Lights, camera, job search: Interview tips from actors

While pursuing my passion for acting, I've had to constantly face a situation feared by most actors: the audition. In order to be successful, actors audition a lot; often anywhere from once a week to multiple times a day. Just like with interviewing, auditioning is often terrifying the first several times, and then it becomes (a little) less intimidating. You learn how to present your best self under intense pressure and constant competition. Auditioning takes diligent preparation, battling nerves and dealing with rejection – the same things job seekers experience when going in for an interview.
Due to the similarities between auditioning and interviewing, you could perhaps learn a thing or two about preparing for an interview from a seasoned actor. That's why we chatted with Aaron Walters, a CareerBuilder employee who has more than 15 years of experience in theater, television, radio and film (he recently was featured on Season one of "Chicago P.D." and appeared in a national ad campaign for Bud Light). Here's what he had to say about the parallels between auditioning and interviewing, along with my takeaways for applying acting technique to the job search.
CB: How has auditioning prepared you to deliver an effective interview?AW: I think that auditioning forces you to think on your feet, because you're never sure what the outcome will be – especially if you're paired with a complete stranger (which is usually the case). Don't get tripped up by your interviewer's questions or reactions, just as you wouldn't by your scene partner's choices. Remain in the moment, so you don't become stuck within your own narrative in an interview. Simply put, in an audition or interview you must listen and respond. Your potential employer may be vetting for additional positions besides the one you're interviewing for, so be prepared to pick up on potential cues.
Takeaway: Listen to the interviewer. Respond in the moment to what the interviewer is giving you – if you become nervous you'll shut down and won't hear a word. You may be missing important information that you can refer back to or relay your insight on during the interview.
CB: What are some acting-based classes a job candidate might take to improve their interviewing skills?AW: I would 100 percent suggest taking an on-camera course. You learn a significant amount about your natural tendencies in regards to body language, etc. Stuff that frankly may not be the easiest to look at. Suddenly you realize your voice is not as cool as you thought it was in your head, but being aware of how you're selling yourself in an interview or an audition is a crucial first step.
Takeaway: Self-awareness is key. When you see yourself in play-black mode, you can learn so much about how others may perceive you. Take a class with a group, instead of just preparing within the vacuum of your own living room, so you can receive honest feedback on how you're presenting yourself. The camera does not lie and will accurately reflect your posture, the confidence of your voice, your physical habits, etc. All of these tendencies can positively or negatively impact an interview.
CB: What parallels have you found between interviewing and auditioning?AW: One parallel that definitely exists in auditioning or interviewing is that the only obstacle standing in your way of being successful is yourself. There's no one actively rooting against you to not get the job or land the part … it's actually quite the opposite. In most of my experiences, I felt potentially able to make the day of the person across the table. This is true whether it's a casting director or a prospective employer. They may be exhausted of looking for the perfect candidate as much as you are in the job search. They want you to succeed.
Takeaway: Alter your perspective for the better. The way that you perceive yourself in an interview setting is tantamount to success. If you walk into an interview scenario not ready to put your best foot forward, the interview may be over before you answer the first question. Convince yourself that your specific skills are going to benefit the hiring manager. In many cases your opinion of yourself will influence the interviewer's perception of you. Don't be overconfident, but assert your value confidently.

Six-Figure Jobs: Genetic Counselors Earn Up To $250K

Biggest demand is in prenatal genetics

The 25 US Colleges Whose Graduates Earn the Most Money

College-bound students take notes.

No limitations

The One Perk Entry-Level Employees Want More Than Their Bosses

It's quite intriguing.

When evaluating a new job opportunity, how important is the ability to gain new skills in that role?

Photo Credit: Business Insider

How concerned are you about keeping your skills current in the next three to five years?

Photo Credit: Business Insider

According to Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, "Workers at every career stage want to keep their skills both current and relevant. In today's competitive hiring market, a robust professional development program can be an appealing benefit to would-be new hires."

McDonald points out that training programs also are a powerful retention tool. "Our company's research has found a lack of advancement opportunities is a top reason good employees quit, trailing only inadequate compensation," he said. "A company's best performers are often the first to leave if their employer does not provide ample training and development to help them grow professionally."

Since CFOs and other members of upper-level management have already built useful skill-sets needed to perform their jobs, it does make sense that their employees would be more eager to learn those same skills in order to quickly advance their careers. 

