Career E-News: April 2012 

Monthly Newsletter for Executives, Managers, and Professionals in Career Transition / Written and Published by Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin, The Career Success Coach

In this issue:
QR Codes Add Punch To Your Job Search
Preparing for Behavioral Interviews
Upcoming Presentations
Career Action Planning (CAP) Session
Quote of the Month: On "Talents"
Client Landings
Applause - Clapping
Congratulations to Bryna Davidow, who  was recently hired as the Communications Manager at the Community Associations Institute, New England Chapter.  
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Greetings!                              Joellyn Headshot 2009 

Happy Spring...almost felt like summer here in Worcester, with near 80 degree weather earlier this week. My husband and I are on our way to  the Haraskeet Inn in Freeport, Maine for the weekend, for some much needed rest and relaxation. We'll also do some sight-seeing and exploration in the neighboring towns of this area...we're really looking forward to it!  


On the US labor market front, I was glad to see that 120,000 new jobs were created in March, although the number fell short of economists' expectations, of 200,000+. Even so, job creation numbers for December '11 January '12, and February '12 finished higher than original counts. I'm hoping that this might be true for March and in the months to us reason to hope! 


Quick Response (QR) codes have been springing up everywhere, giving consumers quick access to products and services via mobile apps. When embedded into business cards or resumes, QR codes be useful in job searching on-the go, like at job fairs or impromptu meetings with hiring managers. Read more in Joyce Lain Kennedy's "Careers Now" column. (Side note: the QR graphic below--when scanned to your portable device--will take you to a website where you can get your own personal QR code to your online resume, LinkedIn profile, or personal websites.)


Many employers use behavioral interviewing as a strategy for selecting top candidates. The premise of behavioral interviewing is that a candidate's behavior on an interview will predict their performance on the job. My experience as a mock candidate for behavioral interviewing reinforced the importance of having stories prepared for questions you might be asked. Read about it in my article: "Preparing for Behavioral Interviews" where you can also download a worksheet for drafting your stories.


Is your job search stuck and your career stalled? Spring into action with a Career Action Planning (CAP) Session which will get to the root of your career problem and get you on the road to landing your dream job in record time!  Be sure to read the testimonial of one client who landed soon after his CAP Session.  

Enjoy this issue and I look forward to connecting soon! 


~ Joellyn


P.S.  If you live in Central or MetroWest Massachusetts, check out my upcoming presentation in May
QRQR Codes Add Punch To Your Job Search: Joyce Lain Kennedy's "Careers Now" Column (Apr 1, 2012) QR Sample 


Quick response, or QR, codes can zip up your appeal when you add one to the back of your business card to be scanned at career fairs, networking events and other mobile job search settings. You can also plant a QR code in your résumé.


Remember that a QR code works best when you're on the move. That's because an employer sitting at a computer already has clickable access to the wonders of the Internet and doesn't need to scan a QR code to see how wonderful you are. Read the entire column here: 

BEH Preparing for Behavioral Interviews Standout Candidate 


A few years ago, I had an opportunity to be a mock interview candidate for a prominent Fortune 500 company whose training department was field-testing its behavioral interview process. The hiring managers had completed a behavioral interview training program; the final segment was to practice their skills on mock candidates.


The premise of behavioral interviewing is that a candidate's behavior on an interview will predict their performance on the job. Interviewers identify the skills required for a specific job; then they tailor their questions accordingly. Typically, behavioral interview questions are "open ended" -- requiring more than a "yes" or "no" answer -- starting with "what," "how," "tell me," "explain," "describe" or "give me an example."


My mock interview experience reinforced the importance of what I teach my private clients: have a cache of "career success stories" memorized and ready-to-go, to draw upon for any behavior-based questions the interviewer might ask. With the competitiveness of today's job market, having these stories prepared in advance will help you stand out among other candidates.


The position I "interviewed" for was a fictitious customer service position. Some of the questions the interviewers asked me were: 

  • Give me an example of how you worked on a team to achieve a specific result.
  • Describe one of your recent projects and how you dealt with an unproductive team member.
  • How have you recently handled a sensitive customer service situation?
  • Tell me about a project where you weren't recognized for your efforts. How did you handle it?  

