Landing a better job is never particularly easy, but when certain circumstances come into play, it can seem almost impossible. Even landing a low-level income job can seem like an impossible task when you’re in an extremely competitive industry, or when unemployment is high and you’re competing with hundreds of people for the same job.
But the truth is, most people approach their job hunt from the wrong perspective.
They inaccurately believe that all they have to do put together a good resume or ace an interview and they’ll get the job, but it’s not quite that simple and if you’ve been failing with securing a job in the past, it could possibly be due to the way you handle the “before”, “during” and “after” process involved in securing a job.
In order to land a better job when the market is highly competitive, what you really need is try harder, but it goes far beyond that. You need position yourself as you are the ONLY “right choice” for the job by:
- Differentiate yourself from all of the other candidates
- Effectively handling the interview process
- Preparing for even the toughest questions
- Strategically following up after the job interview
In order to apply for the job of your dreams, you first have to locate potential jobs that are suitable based on your qualifications, skills and interests.
Sure, you could try randomly sending your resume in to every company in your industry, but that will only take up an incredible amount of time and resources that could be better spent focusing on available positions that offer ongoing growth potential.
Of course, you’re always free to send your CV to any company you’re really excited to work for in case something becomes available later. Just don’t waste time and money applying to companies you’re not really specifically interested in.
There are 4 great methods to find a job:
- Browsing through newspapers, trade publications, industry magazines and classified ads
- By calling a company directly and asking about job openings
- Through temp agencies or recruitment firms
- Via a direct referral or contact within the company
1. Newspapers and websites
Most people find jobs in the newspaper or online classified sites or through online job websites. It’s the first place the average person turns when they need a job, which is precisely why it’s not always the best place to look.
You should definitely check the classified ads (both on and offline), just don’t depend on it as your main source for job openings since due to the high number of candidates applying for these positions, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to get noticed or to even book an interview.
Here is a very handy resource that feature thousands of online newspapers (updated daily):
In addition to checking your local newspaper, you should also consider checking some of the following websites:
Craigslist is a great online classified site that has listings in most major cities in the United States and many international cities. Many companies place ads there before they even place them in the newspaper and other job sites, so they can be a great source for less competitive positions.
Other websites have different systems. They may allow you to apply online by filling out an application or by submitting your CV.
They may give contact details for companies so you can inquire directly. Or they may give you a profile where you can place your resume, portfolio and other information so prospective employers can find you.
These websites are pretty competitive, but if you do a good job making yourself stand out from the crowd they can be good tools for finding available positions.
Linkedin is the best, but before applying there, our advice is to read first “The Blue Sky Guide“, that teaches how to use Linkedin in order to find a new position (provides screenshots and detailed instructions).
2. Finding a job by calling companies
You probably already have an idea of some of the companies in your industry that you’d like to work for. Even if you don’t have any specialized area of expertise, you probably have a good idea of which companies in your area are good to work for.
Make a list of these companies so you can call around and check on available jobs. Make another list of all of the jobs you found available that you believe you are qualified for.
Once you have a list, you can start applying to these companies. Some of them may have a specific process for applicants, so be sure you make a note of their requirements before you apply.
3. Temp and recruitment agencies
A lot of people tend to avoid recruitment agencies because they think all of the jobs are just temporary positions, but that’s not always true. Many companies exclusively hire through temp agencies because it gives them a chance to test out a prospective employee before making the commitment to hire them full time.
Even if most of the jobs you go on end up being temporary, you’ll be earning some money for bills while you pursue other jobs. So it’s not as bad as it sounds.
Recruitment firms (as opposed to temp agencies) place mostly permanent positions, but they typically hire for specialized positions. If you have specific skills or experience, you might try visiting one of these companies to see if they can help make your job search a bit easier.
The major benefit of using temp and recruitment agencies is the fact that most of them are paid by the employer, so they won’t usually cost you a penny.
The best possible way to find out about job openings is through referrals. If you know someone who works at the company you’d like to work for, you can ask them about open positions.
