Default invites from LinkedIn members stink: 6 approaches to sending an invite

 

I estimate that I ignore 90% of invites from LinkedIn members, simply because they don’t include a personalized note. In fact, if I accepted all invites I’d probably have 10,000 connections in my LinkedIn network. This is not to brag; I’m just saying.

li-logoWhy am I so adamant about people taking the time to personalize their invites? Short and simple, default invites stink.

The default invite on LinkedIn is: I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn*. While it clearly states a hopeful networker’s intent, I need more. Something that tells me why we should connect.

Sending the default invite is akin to going up to someone at a networking event and saying, “Hi. What can you do for me?” It’s insincere and sends the message, “I’m inviting you to be in my network, but I could care less if you join.” Is this the type of message you want to send to a potential networker?

I believe there are three reasons why LinkedIn members don’t personalize their invites.

One, they just don’t get it. Or they haven’t been educated. I can only spread the word to the people who attend my LinkedIn workshops or read my posts. Even then they don’t get it. Some workshop attendees will invite me from their phones while I’m leading the workshop…void of a personalized note.

Two, they’re using their phone to connect with others on LinkedIn. Although there is a way to send a personalized invite from your phone, most people don’t know how to do it. The process is very simple**, so there’s no excuse.

To the people who invite me to their network from their phone, I tell them to wait until they’re at a computer so they can send a personalized note. What’s the hurry? I’m not going away.

lazy

Three, they’re plain lazy. I think this is really the heart of the matter, and I hesitate to say it, especially out loud; but in essence this is what it comes down to. To me, a default invitation is a statement of want without a sign of reciprocation. And this defies the true definition of networking.

I and others, I’m sure, are more likely to accept an invite if a thoughtful note is attached to it. So what should you write if you want someone to join your network?

1. You might have something in common with whom you’re trying to connect. “Hi Susan, I’ve been following your updates and feel that we have a great deal in common. Would you accept an invitation to be in my LinkedIn network?”

2. Maybe you’re the bold type. “Hey, Bob. You and I are in career development. Ain’t that cool? Let’s link up!” I like this confidence.

3. You might want to take the calculated approach. “After reviewing your profile, I’m impressed with its quality and your diverse interests.” A little flattery never hurts.

4. Do you need assistance? I received an invite with the following message: “Please have a look at my profile and tell me what you think. I’ve been on LinkedIn since before it was, well, LinkedIn!” I looked at his profile and was impressed. I gladly accepted his invite.

5. Inviting someone to be part of your LinkedIn network is a perfect way to follow up with that person after a face-to-face meeting. “Sam, it was great meeting with you at the Friends of Kevin networking event. I looked you up on LinkedIn and thought we could stay in touch.”

6. Boost the person’s ego. “Bob, I read one of your posts and thought it was spot on. I’d like to connect with you.” Or “Jason, I saw you speak at the Tsongas Arena and what you said really resonated with me. I’d like to follow up with you.”

These are some suggestions that would entice someone like myself to accept an invite. When I’m sent an invite, I only request a personalized note—it’s not that hard, really. So rather than just hitting the Send Invitation button, take a few seconds to compose something from the heart.


*A very simple solution is eliminating the default message altogether, thereby requiring someone to write a personalized note. LinkedIn suggests, “Include a personal note,” but this doesn’t seem to work for some.

**To send an invite from your phone, go to the profile, click the three vertical dots for androids or horizontal dots for iPhones, choose “Personalize invite,” write one and hit send.

Photo: Flickr, ruijiaoli

Photo: Flickr, Retroeric

 

The 6 Principles of a successful job search

jumbing

Every day at work I see the frustration on job seekers’ faces. The job seekers are not outwardly emotional, but I know they’re struggling with a very difficult situation. Some are beyond frustrated; they’re searching for answers.

There’s a mindset job seekers need to adopt. They need to believe that, through their actions, they can positively affect their job search. To do this they need to practice the art of persuasion.

Persuasion is often used in the sales arena, but it also applies to folks who are looking for work. According to Dr. Cialdini’s, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, there are six principles of persuasion.

  1. Liking
  2. Reciprocity
  3. Social Proof
  4. Consistency
  5. Authority
  6. Scarcity

Liking

Being liked means presenting a positive demeanor, despite struggling with your job search. It also means helping your fellow job seeker with their search. In other words, you practice the five tenets of giving. This will yield positive results.

