You’ll find the position you want must faster if you’re knowledgeable about the three stages of job hunting. These are preparing for your interviews, the best methods to use for meeting with prospective employers, and how to handle yourself when being interviewed so that you’ll get the offer. My resume-writing service also includes showing you how to receive the highest offer possible.
Whenever clients mention their apprehension to me about going on interviews, I’m reminded of these words of Cervantes, “The man who is prepared has his battle half fought.”
This is so true about going on interviews. By being prepared, you’ll make the best presentation possible. Further, knowing that you’re ready for the questions you’ll be asked will increase your self-confidence and help to calm any uneasy feelings you might have had. You’ll be in the advantageous position of your “battle half fought” and be ready for the other half: getting interviews and converting them into the offer you want. We’ll discuss this soon.
1. Learn about a potential employer before each meeting
Employers want to hire people who are hard working, motivated, and who take their career seriously. If you show up at an interview knowing very little about the organization, how can an interviewer possibly think your work life is important to you? After all, this is where you might be devoting 40 hours or more each week.
To get information about a prospective employer, the first place to go, of course, is their website. If you know someone who can draw a Dun & Bradstreet report for you, ask them to do so. Also see if you know, or know of, anyone who currently or formerly worked at the organization. They’ll be able to provide important information.
Then look for opportunities throughout the interview to ask intelligent questions and make insightful statements about the organization. This will demonstrate your knowledge of the employer along with your having taken the initiative to conduct research on the organization. All interviewers will be impressed.
2. Be able to clearly and concisely describe the position you’re seeking
Just as employers want to interview people who are knowledgeable about their organization, they want to hire people who are clear on the kind of work they want to do.
When an applicant gives the impression that s/he doesn’t have a specific position in mind, it’s easy for an employer to think that this person will accept any job s/he can get. Here, an interviewer can’t possibly feel that the applicant, if hired, would work with much enthusiasm. There could also be the concern of leaving the company after a brief stint because they found more interesting or higher paying work elsewhere.
When being interviewed, you must be able to state the type of job you want. Your clarity about this will convey that you’re committed to succeed at your work and that you can be counted on for motivation and longevity.
3. Plan to ask the interviewer questions about the position and the organization
Your interviews shouldn’t be a one-way street where the interviewer asks the questions and you provide the answers. If you allow this to happen, you’ll appear to have little interest in your job and career.
Show your enthusiasm, personality, and drive by taking an active role in the interview by asking questions about the position and the organization. Asking questions will also help to build rapport with the interviewer, and nothing is more important.
Questions about the position: In addition to technical queries about the tasks you’d be performing, ask questions such as “What are the most pressing things you need to have accomplished, and what is the schedule?” “How do you see the position changing in the next year or so?” and “What kinds of positions would this one lead to?”
Questions about the organization: “How do you see the organization changing in the next year or two?” “What can you tell me about new products or services that will be introduced shortly?” “Can you discuss any of the
company’s longer-term plans for growth and expansion?”
Omit questions about salary and benefits, such as medical and dental plans, vacation time, and sick leave. You’ll be able to ask about these matters once you’ve been made the offer.
4. Be ready to state your accomplishments in a clear and concise manner
When being interviewed, your prospective manager will devote considerable time to learning about your accomplishments, and you must be prepared to discuss them in detail. Past performance is certainly the best indicator of future performance.
Have at the tip of your tongue each of your accomplishments at every position you’ve held, and be able to describe them in a concise manner. You’ll make a poor impression if an interviewer asks you about your activities at a certain job and you fail to provide a convincing discussion of your successes.
If any of your achievements exceeded the goal you were given, or you completed your work ahead of schedule, or made a change in how you handled a certain task and the result was impressive, be sure to tell the
interviewer about this.
5. Be prepared to discuss the reasons behind your accomplishments
Some job hunters take credit for work that wasn’t entirely their own.