If you don’t know anyone at the company, you might consider trying to meet some people who work there. It’s a sneaky way in, but a lot of smart job hunters are doing just that. If you can find out where employees congregate, such as a particular café near the company’s headquarters, you might be able to meet some people who work there.
If you decide to do this, it’s highly advisable that you bring it up very casually, especially if the company is a highly-desirable one to work for. For example, many Apple employees are already aware that people may try to befriend them in order to try to get a job.
It’s best if you wait a couple of days to even ask what they do for a living and where they work. Then say something like, “Oh wow, it must be great working there!”
Hopefully this will be enough for them to mention any openings. If not, don’t push it. Just keep trying gently for a while. You certainly don’t want to be rude to someone you’re basically using as a way into a job!
If you don’t know of a specific company you’d like to work for, you can always start asking around. Contact your friends and family, former coworkers, clergy, and even former teachers to ask if they know of any job openings you might be qualified for.
If you’re really lucky, someone might mention that the company they work for is hiring for a position you’re qualified for. If that person happens to be in a position of power at the company, they might be able to put in a good word for you.
At the very least, they might be able to mention to the head of the human resources department that they are personally sending someone over to apply for the position.
This is exactly why referrals are so powerful. Rather than having to deal with walking in and being completely unknown, you will have the ability to say, “So-and-so told me about the job.” Hopefully the person you talk to will know the person who referred you. This helps you stand out from other potential applicants.
Plus, referrals help you find jobs that might not even officially be available, yet. Many companies don’t officially list a position as available until they’ve gone through their own internal promotion process and exhausted their file of applications and resumes.
It’s possible to find positions that have very little competition just by asking around and trying to find out about positions that have just opened up recently, or positions that might be coming open soon due to retirements, promotions, etc.
When you decide to apply for a specific job, it’s a great idea to apply in person if the company will accept it. Sending in a résumé won’t do a lot to set you apart from everyone else.
By coming in, you accomplish two things. You set yourself apart from your competition that will, for the most part, simply send in resumes. And you show you’re truly serious about getting the job. Employers love people who show initiative. It’s a passive act to send in a resume. It’s an aggressive, go-getter act to apply in person!
In the next chapter, you’re going to find out how to write the perfect CV. You may think you don’t need a CV if you’re applying to non-specific positions or you have no specific skills or experience, but that’s not true.
A great resume will help you stand out from the crowd for ANY position!
How to write the perfect resume
Writing a resume is one of the most vital parts of a successful job hunt. If you don’t have a one, you’re going to have a harder time even getting an interview!
Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need to put your CV in a specific format in order to be taken seriously. Employers aren’t as concerned about HOW your resume looks but instead, WHAT your resume says about you and how it demonstrates your “fit” in the company!
Of course, that’s not to say you can just throw your resume together haphazardly.
You do want to spend time crafting a professional resume that accurately reflects (and highlights) your experiences and qualifications.
One strategy we recommend is that you use a professional resume writing service like this, this or this one.
Choosing the paper for your CV: ideally you will want to choose a paper with a heavy weight and slightly off-white in color. Most people have their resumes printed on standard white paper.
By using heavier, higher-quality paper that is a slightly different color, it has a greater chance to be noticed and to stand out when stuck in a pile of competing resumes.
Something so simple can yield dramatic results!
Best resume format
As I mentioned before, you don’t need to have your resume formatted in any specific format in order for it to be effective, however if you find it easier, you can use a pre-created CV template that will provide structure to your resume and help you develop a winning document.
These resume templates can be downloaded online, or you can purchase them in many office supply stores.
Just remember, any template will work fine as long as it looks neat and organized, and as long as it has spaces for the most vital information.
Every resume needs to contain specific information in order to clearly define your objectives, your skills and your experiences. There are also a few items that should never be included. We’re going to go over both of these elements so that you can create a traditional (and effective) resume while leaving out information that could potentially harm your chances at securing the position.
