If you are a typical executive, it’s a challenge to find time on your calendar to prepare for interviews. When you do carve out that space, here’s a checklist of what you should cover.

Businesswoman working in the office

Due diligence – know as much as you can about the target organization and management beforehand, including what they do, why and who else is in the game

If you are extra short on time and not familiar with the market, management team, products or other other important data points, check if there are videos online that you can watch or hear while going about your other activities. 

Common ground – find out what you have in common with your interviewers and who else you might know (or can get to know) at the company; use LinkedIn® and other resources; reach out to colleagues and their networks where appropriate

Posture / Energy – plan how you can gear up on interview day with a power pose; watch your body language in the room (eat well the night before and that morning!)

Confidence – “I can handle it. Here’s what I’ve done that’s analogous….”

Concise, targeted value proposition – why should they hire you? what do you offer?

For phone interviews, you can have this in front of you, with a page for each of your three to five most important points and examples that support each.

Edge – what’s unique about you that others won’t bring to the role?

Curiosity – ask light, open-ended questions to get better answers

Story / Narrative – who are you as a candidate and a person? why is this organization a fit?

Accomplishments – have your accomplishments at the ready; fit their presentation to the role; give examples (without revealing proprietary information)

Behavioral questions – be ready for “what would you do if…?” e.g., if an organization is expanding into new markets or lines of business and they hit a snag; if an employee came to you with a certain problem or opportunity, etc.

About you – be ready for “tell me about a time when…” e.g., work style, challenges, successes, etc.; have a short list of versatile examples prepared for these questions

Reason for leaving current role – have a positive way to tell the story; negativity doesn’t sell; give a concise answer and move to why current role excites you

Organizational vision – if you will be leading a company or team, share your vision

Resume – know your experience cold, be open to discuss anything on your resume

Gaps – if you have any that are key to the job, be ready to address them head on

Weaknesses – prepare for the ubiquitous “strengths and weaknesses” type questions

Follow-up – ask intelligent questions to determine if it’s a fit, tailored by interviewer

If you falter, do it gracefully – have a plan to recover from surprises

Interview them back – it’s a conversation, not an interrogation

Compensation – be ready to “talk comp” if they ask; know how you’ll approach this conversation and deflect tough questions

Red flags – save the toughest questions for when you have the offer letter in hand, but note them so you don’t forget

Re-read the job description (if any): prepare for any point that might come up; research terms you don’t know, so you can sound intelligent on what you might be asked

Concise answers – answer the questions asked; avoid tangents; speak to your value

Close well – find out next steps on their end; know yours; if you want the job, make it known

If you need help formulating a personal value proposition, check out my worksheets here.

Congratulations on your interview! Best of luck!

Anne Marie Segal - Web Image (Credit Alejandro Barragan IV)

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, resume writer, Forbes Coaches Council member and author of two well-received books on interviewing and career development. She was a corporate attorney for 15 years before launching her coaching practice.

Image above: Adobe Stock.

Eight Core Qualities of General Counsel and How to Achieve Them is my most-read article on this blog, receiving many hits per day and more than 2,500 views since it was published in the late summer of 2016. (Click here to access the article.)

As a coach, I often receive requests from General Counsel, Assistant General Counsel and other in-house attorneys – as well as law firm partners and others who wish to obtain those roles – to coach them on building their capacity and visibility as a business partner within an organization.  Both of these aspects are important – exercising the right proactivity, judgment and skills and being recognized and rewarded by the Board and senior management for such contributions. This involves not only building relationships and moving outside of what is commonly called one’s comfort zone – a lawyer with excellent substantive legal skills – but also learning how to position oneself as a strategic member of the leadership team.

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To succeed as General Counsel, you need not only to build relationships and move outside of what may be your comfort zone – a lawyer with excellent substantive legal skills – but also position yourself as a strategic member of the leadership team.

I intend further explore the expanded General Counsel role in the coming months, so please subscribe to my blog or sign up for my mailing list if this is a topic that moves you. In the meantime, I have started to compile a list of articles around the web from recent years that have addressed the evolving General Counsel role, which I am posting below to help you explore and master the expanded General Counsel relationship.

If you hold a CEO, CIO, CFO, COO, CTO, General Counsel, law firm or other role and would like to post another resource in the comments or join the conversation, I appreciate your input.

I may update this list from time to time. Thanks in advance!

Attorneys – General Counsel and In-House
Vision, Judgment, Capacity Building and Leadership

Eight Core Qualities of Successful General Counsel and How to Achieve Them,” Segal Coaching Blog, Anne Marie Segal.

So You Want to Be General Counsel? How to Maximize Your Chances,” ACC Docket, David M. Love III, Mark Roellig.

Do Lawyers Make Better CEO’s than MBAs?,” Harvard Business Review, by M. Todd Henderson

The General Counsel as Senior Leader: More than “Just a Lawyer,” Korn Ferry Institute, John Amer.

What GCs and CCOs Can Learn from Each Other,” Thomson Reuters, Thomas Kim.

An Open Letter to GCs and Law Firms,” ACC Docket, Daniel Desjardins.

General Counsel: Guardian and Conscience of the Company,” Forbes, Mark A. Cohen.

The Rise of the General Counsel,” Harvard Business Review, Ben W. Heineman, Jr.

General Counsel’s New Role: Business Strategist,” Forbes, Brian Jones.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, writer, resume strategist and former practicing attorney (including as a law firm partner and Deputy General Counsel of a private equity and hedge fund). The majority of her clients are senior attorneys, and she has coached hundreds of professionals across law, finance, engineering, technology, marketing, non-profits, government and other fields.