In some instances, their manager was actually the primary contributor. In others, they were a member of a team that was responsible for the accomplishment. So be prepared for interviewers to ask after you’ve discussed an achievement, “Well, how’d you do it?” in an effort to verify that the work was yours.
Explaining this will not only confirm that you deserve credit for the achievement, but you’ll show the interviewer how you perform on the job in order to bring maximum value to an employer.
Many people find it helpful to practice what they plan on saying in front of a mirror and then with another person.
6. Be able to state your strengths clearly and succinctly
Just as interviewers will be interested in discussing your accomplishments, they’ll want to explore your strengths. Not only are these attributes the reason behind your achievements, but they’re the foundation for your
ability to hold more responsible positions. They’re also the reason why you’re qualified to make a career change if this is your objective.
It’s therefore essential to know exactly what your strengths are and to be able to speak about them with conviction. If you’re unable to do this, your knowledge of your field and capability will be suspect and your candidacy will be in jeopardy.
Rigorously review your work experience and compile a complete inventory of your strengths before you go on any interviews. Again, practice your responses.
7. Know how to discuss a weakness in your background
Interviewers may also want to learn about your weaknesses. We all have them, and you must be willing to discuss them. If you don’t admit to having any deficiencies, your credibility will be at risk.
When discussing a weakness, however, never mention one that would interfere with your ability to perform your work at the expected level. Instead, state one that would have little impact on the quality of your performance. Equally important, tell the interviewer what you’re doing to improve yourself in this area.
For example, many people have great difficulty speaking in front of large groups. To overcome this, they enroll in the Dale Carnegie Training Seminar “Successful Public Speaking.” Others join Toastmasters International, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune Club, or Sarasota Evening Club, where they not only improve their public-speaking skills but learn to “think and speak on their feet.”
You can google these clubs for information about when and where they meet. They’ll allow you to attend a session as a guest to observe how the meeting works.
8. Be able to explain a failure that may have occurred in your work history
In addition to discussing a weakness, some interviewers might ask you point-blank, “What’s been your greatest failure?”
Since many people are fortunate not to have experienced a failure on the job, feel comfortable saying that you really haven’t had one. But if you have, handle this as you would in discussing a weakness. Don’t offer your most serious misstep and explain what you’ve learned from the experience and the steps you’ve taken to prevent this from occurring again.
9. Be set to explain what you contributed to your employers that was new or different
Growth is the goal of almost organizations, in revenue, profitability (except for non-profits of course), and their products and/or services. They achieve this growth through innovation.
Nothing will impress interviewers more than statements you make about the innovative things you’ve done and the positive results that ensued. This will set you apart from the other applicants who will be speaking of having performed their jobs in only a routine way. They showed no interest in making a significant improvement in any area. (Some positions, of course, don’t provide the opportunity to do something new or different.)
Carefully review all the activities you’ve performed—especially your accomplishments—and see what you might have done that was new or different that dramatically enhanced your performance and resulted in key
contributions to your employer. Then look for opportunities throughout the interview to discuss your new ideas and the impressive results they produced. As discussed in #1, organizations want to hire people who are
motivated and strive to make a difference. Reflect on the almost 220 action verbs that are listed at the end of this discussion to see if they trigger any successes that you may have overlooked.
10. Be able to describe a plan for career growth
Since employers seek out applicants who are determined to succeed in their work and grow into positions of greater responsibility, you might be asked, “What do you want to be doing in one year? In three years”?
Not only should you be able to state the types of positions you want to hold, but you should be able to explain the steps you plan on taking to perform this more challenging work. In fact, interviewers may follow up their initial question with, “And how do you plan on getting there?” to see if you really have a plan for advancement. If you can’t discuss this, your response to the first question regarding the career growth you’re looking for will have little credibility. Interviewers will believe that you’re just telling them what you think they want to hear.
Stating that you expect to perform exceptionally well in your initial position, which will lead to additional responsibilities, is a sound plan of action. Also, taking courses at night, pursuing a college degree at night (if you don’t already have one), or enrolling in special programs for licensure and certification will demonstrate that you indeed have a plan for advancing in your career.