I think of one job seeker who often reports to me how her fellow job seekers are doing. I’ve witnessed her giving advice to other networkers, offering to meet them at networking events, and suggesting meeting in smaller groups to enhance their networking activities.

Reciprocity 

image21When you reciprocate, you are acknowledging the help you’ve received from others. Reciprocating  persuades those who have given you help, as well as others who witness your act of reciprocation, to continue the act of giving. This is the foundation of building relationships.

Many of my former clients have reciprocated by agreeing to be a guest speaker at the networking group I facilitate. They talk about their job search and how they “landed.” Other former clients send me notice of positions their company is trying to fill.

Social Proof

Social proof is creating a strong personal online brand, which can be seen by thousands of people. Some job seekers have the misconception that posting updates 10 times a day on LinkedIn is effective social proof. It’s not. However, posting fewer quality updates is the ticket.

Social proof is becoming increasingly more important to job seekers, as employers are primarily looking for talent on LinkedIn, or Facebook and Twitter for any alarming signs. When I tell job seekers this in my workshops, some of them express looks of concern on their face. They have no social proof.

Consistency and Commitment 

Consistency and commitment is being reliable and dedicated to your job search and the search of others. This is viewed as a great trait from those who are struggling in their search, because it provides them a sense of structure.

Showing up on time for networking coffee meetings, demonstrating a friendly demeanor whenever you’re out in public, staying involved in your networkers’ efforts, and delivering the same message to your stakeholders are all examples of consistency and commitment.

Authority 

imagesAuthority keeps you top of mind with employers and influential people. You influence others with your knowledge of relevant topics. The best writers, speakers, and curators know what’s trending, and they report on it in a timely manner.

People follow the advice of experts when what they’re writing, speaking, or curating is relevant to them. Therefore it’s essential that you know your audience well. Once you, as a job seeker, become known as an expert or “authority,” your words will be respected.

Scarcity

The less there is of something, the more desirable the object is. This doesn’t only apply to iPhones when they first hit the market. If you possess a talent that employers are hard to come by, you will persuade them because your talents are scarce.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, though. I think of job seekers who have it all; the required job-related skills, as well as emotional intelligence. The combination of these is often scarce. If you can persuade employers that you are the full package, your chances of landing a desired job are greater.


Persuasion is not a one off thing; it involves all six principles. When job seekers visualize each principle, they will be able to master them. One who wants to master Authority, for instance, must put effort into demonstrating through social media their expertise in a topic like digital marketing.

When job seekers use persuasion, they control their destiny. Their situation may seem dire, but it can be turned around. If you’re struggling with unemployment, look at the six principles and see which ones you must improve.

Photo: Flickr, bm_adverts

4 elements of the unique job seekers’ holiday networking newsletter

And why it’s important to send one.

Like me, you may receive holiday newsletters from friends and relatives who you see infrequently. You may look forward to receiving these yearly letters or dread them because they carry on for pages about personal information best saved for a therapist.

happy-holiday

For job seekers these newsletters can serve as a great way to network if written properly. You’re sending these holiday networking newsletters to people who care about your welfare and would like to help in any way they could.

Maybe your uncle Jake once worked at Raytheon and still has connections there, past or present; or your former roommate from college is doing well for himself in marketing in NYC. Your brother is active on LinkedIn and probably has connections living in your area. He’ll sing your praises for sure. The list of possibilities are great.

What to include in your personal holiday newsletter. Keep in mind that you’re not contacting employers or fellow job seeking networkers who understand the lingo and nuances of networking for work. (These networking letters speak a different language and are targeted to a specific audience.)

You’re reaching out to friends and relatives who know little to nothing about your situation or experience and goals, and who probably haven’t heard from you in awhile. Thus, the content should be light and unobtrusive.

The Opening

First wish your recipients a happy holiday. You’ll start light and stay light during the entire letter. This is, after all, the holidays.

“Hello loved ones. It’s been a busy year for the Jones, and we have a lot to tell you. First let me start be telling you that we have a new puppy; I think that sums up ‘busy.’ Ellen has me on house training duties, and for the most part I’m doing all right. I hope you get to see our puppy, who we’ve called “Messi.” 

Body of Newsletter

News about the family is always appreciated.

“I’m proud to say that Tommy Jr. graduated from college and is interning at Fidelity. It helps that he developed a network while in college. I’m proud that he understands the importance of building relationships.

