Perseverance and 7 other P’s in the job search

PerserveranceA customer of mine recently got a job at a company where she’ll be making 15% more than she made at her previous company, not 15% less. Who says all employers are paying jobseekers less than they were previously making?

Her story begins when she made contact with one of her alumnus via LinkedIn. As I was told, this alumnus alerted her to an opening at the company for which she works.

So my customer jumped on the opportunity and went through the arduous process of landing her job.

She was finally awarded the positions after 12 face-to-face interviews. That’s right, 12 interviews. Now don’t ask me why the company couldn’t make a decision within the first three or four or even five interviews. Also don’t ask me why the company had her fly to the west coast twice in one week. Couldn’t they have knocked off some interviews during one visit?

The company’s prolonged search flies in the face of the typical hiring process, where three-five interviews are more the norm than 12.

To land this job my customer demonstrated one of the 12 P’s of the job search for sure, Perseverance. There are seven other P’s, I can think of, that are required for a successful job search.

  1. Positivism: How can this not be included as required for the job search? When all seems to be hopeless, positivism is what will keep you alive. The opposite is negativism which is a killer that can paralyze you and cause you to give up, if not severely weaken your efforts. If you don’t feel positive, fake it till you make it, as they say.
  2. Professionalism: Had my customer not maintained a professional attitude, she may have not succeeded as each interview approached. She may have caused her new company to doubt their decisions to continue the process.
  3. Preparedness: In the job search you must prepare a résumé that will land you the interview. You must also be prepared for the interview by researching the position and company. Without being prepared, you will lack the confidence required to do well at the interview.
  4. Persistence: I marvel at my customer’s endurance throughout the whole process, not to mention not giving into the temptation to throw in the towel. Was this a test on the employer’s part? Were they seeing who would give up first?
  5. Promotion: Many a jobseeker have told me they can’t promote themselves. Guess what: you have no choice because no one will do it for you. Self-promotion becomes more difficult as the job search extends past three, six, nine months.
  6. Progress: Take every little victory as progress toward the goal of landing a job. My customer’s steps toward success were numerous, beginning with connecting with her alumnus, submitting a résumé that landed her the first of many interviews, sending various follow-up notes….The list goes on.
  7. Productivity: The result of all these P words. You must be productive in your job search, or, for lack of better words, it ain’t worth it. This means different things to people. Being productive might be getting outside your comfort zone to attend networking events, following up on connections you’ve established, creating a kick-ass LinkedIn profile, and so on.

Certainly no one would want to go through 12 interviews, wondering if there is even a chance they will land the job. My customers was driven to succeed, and succeed she did. 

Photo courtesy of Kenny Zeo, Flickr.

10 signs your job search resembles The Middle

The middleOne of my favorite TV shows is ABC’s The Middle. You know, the show about a family struggling just to get by. The character I like best is Brick, the youngest of the Hecks who is a genius yet oddly strange. (“Oddly Strange,” he whispers to his chest.) I also like Mike who my kids say I resemble, until I threaten to cut off their food supply.

Watching The Middle reminds me that some people conduct their job search as if it’s…The Middle. How, you may wonder? Think about the way the family never seems to get ahead, how their lives remain the same; and despite the fact that the show makes us laugh, we find it somewhat depressing. This is my point. There are 10 signs of your job search that resembles The Middle.