What to include in CV
You should definitely include the following info:
- Your first and last name
- Your home address
- Your home telephone number
- Your cell phone number only if you are rarely home
- An email address if you have one
- Your website address if you have an online portfolio
- A quick summary of your education with school names and dates only, no GPA should be listed unless it was above a 3.0. Listing your high school diploma isn’t necessary unless it’s the only diploma you have.
- A one to three sentence objective that states what type of position you are looking for
A summary of your previous experience, including employer names, start dates, end dates and a little information about the responsibilities you had while in the position.
- Job-related skills only.
What NOT to include in resume:
Many people make the mistake of including too much information on their resume or worse, including information that could be detrimental to their ability to be called for an interview.
Including too much information on your resume may also make it tedious, monotonous and difficult to read.
People aren’t likely to read your entire resume if it’s longer than two pages unless you are applying for an extremely high-level position.
Most people will do well to submit only a one-page resume along with a brief cover letter.
These are some of the things you should NOT include in your CV:
- Hobbies and interests – It amazes me how many people mistakenly believe the interviewer cares about their hobbies and interests! Unless it specifically demonstrates a skill that relates to the job, leave it off!
- Religion – This could end up hurting you more than it helps. Unless you are applying for a position that specifically relates to your religion, this information should NOT be included on your resume!
- Politics – As with religion, unless the job specifically relates to politics, do not include any political preferences on your resume.
- Charitable Work – Many people seem to believe that employers look favorably on people who do charity work, possibly because it is something that colleges seem to like in an applicant.
- Job interviews don’t care about the charity work you’ve done unless you’re applying for a job with a charity, or unless your work experience with charities taught you something valuable that can be used in the position you are applying for.
- Sex, Height, Weight, etc. – Do not include any information about your sex, height, weight, age, ethnicity, hair color, eye color, etc. Unless you are applying for a job as a model or actor, this information isn’t needed.
- Sexual Orientation – Most people know better than to include this on their résumé, but a few rare individuals have started placing this on theirs. Don’t do it. It’s not necessary!
- References – These should NOT be included on your resume. If an employer wants them, they’ll ask!
Basically, any information that isn’t critical to the position you’re applying for should not be included.
Even if you think it might impress the interviewer or set you apart from other applicants, it will only bore the recruiter. It might even work against you if they happen to dislike the information you’ve provided!
It’s much better to simply stick to the facts.
As with resumes, cover letters don’t have to be in any specific format. Just be brief, polite, and to the point. You can find plenty of cover letter examples if you need help.
The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself briefly, explain why you feel you are qualified, why you chose their company, and any other information you feel is absolutely critical.
Make sure you keep your cover letter to no more than a page. Four to five paragraphs is plenty! Remember, you want to be clear and focused with both your resume and cover letter, including only essential information that will help you secure the interview.
Getting your foot in the door
Once you’ve submitted your resume or application, the temptation is to sit around and wait for the company to call you. For many, they feel as though they’ve done all that they could and now the rest is up to the employer.
This is a big mistake!
Unless your resume and your references are truly stellar, you’re going to have to take the initiative in order to have the best chance at getting the job you want. Aggressively following up will set you apart and show potential employers that you are serious about the job.
I mentioned earlier that it is a good idea to apply in person, but that’s not always possible. Some companies won’t take applications in person. Others have very specific recruitment processes, like hiring only through recruitment firms.
If you’re forced to apply by mailing in your resume or filling out a standard application and leaving it with a receptionist, you will probably need to make at least one follow-up phone call.
It may be difficult to get in touch with the person you need to speak to. They may have a receptionist who has been instructed not to let anyone through, or it may not even be possible to find out exactly who you need to speak with.
If possible, try to find out who is responsible for doing the actual hiring for the position. This may be different in different departments, or there may be one head of human resources who oversees all applicants.
Someone inside the Company
If you know anyone who works for the company, now is the time to call in a favor and ask your contact to make a referral on your behalf. Having a friend on the inside is a great way to get an interview.
