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Tips for Landing the Job You Want: (Part 1)

Thursday, November 07, 2013

 Landing a job in today's competitive market is tough. Many candidates meet or exceed the advertised requirements, and have ample experience to add to their credentials. So, how do you measure up against your competition? Here are some key points that will help you during the job search process.

When you apply for a job, make sure your resume and cover letter correspond with the advertised job description. A "one size fits all" resume will not work. Review your objective statement and goals to make sure they match the position in which you are applying. When possible, rearrange the wording of your past jobs to highlight experience that will make your application stand out. Be honest about your experience, but use adjectives and lingo that connect your experience with the industry and desired skills. Another important thing to note is to read the directions for the application process carefully. Each company will post the process for applying for open jobs. Sherrie Dvorak, VP of Operations and Services at Frontline Source Group in Dallas says, "If it says no phone calls, then don't call. Half of the application process is tied to seeing how well you can follow directions." Sherrie also adds, "Make sure you complete all blanks on the application." You want to be thorough during this part of the process. How well your resume is written, the completeness of your application, and your timing are all part of making a good first impression.

 When you get the call to come in for an interview, make sure you are prepared. You will be judged from the moment you enter the room, so pay attention to every detail of your appearance. Dress for the job you want, not the job in which you are applying. If your long term goal is to be in management, dress like a manager. It's like selling your home. When you put your home on the market, you have to "stage" your home by removing all personal items and clutter. You must clean your home thoroughly, add a fresh coat of paint, and make all necessary repairs. This helps a potential buyer "visualize" themselves living in your home. Potential employers must also "see" you as part of their team. It is better to be over dressed than under dressed. If you dress too casually, it may appear that you don't know when to put your best foot forward. Even if the company has a casual dress code, you need to dress professionally for interviews. It is a good idea to purchase an interview outfit which should include a basic black or navy suit and a few coordinating blouses or shirts. Men will want to have a couple of nice ties to mix and match with your suit. Don't forget your shoes are also an important part of your appearance. You may want to have a pair of professional shoes to wear only for interviews .If you are not sure about what to wear for an interview, check out the website for your favorite university. They usually post good articles on dressing for interviews online through the Career Services offices.

The second part of preparation for an interview is to research the company before the interview.  Visit the company's website to become familiar with products and services offered. Also know where the corporate headquarters are located as well as the branch locations. You may want to become familiar with the names of the executive board. If the company is publicly held, know the trends of the stock prices and where the stock is currently trading. Sherrie Dvorak reminds you to use social media.  She says, "LinkedIn is an incredible tool!  I encourage interviewers (applicants) to review the interviewers, search out other people in the company, etc. – see where they might share some commonalities. Interviewers (applicants) should know the company’s website backwards and forwards.  If there’s time to review the competition too, that is a great place to start." Facebook and Twitter are also areas you will want to research potential employers. It's important to gather as much information about the company as possible.

Paying attention to details during the application and interview process will make you stand out and increase your chances of getting a second interview. Our next blog will include tips on preparing for a second interview, do's and don'ts for applicants, questions you should be prepared to answer, and how to follow up after an interview.

 

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