20 Ways To Avoid Getting Burned Out At Work

Here's how to make sure you keep the spark alive during working hours.

13 Things You Should Never Say On Your First Day At Work

Your ultimate guide on what NOT to say on your first day.

1) "At my last company..." or "In my last job..."
No one likes a know-it-all.

Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, etiquette and civility expert and author of "Don't Burp in the Boardroom," suggests walking into the new job with energy, but she also recommends a splash of humility. "Not the timid, reserved definition, but with an attitude of learning — not knowing-it-all."

2) "When do I get a raise?"
"How about getting through the ninety-day probationary period first," Randall suggests.

3) "BTW, I have to leave early on Fridays."
"If you hadn't talked about that prior to joining, landing in the new job and suddenly dropping these kinds of bombs on them really shows a lack of communication and respect on your part," O'Donnell says.

"They're expecting you to just come in and be there and be present, be eager, be ready and willing to learn."

4) "Who should I meet and who should I avoid around here?"
A question like this is basically asking coworkers to gossip — that's a career killer, Randall says. And one person's beef with another coworker is their business only and could have developed over matters you have no idea about.

"Take time to meet and engage in small talk with each person in your department," Randall suggests. "Judge for yourself."

5) That's not how I learned how to do it."
Keep the conversation positive, O'Donnell advises. Employers don't want to hear what you can't do —they want to hear that you are open-minded and ready to learn to do it their way.

"That can sometimes slip out because people want to be able to show their expertise and they think, 'That's why I got hired,'" O'Donnell explains. "But if you don't frame it properly, it can really sound negative and critical of the organization that's just hired you."

6) "What's the holiday party like? Do we get bonuses or a ham or something?"
"You are the ham," Randall says. "Why don't you just wait and see when holiday time rolls around. By the way, what will you do if you go home empty-handed?"

7) "What d'ya have to do around here to get an upgrade on this company phone?"
If your company phone isn't the newest or shiniest, chances are your coworkers' aren't either. Asking for an upgrade will undoubtedly alienate some people who will question if you think you deserve it more.

"Learn to deal with what you are given. If the company is technology-deficient, has older desks, chairs, or office décor, don't allow or use it to determine how you get the job done," Randall says.

8) "That makes no sense."
You may come across a way of doing things in your new company that you don't understand or agree with, but framing it this way makes you seem like a Negative Nancy or — even worse — just plain dumb.

"Get some feedback before you make this automatic assumption," O'Donnell suggests. Instead of saying the policy doesn't make sense to you, ask why the company does it this way, the history behind it, and try to understand the policy from the organization's point of view.

9) "My prior boss was clueless."
Maybe your previous boss was an idiot. But negative complaints and comparisons are rarely welcomed, Kerrigan points out, and these kinds of statements can be harmful to your professional brand and how you're perceived. You're the one that's coming off as clueless.
10) "I'd like to invite you all to my church this Sunday."
Unless it has something to do with your job, you might consider bringing the "never discuss politics or religion at the dinner table" rule to your desk as well.

"These discussion aren't generally well received in a work environment," Randall says. "You may find coworkers shying away from you as Fridays approach."

11) "In my opinion ..."
As a general rule of thumb, make "Ask, don't tell," your personal mantra for the day, O'Donnell suggests.

Unless asked, it's better to keep your opinion to yourself and see what your employers have to say about things first.

12) "What's the employee discount like?!"
Defer these kinds of questions to the policies and procedures manual, Randall says.

"Inquiring and asking for perks is so 'me, me me' — an unfavorable trait."

13) "Hey Donna, working hard or hardly working?!"
First of all, lame.

Second of all, while you may see other coworkers ribbing each other and think it's fine to join in — don't.

"They earned that level of casualness with each other ... you are not there yet," O'Donnell says.

A Simple Flowchart Can Help You Decide What Career Path Is Right For You

There's no guarantee this will lead you to the right job, but it can help steer you in the right direction.

5 things that make a salesperson excel in today’s competitive world

What makes a great salesperson in 2015, especially as technology continues to become part of the job?