  1. No game plan. Does this not describe the Heck family to a T? Having a plan and goals also means you need to know what job you want to pursue, which can be the most difficult part of the job search for some. Without a plan, you’ll have no direction, which is essential if you don’t want to be stuck in The Middle land.
  2. A résumé that fails to brand you. Most important is writing a résumé that is tailored to each job, showing employers you can meet their specific needs. A Summary that fails to attract the attention of the reader, lacking a Core Competency section. no accomplishments to mention; are all signs of a The Middle job search.
  3. No online presence, namely LinkedIn, the premier social media application for the job search. At least 94% of recruiters/employers use LinkedIn to find talent, so if you’re not on LinkedIn you’re definitely hurting your chances of advancing in the job search.
  4. cover letter that doesn’t excite. You’re writing cover letters that fail to express your personality and are, well, boring. Worse yet, you’re sending form cover letters that don’t show you meet the specific requirements of the job. Further, you’re a believer of not sending cover letters. The Middle material for sure.
  5. Only applying online for positions. I’m not saying not to use job boards, but don’t use them as the foundation of your job search; networking still is, and will be, the most successful way to find employment. Don’t be fooled into thinking that sending out hundreds of applications will advance your job search…definitely reminiscent of The Middle.
  6. Networking isn’t part of your vocabulary. If you’re not going to networking events, meet-ups, or connecting with everyone you know, you’re missing the boat. Networking is proactive and a great way to uncover hidden opportunities at companies/organizations that may be hiring.
  7. Informational interviews are alien to you. The goal behind information interview is networking with people who are in your desired industry and selected companies. Impressing the people with whom you speak can create opportunities that might include being recommended for a job developing in the company, or may lead to speaking with other quality connections.
  8. Following up with potential connections is missing from the equation. You’re great at meeting people at networking events or other places to connect. You promise to e-mail or call your connections. But you don’t. This is a sure way to be stuck in The Middle, where nothing seems to change.
  9. Preparing for interviews as an afterthought. Oops, you go to interviews without having done your research on the position and company. You think you can wing it because you know your business like no one does. You’ve heard of behavioral-based questions but aren’t too concerned. You don’t get the job because of your lack of preparation.
  10. Not sending a follow-up note clearly says you don’t care. And simply thanking the interviewer/s isn’t enough; show the interviewers you were listening and engaged by mentioning some points of interest or revisiting a question you didn’t elaborate on. If you want to remain in The Middle, don’t send a follow-up note. But if you want the job, show the love. And no form thanks-yous please.

The Middle teaches a good lesson about how we need to put more effort into the job search. Doing a few of these activities does not make a successful job search; they must all be done and shorten the search. Can you think of other components of the job search that are necessary to make it a success?

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6 topics to include in your follow-up note

thankyounote

Some job candidates believe the interview is over after they’ve shaken hands with the interviewers and have left the room. Well, that went well, they think, and now it’s time to wait for the decision.

And perhaps it went well. But perhaps one or two other candidates had stellar interviews and followed up their interviews with notes sent via e-mail or a thank you card.

So here’s the question: when is the interview really over?

The answer: after you’ve sent the follow-up note.

If you don’t believe that a follow-up note is important, read the article, Write a Post-Interview Thank You that Actually Boosts Your Chances to Get the Job, and note that by not sending a follow-up note (according to CareerBuilder):

  • Employers are less likely to hire a candidate–22%.
  • Employers say it shows a lack of follow-through–86%
  • Employers say the candidate isn’t really serious about the job–56%.

If these figures aren’t enough to convince you to send a follow-up, then don’t hold out much hope of getting a job, especially when smart jobseekers are sending them. I hope this gets your attention.

So if you’re wondering how to go about sending a follow-up, consider to whom you’ll send it and how you’ll send it.

Who do you send it to? If you’re interviewed by five people, how many unique follow-up notes should you send? That’s correct, five. Take the time to write a unique follow-up to everyone who interviewed you.

How do you send it? You can send your follow-up note via e-mail or hard copy. This depends on your preference and/or the industry, e.g., someone in the humanities might prefer a thank you card, whereas someone in high tech might appreciate an e-mail. Here’s an idea: send both, an e-mail immediately after the interview and a professional card a week later.

What do you say in your follow-up note?

1. Show your gratitude. Obviously you’re going to thank the interviewers for the time they took to interview you; after all, they’re busy folks and probably don’t enjoy interviewing people.

2. Reiterate you’re the right person for the job. This is the second most obvious statement you’ll make in your follow-up  notes. Mention how you have the required skills and experience and, very importantly, you have the relevant accomplishments.

3. Interesting points made at the interview. Show you were paying attention at the interview. Each person with whom you spoke mentioned something of interest, or asked a pertinent question. Impress them with your listening skills by revisiting those interesting points.

4. Do some damage control: How many candidates wish they could have elaborated on a question, or totally blew it with a weak answer? Now’s your chance to correct your answer. This may be of little consequence, but what do you have to lose? Besides, interviewers know you were under a great deal of pressure–it’s hard to think of everything.

5. Suggest a solution to a problem: Prior to the interview you were unaware of a problem the company is facing. Now you know about the problem. If you have a solution to this problem, mention it in your follow-up or a more extensive proposal.

6. You want the job: You told the interview committee at the end of the interview that you want the job. Reiterate this sentiment by stating it in you follow-up note, which can be as simple as asking what the next steps will entail. This shows your enthusiasm and sincere interest in the position.