11. Know how to handle a possibly stressful interview
An interviewer may try to test your mettle and self-confidence by putting you in a stressful situation. Techniques include frequently referring to a certain liability in your background, continuously interrupting you and not allowing you to finish what you were saying, trying to intimidate you with their superior knowledge of the field, continually disagreeing with you, or generally being rude or antagonistic. In these settings, many job hunters become so flustered or angry that they say things they later regret, having forgotten about the professional image they were trying to project.
By being prepared for this kind of interviewer and the game s/he’s playing, you’ll maintain your composure.
12. Be prepared to handle a hardball question like “Why should I hire you?” and the statement “Tell me about yourself”
When being interviewed, people dread hearing this, especially when the interviewer begins the meeting this way. They sometimes hem and haw, not knowing what to say.
Actually, you should hope that an interviewer starts out by putting you “in the hot seat.” Here, you’re being given the perfect opportunity to discuss your most important accomplishments and strengths that directly relate to the position you’re being interviewed for. What better opportunity could you ask for to show that you’re eminently qualified for the job?
13. Be ready to give good reasons why you’ve changed employers
Interviewers might ask why you left your previous employers or why you’re looking to make a change at this time, and it’s essential that you offer positive reasons, not negative ones that could be frowned upon.
The following explanations will always make a poor impression: a personality conflict with the manager; the organization didn’t promote from within; there was little opportunity for advancement; the job was misrepresented in the first place; the environment wasn’t a nurturing one; and the organization’s policies were too strict.
Especially damaging are “I was burned out,” “I found work that was closer to home,” “I found a position that paid more,” and “I found a job with better benefits.”
Reasons that interviewers will always respect are those pertaining to career growth, such as more responsibility or the opportunity to do more exciting and challenging work.
14. Be prepared for drug testing
With illegal drugs a major problem in our country today, you must prepare to be tested. Unfortunately, certain frequently used substances can indicate the presence of such a drug in your system, and this will preclude
you from being made the offer.
For three weeks prior to a test, avoid the following substances: poppy seeds and cough suppressants (they’ll look like an opiate); tonic water and Amoxicillin (they’ll indicate cocaine); anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Nuprin, Motrin, Bayer Select PRF, and Excedrin 1B (they’ll appear as marijuana); and Nyquil, Sudafed, Actifed, Dristan, Robitussin, and Aleve (they’ll show up as an amphetamine).
Although the person administering the test will give you a form asking if you’ve been taking any of the above, the fact that you have could require postponing the test for three weeks because that’s how long some of these substances will remain in your system.
By not having prepared for the test and needing to reschedule it three weeks out, you run the risk that the offer will be made to another candidate because the manager didn’t want to wait that amount of time.
CONDUCTING YOURSELF AT INTERVIEWS
Because of your preparation, you’ll convincingly demonstrate your qualifications for the position being discussed. And you’ll be halfway home to being the person to hire.
However, to be the first to cross the finish line—winning the offer—there are certain interviewing “do’s and don’ts” to be aware of. The “do’s” will advance your candidacy while the “don’ts” will harm it, possibly even eliminate you from consideration.
Let’s discuss the do’s first.
1. Dress appropriately
Interviewers will often make a snap judgment about you based solely on your appearance. The way you’re dressed will never win you the offer, but it can surely cost you the offer.
Always be well groomed and neat. Use your best judgment as to how conservative or casual your attire should be. For example, someone interviewing for a position at a law firm would dress differently than the person interviewing at a telemarketing company. As a rule of thumb, dress up versus down.
2. Try to build rapport with each person you meet
A saying in the career field is, “It’s not always the most qualified person who gets the offer, but often the person who has the most chemistry with the interviewer.”
Chemistry, or rapport, can play a pivotal role in the selection decision. This factor can be as important—if not more so—than the applicant’s actual ability to perform the job. It’s essential that you build as much rapport as possible with an interviewer.