You can have this person talk to someone who is responsible for hiring and say something like, “My friend Jane stopped by to apply for that position in the art department. Has she been in for an interview, yet?”
This can nudge the recruiter to look for your resume and check you out. It might alert them to the fact that your resume has been submitted, which just might be enough to actually get it read!
The Pre-Interview Follow-Up Letter
If you can’t get in touch with the recruiter directly and you don’t know anyone on the inside who can help you out, you can also try writing to them directly. If you know their name, a hand-addressed envelope sent directly to them will get attention.
You can write something like this:
“Dear Ms. Johnson,
I sent in my resume for the position of assistant art director last week and I just wanted to take a moment to follow up with you to let you know how serious I am about this particular position.
I would be very grateful for the opportunity to sit down with you and discuss how I might benefit the company, and to meet with you face to face. I am certain you will see from my résumé that I am well-qualified for the position, and I look forward to discussing this with you at your earliest convenience.
Very Sincerely Yours,
You should be as polite and respectful as possible. Don’t write a lengthy letter. Don’t try to put bits of your resume in it. Just notify them that they have your resume and you’d like for them to look at it and get back to you at their convenience.
If possible, write the letter by hand. This seems much more personal, and it lets the recruiter know you are serious. Taking the time to write a letter by hand is a rarity these days, and it can really make a difference in whether they even read it or not.
Most applicants will NOT take this step, and it can really go a very long way toward getting you in the door!
Through the back door
Many companies have a sort of “back door” to getting hired. Some work with specific recruitment agencies of temp agencies to fill positions and rarely hire anyone outside of that system.
If possible, call around and find out if the company you wish to work for uses any recruitment or temp agencies. If they do, go there right away and make it clear that you are interested in a specific position at that company.
You can tell them you’ve already submitted your application with the company directly, but that you heard the company often hires people through their agency and you’d like to apply through them as well.
You may be hired on a probationary basis. Yes, this equates to a “temp” position, but if you do a good job and prove yourself, you’ll be able to get into the position even if you don’t have the perfect resume.
That’s one of the biggest benefits to going through an agency. Agencies usually aren’t quite as selective as the company itself would be. This means you have a chance to get hired even if you have minor issues on your resume.
If you applied with the company directly, you might not even be able to get your foot in the door. They might see several gaps in your employment history, a lack of higher education, or several jobs of a short duration and just toss your resume aside without a second look.
An agency might be more willing to overlook these issues and give you a chance.
Once you’re in the door, all you have to do is work hard, do a fantastic job, and really prove yourself.
If you’re good enough, and you show the company you’re serious about working there, they will be much more willing to hire you permanently than they would if you came in off the street. An agency just might be your “back door” access to a company you otherwise might never have had a shot at working for.
Get ready for the job interview
It’s important to be totally prepared before the walking into any interview.
Confidence comes from knowing how to answer the toughest questions and being able to work conversations around your skills and how you can benefit the company.
It’s often referred to as “interview spinning” and it’s when you take a question that would normally be difficult to answer without highlighting your flaws or failures, and spinning it so that it actually benefits you, by showcasing your qualities, skills and experiences, as well as what you bring to the company.
You need to anticipate questions and practice answering them so that when you’re sitting face to face with a potential employer in the hot seat, you are calm, focused and confident that you can answer anything thrown your way.
And if you’ve been through job interviews before you know just how nervous you can be during an interview, so the more time you put into preparation, the easier it will be to answer the questions with confidence and to motivate the employer to make a preliminary decision to hire you.
But here’s the secret behind gaining instant confidence for interviews:
Learn about the company BEFORE you go to the interview!
So many people are anxious to land a job, especially with the decline in economy and unemployment at an all time high, that they fail to actually research the company (and the job they are applying for) prior to the interview.
Instead, they go in relying only on their own qualifications and experiences not really knowing if their skill sets match up to the position being offered.