After you’ve made it this far in the process–networking, writing a tailored resume and cover letter, and multiple interviews–it would be a shame to blow it by not sending a follow-up note. Take the time to send a unique follow-up note (within 24-48 hours). When you get the job offer, you’ll be happy you did.

Your handshake matters more than you might think: 10 different ways to shake one’s hand

I wrote this article a year ago, but it’s worth reiterating how important a handshake is in your job search, business, and life.

I’m a firm believer that you can tell a lot about person’s character by his handshake. In a recent interview workshop, I told my attendees about my obsession with a good handshake and, as a result, a half  hour conversation ensued.

At the moment I’m talking about the the importance of making a great  first impression. I tell them, “Someone’s handshake tells me many things about a person. If it is firm, the person is trustworthy, open to engagement, warm spirited, confident, and basically someone who I’d allow my daughter to date.” They all laugh.

I get sidetracked and tell them about how my daughter dated a boy who shook my hand for the first time with a limp handshake. I told her soon afterward that her boyfriend better learn how to shake hands if he wants to get anywhere in life. She told me I was being ridiculous.

“If it’s limp,” an attendee speaks out, “the person is suspicious, anti-social; someone I wouldn’t want my granddaughter to date.” Laughter erupts. He has stolen my thunder.

An article on CareerBuilder.com states that a proper handshake makes employers overlook some deficiencies in jobseekers: “Prospective employers said they’re more likely to overlook visible body piercings and tattoos than an ineffective handshake, according to a 2001 survey of human resources professionals.” Though this article is dated, I think a good handshake is still a vital component of the first impression.

About.com, under an article about social disorders, talks about 10 “Bad Handshakes.” They are:

  1. “I am dominant”
  2. “Bone Crusher”
  3. “Limp Fish”
  4. “Just Fingers”
  5. “Cold, Clammy, or Sweaty”
  6. “The Double-Hander”
  7. “The Long Handshake”
  8. “Without Eye Contact”
  9. “The Miss”
  10. “Too Close”

I can relate most to the “Bone Crusher” because I’m an occasional bone crusher. I once shook a woman’s hand with such force that I thought I heard her bones being crushed, or at least shifting. She winced in pain. The handshakes that drive me mad and make me want to take a hot shower are the “Limp Fish” and “Cold, Clammy, or Sweaty.”

I reached out to my LinkedIn family and posted a question about the significance of handshakes, and there were some pretty good responses. One person, wrote, “The handshake is part of the first impression. Not so firm as to cut off my blood circulation and not limp like holding a slice of calf’s liver. And God help us, not sweaty either. So make sure your hands are dry before you extend a handshake.” I love the image of a “slice of calf’s liver.”

On the other hand, a respondent to my question wrote: “I’m interested in the information the person [has] to communicate to me, not peripheral customs like a handshake.” I appreciate his opinion; not everyone places so much stock in a handshake as I do. But I don’t buy it. The “Limp Fish” would send anyone over the edge, regardless of the information.

Wiki.answers.com writes extensively on the subject of the handshake, including the proper position. “Your body should be approximately two cubits (distance from fingertips to elbow) away from the other party. Your shaking arm should be bent so that the elbow forms a 135-degree angle, and the forearm is level with the floor. Your hand should neither be on top, nor underneath the other person’s hand. Both parties’ hands should be straight up-and-down, even with each other. The web of your hand (skin running between the forefinger and the thumb) should meet the web of theirs.”

Okay, some pundits go a bit far with their explanation of a proper handshake. I definitely feel that a person should maintain eye contact while shaking an employer’s or business person’s hand, but keeping her elbow at a 135 degree angle is a bit extreme.

My customers attend my interview workshop to learn the tricks of mastering the interview, but it’s important for them to master the first impression before the interviewer starts asking the difficult question. When I meet someone for the first time, I size them up immediately based on their handshake; but that might just be me.

6 reasons to pay someone to write your résumé; and my thoughts on installing a screen door

Last spring I made an attempt, albeit a weak one, to install a screen door on my house. As my wife stood watching hopeful that our house wouldn’t look like something from a ghetto, I kept thinking, “No way is this going to happen.” So it didn’t.

It should have gone this way: first, I would install the top, hinge, and latch trim; second, attach the 40 lb. door to the hinge trim; third, install the hardware that would make all this work, such as the handle, and the thingy that makes the door close slowly….

