The dog is barking, the TV is blasting, and food is boiling over on the stove…the phone rings…and it’s someone calling about your résumé. If you don’t do something fast, your “first impression” is going to be your last! When you are in job hunting mode, you need be prepared for such calls. Many job seekers do not realize that it is as important to impress the employer by phone as it is in person. It is critical that you come across as professional and someone who is prepared.
So, what should you do when you really are caught by surprise? First, thank the person for calling and politely ask if they can hold on for a minute. Use your “hold” or “mute” button while you take care of the following: turn off the stove, shut the TV and move the dog. Or, move to another room where there is no background noise. Have a file folder ready by the phone that contains your résumé and a list of employers you sent it to as a reference. Prepare a checklist of skills – a “cheat sheet” – of skills that you may want to emphasize during such calls. Be ready for common questions such as “Why are you interested in this job?” or “How do you qualify for this position?” Then, get ready for that phone to ring!
How many FaceBook friends do you have? How many LinkedIn connections? How many followers on Twitter? Many people today are focused on the numbers of social media sites. They are addicted to schmoozing online, excited to add more contacts to their lists, proud to have others see their numbers. When I speak to job seekers about their search, they also talk about how many job ads on monster they answered and how many hours a day they spend on other job boards, etc. So what is their bottom line I want to know, for all of this counting? What “numbers” are these connections, friends, and followers yielding in terms of interviews?
I wonder, how many of these friends can help them during a job search? How many of these connections or followers would speak to them on the phone or meet them for coffee to help them? How many of them are comfortable sharing the name and contact information of a colleague of theirs who would also be willing to sit down with the “friend” and perhaps counsel them on their job search?
I recently spoke with a 40-something job seeker who told me that he sent out 10 letters for jobs and got three interviews out of it. He was embarrassed that he had only sent out 10 letters to date and wanted an opinion on how to do better than 30%. Now, we can all improve our hit rates, but I told him that a return of 30% in this economy was really great and I wanted to know more about these 10. So, he went on to describe how he got to those 10. Each one of them was a key decision maker in the company of interest and he was referred to each one specifically by different trusted colleagues. Now that is a quality connection…a real friend…someone to follow…not just a number.
You know what I am going to say here, right? It is about the relationship. It is about face to face, personal relationships. It is about the quality. How many friends do you have?
Here is a question that I hear a lot: “Why did I not get the interview for that position?… I would have been perfect for it?” Recently, I had two candidates where I totally had to agree! In both instances, the candidates described strong experience that met the job requirements extremely well. Yet, when I looked at the candidates’ résumés, they did not address such strengths at all. The employer could not see their value. So, I could see why it did result in an interview. In fact, I find this to be a fairly common challenge for many job seekers.
In addition, many people will tell me things like: I was awarded “top sales manager of the year,” or “employee of the month” 6 times in one year, or recognized as the “fastest-rising salesman” or whatever…..you get the point. Again, when I review their résumé, these recognitions are either not mentioned at all or they are there but placed in a very unnoticeable way. These job seekers are not showcasing times when they are at the top of their game. Why would you NOT place such a noteworthy award, nomination, or recognition of some sort FRONT and CENTER?!
Your strengths and highly esteemed accolades should jump off the page of the résumé and GRAB the attention of every recruiter or employer who sees it. You earned it…use any honorable mention to demonstrate your value and create desire! That is one of the secrets to getting your résumé to sell you in a more powerful way (more secrets to come!). Hope that helps!
We are heading into summer when most people here are the east coast are excited about sunny weather, doing fun things with more daylight hours, and just plain feeling good. But there are many people who do not feel so excited – job seekers. With summer coming, many of you may be nervous because hiring tends to slow down during this period and worries just multiply.
Many job seekers have been out of work for a long time. After a while, it is understandable that we start to question our worth and feel self-esteem going down. When we meet others, this low morale comes through. It may be subtle, but employers feel it. Among other things, they look for passion and confidence….that low energy may result in hesitation on the part of employers. .So how do we get our “mojo” back? How do we increase our confidence when we feel kind of low?
Well, the summer can actually be the perfect time to change course and refocus energy. With the usual summer slowdown, it affords the opportunity to take a step back and recharge. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Take a course to increase your knowledge or skills
- Learn something new – just for fun
- Read industry magazines to keep up in your field
- Read books that are in the “Top Ten”
- Get involved in more fitness activities
- Spend time concentrated on your family
- Attack something that you’ve been wanting to clean up at home
- Think of some ideas to add to this list!
Taking a step back and going forward full-speed ahead with some new activities and goals over the summer can make you feel better about yourself. That is the first step in gaining more confidence and increasing your overall self-esteem. Give yourself time to do this. I believe that once you do, you can then get back to your job search with some new energy that is sure to be felt by those employers. So, how do you plan to get your mojo back?
Some job seekers are not as committed to a job search as they are to a job. On a “real job”, people set goals, make “to do” lists, etc., which aid in achieving those goals and ensuring that one is accountable for getting the work done. One way to increase your success in a job search, is to focus on turning your job search into your “job.” Try setting some goals and maintaining a “to do” list. Keeping an organized system is critical for pushing you forward and for identifying next steps needed to succeed.
It will also help make it easier if you break the job search up into manageable components. Establish a 30-day and 60-day plan, including weekly goals that are posted where you can see them. Create a way to organize and track your contacts, companies you’ve interviewed with, and the status of anything to do with your search. (One FREE and excellent resource for tracking this info can be found with www.jibberjobber.com). So, get organized, establish goals, and get that search in motion again!!