Anne Marie is also author of Master the Interview and the newly published Know Yourself, Grow Your Career: The Personal Value Proposition Workbookavailable at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retailers. 

Click on a sharing option below to share this post on LinkedIn, Twitter or other social media sites. Please leave a comment if you want to join the conversation or share an article, video or other resource for the list.

Image credit: Adobe Stock.

With everyone pressed for time and email inboxes overflowing, one of the worst things you can do is fire off an email that is unread, left lingering or summarily deleted. Not only do poor emails waste time on both ends – minutes and hours that could be used more productively – but they also may create negative impressions about your ability to think, solve problems and communicate.

If you want to be known as someone who acts strategically, demonstrates leadership and otherwise has a positive professional outlook, writing better emails is a crucial place to start.

 ✔︎ Prepare

 ✔︎ Write

 ✔︎ Review

 ✔︎ Follow-Up

Click here or on the icon below to read my results-driven system to writing effective emails on Forbes.com. Click here to request my 12-point checklist “Write Emails that Get Results.”

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Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, author, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and through local booksellers) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond.

Image credit: Adobe Images.

As an executive coach and writer, I help people tell their own professional stories and present themselves in the best light.

Among other ways of interacting nowadays, social media is one of the key places we tell our stories. In the professional context, for many of us, a hub of such interactions is LinkedIn, and a personal photo serves as the centerpiece of any well-crafted LinkedIn profile.

Yet many of us give surprisingly little thought to our photos beyond whether they make us “look good.” Hair OK? Check. Don’t look old or fat? Check.  What little thought goes into the analysis – as I often find with friends or clients who ask me to review their photos – is not about expressing a personal brand but rather simply not embarrassing ourselves.

I speak from the heart on this one. Before attending law school (and completing a 15-year career as an attorney that led to executive coaching), I was an art and photography major, and I worked in several art-related settings, putting up “new masters” on the walls of museums, galleries and other locations. The idea of using your profile picture (or any other image) as a means of communication is in my blood.

Beautiful young adult lawyer business woman professional in a suit at the courthouse

I want to impart that knowledge to you, and I would like to do it in stages. Knowing that the best way to teach is to show, rather than start with my analysis of the images in this post, I will let them sit with you for a while. Draw your own conclusions, and feel free to post in the comments about what stories you believe these images tell and whether they appeal to you. Here are some ideas to get you started.

What impression do you have of the person in each of Images 1, 2 and 3?

Would you want to connect with him or her on a professional or personal level?

Does the cropping of the image change how the story is told?

If you saw this image, as a viewer, what recommendations would you make to improve it?

I will check back in next week with more thoughts. Thanks!

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Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership development coach, author, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available on Amazon.com) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond. 

Image credits above (other than of me): Adobe Images.

Young woman showing her heartfelt gratitude

For professionals who work day-in and day-out in a macho work environment – where you  “eat what you kill,” and if you don’t produce, you don’t eat – gratitude is often a foreign notion.

More common are words like merit, grit, earning and climbing.

Gratitude can seem soft, vulnerable and passive.

Yet the more mature we become as professionals – and, in fact, as people – the more we can appreciate, if not “what we have been given” (which sounds as though we had no hand in it) then “what we are fortunate to have” (which is the result of luck and hard work).

While we may have made many of our own breaks, we still caught breaks.

Gratitude can indeed be strong and active, as can we when we invite gratitude into our lives. Meditation, playing with young children, hiking, singing, surfing… There are many ways to get ourselves into the right mindset to drop the macho masks we must (or fear we must?) wear every day.

When we are vulnerable, we are also open and approachable. 

We connect with others through shared purpose.

We have the capacity to create, integrate new ideas and expand from our current point of view.

We break out of the negative feedback loops that often plague us.

We can achieve change that is the necessary element of growth.

We realize that we are not in control of every detail in our lives. Rather than fighting against the current, we learn to live and breathe in the natural flow.

What will gratitude teach you this year?

 

Election Day 2014 - Republicans and Democrats in the campaign
Adobe Stock/Elio Gutzemberg.

On this Election Day 2016, most of us have clients, vendors, suppliers, employees, supervisors, colleagues, family and/or friends on both sides of the aisle, Democrat and Republican. And some independents, too.

Professional development tip:

If someone’s giving you a hard time about the election today or acting over the top, there’s a simple response:

Bring your excitement, not your venom.

(In some cases, you may need to say it more than once.)

Be a leader for the greater cause. Tomorrow, we are all one nation again.

 

Hello November sign on blackboard

Hello November! Today marks 61 days to the end of the year!

If you saw my time management posts from last week, you know that productivity or even prioritization is not the ultimate goal. The goal is to spend your time like the precious commodity that it is. 

If you count up the days in November and December, you have 61 days of opportunity before the New Year. That’s 1,464 hours.

1,464 hours to make count on what is meaningful to you. 

Clients often ask me how to make better use of their time. Here’s what I suggest:

Figure out what you want to do most. For example, maybe you want to celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and/or Kwanzaa holidays without interruptions. Then back into what you can do now to get yourself there. What do you know will be lingering over your head, ready to jump out at you, if you don’t address it early?

If you can get ahead of the game, without rushing, not only will your work product be better but also your quality of life.

Again, Happy November! Hope your hours are meaningful, however you choose (or need) to spend them.

Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership coach, author and resume writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. She recently brushed up on her time management skills to finish her first book, Master the Interview. Her short post about what it is like to write a book is here.

Image above from Adobe Images.