Portland was celebrating their one year store-iversary this morning, and held a free 5k group run with goodies and giveaways and all that jazz. When I wrenched myself out of bed and out the door in time to pick up my friend Angie, there was a nice, cold, steady drizzle happening. I was wearing fleece, because I’m a total n00b when it comes to cold/wet weather running. But I sucked it up and used the thought of a scalding hot shower to motivate me. Running through NW when it was early and quiet was delightful even with the rain; this is one of my favorite neighborhoods and we ran some back streets so I found some new bars and coffee shops.

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We got back to Roadrunner, drenched but feeling good. Some friendly chaps saw us taking selfies and offered to take a picture for us “because we HAD to get one under the Roadrunner sign.” Then we went inside for free mimosas and beer and bagels and fruit and infused water and waffles shaped like Nikes with the signature swoosh, because Oregon = Nike. We refrained from the waffles because we had run past Stepping Stone Cafe earlier and decided we earned us a REAL breakfast.

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This is said real breakfast. And DAMN it was good. Angie had huevos rancheros, I had a veggie scramble, and we split a “mancake,” which was probably the best pancake I ever had. I had never been to Stepping Stone but I will for sure be returning soon because I wanted to devour their entire breakfast menu. Plus their motto was “You eat here because we let you,” and I like my breakfast to come with a little side of attitude. The cafe itself was tiny and cozy and I LOVED it because it wasn’t pretentious, like some breakfast places can be around here. It was just delicious food and good coffee on a rainy little corner of NW Portland. I’m excited to eat my leftovers tomorrow morning.

My scalding hot shower was worth the wait, by the way. Plus Husband had already showered so I got to hoard the hot water. Now I’m lounging in my bathrobe, cheering on my Seahawks (it’s a big week for northwest sports, with the college national championship game) and waiting impatiently for the beef curry I made to finish cooking low and slow in the oven. Perfect Saturday? Pretty close anyways. I’m still riding high on endorphins.

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Come At Me, 2015!!

Happy New Year! How is it 2015 already? Where did my 2014 go?

This holiday season was an absolute blur. Getting used to my new job and new commute, balancing Christmas with my parents and hubby’s parents, my birthday, back to work, parties and treats and presents and family fun! It leaves a girl exhausted (probably why I’ve been sleeping in every weekend). But I’m ready to take this new year by the horns!

For starters, we’ve managed to keep our first floor clean since Christmas, which is a feat for us. We came up with a cooking and cleaning schedule that seems to be working, rotating meals and chores and throwing in a weekly date night.

I also have an Erin Condren life planner headed my way, which, based on everything I’ve read, will just rock my world. I fully anticipate this thing to just completely change my life.

After, sadly, failing the second part of the CMA exam, I ordered updated study materials (because obviously right after I fail the test they completely change it up and my $900 study system becomes instantly moot) and intend to pass at the end of May, with flying colors this time. Everything else is finished for my requirements, this is the last thing holding me back from those three oh so professional letters being added to my business cards.

I’m also going to ease myself back into a running routine. My normal schedule has come back to me and sometimes I get home before it gets dark! (Changing jobs makes me feel like I’ve regained my sanity.) So yesterday we took the dog out for a short lap around the neighborhood and it felt good! I’m eyeing more races this year, and really have my heart set on Portland’s Rock & Roll half in May.

I also have ambitious blog goals, but I’ve said that before. Crossing my fingers that I can develop some discipline this year and crank out some content that’s been percolating in my brains!

I’m ready for you, 2015!

What are your goals for the year?

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