You will be far more prepared to walk away from the interview with a job if you do enough research to be able to pinpoint:
– The company’s overall goals
(increase revenue, reduce overall costs, acquire new market share, land larger accounts and so on)
– How YOU fit into the company
(what you bring to the table based on specific positions, what you can do to help the company immediately, and why they should hire you)
– Research the nature of the company’s business
and do a quick study of the terminology used in the industry and within their company.
When you amplify your preparation strategy prior to the interview, you will also be far more equipped to negotiate terms, in the event the employer offers you a job on the spot.
Rather than falling apart as you face intense scrutiny and loaded questions, you will be able to present yourself as a qualified professional, which is exceptionally important regardless of the industry or position you are vying for.
Acing your job interview
Punctuality is one of the most important qualities that employers want in their employees. The best way to make a good impression at a job interview is to arrive 15 to 20 minutes early.
Walk into the company and ask for the person that you will be interviewing with. Many times the interviewer will ask the person that you approached about you. You will want to make sure that you give this person a good first impression of you as well.
When you meet the person that you will be interviewing with, you will want to look them in the eye. Greet the interviewer with your best smile and a handshake.
Follow the interviewer to the place that you will be having the interview at.
Take the seat that the interviewer offers you. If you are wearing a coat, you will want to drape the coat on the back of the chair so that it does not get in the way during the interview.
Sit up straight in the chair with both feet on the floor to give the best impression in your interview.
In order to breeze through an interview confident that you’ve done everything you possibly could to land the job, there are a few things you should keep in mind during and after the interview.
Don’t talk money until you know you’ve got the job
If a question regarding salary is mentioned during the interview, tell them that money isn’t your main consideration, nor should it be at this point. Remember, it’s important to hold out for the market value of the new job rather than settling for an inadequate figure, or offer based on your present or previous employment history.
It’s difficult to negotiate salary until you are familiar with the overall scope of the position itself as well as the market value. When you know the company wants to hire you, it’s the best time to talk about solid figures. If asked about salary, consider the following deflective answers:
“My salary requirements are open to discussion. Your company has a reputation for being more than fair to employees and I trust that you will do the same with me.”
“I’m a great believer that pay should match performance, so I’ll need to know more about what I will be doing for you before I can speak with certainty regarding salary”.
Remember to smile
It may sound simple, but the more approachable, warm and friendly you are during an interview, the easier it will be to get your foot in the door. You want the interviewer to like you, to connect with you and to feel that you would bring a positive influence to the company or position.
You want to appear to be agreeable, someone people would want to work with and remember, that by the time you are asked in for an interview, your resume has already been screened and the company has verified that you are qualified for the job, so the final decision usually comes down to how you’d fit into the company itself.
Keep your body language in check
Body language says a lot about you and the way you are feeling at any given time. Make a conscious effort to evaluate your body language during the interview so that you come across as relaxed and excited about joining the company. This includes the way that you dress for the interview, making sure that you appear natural (example: don’t wear big brothers suit and tie that is 2 sizes too big).
Make sure your clothes fit you correctly, and that you bring energy to the interview by adding this non-verbal firepower to your candidacy. First impression mean everything!
Avoid speaking negatively about your previous employer
This may sound obvious but it’s often easy to get caught up in conversations where you are forced to talk candidly about your previous employer or job position and if the company you previously worked for is a competitor to the new job, you have to be extra careful to watch your tongue.
Don’t try to impress the interviewer by bashing your previous employer, because it can easily backfire as they wonder what you will be saying about THEM if the job doesn’t work out. Avoid discussing any risky topics whenever possible, including any problems you had with co-workers, whether your previous employer was slack, lazy, bossy or rude.
Bring strong communication skills with you
Even if you are nervous, and it’s natural if you are, you still want to do your best to communicate effectively. Don’t interrupt the interviewer, pay close attention to the questions that are being asked and don’t limit yourself to short answers.
