Four People-Powered Job Search Tactics

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Start Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: March 23, 2009 - 10:40 AM

If you’re in the job market now, you may be in search of new ideas.

Want some?

Good.

How about four?

I spoke with two career experts this week who shared the following four “people-powered” ways to get the attention of employers …

 1) Eliminate the Negative
The wrong word in a job interview can spell disaster, according to Peter Clayton, producer and host of career-management resource Total Picture Radio (www.totalpictureradio.com).

Clayton shares advice he got from Judy Rosemarin, a New York-based executive coach, who counsels clients to never say the word, “unfortunately” in a job interview. Why? “Saying, ‘unfortunately’ puts you in the role of being a victim,” says Clayton.

If your words tells others that you are a victim, they may also think you are powerless to solve your problems. And, given the choice, employers will hire empowered problem-solvers over weak victims.

People pick up on negative language. If words like “unfortunately,” “frustrating,” and “annoying,” tumble out in your conversations with employers, don’t be surprised if they pigeonhole your personality as negative.

Action Step: Listen to your self-talk. Do you complain about events or people? Does negativity or resentment creep into conversations? Write down the offending words. Then resolve to eliminate them from job interviews.

2) Make the Network Highlights
Passing along helpful information can make you a star among people in your network, according to Chandlee Bryan, a resume writer and career coach at Best Fit Forward (www.bestfitforward.com).

“By building reciprocal relationships, you’ll expand your network much faster” than if you hoard information for yourself, according to Bryan. And an expanded network can get you hired faster.

Bryan notes that passing was a largely neglected part of basketball until the 1979 NCAA final between Michigan State and Indiana State. “What really distinguished Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in their game against each other was their ability to pass.”

Action Step: Stop neglecting the “information pass” in your job search. Start serving as a resource to people in your network. They’ll reciprocate by passing job leads to you in return.

3) Answer Me These Questions Three
Clayton shares an interview tip he got from George Bradt, an executive onboarding consultant, and author of “The New Leader’s 100 Day Action Plan.”

“Bradt had wonderful advice about preparing for a job interview,” says Clayton. “He said there are only three kinds of interview questions that you’re going to get: Can you do the job? Will you love the job? Can I tolerate working with you?”

The last question is especially important, because everyone wants to like their co-workers. You could be the greatest bookkeeper or Java programmer in history, but you won’t get hired (or stay hired) if employers think you’re a jerk.

Action Step: You can effectively prepare for your next interview by making sure you deliver convincing answers to these three questions:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you love the job?
  • Can I tolerate working with you?

4) Be the One Others Want to Hear From
When calling people to set up networking or informational interviews, don’t start with, “I’m looking for a job.” You’ll come across like a squeegee bum ambushing cars at stoplights.

“When you call, open with an icebreaker and talk about what you have in common. It’s much easier for people to respond,” according to Bryan.

Action Step: Mentally replay the last three conversations you had about your job. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did people react to the first words out of your mouth? Were they genuinely happy to speak with you?
  • How long did your conversations last? Did people rush to get rid of you, or did they happily chat for 10-15 minutes?
  • Do you honestly think those people would be happy to hear from you again? Why or why not?

If you’re not satisfied with your answers, ask yourself a final question: How could I make the next person I call happy to hear from me?

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