This is how it went: I called a contractor who said he would do the job for $35 an hour. I happily agreed.

Putting the screen door on my house got me to thinking about how writing a résumé for some people seems out of the realm of possibility; much like getting that damn screen door on my house to satisfy my wife. I started to empathize for people who feel paralyzed when they have to write their résumé.

Look, I come across people who haven’t written a résumé in years, maybe never. They haven’t used a word-processing application, don’t have a relative who has the time or inclination to write their résumé, and the thought of it scares the hell out of them. Plus, when they were applying for shipping and receiving jobs 25 years ago, they didn’t need a résumé.

Here’s what I suggest: get the help you need if you’re one of these folks who is paralyzed by writing the most important document in your life. Find a reputable agency that will take the time to write your résumé right the first time, and thereafter will update it for a very reasonable fee. Make sure of the following:

  1. Said agency has a stock of samples to show you and one that fits your needs in terms of a résumé and cost. A work history time-line and a list of keywords does not constitute a résumé. Believe me, I’ve seen these so called résumés.
  2. The person writing your résumé should guarantee you at least an hour or more to interview you to understand exactly what you do. Not someone who will note your occupation, go to his/her computer, create a cookie-cutter résumé, and take your $700.00.
  3. Those who require an executive résumé and can afford more than what is charged by an agency, should seek the help of a high-level writer who will focus more on accomplishments than simple duties. These expert résumé writers will charge significantly more, but their services will return your payment tenfold.
  4. My colleague, Bill Florin, makes a valid point. “An objective third party (pro writer) will see things in your history that are marketable, often things that you would discount or downplay entirely, Many people don’t like talking about and selling themselves.” Professional résumé writers make you talk about yourself.
  5. If you only require a basic résumé—truth be told, some people have minimal experience or have only done an adequate job—don’t be satisfied with a statement like, “Drove a truck from here to there.” You and your writer must get creative with your basic résumé. “Hauled an average of 20 tons of retail product, traversing the U.S.A. Driving record is spotless and time of delivery consistently met employers’ expectations.” Remember, you still have to separate you from the rest of the pack.
  6. Lastly, make sure a “soft copy” of your résumé is provided . Some writers will choke you for updating your résumé every time you need it sent out–this is after you’ve already coughed up $700.00.

Oh, if you’re a contractor who can install screen doors and perform other household tasks for less than $35.00 an hour, contact me. My house requires stucco repair and a bunch of other upgrades, as well.

Just answer the questions: 6 ways to do it properly

My kids have a knack for answering my questions with concise, factual answers like “I don’t know” or “I guess so” or “nothing happened.” They’re young people, so I don’t expect enlightening answers that open doors to stimulating conversations.

On the other hand, I need more. I would like to know what happened at school, if they had a good time at the mall, how they feel about their teachers, etc.

The thing about recruiters and employers is that they want direct, factual  answers to their questions, not a long-winded response that has very little to do with the question at hand. In order to make the interview go smoothly, adhere to the following 6 requirements:

1. Listen to the questions: Some people have the tendency to formulate what they’re going to say before the interviewer finishes with his question.  This causes you to take off in a direction that is heading the wrong way and is hard to correct. If you need clarification, ask what the interviewer meant by his question…just don’t do this too often, lest you come across as daft.

2. Think before speaking: All too often we want to answer a question as soon as it’s left the employer’s lips. This is a mistake, as you want to deliver of the best possible answer before you blurt out an inadequate one. The interview is not a game where the fastest job candidate to respond wins. Occasionally taking time to reflect shows thoughtfulness on your part. It also speaks to requirement number one: listen.

3. Don’t talk too much: When you’re talking with a recruiter, over elaborating on an answer may be more harmful than helpful. Recruiter Mark Bregman says in his article Don’t be De-Selected this about being loquacious:

“You risk boring the screener, or worse, they don’t ask all their questions, because you wasted too much time on early questions.  Then, the screener might not have an opportunity to really get the key info they need to screen you in.”

When you go into too much detail, you come off as someone who talks too much. For me, and I imagine others, this is a great irritant and makes me want to end an interview.

 4. Make your answers relevant: Everything you say must be relevant to the interviewer’s direct question.  “If the question is ‘How did you improve processes?’, don’t start describing in detail the products you were making; just answer the question,” advises Mark. This is also a sign that you have no idea how to answer the question. In this case, ask for more time saying, “This is a very important question, one that I’d like to answer. Could we return to it?” Or admit that you can’t answer it.