Whenever possible, give detailed, thorough responses to the questions you are asked so that you come across as experienced and willing to let the interviewer learn more about you, even if the questions aren’t the easiest ones to answer.
Just the same, remember not to “over talk”. You never want your nervousness to be evident with endless chatter but instead be clear, concise and focused making good eye contact while answering questions directly.
Become multi dimensional
If your single greatest accomplishment is that degree hanging on your wall, make mention of it. Once. Don’t repeat your credentials or constantly remind the interviewer of skills or qualifications that you’ve already mentioned or discussed.
If you don’t have a lot of experience on the job or lack training in specific areas, you can make up for it by highlighting other, relevant skills (even self taught) that make you a prime candidate for the job. This is called giving a “compensatory response”, which is when you respond with “I don’t have experience in that particular field BUT I do have experience with…”.
Focus on explaining what you’ve learned rather than how or where you learned it.
Job interviews by phone
If you are giving a phone-based interview, make sure that you have everything you need strategically placed around you. This should include your resume, a list of accomplishments, background information about the employer or company, questions about the company and the position being offered, a notepad and a pen (don’t use the computer to type notes so the interviewer doesn’t hear your keystrokes and think that you are distracted).
Your preparation should also include a calendar and ready-made notes involving key points you want to make, “what if” questions that you want to be prepared for and outlines of brief stories or experiences, that you want to use to illustrate your competency for the job.
Common Job Interview Questions
Here are a series of common questions asked during interviews (many of them behavioral based) and how you could answer each one so that you are able to “spin” the question to positively reflect your abilities and experiences in the best possible way.
Job Interview Questions:
Can you give me an example of a time when you had to manage multiple projects on a strict deadline and how you handled the task?
With questions designed to identify your behavior (so the employer can predict how you’ll respond to common workplace situations), you need to be able to sift through your previous work experience and offer examples of how you are able to correctly handle the tasks.
The easiest way to prepare for questions where you are asked to provide a previous problem and solution based on your prior work experience is to spend time mining your past work experience and settling on a story that has a beginning, middle and end so that when you are asked to give examples of past situations, you are more than ready.
For example, the story (example) you give should focus on a problem, action and result or solution based on your previous work experience while ensuring it’s still relevant for the current job you are applying for.
Problem: I was asked to improve the company’s brand in terms of customer support.
Action: I integrated a customer support training team that helped support representatives better manage and organize call backs.
Solution / Result: This training generated positive feedback from customers, resulting in a 40% increase in bookings.
You may also be asked “open ended” questions, where the answer is usually a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Whenever possible, try to expand your answer so that you are giving as much important information as possible rather than single line responses.
Example: “Do you think you’d be a good fit for this company?”
When asked a question regarding how you would benefit the team or bring value to the company, make sure that you connect all of your qualifications with the jobs requirements.
You may be experienced in different fields, or have vast knowledge of many different topics or skills, but if they aren’t applicable to the job you are applying for, it shouldn’t be mentioned unless it will add weight to a future position or a potential promotion in the future.
Describe a typical workday based on your previous job.
This is where you will want to highlight the skills that you use in your current job that will be beneficial to the job that you are applying. You want to make your day sound interesting and full of challenges that you meet and solve.
Why are you considering leaving your current job?
This can be a tricky question for many who aren’t prepared with how to highlight the reasons why they are interested in changing jobs without looking disloyal or unreliable. If you are changing careers, you may want to highlight some of the reasons that you are changing industries.
Answers that will work for many interviews include: that you are looking to work closer to home and that you are looking for a company that you can grow with. You never want to give the impression that you are simply looking for increased salary or compensation and willing to abandon your current employer.
Can you give an example of…?
Keep your answers on par with the questions being asked, otherwise you will appear unfocused and possibly unable to address direct questions, which could equate to the potential employer feeling as though you may not be able to adapt to instruction or take direction while on the job.
The more specific your answers are based on the questions you are being asked, the better your chances are of impressing the employer and demonstrating that you are ready and capable to pursue the jobs requirements.
