Karla Porter is Director of Workforce Development and Human Resources for a mid-size metro area economic development agency in PA. (Be sure to click on her name to learn more about Karla. It sounds like she has an awesome job!) In any case, I “met” Karla via Twitter and enjoy her blog, so I was happy that she responded to my invitation to participate in my advice for the holidays series by offering to share this post from her blog:
Last year, on December 23rd, I called an applicant to invite her for an interview. She cried. She told me I didn’t know what it meant to her to receive my call, the best Christmas present she ever could have gotten. Then I got all choked up…… She thought it was impossible to get an interview during the holidays.
She lost her job 2 months earlier and since then had spent countless hours scouring job boards, employment websites and submitting resumes. Mine was the first call she had received. She was amazed the call had come within minutes of clicking the submit button.
I’m blogging this to let you know to not relinquish your job search because it is a certain season. Employers have year round needs and opportunity. We may take a little time to decorate, eat cookies and take a few days off but we still need to conduct business and meet our goals to accomplish our mission.
If you are unemployed you can’t afford to “take a vacation” from your job search. You must be relentless. Rise each morning as if you are going to work and then go to work on finding opportunity that matches your skills and employment goals.
Treat your job search as a full-time job!
When you find yourself becoming discouraged, remember that when you are depressed and down on yourself it shows and it could impact your interview. Think of your job search for what it is… you are marketing your skills and yourself as a product for prospective employers to lease. That’s right, an employer leases your time and talent! Make yourself as marketable as possible, showcasing your talents. An employer must feel that if they do not hire you they will be losing out.
If you fear rejection think about it this way.. In sales it can take 10 “no’s” to get a “yes.” You might get the yes the first or tenth time you ask for the sale, you can’t predict. Each “no” you get brings you closer to the “yes!” To be effective, you need to be steadfast and approach each potential customer with the same confidence and presentation – because that could be your sale. If you waiver, become doubtful, skip a step or lack thoroughness you could jeopardize the sale.
A job search is no different!
The key to a successful job search is to remain steadfast and remain consistent in your approach.
- Treat each opportunity as if it will be a a “yes” and know that each “no” will only bring you closer to your new employment.
- Present yourself to each employment opportunity as if it were the only opportunity. It will keep you sharp and make you work hard to win it.
- Prepare for each opportunity by researching each company you apply to then target your resume for that particular job. It’s time consuming but it will stand out from the mass template submissions employers receive. Invest the same time and energy in your resume as you would if you were on the job and being paid to create an important presentation or report.
- If you have anything less than a professional sounding email address create a new account such as email@example.com. Whimsical, cutesy, goth, TMI, sexual in nature, etc., type email addresses are simply inappropriate. After all, at least in my inbox the first thing I see, my first impression of a candidate, is their email address.
The key is to maintain a consistent professional image from A to Z
Keep a spreadsheet for (or jot in a notebook) the positions you have applied to. Include the company, contact, phone number, email address and date submitted.
Follow up with a call or email a few days later to ask if you are being considered a candidate. If the answer is no, ask for feedback on why. Don’t be afraid to ask – It will help you understand employer and industry needs and help you refine and target your search to match your skills. Thank the Recruiter for taking the time to provide you with valuable feedback and ask to be considered in the future for positions that match your qualifications. If a Recruiter has been particularly helpful it can’t hurt to follow up with a brief thank you email or note.
Start answering your phone in a professional way. “Hello, this is Sam” is a good greeting. Answering with “Yeah, who is this?” is less than impressive to a potential employer.
When a potential employer calls understand that is the first step in the interview process. That call is a phone screen. Put a mental “suit” on and conduct yourself professionally as if you were in a face-to-face interview.
If you are invited to interview in person ensure you arrive 10 minutes early. If you are not familiar with the location do a dry run. The day of the interview is not the day to get lost. Use that 10 minutes to psych yourself up for the interview and envision the job offer.
Dress, speak and act like the position you aspire to. One step up from the position you are interviewing for is a good guideline. Put on your best clothing and grammar (without gum in your mouth, of course), hold your head high and pretend you are the leading role in a movie. Be self-conscious of your posture and body language. Try really hard to have good eye contact.
Listen carefully to the interviewer’s instructions and questions. Focus and answer appropriately. Don’t deviate from the questions and do not offer up personal information. Remember it is a job interview and keep your comments to your skills, abilities and talents in regard to the position you are interviewing for. Arrive prepared to discuss examples of your performance, teamwork and people skills at prior places of employment.
Let the interviewer know you have done your research. Ask questions to show you are interested and engaged. If you don’t know what to ask some possibilities are about the number of employees and/or locations, what is a typical day like for a person in the position, examples of employee recognition, etc.
Thank the interviewer and offer a handshake. If you are still interested in the company at the end of the interview tell the interviewer. Something like, “I am very interested in this position, more so now after the interview and meeting you.” Ask for a business card and send a follow-up thank you email as soon as possible.
Be sure to take a look at all the great advice from my colleagues:
I can help with every part of your job hunt! Need a great resume? Tips to use social networking? Interview coaching?Â If you need help mobilizing your networks and your job search plans, learn more about how I can help you! While you’re at it, don’t forget those social networks! Be sure to become a fan of Keppie Careers on Facebook…I’d be thrilled to have you as part of the community! Since we’re on the subject of doing something new…Are you on Twitter? Jump on and touch base with me @keppie_careers.
photo by mysza