“Claire is enjoying her senior year in high school and much to the chagrin of Ellen and me (did I say that?) is dating a wonderful boy who dotes on her. She’ll be heading off to UMaine and he’ll be going to Florida State (Joy).

“Little Jason is entering high school with intentions of wrestling and playing soccer. He doesn’t seem to be thinking of what he wants to do after high school. He jokes about becoming a professional gamer. (Does that exist.) Really, Jason is a good boy; I’m not too worried.”

Continue writing about what’s happening on the family front, but don’t brag too much. How many times have we read holiday newsletters that sound like a commercial for the all American family? Keep it real. However, don’t write negative content.

The Conclusion

Be upbeat and positive as you tell your recipients about your current situation. You want your friends and relatives to think about how they may help; you don’t want to drive them away with demands or sound needy or despondent.

“I think you may recall that I’m in transition from my position as director of marketing at my former software company. I’m in high spirits seeing my family and friends and relatives doing so well. This is a tough economy, and I know of many people out of work. Please keep me and others affected by the layoffs in your thoughts.”

Sign off with your telephone number and LinkedIn URL, if it feels appropriate. Also ask your recipients to write back with news about what’s going on in their lives. Good networking is not only about you, it’s also about those with whom you communicate no matter who the audience is. Show your interest as well.

In Addition

A post script could add a nice touch.

PS: This Christmas Eve I’m excited about ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. I’ll even be dressed as Santa. Jason said I’m a dork for doing this, but I can’t think of a better way to spend the night before Christmas than helping the needy.

Some important things to note: don’t ask if anyone knows of a job. You don’t want to put undue pressure on your friends and relatives who are not consumed with the labor market. The best delivery method for your letter will be a typed or hand-written letter delivered by snail mail, as it has a more personal touch and is more likely not to be forgotten.

Photo: Flickr, Memento

3 places where introverts need to get away to recharge their batteries

 

lake

Last year my family celebrated our daughter’s graduation from high school with a small celebration. We were near a lake and the temperature was in the 90’s. Many of our friends were there with their kids, who immediately took to the water.

It was the perfect setting. I enjoyed conversing with our friends, as we talked about kids and past events; and I was particularly animated as I talked.

Then it hit me like a title wave. I needed time to get away and recharge my batteries. Did I care if company would miss me? Not really.

As an introvert, group events can take a toll on me. I enjoy the company of others, but my energy level for talking with them is not as enduring as it is for extraverts.

Extraverts have that energy that drives them through a party; it charges their batteries. They derive mental stimulation by talking and being listened to.

I don’t’ envy them, though. The time alone to watch the kids swimming in the lake or even sitting in silence next to another introvert is as rewarding as it is for extraverts to talk to others at length. It’s a time to reflect.

Small gathering is the first place that comes to mind where introverts need to get away. The following two are:

Networking events. As an introvert, you may find yourself enjoying a conversation with a few people, but suddenly it occurs to you that where you’d rather be is in a quiet place, such as outside getting some fresh air.

What’s likely to happen is another introvert joining you, perhaps by mistake or because she saw you escaping to your place of reflection.

This is fine, because it’s you and she making small talk, such as, “Had to get away from the crowd.” I know what you mean, she tells you. And so you’ve established a bond.

Like the time I stole away from our guest at my party, you’ve had the opportunity to recharge your batteries so you can return to the larger group, which is now in the “needs and leads” portion of the event.

One of my LinkedIn connections told me this type of break is what she needs returning to a business event and possibly an extended after hours. Sure, it may be time for some to retire to the hotel room, but she understands the value of personal networking and pushes herself to keep going.

reflect

Work. Some introverts enjoy the opportunity to take a lunch-time walk, while their colleagues, most likely extraverts, are gathered in the staff room engaged in a boisterous conversation.

Walking alone or with a walking mate is a great way to recharge your batteries. I personally prefer listening to music or talk radio, as it allows me to walk at my rapid speed and lose myself in thoughts of the day.

If your fortunate to have an office or cubicle away from the fray, your getaway is convenient and doesn’t require leaving the office.

This type of situation is ideal after a day full of meetings, not only to recharge your battery but also to respond to any e-mails following the meetings.

Introverts are more productive when they have solitude and moments to reflect and write, something they prefer over meetings and brainstorming sessions. They derive their creativity from being alone or working with one other person.

Watch this TED talk by Susan Cain who explains how introverts are most creative.


