Quick Tip: Keep In Touch

The Career Coach Quick TipWe live in an amazing time where we can communicate literally at the touch of a finger. Not only can we text, tweet, buzz, IM, and email, we can still even call each other from our mobile phones and yes, even from landlines. Oh, and of course there’s also snail mail. But, the sad truth is, we don’t.

Time and time again, I hear from frustrated clients who’ve reached out to people in their network, never to hear back. In our communication age it seems we’ve lost touch with common courtesy. While we may feel inundated with information and bombarded by status updates, we should still make an effort at etiquette. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but in this age of constant career moves you never know when that connection you snubbed just might come in handy.


Listen Up to Land Your Next Job

Inverview ListeningMany people prepare for interviews by practicing what they’re going to say and what message they want to get across about themselves. That’s helpful, but even more important to interviewing well is not just what you’re saying, but what the interviewer is telling you. If you listen, they’ll tell you exactly what they’re looking for. The following are some key tips to listening during your interview:

1. Don’t assume you know what’s most important to the interviewer.

You know what they say when you assume. Ask questions, find out what the hiring manager is really looking for and frame your answers accordingly. If you make assumptions, you may talk up a part of your background that has no significance whatsoever to the interviewer.

2. Don’t assume everyone you interview with has the same agenda.

These days my clients frequently end up talking to multiple individuals within an organization. Again, you don’t want to make the assumption that they’re all looking for the same thing in their hire. You need to ascertain what’s most important to each individual with whom you speak and shape your answers to meet their needs.

3. Don’t focus on what you’re going to say next.

Be present and focused, listen to your interviewer, they could be giving you key information, for instance telling you exactly what the most important skill is for the person they’re hiring. By not focusing on what they’re saying and instead plotting your next verbal move, you could miss an opportunity to sell yourself.

4. Do ask open-ended questions.

Asking open-ended questions beginning with what, when or where can be helpful in gathering information about the position for which you’re interviewing. Not only will this help you better frame your answers according to the interviewer’s needs, it enables you to perform your own due diligence to gather information and decide whether the company or position is a good fit for you.

5. Do actively listen.

This takes concentration and patience. It means not only paying attention to the verbal communication, but also paying attention to non-verbal cues found in body language. This helps you identify how strongly your interviewer feels about what they’re saying and can give you guidance in your own response. It also goes a long way towards building rapport.

Having a compelling message about your strengths and skills is important, but if you’re not in tune with your audience, you could end up selling something they’re not buying, tune in and listen and you’ll better be able to sell yourself.


3 Common Job Search Mistakes

Job BoardsIt’s a new year and for some of you that means a resolution to find a new job or to re-energize an on-going job search. If you want to be successful in your search efforts (and who doesn’t), there are three common job search mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Relying exclusively on responding to openings on job boards. In sheer numbers alone, that’s where most of your competition is. It’s very easy to apply on line therefore, that’s where people tend to focus their energies. It’s also the low hanging fruit, easy to reach. However, job boards can be a big, black hole that suck in your resume and offer nothing in return. This can actually be detrimental, especially if you apply to a position for which you think you’re a perfect fit and hear nothing back, then your ego takes a huge hit.

2. Posting your resume on job boards, kicking back and waiting for the phone to ring. More and more HR professionals and recruiters (both in house corporate and at recruiting firms) are relying on their own networks to find candidates for positions. That means fewer of them are using job boards to find their candidates, and if they’re not using their own networks, then they’re turning to social media networks. That said, a direct approach to companies and recruiters is the best way to go.

3. Mass distributions of your resume. Let’s throw the spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks. I have to ask you, what do you do with mass mail or email when it hits your mailbox? Exactly. Doing mass distributions makes you feel like you’re doing something when in reality you’re not. A direct, targeted approach, while it takes more time and effort, will actually get you results.

What these things have in common is that they are very passive ways of looking for a job. In today’s competitive market, you need to be aggressive in your efforts. That means being more targeted and strategic and running your job search like a marketing campaign.

Yes, you should still use job boards to post your resume and respond to jobs, but not exclusively. Those efforts should be a very small part of your overall campaign which should include networking, both online and in person, targeting and approaching companies you’re interested in (regardless of whether they have posted openings), and reacting to current events you read in the news or online.

One more thing, hiring an experienced career coach to guide you in your efforts will make you more competitive and  can significantly shorten the length of time it takes you to land your next job.