5. Don’t ask too many questions: Career advisors encourage interviewees to ask questions during the interview to make it seem more like a discussion, as long as you have enough questions to ask at the end. Mark says this can backfire if you ask too many questions. I see his point. Interviewers are busy people and don’t want you to take over the interview.

6. Say enough: Finally it’s essential that you effectively answer the interviewers questions with enough detail and plenty of examples of your successes. Many times a job candidate won’t provide enough information for the interviewer to make a decision on whether to hire that person. You don’t want to let opportunities to pass you by. Many jobseekers I talk with regret having not sold themselves at the interview, which was due, in part, to not elaborating on an answer they knew they could have nailed.

Effective communications at an interview requires the ability to listen and then answer the questions with transparency and accuracy. Take your time, respond with accomplishments, and most importantly just answer the questions. On the other hand, don’t give answers like my children do.

Our obsession with numbers; approximately 1 to 20 ways to succeed or fail

numbersI think people have a fascination with numbers, percentages, and dollars. I do. I know that 88% of the time I spend is productive and the other 12% of the time is wasted. I’m cool with that, but I don’t know how to explain it. It’s good that I’m at least getting a B+ in life. I spend approximately $3 a day on coffee, which is about 2% of what I spend weekly. So that’s not too bad. I read 25 pages of a book before I drift off to sleep—any less, any more, I’m up all night.

What is it about numbers that fascinates people, that makes their claims legitimate? Does it make the abstract concrete? Often we base success and failure on numbers because numbers give us something to grab, or understand better. No one really knows how many ways there is to write an effective résumé, except employers that choose people for an interview. Here is a look at numbers that get thrown around, including by me.

Interview numbers: I tell my workshop attendees that 99% of the time an employer will allow them to take notes at an interview. They must think I’m pulling this number out of a hat. I’ve been to approximately 25 interviews in my life, and at all interviews I was allowed to take notes. There must be some interviewers who don’t allow note taking.

LinkedIn Summary numbers: Your LinkedIn Summary allows you 2,000 characters. Did you know that? I once proposed to my customers that utilizing 90% of this space makes for an excellent Summary. That’s fine, but how does one use all 1,800 characters if one doesn’t have 100% compelling content? How do you retract a dumb statement like this? This is how hung-up on numbers I am.

Résumé numbers: I may believe there are 5 ways to write a résumé that will get you invited to an interview. But somewhere I heard there are 6 and another source cited 10. Does the person who claims there are 10 know more than the one who alleges only 6?

Somewhere I read that only 50% of recruiters read cover letters. Is this a known fact or a guestimation? If that’s true, then a jobseeker will waste 50% of her time writing a cover letter for all the positions to which she applies. This boggles my mind. I say to cover all your bases.

Networking numbers: Sixty percent of most jobs are gained through networking; however, more than 80% of executive-level jobs are a result of networking. Or is it 85%? When people ask me how effective LinkedIn is in getting a job, I’m tempted to say, “If used in conjunction with personal networking, your chances of getting a job is 80%.”

Did you also know you must contact a person 7 times before that person becomes a bona fide network connection? Again, how was this figured out? There are several connotations associated with the number 7, including biblical references, but I doubt you’d have to call or e-mail someone before you’re officially connected.

Getting-a-job numbers: Richard Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute, places a 4%-10% success rate on applying for jobs online. Because he is the guru of the job search, I believe him and tell my customers to focus their energy on other methods, e.g., networking, using a recruiter, knocking on companies doors. I say this because Bolles attaches numbers to his claim. Yet I’ve heard many customers say they got their interviews from Monster, Dice, SimplyHired, Indeed, etc.

My personal formula for getting a job is 60% personal networking + 20% online networking using LinkedIn + 6% applying online + 14% doing something else = 100%. These are good odds, don’t you think? The problem is, everyone’s different, so this can’t be proved.

I was tempted to title this entry, “10 reasons why numbers mean nothing.” But as I thought about it, I realized that there is some merit in numbers. For example: Your chances of getting a rewarding job are 0% if you use the sitting-on-the-couch-and-hoping-for-a-job-to-land-in-your-lap method. Zero percent of employers will be impressed if you send a résumé and cover letter written in crayon. Zero percent of jobseekers will get their dream job if they arrive at an interview dressed in just their underwear. So these are safe numbers to cite.