Before going on an interview, see if you know someone who works at the organization, or know someone who knows such a person. Then try to learn about this employer and your prospective manager. Any information you can glean will give you a leg up on the competition.
Also, when entering the interviewer’s office, notice the pictures on the walls and any personal objects on the desk. They might reveal an interest the two of you have in common. You could then initiate a discussion along
this line that would build rapport and erase the formal interviewer-interviewee relationship. For example: “I see from that photo you like to bowl. I’m in a league that meets every Tuesday night. Are you also in a league or do you prefer to bowl with your family and friends?”
3. Send a thank-you letter after your first interview
A great deal has been written in career books and also appears in resume-writing and job-hunting articles on the Internet about the importance of sending interviewers a thank-you letter after the first appointment. Because this practice is so widespread, if you don’t send such a letter, interviewers will be offended or just assume that you have no interest in the position.
Send your note via the post office or e-mail. The latter is preferable if you are interviewing for a position that makes extensive use of the Internet for communicating with others. Then the day after the meeting, write a brief note in which you express your appreciation for the meeting, sum up your qualifications for the position, and conclude by stating your interest in the job and your confidence that you’ll meet and even exceed the manager’s expectations. A few days after sending the letter, call this person to “make sure it was received.”
A key benefit of this call is that it enables you to stay in touch with the manager and build more rapport. You might initiate a discussion about an important matter s/he brought up or ask a question about another key part of the job.
During this conversation, it’s entirely appropriate to ask where you stand in the decision-making process. Depending on what you’re told, it’s acceptable to mention any offers you’re expecting or have already received,
including the date by which you must give your decision. The manager’s response will indicate how strong a candidate you are.
Sending this letter is not always necessary after a second interview. Whether or not you write a note will depend on a number of factors, including the degree of interest the interviewer has expressed in you and how s/he concluded the meeting. Use your best judgment about how to proceed.
Now here are the “don’ts” and there are a good number to discuss.
While these missteps have nothing to do with your actual ability to perform the job, some will make an adverse impression on one interviewer but not on another. Because we all have our individual likes and dislikes, there’s no telling what someone’s reaction will be, and you don’t want to give an interviewer any reason to reject you.
1. Never be disrespectful to a representative in the HR Department
While these individuals don’t make the hiring decision, they can be influential in seeing to it that you’re not made the offer. For this reason, never be rude or even impolite to someone in HR even though the person you’re meeting with might lack an in-depth understanding of your work.
Here are two mistakes that some job hunters make.
When meeting with an HR representative before interviewing with the hiring manager, some applicants consider their questions to be unimportant and say things along the lines of, “I’d prefer to go into this in detail with the person I’d be reporting to.”
When meeting with an HR representative after an interview with a manager, it’s not uncommon to be asked certain questions a second time, and applicants have been known to reply, “I’ve already covered this with (name
of the manager),” insulting the HR representative.
This meeting is not a formality. As already explained, an HR representative doesn’t make the hiring decision, but s/he can seriously damage your chances.
2. Be sure not to fidget or continuously change positions in your seat
It’s natural to be apprehensive about being interviewed. After all, interviewers hold all the cards. They pass judgment on your answers to their questions and other statements you make, with the power to decide whether or not to hire you.
The more nervous you appear, the more your self-confidence and capability will be doubted.
While interviewers are accustomed to an applicant being a bit uneasy at the beginning of the meeting, nothing annoys them more than someone who fidgets or continuously changes positions. Not only is this considered to be a telltale sign of extreme nervousness, but some interviewers find this constant movement so annoying that they want to end the interview as soon as possible.
There are relaxation techniques to calm jittery nerves. While traveling to the interview, do breathing exercises where you deeply inhale for 10 seconds, then slowly exhale. This will help to reduce tension.
While sitting in the reception area waiting to meet with the interviewer, you can do isometrics, and no one will notice. Simply place your hands on your thighs and press down as hard as you can. If you’re sitting in a chair that has arms, you can fold your hands in your lap and forcefully press your elbows against the arms.
