It had been more than 17 years since I worked in an office, but I kept my skills up and knew I still had the know how to perform administrative work once again. I just needed someone to recognize that in my resume and give me a chance to meet with them. After a year, hundreds of resumes sent and 4 interviews I knew I wasn't showing employers the real professional I knew I was. I knew I was "missing something" that would give me an edge over someone else.
I started coming to Northern Lights, got connected to you, a counsellor, and started attending the workshops offered. I attended Resumes and Cover Letters, The Hidden Job Market, Interviews and The Informational Interview.
In the week that I was attending these workshops I got a call from a company that I had sent my resume to 2 months ago. She apoligised saying that she received 300 resumes and was still making her way through all of them. We had a brief telephone interview and she asked me for a formal interview the following week. I immediately booked a mock interview and began working on the answers to interview questions given to me in the Interview workshop. I prepared a porfolio and calling card as described in the Interview workshop.
I presented my calling card to the receptionist when I came for the interview and I hand delivered a thank note the next day to my interviewer. One of the questions my interviewer asked me was "how did I prepare for the interview" and I was very proud to flip to the questions and answers I had typed in my profolio and say I have been going to Northern Lights and learning about being prepared. It was also fun to pull out my police report already copied for them without them asking. I got the call for the second interview a few days later and was interviewed by 4 people. They were all quite interested in my portfolio after I opened it and the first page was a page from their website of the company mission statement and values. Even though it said it on my resume, which was right in front of them, that I had licences and certifiates, when I flipped through the porfolio, they all leaned forward to look. I then hand delivered 4 thank you notes the next day. The day after that I got the call and was offered the position. When I went in to deliver my signed acceptance of an offer of employment, one of the four interviewers was passing by and said, "thank you for the thank you note".
There is no doubt that what I learned at Northern Lights set me above other people, made me stand out, gave me more confidence and showed professionalism. Key elements that worked for me, the calling card, the portfolio, the times to be reached on the references, doing the research on the company, answering the interview questions and typing them out, getting the police check and having a copy ready, doing the mock interview and the most important, hand delivering the thank you notes.
I can't stress enough about how different you feel in an interview when they ask you a question and you already have a well thought out answer. It feels like your in control of the interview, not them. And don't forget one of the most important things to say. When they ask if you have any questions, alway end with "Is there anything else I can tell you about myself so you know I'm the best person for this job?" Thanks Hilary and Jen.
In closing I want to say thank you, Carolyn, for helping me with my interview answers, thanks Hillary for the mock interview and being a workshop facilitator, thanks Tracy and Jen for your cheerfulness and being facilitators and thanks Megan for the intake. What you do is important and it works.
Christine Lowe (the new administrative assistant in Terry Windrem Insurance Agencies/The Protectors Group)