Many times, I’ll have my clients ask me what are the “magic words” or “key terms” they need when they start on their job search. While I do go over their career history with them and determine what themes and terms that they have had over their years, there are no more powerful words to offer than a simple “Thank you.”
When someone reads your cover letter, looks over your résumé, and determines that they want to pursue you further as a candidate in their company, they are taking time out of their day to consider you. Furthermore, should you go in for an interview, you’ll be taking even more of their time in everything from the preparation they need to assess your skill set and fit, to making room in their schedule to see you. Think of the last time you had to stop what you were doing in order to prepare for a meeting or task. How much of your time did it take?
By sending a simple note to say “thank you,” you are distinguishing yourself to that employer. You’re thanking them for putting whatever they were doing on hold, in order to speak to you about working with them. You are thanking them for the preparation, the time they may ultimately take checking your references, and their consideration of you.
This may sound like a simple step to you, which might be easy to overlook. I cannot stress to you how important this is. By taking this gesture, you are now going beyond the minimum, and displaying your ability and drive as a future employee to that candidate. Taking the 15 minutes it takes to write “thank you” on a card and throw it in the mail may very well make the difference between you being the competition, and you being another interview for the position.
Jeremy Worthington | Buckeye Resumes
In all my experience with preparing candidates for interviews, the hardest interviews that people have are with phone interviews. And understandably so – phone interviews are a lot harder than the face-to-face interview. Not only are you dealing entirely with verbal cues as to the interviewer’s interest, but you are also on the self-timer when it comes to answers. Go too long, and you’ve lost the interest of the person on the other end of the line. Go too short, and you can be interpreted as lacking experience and credibility for the job you are interviewing for.
You know the saying “an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure?” Nothing could apply more directly for the phone interview. Preparation is the key to getting to the next step in the hiring process, and being passed over by the recruiter for the next candidate.
First, start by doing your research on the company and the position. What are they looking for? What deficits does the company have that you can immediately fill with your skills and experience? How do you fix their problem, and fill in the needs of the company?
Next, research the individual you will be interviewing with. Put their name in on Google and see what comes up. Check out their LinkedIn account to view their background. If you can draw parallels with them and find common ground by which you can both work, your conversation will go that much easier on interview day.
Finally, prepare your answers to the interview. Brevity is key on this one: Don’t go so long that you lose their attention, but don’t give too little detail that you don’t answer the question. Try to have your answers prepared for thirty seconds or less. If you have more to share, you can always ask if they want you to continue, or if you have answered their question.
The phone interview does not have to be as intimidating as it sounds. With the right preparation, you can be ready to sound like the competition, instead of a competitor.
So you’ve landed the interview – great job! You go into the interview prepared, get great feedback from the people you interview with, and are feeling like you’ve got this deal signed and delivered. So, naturally, the first thing you want to do is tell the world whose checks you will soon be cashing.
Let’s take two steps back here and consider a couple things. First off, you don’t have the job until you get a formal offer; a title and job description, salary, and start date. So as long as those things have not been delivered, you don’t have a job. Translation: You’re probably not the only candidate they will have discussions with.
Which brings me to my second point: If the company you just interviewed with is still talking to other people, why do you want to advertise that to the entire world? People in your immediate circle – whether they be friends, golf buddies, or people you are connected on Facebook with – may also be looking for a job like the one you want. And if they know the company you just talked to will hire, your odds of getting the job just got wider.
When going through the job search and interview process, think of it as a secret mission. The information you are guarding is who you’re talking to, what you’re talking to them about, and the timeline they’ve got you on. By keeping this information close, you have more control over the hiring process, and are able to better secure your odds as being the chosen candidate when its time to make a decision to hire.
One of the biggest misconceptions by candidates that I’ve seen in my years as a job search coach is that they do not view the job search process as a competition. Many of the candidates that come to me for the first time are content to send out their resumes, and wait for a response.
What they don’t realize is that they are not the only one putting out their resumes for those same positions. According to CareerBuilder.com, for every one position a company opens, an employer will receive, on average, 75 resumes. With all that paper, not to mention the contacts and keywords to swim through, it is very easy for a potential hire’s information to get lost in that shuffle.
Job search is absolutely a competition! One of the quickest ways a candidate can jump from being a resume to being a hire is by being proactive in a job search. Think of it as a marathon: everyone starts at the starting line; the point where you consider applying for the job. One the shot fires, everyone starts. And, ultimately, there can be only one winner.
What makes the difference between the candidate who finishes first and the one who finishes in the middle of the pack? How they train for the marathon is a big step: you can’t go straight from the couch to the marathon. Why would one try the same for a job search? Further, think of what a marathon runner goes through when training: their diet changes, and their exercise routine gets more focused. So should a job seeker make similar changes to how their resume plays to the needs of the employer, and focus on how to get connected to the companies they want to be at.
By looking at the job search like a competition, a candidate can easily go from being glazed over to being a star candidate. And that perspective adjustment can mean the difference between accepting the job one wants, and merely accepting a job.