The sales profession has evolved over the years and looks different than it did even a decade ago, let alone 20 or 30 years ago. Amidst increased competition in the marketplace, salespeople today have to step up to the plate and accept increased responsibilities or get left behind. So, what makes a great salesperson in 2015, especially as technology continues to become part of the job? I've outlined what I believe are the top five traits:

1.They know client needs inside out. Don't picture a door-to-door salesperson making the same sales pitch over and over again, unaware of the audience he or she is selling to. Today, you must dig far beneath the surface to unveil what a client really needs. A great salesperson listens to understand a client's needs. They will investigate what the client's pain points are, what areas the client finds challenging and what keeps the client up at night. They become experts at solving problems by researching their clients and prospects, learning about their industry and business, and identifying challenges they are currently facing — and also ones they expect to encounter in the future.

2.They take advantage of training opportunities. Great software salespeople are acutely aware of how competitive it is in the marketplace today. That's why they take every opportunity to become subject-matter experts by familiarizing themselves with the products so they can speak intelligently and propose meaningful solutions. As a recent BloombergBusiness article states: "Software sales pitches are becoming a lot less about golf and a lot more about products."

3.They leverage technology, but maintain a personal touch. Salespeople today have seemingly endless resources and top-of-the-line technology at their fingertips ready to assist them with a sale. While that is a great benefit in terms of empowering them to have intelligent conversations backed by real-time data and insights, they know that driving sales is not just about the tools and technology — customers still want a human element behind the sales pitch.

4.They're organized. As the sales profession has become more complex, great salespeople are able to keep up and position themselves to stay a step ahead. How? For starters, investing time upfront to know all of their accounts and store all of their information in a trusted CRM tool is key to setting themselves up for long-term success.

5.They don't sell — they advise. The best salespeople don't "sell." That may sound like a contradiction at the surface level — after all, aren't they considered successful only when they make sales and reach their quotas? But that is an archaic way of thinking today; it doesn't take into account the client's or prospect's best interests. Great salespeople won't introduce themselves and in the same breath tell the clients what they need. Instead, they become trusted advisers that clients can call when they're looking for advice or best practices.
This is an exciting time to be in software sales, and it's an especially exciting time to be at CareerBuilder as we continue the rapid growth of our global HR Software as a Service operation, and we want great people to join our team.

First, take a minute to understand what our sales leaders are looking for in potential candidates.
Apply now for open software sales positions at CareerBuilder or share this with someone you know who would be a good fit.

College degrees growing and declining post-recession

Are you ready to graduate to the next step of a growing career? Or did your major put you in a tough spot?

While higher education once encouraged optimism and passion as deciding factors in choosing a major, the Great Recession made a lot of experts in education and staffing rethink how we prepare students for the workforce. Especially when it's become clear that hard-to-fill positions are stagnating our country's economic growth.

"The market is at a unique inflection point, and we need to make sure that we're educating workers to have 21st century skills for 21st century jobs," says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. "While it's encouraging to see accelerated participation growth in STEM-related college programs, the slowdown in overall degree completions – especially those tied to developing strong communications and critical-thinking skills – is concerning. Nearly half of employers say they currently have job vacancies but can't find skilled candidates to fill them. We need to do a better job informing students and workers about which fields are in-demand and growing, and provide them with access to affordable education and training, so the journey to a high-skill job is an achievable one regardless of their socioeconomic situation."

With that in mind, new research from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists Intl shows that nearly 500,000 more degrees were awarded in 2014 than in 2010, an 11 percent increase. What specializations and opportunities should future graduates keep in mind as the next stage of their career begins? What majors fare fading fast? Here are the college degrees growing and declining post-recession.

College degrees with the most growthMore than half of the top 10 broad programs leading the U.S. in degree completion (2010-2014) were in STEM fields, known for the collection of roles in science, technology, engineering and math. Those college degrees with the most growth include:

1. Science technologies/technicians
+1,521 change
49 percent growth
2. Natural resources and conservation
+7,792 change
45 percent growth
3. Parks, recreation, leisure and fitness studies
+18,869 change
44 percent growth
4. Multi/interdisciplinary studies
+24,540 change
36 percent growth
5. Mathematics and statistics
+9,384 change
35 percent growth
6. Public administration and social service professions
+22,683 change
33 percent growth
7. Computer and information sciences and support services
+38,194 change
32 percent growth
8. Precision production
+9,581 change
30 percent growth
9. Homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting and related protective services
+32,529 change
27 percent growth
10. Engineering
+32,058 change
26 percent growth
College degrees with the greatest declineThe recession refocused the economy on STEM jobs that could lead to further innovation and growth—leaving graduates in the humanities with fewer hard skills to compete with for high-paying jobs. From 2010 to 2014, only nine broad program categories experienced decline, nearly all of which were in humanities and social sciences (and closely related to teaching occupations):
1. Military technologies and applied science
-814 change
30 percent decline
2. Library science-1,432 change
17 percent decline
3. Education-33,301 change
9 percent decline
4. History
-3,561 change
8 percent decline
5. Construction trades-1,980 change
6 percent decline
6. Philosophy and religious studies
-542 change
3 percent decline
7. English language and literature/letters
-1,571 change
2 percent decline
8. Foreign languages, literatures and linguistics-683 change
2 percent decline
9. Architecture and related sciences-217 change
1 percent decline
Factoring in economic trends and the number of graduates you'll be competing with in certain industries can be what prepares you for a successful career, versus adjusting your career path after trends are already affecting your trajectory. When considering higher education, looking to the future can be the smartest way to start a school year. 

7 tips to conquer pre-interview anxiety

Avoid letting your anxiety get the best of you with these seven pre-interview tactics.
You finally landed an interview for your ideal job. Now you find yourself in the candidate holding tank five minutes before it all goes down. Your insides are churning, heart-pounding, palms sweaty -- and your brain seems incapable of reading its own resume. You tell yourself to breathe, but nothing seems to help. Your name is called. The interview is over before it began.

Anxiety is an interview killer...and a common problem. Job seekers have every right to be anxious about an impending interview. After all, the competition is often killer and your livelihood could be at stake. But the last thing a hiring manager wants is for you to be a bundle of nerves.
Avoid letting your anxiety get the best of you with these seven pre-interview tactics.

1. Have a game planA day or two before your interview, scope out the company building. If you're driving, find parking and learn exactly where you'll need to be the day of the interview. On the day of, give yourself a generous amount of time to arrive at the interview location and get settled. Note: This doesn't mean showing up to the actual interview an hour early. Use this time to take a walk to soothe your nerves or review your answers to potential questions. Realizing there are factors prior to the big interview that are completely within your control can help you gain your composure.
2. Engage in conversationThe day of your interview, surround yourself with friends or family who make you feel good about yourself. By engaging with people in positive conversation throughout the day you'll be warmed up by the time you reach your interview. A positive mood is infectious, and warming up your voice beforehand will also help you articulate effectively when it's time to answer questions.
3. Boost your moodCreate a playlist of songs that pump you up or give you confidence. If listening to "Eye of The Tiger" on repeat makes you feel like you can accomplish anything, then go for it. Or try listening to some stand-up comedy on your way to the interview. A good belly laugh can ease anxiety and fear along with relieving stress.
4. Fuel upThe cliché is true: Eating a healthy breakfast kick-starts your brain and elevates concentration and productivity throughout the morning. Include a "brain food" like oatmeal or fruit in your morning meal and you'll have even more of a mental edge when you're preparing for your big moment.
5. Get movingExercising a few hours before the interview will release endorphins that relieve stress. Plus, it will give you some time to visualize yourself in complete control of every single interview question while you conquer the elliptical machine.
6. VisualizeVisualizing achievement can have a positive impact on the outcome of your performance. Humans stimulate the same portion of the brain when they visualize an action as when they are actually performing an action. So, through use of positive imagery it's possible to prime your brain for a successful interview.
7. Demystify the processIt sounds cheesy, but the interviewer may be just as nervous as you are. He or she may be understaffed and under pressure to fill a position quickly. Remember, however, you were chosen for an interview after proving yourself to be a viable candidate. Don't view the hiring manager as the enemy – or as omnipotent. Instead, see him or her as an equal. Demystifying the process can aid in soothing your interview anxiety.
Interviewing for any position can be a burdensome task. But don't fret, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed before your interview, it is possible to re-gain control over your nerves. Set aside ample time to prepare beforehand to build confidence. 

7 Smart Questions To Ask At the End Of Every Job Interview

Because you should feel prepared when the tables turn.