Whether you’re at a family gathering, a networking event, or at work, getting away is important for maintaining a strong energy level. Introverts are capable of interaction for extended periods of time, but we’re more comfortable if we take time to get away.

Don’t deny yourself this opportunity and don’t feel as if you’re being antisocial. You’ll be happier and more productive if you tend to your preferred way to energize yourself.

Photo: Flickr, Dave McGlinchey

Photo: Flickr, Kirsty Harrison

Avoid résumé obsession by following these 5 rules

obsessed-with-your-resumeI’ve been helping a client with his résumé. Originally it was a sound résumé but weak in certain areas. He lacked a branding headline, so I suggested he use a headline similar to what he uses on his LinkedIn profile.

He also needed to tighten up his writing, pay attention to typos, and keep from being verbose. I also suggested he quantify his results. Mission accomplished.

Shortly after our meeting, he told me he would send me his “next” revision in a few days. In addition to the changes I suggested, he said he prettied it up a bit. They were aesthetic changes that probably wouldn’t play a big role in garnering him an interview. He is suffering from résumé obsession.

While aesthetics are nice, your résumé needs to be much more impactful than pretty font, interesting layout, unique bullet points, etc. Here are five general rules about putting your résumé to best use.

1. Yes, a powerful résumé is necessary. A résumé should lead with a strong branding headline to capture the employers’ attention, tell them who you are and what you’re capable of doing for them. This is where you first introduce the job-related keywords.

Follow your title with a concise, yet grabbing professional profile. All too often I see profiles with lofty adjectives that have no meaning. Your profile is the roadmap to your work history; whatever you assert in it, you have to prove in the experience section.

The work experience must demonstrate accomplishments that are quantified. Employers are looking for numbers, percentages, and dollar signs. Having accomplished this, along with an education section, your résumé is ready to go.

2. It’s only one part of your written communications. Let’s not forget a well-written cover letter that grabs the employers’ attention with the first sentence. Forget the tired, “I was excited to read on Monster.com of the project manager position at (company). Please find below my accomplishments and history that make me a great fit for this job.”

You have to show the employer you’re the right person for the job. This includes highlighting job-related skills and mentioning a couple of accomplishments. Like your résumé, the cover letter is tailored to each job.

3. Send your résumé to the hiring manager. Some of my customers are shocked when I tell them that they need to send their information to human resources and the hiring manager. The reason for doing this is because the hiring manager may see something in you that HR doesn’t.

Another reason for sending your résumé to the hiring manager is because she may overlook the fact that you don’t have a certain requirement, such as education, whereas HR must reject you for this deficiency. One of my job seekers, a former hiring manager, confirmed this assertion.

4. How you distribute it. It doesn’t end with hitting “Submit.” You can’t sit back and wait for recruiters and HR to call you for a telephone interview. Some believe that sending out five résumés a day is a personal accomplishment; yet they fail to follow up in a timely manner.

Worse yet, they don’t send their résumé and cover letter to targeted companies. This involves networking face-to-face or via LinkedIn to determine who the right contact is at the company. Distribute your résumé to the people who count, not individuals who are plucking your résumé out from an Applicant Tracking System.

5. LinkedIn is part of it. Whether you like it or not, it’s time to get onboard with LinkedIn. Countless success stories of job seekers getting jobs are proof that employers are leaning more toward LinkedIn than the job boards. They’re enabling the Hidden Job Market (HJM), and it’s time for you to participate.

Your LinkedIn profile should mirror your résumé (branding headline, summary, work history, education) to a point. Each section on it will differ, plus there are applications and recommendations you can display on your profile that you couldn’t on your résumé. There must be a harmonious marriage between the two.


Fruitless pursuit. Trying to perfect your résumé and neglecting the aforementioned steps needed to make it work is similar to cleaning every snowflake from your steps and neglecting your entire walkway. A great résumé is what you aspire to create; a perfect résumé is not possible. To aspire to perfection will most likey prevent you to send out your résumé all together, just like my former client.

Photo: Flickr, Jordan

10 symptoms of unemployment, and why you should greet the unemployed with care

unemployed man

A very talented man in pursuit of a job wrote to me that he’s been discouraged—almost amazed—by the insensitivity some people have displayed when talking to him. They begin the conversation by asking him if he’s still looking for work.

