Posts Tagged 'Interview Tips'

Thank You – It’s Important

My sister lives in the Seattle area and quit working for “the man” several years ago.  She enjoyed a career at home in Internet Marketing.  She was doing well until Google decided to change their algorithms making it extremely difficult for small websites to show up in Google web searches.  So she decided to get back into corporate America and began her job search.  The economy is still in recovery and it took her longer than she expected but she finally did land a good paying job.  She credits her success to one simple tool – a thank you note.  She told me that following up her interviews with a nice thank you note set her apart from other candidates.

Set her apart from other candidates?  That’s odd.  I’ve been doing career research for several years now and every article or website I’ve read recommends that applicants send a thank you note after meeting with their hopeful employer.  Apparently that advice is not well received because many applicants fail to follow up in this very simple way.  Remember that employers will often interview many applicants in a day and they will sit with a stack of resumes and interview notes from people just like you.  In order to be successful in your career search – you not only need to score the interview and impress them with your accomplishments, you must also stay in their mind as someone who follows through a process completely.  The thank you note is the perfect way to accomplish that goal.

My sister didn’t indicate whether she sent a physical thank you card or simply sent an email thank you.  I think both would be sufficient but a hand written note would certainly be more rare these days – and therefore more note worthy in the mind of the employer.  Either way this simple little edge should never be forgotten.  So let me join all those other career advisers in suggesting you send a thank you note after your interview.  It really is important.

When Is a Picture Not Worth a Thousand Words

I wondered if a person should include a picture on their resume so I did a quick Google search and I found my answer very quickly.  The short answer is “no”.  In fact including your picture could disqualify you immediately because of the potential of lawsuits that could arise if it can be proven that one candidate was chosen simply on their appearance.  However it may be relevant to include a picture with your resume if you are applying for a job that requires a certain type of person – like a modeling  job or entertainer.

This got me thinking about whether it is appropriate to include your picture on an online job board such as NightOwlStaffing.com.  In fact we provide the ability to load your personal picture and many candidates choose to do so.  I can only speak on my personal opinion, but in most cases I think it would be OK.  An online job site is a little different than submitting your resume for a particular job.  With Job boards such as ours, if you apply for the job online – the resume goes to the employer but the picture stays on the site.  Only those employers who are on our site looking at employee profiles will see those pictures and I believe they intend to do so.  Anything you can include in your online profile that might help you get the interview should be there.  But, you should realize that including a picture is a 50/50 deal.  Your picture might sell you or sell you out.  If the employer likes what they see you have an added advantage.  If not you may be unduly disqualified despite your accomplishments.

My advice is that if you choose to include a picture in your on-line profile, make sure it is a good one.  You should be appropriately dressed in business attire (appropriate for the job you are seeking) and appear as if you are ready for your interview.  Your profile should indicate that you are ready for the job – not the beach, a ball game, or a night on the town.  There is a saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  With that in mind, make sure your picture is recent and that the person that shows up for the interview isn’t someone 20 years older and 20 lbs heavier.  That might be interpreted as a misrepresentation or dishonesty.

Let me just reiterate that these are my personal opinions.  A professional job counselor may have a different opinion on the topic .  Do your own research and use your best judgment.  Don’t forget to smile!

Don’t Take It Personally

You left the job interview certain that you had landed the position.  They like you, you liked them, there was an agreement on pay range, and you are totally qualified for the position.   So why haven’t they called?  Let’s assume for this article that you did everything right – including a thank you note (at least by email) and a follow up call several days later stating your continued interest in the job.  You did do those – right?  Right.  So what’s the problem?

One of the biggest hurdles we deal with in the job market is the Human Factor.  That’s right folks, we are humans dealing with other humans and as such there is a myriad of factors that can contribute to the decision made by the employer.  Maybe there was someone equally qualified and thorough in their interview and the employer had a tough decision to make.  Many times there are more than one perfect candidate for the job.  One will get the job – and unfortunately the rest won’t.  It’s not that you did anything wrong – you just didn’t get picked – this time.   Maybe the employer just didn’t get a good vibe from you even though everything went well.  Human interactions are complicated and based on much more than just what you wore, how you presented yourself or even if you had a common interest.  Just like personal relationships, professional relationships are somewhat chemical in nature and even though you did everything right – you just were not what they were looking for.  The point is – its not personal – it’s just business.

On the other hand if you have had several great interviews – especially a great 2nd or 3rd interview and you haven’t been offered any jobs, you might want to take a closer look at your approach.  It might help to talk to a friend in detail about what happens in your interviews and what topics you discussed and how you answered those questions.  A good friend will need to be necessarily judgmental in order to be effective so again, don’t take it personally but learn from their comments.  Talk to more than one friend if you can and see if you notice a common response.

There is one thing you definitely should take personally.  If you have sent out many resumes but haven’t received even one call – there may be a problem with how you present your information.  We live in an electronic society and most resumes don’t reach a human eye until they first get singled out by a computer.  Your resume should be targeted specifically for the job you are applying for and be formatted in such a way that it will get singled out in an electronic scan against hundreds of other resumes.  It might be time for you to get some professional advice on your resume.  There are many resources available to help you – from personal consultants to electronic programs to help you build your resume.  I’m including a link to such a program in this post but there are many to choose from varying in price range and features.  Do a careful search and get the help you need to have your resume get noticed.

Resume Companion