Christopher Berg is the owner of Go Berg or Go Home, which is a career coaching company; here is a link to his website:
Q: What kind of professional background do you have?
A: My background is based in sales, teaching, and human resources. I have continually advanced in the last 10 years with two Fortune 100 companies. My expertise is in training, coaching, recruitment, hiring, and resume writing. I currently hold a B.A. in English, M.A in Organizational Leadership, and pursing an ED.D in Educational/Organizational Leadership.
Q: What made you interested in becoming a consultant?
A: Honestly, working within a “system” has its limitations and I have never been known for staying within the system parameters. I wanted to do more for young professionals and the only way that was going to happen is if I went out on my own and began making my own rules. Consulting is just a glorified word for helping, well…it should be (laughing). I look at what I do as helping others.
Q: What qualities make someone employable?
A: Great question! A potential candidate has to understand the mindset of a hiring manager when viewing resumes. There are specific “power” words that we look for. Specifically, I look for two distinctive qualities and some distinctive “power” words. First, what are the leadership qualities? For example, the last 7 resumes that Go Berg has edited did not have the word leadership recorded anywhere, but management was mentioned over 17 times. That tells me the candidate is strong, but not necessarily a proactive, self-starter that embodies initiative and authority. Second, is coaching and development. When reviewing manager’s resumes, the biggest responsibilities a manager has are to coach and develop others. If the language and descriptors are missing around these two vital management competencies, I can only assume that they were a one-dimensional manager.
Q: What are some common mistakes you see on people’s resumes?
A: The three common mistakes I see in people’s resumes would be formatting, grammar, and elongated. Formatting is huge!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot express this point enough. Think about it, the hiring manager can only judge the candidate based on the presentation on paper. The exact quote I was told by a leading HR recruiter in New York City was “If you don’t pass the eye test, I don’t care what you write.” Second, would be grammar and confusion! Quick tip! Take your current resume and read it aloud or record yourself reading it. It sounds crazy, but I use this technique with my clients all the time. If you are stumbling over your words, have a lost facial expression, or confusing descriptions, you could imagine what the hiring manager is going to think. Lastly, Keep your resume to 2 pages maximum! Here is the golden rule professional resume writer’s follow. For every 10 years of work experience, allow yourself one page. Therefore, college students should not have 3 pages (laughing)
Q: What are some of the ways you help people select a career?
A: I have programs I can screen a resume through to sort out the keywords and phrases to match to a potential path. However, the real strength of Go Berg or Go Home is meeting in person. When consulting and coaching, we strive to do out best to align passion with realistic expectations. We have countless stories of clients applying for jobs that were way out of their qualifications realm, but it was stated that this job was their passion. Our job is to do the best we can with our clients strengths and passions in aligning them with a realistic chance of landing a job. Next, exposure!!! You can be the best at what you do, but if no one knows you, it is irrelevant. Go Berg is apart of over a dozen networking events in career services a month throughout the Northeast region. One of the best services we offer to clients is the ability to come along with the Go Berg team to these events. Enjoy the buffet, get your Sunday best on, and come meet some people. I have attended these events regularly for the last year. I guarantee you will meet strong connections and many of my staffing and HR recruiters are at these events and I can assure you they are always willing to review what career opportunities they have open! At Go Berg, if you know us, people will know you!
Q: How do you prepare someone for a job interview?
A: I have connections with over 2-dozen leading recruiters, directors, and staffing agencies around the Northeast. For the most part, if you name an industry, I can reach out and obtain recent interviewing guides that are being used for interviews being conducted today. I can take these questions and set-up a mock interview session where I ask some of these questions and throw in a curveball here and there! After we conduct the mock session, I assign a score based on delivery, body language, and strength of answers, power words, and confidence. Then we revisit the interview after coaching through some of the responses. Lastly, there are specific guidelines for answering questions that interviewers use. I have access to these entire answering techniques. If you would like to know what they are, just give us a call today!
Q: What are some common mistakes people make during interviews?
A: Honestly, the biggest mistake I see is not asking questions! I have conducted over 2000 interviews in my career and I still can’t believe how many candidates do not ask questions during the interview. There is no “magic” number to how many questions to ask, but I can safely bet that ZERO is not a great number. Prepare beforehand! Interviewers love being asked questions, I know I do because it allows a chance for them to talk about the work they do and the passion to why they do it. Go Berg has a list of “Golden Questions” to ask during an interview. One example of a “Golden Question” would be…”How does so-so company focus on development of their workforce on a daily, monthly, and annual basis?”
Q: Why just young professionals?
A: I wish I had a nickel for every time I was asked this! (Laughing) Let me just go on the record that Go Berg or Go Home will absolutely help any and everyone in career services! The reasoning behind focusing on young professionals is because…I am a young professional. My research for my doctorate focuses heavily on coaching generations in the workforce, specifically Gen Y and Z. Being apart of Gen Y, while researching coaching patterns for Gen Y and Z, gives me absolute credibility and validity in front of fellow young professionals. Coaching a recent graduate or a mid career young professional is completely different then coaching a Gen X or Baby Boomer. I cannot call myself an expert in this field and honestly would not be as effective with these generations. I know it and research supports this claim.
Q: What kind of research did you do when building your business?
A: Wow, this will surprise many people, tons of funny stories around the beginning stages but I will keep it high-level! First, the great Jack Welch taught me in order to succeed in business, you need to know who you are in business with. I decided to edit my current resume and submit it to the online resume writing companies. I paid for 4 services total. I purposely edited the resume and included grammatical, punctuation, and formatting issues. Needless to say, I was not impressed and actually quite surprised to what was missed and brushed over by these “experts.” Next, I needed a way to see why college graduates were coming into interviews slightly unprepared and misinformed. I decided to take the same resume and become a “student.” I visited with over a dozen college career centers and pretended I was a student. Some caught me, some didn’t, but I got what I needed from the quest. I was shocked what I was told and how some college career representatives were disconnected from the workforce. Not all were bad, but there was little consistency and a lot of miscommunication and misinformed reps in those offices. Lastly, I just studied the numbers. 52.9% of 2014 graduates will not have a job by the end of 2014. That number is staggering and I pay very close attention to the numbers because I know I struggled immensely with student loans and come November, student loans are due and many will not have an avenue to pay these loans.
Q: If everyone had their dream job, who would wash dishes or answer the phone?
A: I love the question! If everyone had their dream job, they can wash their own dishes and answer their own phones (laughing). Honestly, everyone has to start somewhere, and dream jobs don’t happen over night. I like to think the person washing the dishes is an aspiring entrepreneur looking to open a bakery and just wanted to get in the kitchen to learn from someone running their dream business. The person answering the phone is an aspiring politician that wants experience working in an office to learn the process and gain experience. We all need to start somewhere…each journey starts one step at a time and I like to think these jobs are the first of many steps for finding ones passion to contribute to this beautiful world.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)