3. Don’t try to control the conversation
There’s a myth that the skilled job hunter controls the conversation with the interviewer. The objective is to talk only about matters in which the applicant has strengths and achievements and to avoid discussions about any areas that would point out weaknesses, shortcomings, and, especially, failures.
The technique that’s used to gain control is to continually ask questions about topics the job hunter wants to discuss and, when necessary, to respond to an interviewer’s question with a question of his or her own to
divert the conversation to another subject.
Don’t think for one second that you can get away with this tactic. Interviewers will see you as rude and uncooperative. Even worse, the expert ones will know exactly what you’re doing and will probably even call you on
it. One thing is for sure: They won’t call you back for a second interview.
4. Don’t ask about salary and benefits at the first interview
It’s a fact that most of us work to earn a living, and very few of us would stay at our job if we didn’t need the income. It’s therefore natural to want to know what a position pays and what the benefits are. However, asking about these matters at the first interview is considered to be in poor taste. It’s just a matter of interview etiquette.
If an interviewer brings up salary and benefits, by all means feel free to ask any questions you might have. But if you’re the one who initiates such a discussion, you’ll alienate a good number of potential employers. An exception, though, is the person who is interviewing for a sales position. Companies want to hire people who are money-motivated.
Save these questions for the second interview. Make the focus of your first meeting your qualifications for the job and the immediate contributions you would make.
5. Never name-drop
This turns off all interviewers. For example, stating that you chat regularly with a well-known Sarasotan will do nothing but make you look foolish as you try to reinforce your capability by explaining your close relationship with this person.
The way to impress interviewers is by discussing your accomplishments and strengths, and how they will enable you to make important contributions to the organization.
6. Never bad-mouth a previous employer
Something that irks interviewers is when an applicant speaks ill of a former employer. This reeks of bad taste and is one of the most self-destructive things a job hunter can do.
Unfortunately, some people who were terminated, caught in a downsizing, or left an organization for fear of an imminent work force reduction try to “get back” at the employer by degrading it. This comes back to haunt them.
Regardless of how difficult or unpleasant it was working somewhere, never bad-mouth the organization. Complaints that many people lodge and that must never be expressed include: the employer didn’t abide by the
equal-opportunity laws; there was sexual harassment; the organization was filled with incompetent people who held their positions because of nepotism; managers lied to their staff about future salary raises, bonuses,
and promotions; the organization lied to its customers and/or vendors; the employer was a political hornet’s nest with rampant back-stabbing.
7. At the end of your first interview, don’t pressure the hiring manager for an offer
No one likes how long a job search can take, especially when they’re unemployed. This is a particular dilemma when interviewing for a position someone really wants but isn’t given any indication of where they stand.
Job hunters immediately start thinking, “How did I do?” “Will I get the offer?” “Will there be a second interview?” “How long should I wait until I contact the company to find out where I stand?”
In an effort to speed up the process, some applicants will conclude an initial interview by stating, “I’m really interested in your position and need to know whether or not you’ll be making me an offer because I have an
offer from another company and must give them an answer by (the day is then stated).”
Many interviewers are suspicious about the actual existence of this offer and resent the statement, viewing it as an underhanded way “to close the sale.” Others see the applicant as acting out of desperation, which has an equally detrimental effect. However, if you truly do have this offer, by all means say so.
Now that you have a thorough understanding of how to manage the interviewing process—in both preparing for these meetings and conducting yourself when being interviewed—let’s discuss how to get these
Just as in being interviewed, there are “do’s” and “don’ts.” We’ll discuss the “do’s” first.
1. Use multiple strategies
Looking for a job isn’t supposed to be enjoyable, especially when unemployed. As a result, many people limit their interviewing plan to the one or two methods they’re the most comfortable with. This dramatically reduces their exposure and number of interviews.
You need to employ multiple job-search strategies in order to land the position you’re looking for and as quickly as possible.