When asked these questions, I fumbled for answers and knew that if this had been a real interview, I would have failed miserably because I was so unprepared. So, take my experience as a "lesson learned" to prepare for any questions interviewers might ask:  

  • Research the company through their website,,, or;
  • Study the job description and note any tasks that might be unclear;
  • Write out at least 10 stories (30-40 words each) that convey how well you can do the job. 

To prepare your stories, use the "Challenge-Action-Results" (CAR) model:

  • The challenge you inherited: what made this task difficult, important, timely, urgent or valuable;
  • The action you and/or your team members took: what you did, how you did it and what the roadblocks were;
  • The results: what was the outcome in terms of quantifiable metrics or a "before" and "after."  

When elaborating on results, consider that hiring managers are impressed with candidates who can help their company:  

  • Make money or save money;
  • Be more competitive;
  • Keep customers and attract new ones;
  • Make work easier or faster.

 <Download this worksheet to help you write out your stories>


After writing out your stories, rehearse them out loud with someone you trust such as a colleague, mentor, spouse or significant other-anyone who has a vested interest in your success. Ask for constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement. You might even want to rehearse in front of a mirror, to gauge your body language and facial expressions.


Preparing for behavioral interviews is critical to your performance. When you follow my strategy, you'll avoid tongue-tied moments, be ready to answer any questions the interviewers will ask, and position yourself as a top candidate for the job.


Like this article? Please post your comments on my blog.


© 2012 Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin, The Career Success Coach. All Rights Reserved 

PREUpcoming Presentations (Massachusetts)
Public Speaking 

* Topic: "Network Your Way into the Hidden Job Market" 

* Sponsor: Hopkinton Networking Group

* Date: Fri, May 18, 2012 /Time: 11 am to Noon

* Location: St. John the Evangelist, 20 Church St, Hopkinton, MA01748

* Registration Contact: Gil Krispien:

CAPCareer Action Planning (CAP) Session 
  • question mark jpegDo you work hard on your job search but seem to get nowhere fast?
  • Are you burned out with your job, but don't know what other work might satisfy you?  
  • Do you have trouble understanding how your transferrable skills can be used in other professions?
  • Do you apply for jobs online, only to get "thanks but no thanks" responses?
  • Does it seem like your network can't help you with your job search the way you'd like?
  • Do you get interviews--- but no offers?   

Is it time to take a risk -- a giant step forward -- to end the pain once and for all? You may surprised: the problem might not be what you think and simpler to overcome than you thought possible.


Regardless of the issues you face or what you may be frustrated or confused about, I can provide the clarity, creative thinking, objectivity, and perspective you need to get your career and job search moving in the right direction.  


Let's get started with a Career Action Planning (CAP) Session to help you figure out what's working, what needs attention, and what the next steps are to land the job of your dreams!  


LOUSkeptical? Here's what one client said about his experience. He got hired five months after his CAP Session!  


"I worked with Joellyn and went through her Career Action Planning session after months and months spinning my wheels trying to land a position. Her session and follow ups were a great jump start for me in redesigning my resume. She helped me focus on what my strengths were and was encouraging and genuine. She's extremely personable and is a great listener. I'd recommend her to anyone who is struggling finding their next steps in their career path."  -- Louis Miano, Sr. Software Developer 


 Go to my website for details and pricing:  

About "The Career Success Coach" 


Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin is a Certified Career Management Coach in private practice serving executives, managers and professionals in career transition. Since 1991, Joellyn has helped countless clients across multiple industry sectors find perfect career paths which are fun, fulfilling and financially-rewarding. Her  program starts with a Career Action Planning (CAP) Session to first determine where clients are getting stuck, stalled or confused in landing the job of their dreams.  


Joellyn will be happy to discuss your situation on a free call. Contact her at 508-459-2854, 

or visit

Quote of the Month: On "Talents"


"Hide not your talents,

They for use were made:

What's a sundial in the shade?"

---  Poor Richard's Almanack (1750) 

© 2012 The Career Success Coach

 All rights reserved.