September 2011


What’s in a toolbox? Typically, there are tools and accessories needed to complete a job. Carpenters have hammers, nails, angles, screwdrivers and maybe wood glue. Homeowners – and apartment renters – have a hammer, some nails, picture-hanging equipment, screwdrivers, and maybe a small flashlight. It’s best to have quality items in the toolbox.

What could be in an “interview toolbox”? A resume, portfolio, interviewer(s) name(s), and directions to the interview (in case the GPS malfunctions). What kind of resume? What does the portfolio look like? What’s the quality of the work in the portfolio?

Jack Molisani answered these questions at a recent LASTC meeting. He sparked discussion, encouraged us to think “outside the box,” and awarded us with mint-flavored chocolates! A winning presentation!

What’s a resume?

The audience volunteered many definitions – and received chocolate in return.

The Jack Molisani Definition:

“It’s a vehicle that shows whether or not you match what the reader is looking for.” The resume needs to match the job requirements. “Ensure your resume is FBC – Fully Buzzword Compliant.”

What’s a portfolio?

Jack showcased his portfolio: “A tool that shows I’m an expert in my field to the level I’ve been trained.” Include:

  • Resume (the one that matches what the interviewer is looking for)
  • Document Plan or Project Plan
  • Short sample of work – preferably the sample from the document/project plan
  • Samples of items we’ve documented and use “colors that pop”
  • Articles we’ve written
  • Articles that quote us
  • End with pizzazz: a sample that shows how you made order out of chaos!

What brand of portfolio tool should we use? Jack suggested:

  • Use classy leather or faux leather portfolio
  • Clear page protectors
  • Consider not labeling tabs

Jack explained that we use these tools during an interview to walk the interviewers down a path that leads to the next steps (preferably a job offer).

My take-aways

  • Inventory my Interview Toolbox.
  • If my toolbox is low on supplies, go get the tools.
  • Make sure I use quality tools.

What’s in your Interview Toolbox?

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Thank you, Jack, for sharing your tools, your time, and for inspiring us!

 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Jack’s LavaCon Conference is coming up – details are here: http://lavacon.org/.

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From the emails I received about Career River Rapids, it seems as if many of us are canoeing down rapids – either the career or personal. Thank you, Readers, for emailing your thoughts and questions.

One reader’s query:
“I was very intrigued by your ‘boulder’ post.  I’m trying to wrap my brain around it.  Would you be willing to give a real life example of how you broke apart the boulder, stepped over the pieces, learning-moving forward, seeing how you may have contributed to the obstacle, etc?”

What were the steps I really took to break apart the boulder? Are there tools that we could use for professional challenges and, as one reader stated, “life boulders.”

I was vague about the original details on purpose; I did not want to reveal the specific companies or the negotiations. Generally, the challenge I faced was selecting an appropriate work situation for me. There were lots of pros and cons in the situations I faced; it was not easy to figure this out. Yet, I knew I wanted to move forward.

For me, “breaking apart boulders” is taking a huge challenge and splitting the boulder into small pieces, or manageable parts. Some of the manageable parts I used in the recent challenge:

  • Construct a pro and con list of each position.
  • Review the list – what points jump out and say, “Listen to
    me! I’m important to consider!”
  • Speak with folks who have held contracted positions to learn
    their views on this type of work.
  • Discuss the options with my personal, professional, and
    spiritual mentors.
  • Know that the decision is mine.
  • Be at peace with the decision.

I had to step over some of the pieces. For example, as a contractor, I’m paid per hour so I’m not paid for time off. I decided that specific situation was OK with me. And I’m grateful for the clarity granted to me to make the decision.

♦What professional or personal obstacles have challenged you?

♦What helped you smash those boulders?

→In memory of those who perished on September 11, 2001. May their memories be blessed.