Dear Matt: I’ve interviewed for several jobs but don’t get hired. I apply to other jobs and don’t get interviews. What is holding me back? I hear the little things count in the job search; what does that mean?
Matt says: Employers, recruiters and hiring managers often decide between multiple candidates when deciding who to interview and hire. They are looking for anything unique or above and beyond to justify their decisions. For example, after interviewing for my second job out of college, I sent a handwritten thank-you card to the woman who interviewed me. She later told me that separated me from the other finalist, who did not send a thank-you note.
The little things do indeed count and these are the types of topics career coach, speaker and author Ford R. Myers covers in his new book “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring” (getthejobbook.com).
“Many people make significant job search mistakes and never even realize it,” says Myers. “These blunders can end up costing you thousands of dollars.”
Here are some other common mistakes job seekers make, according to Myers:
• Mailing unsolicited résumés. They are considered garbage, scrap paper and wasted effort. Myers advocates completely abandoning this dated job search tactic.
• Ineffective networking. Networking should be the primary focus of every job search. The best networkers are listeners rather than talkers, have a clear agenda, and are not shy about asking for feedback.
• Focusing on the wrong job. Look for the right job, not just any job. Consider responsibilities, growth potential, location, cultural fit, co-workers, environment and compensation.
• Unorganized job search. Myers recommend an organized plan that includes a system for accountability and a space in the home dedicated to the search.
• Doing it alone. Career coaches are experts who provide objective guidance and support. Many also offer excellent advice on salary negotiation — often exceeding job seeker’s expectations.
• Poor interview preparation. Job interviews are comprised of five basic elements: articulating your value, conveying your knowledge of the company, asking intelligent questions, negotiating compensation, and following up. Practice them all in advance.
• Not knowing market value. Always get the employer to name the salary or range first. Only talk money after it has been made clear that you are the top candidate and an offer is made.
“It is easy for even the savviest of job seekers to make these mistakes,” says Ford. Adds Myers: “By learning how to avoid these potential pitfalls from the outset, your job search will be more productive and yield more positive results.”
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