Note of apology: This writer acknowledges that there are many great authors who cite numbers in their entries, and hopes not to offend those who do. Henceforth, this writer will cite numbers whenever appropriate.

5 ways more business advice sounds like job search advice

I love reading articles on how to succeed in business because they speak to how to succeed at the job search. I can relate almost everything to the job search, but business is by far the easiest way for me to see a connection, as evident by an article written by Richard Branson, founder of Virgin group.

1.Listen more than you talk. “ Brilliant ideas can spring from the most unlikely places, so you should always keep your ears open for some shrewd advice,” says the author. This point the author makes is sage advice when, as examples, you’re networking or at an informational meeting.

People like to be heard, not talked at, so make fellow networkers feel appreciated. You’ll get your turn to talk if the relationship is worth nurturing. If you’re granted an informational meeting (I prefer this term over “informational interview), you’re there to gather information, not dominate the discussion.

2. Keep it simple. “Maintain a focus upon innovation, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel.” An example of this is jobseekers who are constantly thinking of the next best thing for a résumé, or have 20 people review it. (Twenty people will result in 20 different answers.)

Often it’s not your résumé that needs constant revisions; it’s the way you distribute it. Take heed of the advice job search experts, recruiters, and employers give; find the avenues by which to send your accomplishment-based and keyword-rich résumé. These can be found through networking.

3. Take pride in your work. The jobseekers who succeed at getting a job in quick fashion are those who show pride in their work. By work, I mean the effort and focus you put into developing a support system, namely your network; the pride you display by dressing the part whenever you’re in public; the professionalism you demonstrate at interviews; and the follow-up after your interviews.

4. Have fun, success will follow. I wouldn’t blame you if you felt like popping me one in the mouth. Looking for work isn’t fun—I know, having been there—but as the author said, “A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life.” Your supporters and employers will respond better to positivity than a display of despair and bitterness.

I’m often impressed by the jobseekers I see who don’t give into their inner fear and frustration, but rather smile whenever they attend my workshops. This shows confidence that employers are seeking in their candidates, even in my workshops but especially at an interview.

5. Rip it up and start again. “Don’t allow yourself to get disheartened by a setback or two, instead dust yourself off and work out what went wrong.” This is perhaps the best advice we can take away from this article.

Often we’ll experience letdown during the job search, and it’s human to hope that our first interview will result in a job. But the fact remains that you’ll have as many as 7 opportunities before getting a job offer.

I’m constantly impressed by jobseekers who suffer a long unemployment before landing a job. This is a testament to their perseverance. No matter how sick and tired you are of hearing, “Don’t give up,” keep in mind that giving up will not result in a rewarding job.

The sooner you think of yourself as a small business owner who has to market and sell your product, the sooner you’ll land your next job. I would add one more point to Richard Branson’s article….Work hard at what you want. You’ve worked hard while employed, so working hard at your job search should follow naturally. This time you’re your own boss, though.

Job-search advice for extraverts in 2 areas

writing-resume

With the plethora of job-search advice for introverts and approximately zero for extraverts, it must make the E’s feel…unloved. I’d like to give some love to the extraverts, because that’s the kind of nice guy I am. In this post I’ll advise the E’s on mistakes they can avoid.

There are two components of a jobseeker’s marketing campaign, written and verbal communications, where extraverts can use some help. We’ll look at the résumé, networking, and the interview.

1. Written communications. For most, the job search begins with submitting a résumé and possibly a cover letter to the employer. The act of writing a résumé can sometimes be problematic for extraverts, who prefer speaking than writing.

Introverts, on the other hand, prefer writing than conversing and as a rule excel in this area. The I’s are more reflective and take their time to write a résumé. They prepare by researching the position and company–almost to a fault.

Extraverts must resist the urge to hastily write a résumé that fails to accomplish: addressing the job requirements in order of priority, highlighting relevant accomplishments, and promoting branding. One excuse I hear from my extraverted customers for faltering in this area is that they’ll nail the interview. At this point I tell them they ain’t getting to the interview without a résumé to get them there.

Where the E’s can shine in this area of the job search is the distribution of their written material. They are natural networkers who understand the importance of getting the résumé into the hands of decision makers, and as such should resist simply posting their résumé to every job board out there. This is where the I’s can take a lesson from their counterpart, the ability to network with ease.