One of the best ways to prepare for interviews is to practice a 4 minute “commercial” that highlights your skills and qualifications and rehearse your responses before the interview.
While you always want to appear to be thoughtful and poised during an interview, make sure that your practice doesn’t affect your ability to answer questions naturally.
In other words, by spending time constructing a visual interview with a friend or family member, you will be able to feel more relaxed when the real interview is at hand, however you never want the employer to question your genuineness and whether or not you are answering questions based on a carefully thought out plan.
The more natural and off the cuff you appear, the easier it will be to convince a potential employer that you are answering the questions honestly and thoughtfully.
Personal branding is part of every successful job interview and you need to consider how you could summarize your skills, experience and qualifications in 1 minutes or less.
This is called a “branding brief” and should clearly highlight the reasons why you are the best man (or woman!) for the job. Consider closing statements as well. These are polished statements that you can use when the interview is drawing to a close as a way of making yourself memorable.
Common Job Interview Situations
Here are a handful of common interview situations that you can use to your advantage to land the job quickly:
The potential employer is busy handling calls, and people constantly interrupting your interview time. It appears as though they are exceptionally overwhelmed.
What to do?
Flash a sympathetic smile and commiserate. Turn the situation into a platform that connects the two of you together in a way where you give the impression that you’ve been in a similar situation, you understand their frustrations and are similar in some small way.
The potential employer appears to be aggravated at having to conduct yet another job interview. Perhaps they have been through countless interviews and still unable to fill the position. They appear to be agitated, and wanting to rush through the process.
What to do?
Show sensitivity for their monotonous task of having to sit through countless interviews, and offer to work around their schedule such as by coming in during a weekend, following up with a telephone interview, or evening interview and appear to be eager to take the pressure off of the interviewer’s prime business hours.
The Interviewer asks you questions that you aren’t prepared for and don’t feel are applicable to the job position.
What do you do?
Answer the questions as best as you can but never wrestle the interviewer for control over the questions.
There are many guides that advise you to take control of the interview so that you can direct it in a way that is to your advantage, however this can easily backfire if you appear to be stubborn, bossy or arrogant.
Instead, gradually spin the conversation in a better direction where you are able to talk fluently about the different ways you bring value to the company by answering the original question and then adding to it by asking “Would you like to hear about XX?” (example: Would you like to hear about my experience in project management?”.
When you sense the job interview is coming to a close, consider how you can put your final signature mark and leave a positive impression on the interviewer.
Never leave the interview with unanswered questions. If there’s something on your mind or a question you feel you need the answer to in order to make a better decision regarding salary, ask it.
In addition, you never want to leave an interview without reprising your qualifications and skills as well as what benefits and positive aspects based on your work experience that you will bring to the job.
Without seeming intrusive, you never want to leave the interview empty handed, but instead, think of ways that you can end the interview knowing “what comes next“.
Ask the interviewer for permission to call back, and be sure to express your gratitude for taking the time to speak with you.
Shake their hand firmly, make final eye contact and reaffirm that you are a good fit for the job (“This looks like a fantastic opportunity and I look forward to hearing from you”). Then, make your exit – never linger.
You always want to end the interview on the right note. After all, the last impression you make comes with your closing statements.
To begin, you never want to appear desperate because if a potential employer senses overwhelming urgency or desperation in your needing a quick answer, it may come across as though you have little to no other possibilities or job offers on the table.
This can also affect the salary that you are offered if your potential employer feels as though they can offer less and still get you on board.
Make sure that you pay close attention to the interviewers body language before, during and at the end of the interview. Closed arms, or leaning back in a chair as you are answering questions is considered “negative body language” and may be a signal to you that you need to switch the conversations topic or focus.
Write down everything you learned about the company and employer immediately following the interview so that you can reflect on it later on with the follow up call or secondary interview.
Be particular about jotting down important points that were discussed as you may be asked to call upon them in the follow up appointment.