Concentrate on the following approaches: networking, contacting prospective employers and recruiters, visiting corporate websites, and answering ads in trade publications and the classified section of the Sunday Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t visit job boards, but don’t expect interviews. See #11 for more information.
2. Accompany your resume with a cover letter
Whether you send someone your resume via e-mail or the post office, it’s in the poorest of taste not to include a cover letter. Many employers and recruiters will be offended by your lack of courtesy and naiveté about job-hunting etiquette. Your candidacy could be in jeopardy.
If you’re using e-mail, state that your resume follows as a cut-and-paste document and is also attached. See #4 for the reason behind this.
Begin your cover letter by explaining why you’re writing to the person. Then begin a new paragraph that states a few of the most important things about your background regarding the position you’re seeking. Close the letter with a paragraph stating that you hope to hear back from the person or that you’ll be calling shortly to discuss the appropriate next step.
3. Contact the manager who could hire you versus the HR Department
While this department plays a vital role in the successful functioning of an organization, the hiring decision is always made by an applicant’s prospective manager. For this reason, this is the person you want to
contact. Call the organization to find out who this individual is.
A key benefit of this approach is that it’ll enable you to circumvent all the other applicants whose resumes are in the HR Department waiting to be reviewed. Additionally, if your background isn’t right for an existing opening but the manager is impressed with your experience, s/he might still want to meet you, considering you for another position or possibly creating one for you. This is something the Human Resources Department cannot do.
4. Send your e-mailed resume as both a cut-and-paste document and an attachment
Many employers and recruiters won’t read resumes that have been cut-and-pasted because the formatting may have been lost and the document is cumbersome to read. They prefer resumes sent as an attachment. Others,
however, won’t open up an attachment for fear of a virus, and they’ll only read resumes that have been cut-and-pasted.
To maximize readership, state in your e-mail message that your resume follows and is also attached.
5. Always follow up on the resumes you’ve sent to prospective employers
Sending your resume to potential employers but not following up on your correspondence is dropping the proverbial ball.
Since employers are deluged with resumes, following up on your submittal will ensure that your background doesn’t get lost in the stack. Additionally, your initiative and motivation could result in your being given special consideration.
There’s a key advantage to following up with a phone call versus a letter or e-mail. If you’re told there isn’t an opening for someone with your background, you can ask the manager if s/he can suggest other organizations
to contact that could possibly use your experience. Since Sarasota is a small community, a manager at one organization knows those at others, especially who are in the same field or industry.
While you can’t expect the person to volunteer this referral, if asked they might be willing to accommodate you. Here, you would be transforming a rejection into a networking contact.
6. Try to network your way into your ‘A’ list of companies
Career experts estimate that approximately 70 percent of job hunters find their new position through networking.
The moment you learn of a job that interests you, send in your resume. Then immediately set a networking campaign in motion. See if you know someone who works at the organization or if you know someone who knows an employee there. Your goal is to speak with this person (regardless of the level of their position) and ask if they would hand your resume to the individual who would be your manager. Through networking this way, you’ll bypass the competition, whose resumes will be among the many waiting to be evaluated by the HR Department.
Since networking is about getting your foot in the door, you’ll increase your number of interviews by following the time-tested saying “It’s not what you know but who you know.” Networking works if you work at it.
7. Don’t underestimate the actual size of your network of contacts
When many people network, they do little more than discuss their goals with family members, close friends, and perhaps a few people at work. This dramatically limits their exposure and doesn’t come close to tapping into
all the resources that exist. The more people who know about your qualifications and availability, the quicker you’ll receive the interviews you want.
Maximize your network by also considering the following individuals: fellow employees, former co-workers, customers, suppliers, competitors, members of your professional or trade organization, club members, your accountant, banker, stockbroker, insurance agent, lawyer, doctor (or any healthcare professional for that matter), religious leader, as well as civic and community leaders and college and high-school alumni. The possibilities are
There’s no telling which of these people might be able to make the introduction that will quickly lead to your next job or introduce you to someone who will be this intermediary.