Business executive discussing with her client
By Dylan Roach and Jacquelyn Smith
You're in the hot seat. You've just answered a dozen questions about yourself and successfully explained why you'd make a great addition to the team. You crushed it and you're feeling good.

But then the interviewer turns the tables and asks one final question: "So do you have any questions for me?"

You say, "no, not that I can think of," or ask something that could have easily been answered with a quick Google search — and just like that, everything falls apart.

The distribution of food manufacturing jobs and where they pay the best

EMSI analyzed the food manufacturing industry in each state, as well as in the150 largest metropolitan areas around the country.
When we think of regions where the economy is driven by food, most of us think of cornfields in Iowa, apple orchards in Washington and dairy farms in California. But a lot of the economic activity around food actually occurs after it is picked from the ground or milked from a cow.
Food manufacturing, which turns livestock and agricultural products into other products for consumption, is responsible for Green Bay's cheese and Seattle's coffee. This industry made up nearly 1.5 million wage-and-salary jobs in the United States in 2014—about three times the number of crop production jobs—making it a significant employer.
But where are food manufacturing jobs located? Where do they make up the largest share of local economies? Where are food manufacturing earnings the highest? The lowest? (Hint: Earnings have a wide range!)
To answer these questions, EMSI analyzed the food manufacturing industry in each state, as well as in the 150 largest metropolitan areas around the country.

By metro

In the metro map above, large bubble sizes indicate high job counts, showing that food manufacturing has a significant presence in the local workforce. But since job counts tend to favor the largest metros, they don't always produce interesting analyses. Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles have the largest food manufacturing workforces, despite the fact that food manufacturing only accounts for about 1 percent of jobs in these metros.
But take a look at the blue bubbles, which indicate that food manufacturing has a high share of the local economy. These metros have lower job counts because their overall workforces are smaller, but food manufacturing is nonetheless important to the region.
Let's take a closer look at food manufacturing in these five metros.

Here are some takeaways from this data:
  • The Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metro has the highest share of food manufacturing out of all 150 metros. Out of the five metros with high shares, Fayetteville also has the highest job count in this industry.
  • Visalia-Porterville is the only metro out of these five where the food manufacturing industry has seen significant growth in the last five years. In fact, in three of the five metros, this industry is declining.
  • Despite the "Cheese Heads," Green Bay's largest employing subindustry in food manufacturing is not cheese manufacturing, although it is very close behind (1,858 jobs in animal slaughtering, 1,829 jobs in cheese manufacturing).
  • In Modesto and Visalia-Porterville, food manufacturing jobs pay on average higher earnings than the average for all industries in these regions (average earnings per job* for all industries in Modesto: $52,593; in Visalia-Porterville: $45,269).

By state

Food manufacturing has the greatest share of state economies in the Midwest and the South, although it is also prominent in Alaska, Delaware and Idaho. But, in all honesty, food manufacturing doesn't make up a huge share of any state's economy (Arkansas' share is the highest at 3.7 percent).
Still, half of the states that have higher shares of their economies in food manufacturing (appearing in blue in the above map) are also among the states where the average earnings per job for food manufacturing is higher than the average earnings overall. These states include Idaho, Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Kansas. In some cases— Idaho, for example—the combined higher-than-average pay and large share of the economy may be enough to indicate that food manufacturing is a driver industry for these states.
Here's the list of all 13 states where food manufacturing jobs pay better than the average earnings. (Keep in mind that, in contrast, food manufacturing jobs pay worse than average in 37 states):

Since food manufacturing jobs are adding higher-than-average wages to these economies, it's great news that this industry is growing in all 13 of these states (even if, in the case of Iowa, it is growing only slightly). In Vermont, food manufacturing jobs have grown a whopping 27 percent, which is exciting news since the industry pays on average $2,600 more per job than average.
New Hampshire has the highest average food manufacturing earnings per job out of all states at $67,358. And they should count themselves lucky, especially in comparison to Mississippi's $36,707 average earnings per job in food manufacturing—the lowest in the nation.
*Average earnings per job includes wages and salaries, plus supplemental compensation such as bonuses, stock options, and contributions to 401(k) plans, for all jobs in a specific metro or industry. Because EMSI includes non-wage/salary compensation, EMSI's industry earnings numbers should not be treated as "average salary." They are generally higher than average salary by industry numbers that may come from other sources.

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