Remember, every interview is a learning experience and even if you don’t land the job, you will have gained more experience to handle the next one.
Follow up strategies
Your follow up strategy may be the very thing that helps you land the job or if you have a weak to non existent follow up strategy, you’re handing the position over to another candidate.
Even if you believe that the company or employer will hire you, following up shows your dedication and eagerness to become part of the company and to get started.
When it comes to following up, there are many different options available to you, including:
- Thank You Letters
- Telephone Calls
Years ago, sending thank you letters was commonplace and when personalized to reflect the job, company or even interviewer, they were often the final push needed to land the job.
These days, sending thank you notes has become all but non existent and by resurrecting this powerful strategy, you could pack a little extra punch to standing out.
When writing a thank you letter, make sure that you construct it so that it reflects you in the best possible light. Think of your resume as the first page in your story and the thank you letter as the final conclusion page.
Express appreciation for the interviewer’s time and thank them in advance for following up and providing you with more information about the company’s decision.
End the letter with a reminder as to what you will bring to the company and how you are best suited for the job. Reaffirm your interest in the position and in becoming part of the team.
Rather than mail the letter to the interviewer you can email it if you have the company’s email address handy.
Just make sure that you address it to the correct person or department and send yourself a copy (use bcc so that the copy is only visible to you).
Thank You Letter Structure:
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:
Use the first paragraph to thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you on the day of your interview. You need to mention the position title that you talked about in the interview
The second paragraph gives you another chance to sell yourself for the position that you interviewed for. Use examples of what the job position requires you to do to highlight your strengths. This is a place to make the point that you are the person that will be the perfect fit for the company and the position.
In your closing paragraph, thank the interviewer again for his time and consideration. Reiterate your interest and excitement about the position that you applied for.
Close your thank you letter by telling the interviewer that you look forward to hearing from him soon.
Call The Company
Another follow up strategy involves calling the company directly and if possible, speaking with the human resource department to request a follow up call concerning the position.
If you reach voice mail, make sure to leave your full name, the job title you are applying for and your home phone number.
When you place the follow up phone call to the business that you interviewed with, you will want to ask for the person that you interviewed with. Introduce yourself, tell him that you had an interview with him, and give the date.
This will help to refresh his memory of whom he is talking to. At this point, you will want to ask about the status of the open position.
You will typically be given one of two different answers:
One answer is that the position has been filled or that they are still interviewing possible candidates for the job.
You can choose to ask the interviewer when they hope to make their final decision. As you wait for your job offer, continue to go on interviews and follow the process.
Never count on getting any job until you have received the call extending an offer of employment to you.
References are an important part of landing the job since essentially they are “social proof” of your work history, abilities and can offer an honest reflection of who you are and what you are really all about.
This is why it’s critical that you spend adequate time choosing the right people when including references on your resume.
You want to choose people who will give a positive statement about you, as it will ultimately help to convince the employer that you are the best person for the job.
You may want to call your references prior to the interview to alert them that they may be contacted in regards to your work history and experience and to fill them in on pertinent details involving the new job you are applying for.
Conclusion & Final Thoughts
You now have a solid starting point to land the job of your dreams. What you do next is entirely up to you!
Finding the best job begins with the initial search and the more effort you put into researching possible job options and creating resumes tailored to each job, that you are interested in, the greater your chances at successfully landing a job.
Begin your job search by browsing through local and online classified sites, taking notes of the available positions that match your skills, interests and qualifications.
Always remember the incredible importance of preparing for each interview ahead of time.
Have a friend or family member brief you, by sitting down and conducting a ‘mock’ interview. This experience will help you prepare for upcoming interviews and the confidence will show through.
And speaking of confidence, the more you believe yourself, the easier each interview will be and the better your chances of finally landing the dream job that you deserve! All it takes is a firm commitment, undeniable perseverance and a strong sense and belief that failure is simply NOT an option!
Wish you the absolute best in your career!
Land A Better Job