Provide your resume to each individual you speak with. Not only will this make it easy for them to discuss your background, but they’ll be able to send the document if asked to.
8. Always stay in touch with your networking contacts
You can’t expect to get immediate interviews just by telling people about your interest in a new position, the type of job you’re looking for, and then sending them your resume. You’ll need to regularly speak with these
individuals to make sure that they actively remember your interest in going on interviews.
Depending on how well you know someone, you might call the person once a week. Others you’ll call less often. Also, make the relationship a two-way street by asking if there’s anything you can do to return the favor.
9. Line up your references prior to starting your job search
Before your resume is even completed, contact your previous managers, advise them that you’re looking for a position, and ask if they would serve as references. Then tell them that you’ll be sending them your new resume
to familiarize them with how you’ll be representing yourself.
When an employer has asked you for references, immediately call these people and give them the name of the organization that will be contacting them, the type of job you’re being considered for, and the key points to
emphasize about you. Proceeding this way will enable your references to present you as a strong candidate.
If you know that a previous manager will be making an unfavorable comment about you, then contact someone else in authority at the organization who will vouch for your capability and be able to counter this reference. In
addition, tell the person who requested references that you might be given a less than glowing one by a certain person due to, for example, having a different point of view about a certain project, and provide the name and
work number of the other individual to call.
10. Don’t send employers and recruiters a video resume
It’s possible that the video resume might someday become an accepted job-search strategy, but it hasn’t achieved such recognition yet. The technology presents four problems.
First, many employers and recruiters’ computers lack the software necessary to view a video resume.
Second, these presentations can last for three or four minutes, and few people will want to spend that amount of time viewing it.
Third, many employers won’t even consider these resumes for fear that they’ll be at risk of discrimination charges from a diversity applicant if they don’t interview the person.
Fourth, by using this unorthodox approach, you’re taking the chance that some people will see you as a maverick and reject you. Just as you’re not abiding by using the traditional chronological resume format, employers and recruiters could see you as unconventional and question your ability to fit into a team.
11. Never use the Internet as your primary source for interviews
Americans used to wake up, suit up, and go for a jog. Today, many wake up, go to their computer, and surf for a job.
These people truly believe that they’re using their time diligently, but in reality all they’re doing is entering the Internet’s black hole. I don’t hear of more than one person a year who received a job offer this way.
The problem is that surfing the Internet is so easy that this is how most people spend their time trying to get interviews. As a result, they face a glut of competition, and almost no one realizes success.
By all means don’t ignore positions listed on job sites. Just don’t make the Internet the focus of your job search.
12. Don’t state “Resume of (your name)” in the subject line of your e-mail
Your name will do nothing to gain a reader’s interest in opening up your e-mail versus all the other messages on the screen.
What you need is a hook in your subject line, something to convey that you could fill an important organizational need.
Consider an eye-catching subject such as “Top Auto Sales Rep – Continuously Crush Quota,” “Award-Winning Restaurant Manager,” or “Top Accountant.” This will give a prospective employer and recruiter every reason to read your e-mail.
13. Don’t create an e-mail address around a personal interest
Some job hunters use an address such as firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. While these addresses are catchy and your friends enjoy seeing them, they’re not at all professional and they send the wrong message about you to prospective employers and recruiters. Use an address that contains your name.
14. Don’t send recruiters and prospective employers an Instant Message when you see them on-line
Nothing could be ruder, unless someone is waiting for urgent information from you and will recognize your e-mail address, than to send them an Instant Message. In all other circumstances, the “no” button will be
clicked. To attract someone’s attention, use the e-mail approach discussed in #12.
15. Last but not least, never have a child record your voice-mail message
Some people think it’s adorable for their preteen to have recorded their voice-mail greeting, but this sends the wrong message about how seriously they take their career.
They’re searching for a job and looking for calls from prospective employers and recruiters. These individuals won’t think it’s cute or respect someone’s judgment if they are forced to listen to a child’s unsuitable voice.
To project an image of professionalism and seriousness of purpose, always record your own message.