“I believe most people mean well,” he writes, “However, I have recently been approached by friends and former associates who open with, ‘Still out of work?’ Not even a fake pleasantry like, ‘How are you?’ I try to rebuff their affront somewhat jokingly; yet, am depleting my repertoire of comebacks.”

His words, not mine.

As gainfully employed people we must consider how such a thoughtless question impacts the jobseeker. Question like, “Are you still out of work?” or, “Have you found a job, yet?” will only offend the unemployed, despite your good intentions. Why is approaching a jobseeker with caution important, and what should you say?

Possible symptoms

  1. His self-esteem has taken a huge hit. He feels shame and embarrassment, even though the condition of his lay-off was not his fault. Nonetheless, he is reluctant to talk about his unemployment with most people.
  2. He is worried about finances. His daughter is slated to have braces installed in the next month, or he is falling behind on the bills. There might be decisions to make as to which expenses are priorities.
  3. He is constantly playing back in his mind the reasons why he lost his job—poor performance, personality differences with his boss, salary too high. There is doubt and insecurity. Is he ready to take on another job?
  4. He is wondering if his recruiter is going to call back with some news; it’s already been three days. He feels he nailed the interviews. What’s taking so long? He constantly checks his phone.
  5. There hasn’t been an interview in the last 30 days, despite his networking efforts and the many online applications he has sent out. So he wonders if there is any hope left in finding a job.
  6. Relations with his wife have been strained due to his dour mood and constant snapping at the kids. Unemployment can test even the best of marriages. The possibility of marriage counseling is great.
  7. He feels depressed and doesn’t want to be reminded of the reason for his depression. Many things can spark off feelings of despondency; something as simple as being out of the environment he’s been in for the past 20 years.
  8. He is experiencing physical problems which he can’t explain, such as headaches, stomach and chest pains, shooting pain across his back; most likely due to stress.
  9. He avoids people, preferring to be alone. Taking the kids to playgroup is torture and he doesn’t associate with the mostly women at the group. He is alienating himself from family and friends.
  10. If he hasn’t look for work for many years, the job search is alien to him. He may be paralyzed by the process of finding a job in a competitive labor market. (Read this post on how the job search has changed for older workers.)

How to approach someone who is unemployed

Opening questions or statements should be as temperate as possible. Start with a simple, “Hi” and sense if the jobseeker wants to engage in conversation. Don’t take it personally if he doesn’t respond to your greeting with enthusiasm. Lead with some close-ended questions or neutral comments to gauge his willingness to converse.

I asked my customer how one should talk to someone out of work. He suggests handling a scenario the following way:

Imagine you see your neighbor, Mike, in the grocery store. Instead of ducking into the next aisle, you do the right thing and acknowledge and greet him. You notice that he’s comparing prices of cereal. “Boy, the prices have shot through the roof,” you joke.

“I’ll say.” He seems contemplative.

“I’m a Frosted Mini-Wheats fan, but my kids like Cinnamon Toasted Crunch.  How are you?”

“Could be better.” He’s definitely referring to his unemployment.

“I think it will get better, Mike….Soon. You’re a talented trainer….” Notice you use present tense.

In this example you do a good job of starting a dialog. You open the dialog with a light comment about cereal prices. You simply ask how he is doing, and he, not you, chooses to allude to his unemployment. As well, you give him a boost of confidence by telling him he’s talented at what he does.

But you’d like to help him at the moment. If you can’t, simply tell him that you’ll keep your ear to the pavement for any possibilities. However, if something comes to mind, mention it. “Mike, I don’t know if you’ve contacted Jason Martin at Jarvis Corporation, but they’re looking for a safety coordinator. They might be looking for a trainer. In any case, there’s movement at the company.”

Don’t be reluctant to shake Mike’s hand. Most people appreciate a kind gesture, the warmth of a human touch. Hold on to his hand a bit longer than you normally would; this demonstrates your concern for Mike and speaks louder than words. Your eyes can also do the talking for you. They can say, “I’m concerned, buddy, and rooting for you. This is what people who are unemployed need; a cheerleader, not insensitive questions about their unemployment.

Photo: Flickr, Robert Montgomery

5 traits that lead to a successful job search. Hint, it’s about customer service

customer-service-phoneSuccessful businesses realize that selling excellent products at reasonable prices is not enough. They have to couple that with excellent customer service. This last component cannot be overlooked. To most consumers it’s a vital ingredient.

