August 30th, 2009

You’re Hired! Proper Preparation and Follow-Up Increases Your Marketability When Looking for a Job

by Jacqueline Whitmore

Whether you are a person who is back on the job market for the first time in years or someone who has just graduated from college and is new to the job market, you must do your part to stand out and outshine the competition.

If you are one of the thousands of job seekers who is finding it difficult to get your foot into the corporate door, there are some tactics you may want to consider in order to increase your chances of getting a call-back interview and getting hired.

Knowledge is power. The more you know about the company, the more you’ll impress the interviewer.  Visit the company’s website, particularly the media room, and learn everything you can about the company.  In the interview, bring up any good news you have read, particularly awards that the company has won.

Avoid the five deadly words. Never say to an interviewer, “Tell me about your company.”  This is a dead giveaway that you didn’t do your homework and that you are not genuinely interested in the company.

Be unique. Consider those contestants who participate on shows like “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars.” It’s clear that they need more than just talent and good looks to win to competition.  They must possess something extra that makes them memorable.  Job applicants are no exception.  Dress to impress and don’t be afraid to wear a dash of color.  A drab blue or black suit can be spiced up with a colorful tie or scarf.  Your smile and exuberant personality, combined with your talent and eagerness to learn new challenges will help you stand out.

Loose lips sink ships. Don’t speak poorly about your past employer.  Instead of talking about what you didn’t like, talk about what you did like and learn while working for your former employer.

Know the deadline. At the conclusion of the interview, ask the interviewer how soon you can expect to hear back from her with a decision.  If you don’t hear anything by that date, follow-up with a phone call or email.

Get a card. Be sure to get the interviewer’s business card before you leave so you have the correct email and telephone number for follow-up.

Ask and you shall receive. Don’t be afraid to ask for the job.  As the interview comes to a close, state why you want the job and why you think you are the best candidate.

Follow-up within 24 hours with a thank-you email. Yes, I said thank-you email.  Most companies are “going green” and are becoming paperless.  Therefore it’s easier for employers to forward and file a thank- you note versus a handwritten note.

Be short and sweet. When emailing an employer, make sure your message is clear, concise and free of spelling and grammatical errors.  Customize your email by including the interviewer’s name in the greeting.  An email addressed to “Sir or Madam” is sure to be deleted.

Three strikes and you’re out. You’ll be perceived as a pest if you hound an employer several times a week to see if he has made his decision.  Follow-up every couple of weeks, but no more than three times, before moving on to the next opportunity.

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