2.Verbal communications. Speaking of networking; extraverts are generally more comfortable than introverts when it comes to attending formal networking events. But not all E’s are master networkers. The main faux pas for poor networkers is loquaciousness, which is a fancy word for talking too much. While I’s are often accused of not talking enough, the E’s have to know when to shut the motor–a tall order for some E’s.

stop talkingNetworking isn’t about who can say the most in a three-hour time period. Take a lesson from the I’s who listen to what others have to say. People appreciate being listened to.

Many of my extraverted customers tell me they talk too much, and some have admitted they botch interviews because they–you got it–talk too much. Some of them say they can’t help it. E’s are known to be very confident at interviews, which is a good thing. But they can also be over confident which leads them to ignore the tenets of good interviewing. That’s a bad thing.

At interviews extraverts must keep in mind that it’s not a time to control the conversation. The interviewer/s have a certain number of questions they want to ask the candidates, so it’s best to answer them succinctly while also supplying the proper amount of information.

Lou Adler writes in a recent article this about answers that are too long: “The best answers are 1-2 minutes long….Interviewees who talk too much are considered self-absorbed, boring and imprecise. Worse, after two minutes the interviewer tunes you out and doesn’t hear a thing you’ve said.”

There has to be a middle ground, referred to by folks like Daniel Pink as ambiverts, when it comes to reaching the right amount of talking and listening at networking events and interviews. Accordingly, extraverts who “score” slight in clarity on the continuum (11-13) are more likely to be better listeners, as well as comfortable with small talk. This is likely true for introverts who also score in the slight range.

When it comes to written and verbal communications in the job search, extraverts have to be cognizant of taking their time constructing their résumés and knowing when it’s time to listen as opposed to talking too much. Without understanding the importance of effective written and verbal communications, the job search for the E’s can be a long haul.

7 ways to be professional in the job search

ProfessionalimsMy daughter recently had to defend her position when she was accused of something that she and I felt was unjust. Nonetheless, before she spoke to the principal, I told her to be professional. The look on her face was priceless.

“How should I act professional in this situation, Dad?” she asked.

Exactly. How do you act professional in a situation that is less than desirable? The best answer I could give my daughter is, “Do your best.”

This recent event prompted me to think of 7 rules about professionalism in the job search:

  1. Be nice to the people you meet. In your job search you’ll run into a number of putzzes, like the networkers who are all about themselves; the people who don’t call or meet you when they say they will; the inside contact who said he’d deliver your résumé directly to the hiring manager, but doesn’t. In all these situations it’s best to act the way you’d like to be remembered. That’s professionalism.
  2. Observe how the job search is conducted. I’ve witnessed those who understand the norms of the job search and those who don’t. The ones who do, dress appropriately, maintain a positive attitude (despite how they’re feeling inside), and follow proper etiquette. You are part of an organization called the Job Search.
  3. Take the job search seriously. And be focused. Your job search is one of the most important events in your life; don’t take it lightly. I ask my workshop attendees how many hours a week they should dedicate to their job search. The ones who tell me what they think I want to hear say more than 40 hours. That might be a bit extreme, as there are other important things in your life, like family. I say 30-35 hours should suffice. Work smarter, not harder, as they say.
  4. Listen to constructive criticism. It is essential that you don’t get offended when someone critiques your “brilliant” résumé, interview performance, or networking etiquette. People generally want to help you in your job search. You’re not required to take their advice, but listen to what they have to say.
  5. Show up reliably. In your case, it’s for the interview and appointments you’ve set to meet with other jobseekers. The rule of never being late still applies. Call ahead if you’re going to be late, though. You might get some forgiveness. This rule of professionalism speaks to following up with what you’ve planned. Develop the mindset.
  6. Be helpful to others; what goes around comes around. This is a great rule to keep in mind when networking. Remember that you’re not there to just take from others; you’re also there to give information and advice and possible job leads.
  7. The employer is not your enemy. Here’s the thing, the employer is only trying to hire the best person possible. Many hiring managers, HR, recruiters have been burned by hiring the wrong person—68% have done it at least once—at the price of $25K-$50K. Give reason for the employer to feel she’s hiring the right person.

I was proud of how my daughter handled the situation. She acted professionally and manged to arrange a compromise that she and the principal were happy with. I, on the other hand, might not have done so well.

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