Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Six Things You Should be Doing to Get Yourself Hired!

Let's face it: There are a lot of us baby boomers out looking for work. And the world is an entirely different place from the last time we were in this fix. And the world of job search is a lot different too. Here are four things you should keep in mind to improve your chances of getting hired.
Number one: Apply for jobs that make sense.
When I get a resume from a seasoned professional for an entry level position, completely outside the person's area of experience, or so far below the position they held recently, it is a major red flag to me. Why are they doing this? Do they just not understand what the job I am posting involves? Are they so basically unhireable that  they will snap at anything? It's either a case of low self-esteem, cluelessness, or desperation. None of these is attractive to me.

Apply for jobs that fit your career narrative, that seem like a logical progression from what you did before. And if the job doesn't seem to fit, but there is a reason you want it (career changing would be a reason), explain how what you have done in the past leads to this.

Number two: Lead with the why, not the what.
Again I am going to refer to this Ted Talk by Simon Sinek. People will connect with you because you share the same passion that they share. That is what they are looking for. If you can do a good job with this part of the hiring process, it will make up for deficiencies other places. Your cover letter MUST do this. Just like saltine crackers are only a vehicle for peanut butter (so says my dad, and you know he is right!), so is the what just a vehicle to convey the why. Take a minute and watch this video again.

(By the way, this video is captioned. Click on the upward facing arrow on the bottom right hand side of the video viewer.)

Number Three: Edit your resume.
Everything, yes I said EVERYTHING on your resume should point to the position you are trying to gain. If you include the fact that you took a  DOS 3.0 class in 1986, ask yourself, why does this matter? You were a waitress in high school. And the connection is what? I don't want to read your job description. Really. I know what a graphic designer does. What I want to read is your design philosophy, how you have been able to be collaborative in a essentially singular activity, how you create, how you stay fresh, how you contribute.

Number Four: Make it easy on the  person doing the hiring.
This is what happens. I finally, finally, finally, get the go ahead to hire. It's been a struggle. Now I want to hire someone today, this minute, before those above me in the food chain decide to change their minds. I do not want to wait a week or a day or an hour for you to send me your portfolio, your references, or whatever I need in order to close the deal. Have your stuff ready to go, and be fast and flexible. Because if it's down to you and another guy, the first one over the finish line will win. The victory goes to the fleet of foot, my friend.

Number Five: Use your network.
When I write to someone I'm connected to on LinkedIn about a position, I've had an 80% success rate (or better) getting an interview. Without that connection, my interview rate is much, much, lower. Build up your network and use it. Write to your connection and ask about the position. If you can get to the hiring manager, better yet.

Number Six: Ask for the job.
Many years ago, I was on a hiring committee to hire an assistant director. This position was at least two steps above me, and I happened to know all three of the finalists. I had worked with all three, and I liked and respected all of them. They were all equally competent, and very equal contenders for the position. During the interviews, only one candidate came right out and asked for the job. And he was the one who got the offer.

This was a real eye opener for me, and from that time forward, if I want the job, I ask for it. If I ask for it, I have about a 75% chance to get an offer. It is like a magic thing. You have to ask.

No one really wants to be looking for a job, but if you follow these tips, I think you will have an excellent chance at shortening the process and getting on with the rest of your life. Good luck!


Post a Comment