When people ask me which business offers the best customer service, I automatically say Starbucks. My valued LinkedIn connection and Chief Influence Officer, Brian Ahearn, felt the same way in 2013 when he wrote 5 Reasons Why Starbucks is so Persuasive.

That was awhile ago, but I’m willing to bet he still prefers Starbucks over the competition.

I asked Brian which five traits of customer service stand out in his mind. He was quick to rattle them off—I’m sure he could think of others, though. His five traits are: friendly, responsive, helpful, empathetic, and knowledgeable.

Smart job seekers understand that everyone is their customer.

Friendly

My experience with Starbucks has consistently been pleasant because the baristas are…friendly. They smile, ask me if I need anything else, and always wish me a good day. I feel as if I’m the only one they’re waiting on.

Not only should you smile; you should also make eye contact and project warmth in your voice. Again, simple advice; but I can attest that when my clients do all threee of these three, they receive a better response from me and others.

At a networking event, you’ll come across as friendly while talking with networking partners, which makes you come across as someone they would recommend to a hiring authority, if the opportunity arises. Of course there are other attributes you need to demonstrate.

Similarly, your friendly demeanor is essential in an interview, where you want to come across as affable, someone with whom people want to work. Friendly seems like a simple trait, yet it packs a bigger punch then most think.

Responsive

The baristas that take my order at the drive-through don’t need to be told twice what I and the members in my car want. They make me think, “Dang, they’re on the ball.” This is one example of responsiveness. I’m sure you can think of others.

You have to be responsive to your networking partners who rely on you for advice and possible leads. When answering a job ad, you must send your résumé and cover letter to potential employers within a day or two. This will indicate how responsive you’ll be when you work for them.

When being interviewed on the phone, showing great customer service means getting back to the interviewer quickly. Many a job seeker has lost out on jobs because they kept the interviewer waiting. Be prepared to answer the difficult questions; don’t waste the interviewer’s time.

Helpful

helpfulThis trait brings to mind companies that are aren’t helpful. The associates are nowhere in sight, and when you happen to land one like a fish, they give you convoluted directions that confuse you more than help.

Being helpful in the job search means helping others who are looking for work. I wrote a post about giving to others while networking. This means thinking of others before thinking of yourself, which may seem difficult given your situation.

Help employers by applying for jobs for which you’re qualified. I know this sounds like basic information, but this is one of the biggest complaints recruiters and hiring managers have. I tell my clients they should meet at least 85% of the requirements, not 40% or 50%.

Empathetic

A company that shows empathy will understand the concerns of its customers. Products or services that don’t perform up to standards and need to be returned without hassle is one example of showing empathy.

This post from John White describes how his employer handled a difficult situation involving irate customers.

As a career strategist, I see the roller coaster of emotions job seekers go through in their job search. As my customers I have to be empathetic to their plight. This doesn’t mean, however, that I should let them lose focus and drive because of their turmoil.

Nor should you allow your fellow networkers lose sight of the endgame. Understand what they’re experiencing, but hold them accountable for their search. You can empathize with them, because you’ve been there, but you also realize they have to conduct their search, when they may want to stay home and watch Ellen.

Knowledgeable 

Have you ever come across a technical customer service rep who answers all your questions, even the ones before you ask them. They lead you through a serious of complicated procedures in order to get your computer up and running. You’re so grateful that you want to talk to their supervisor so you can praise your technical customer service rep.

This is how you need to come across in the job search. I think of Mavens who are there to provide advice to struggling job seekers; whether this is in an organized networking group or a meetup or one-on-one.

One client who comes to mind is not only knowledgeable,  he’s also caring.

Of course, demonstrating knowledge is most important when you’re sitting in the hot seat at an interview. Able to answer questions about the role, company, even competition is essential to your success. This requires extensive research on these three elements, not a cursory read of the job description and website.

Take your research to the next level—this is what the knowledgeable customer service rep—did. Study anything written about the company on the Internet. Talk to people who work at the company. Read press releases and annual reports if the company is public. Leave no rocks uncovered.


No one values and knows customer service as well as Brian Ahearn. A recent post he wrote describes how last impressions are lasting impressions. It is a wonderful story that I can relate to.

I may even be more stringent than him, because even one bad experience may cause me not to return to a company. Yes, I know this is sad, but I do value customer service. And so should job seekers. They must realize that providing great customer service is essential to their search. Essential.

Photo: Flickr, Eurobase FulFillment, Flickr, Lynn Stover