4. Using current employer resources for your job search
What’s the harm in taking a few moments here and there during your work day to call prospective employers? What’s wrong with using the office computer to send emails or print out resumes and cover letters? What better way to show that you aren’t some poor schmuck pounding the pavement but are someone with a real job in search of a better one?
How you treat your current employer is the best indicator a prospective employer has of your integrity and trustworthiness. They distrust applicants who appear to be using their current employer’s time and office resources to conduct job searches.
Send emails from your own PC using your personal email accounts and make all your calls from non-office phones during non-working hours. If you are forced to use working hours to make calls or go in for interviews, make it clear to your prospective employer that you are doing so with the knowledge and permission of your current employer. Taking steps to avoid even the appearance of abusing your employer’s trust is inconvenient but well worth the effort by establishing trust with prospective employers.
5. Saving your best effort for the interview
Too many jobseekers see doing well in the interview as the make-or-break event of their job search, and see research, prospecting, sending out resumes and securing the interviews as mere preliminaries. This might be true if all applicants are guaranteed interviews. The reality is that only about one in fifteen submitted resumes get an interview. So a more realistic view would be to see getting the interview as the main event.
That means that your best efforts must begin at the time you begin your job search. Prospecting, writing the resume, writing personalized cover letters, making queries and followup phone calls are critically important steps that require time, effort and as much care as you are capable of investing. If you have exceptional educational qualifications, skills or experience, make sure they’re communicated clearly in cover letters, resumes and preliminary phone calls to each prospective employer. By all means, let employers know at every turn of your special interest in working for them. You have nothing to gain by saving these gems for the interview.
By taking pains to present yourself in the best possible light before the interview, you not only secure the interview, but set the stage for a good interview by making the interviewer take note of you as an exceptionally enthusiastic and promising candidate.
6. Not asking enough questions during the interview
One of the most common myths about interviews seems to be the belief that interviews are meant to be one-way exchanges in which interviewers ask the questions and applicants answers them. In fact, every interview is meant to be a two-way exchange in which each side tries to evaluate the other by asking questions and observing responses. A failure to ask meaningful questions can fairly be construed as a sign of little or no interest in continuing with the process.
Typically an interviewer will start off the questions by asking the applicant to elaborate on various points referenced in the resume. After that interviewer typically invite questions from applicants. This is a good time to show sincere interest in the employer with questions about job duties, current projects, corporate culture, working conditions (but not the salary just yet), local attractions and even the personal and educational background of the interviewer. An applicant who asks very few questions will seen as either having little interest in the employer or, at a minimum, being an introvert with poor interpersonal skills.
7. Not following up after the interview.
In rare cases an employer will extend an offer at the end of an interview or within a few days. More commonly, interviewees are kept in suspense for various reasons ranging from indecision, other demands on the decison-maker’s time, waiting for decisions from better qualified applicants or, occasionally, an effort to determine the sincerity of an applicant’s interest or even her follow-up skills.
Rather than simply waiting for a decision, smart applicants send a letter immediately after the interview to re-confirm interest in the job. After a week or so, they follow-up with a series of calls and letters. Far from resenting such followups, employers see them as signs of sincere continuing interest. Just as you are more likely to choose an employer who seems enthusiastic about you, employers are more likely to extend followup interviews or offers to enthusiastic applicants. All too often, that enthusiasm is the only thing that separates applicants who get offers from those who don’t. Prev
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