This post is PART THREE of a series
If you have not read PART ONE, visit here
For PART TWO, visit here

PHEW…you survived the interview…now what?  YOU must stand out amongst the sea of applicants.  Even if you feel you did that during the interview…

You aren’t done yet!!

Follow up is one of the most important parts of this entire process.  It is not unusual for an interviewer to have a high number of interviews to conduct for one position.  If you think it’s an exhausting process for you, multiply that and think of what the interviewer is going through.  After a few interviews, everyone kind of runs together in their mind.  It doesn’t matter if you are the first or last person interviewed,

In the previous post, I mentioned having at least one question at the end of the interview.  A great question (if it wasn’t already covered) would be “How much longer do you anticipate it will be before you make a final decision?”  Some positions will require a 2nd interview.  If the time window is at least 3 days, make sure you get the correct spelling of the name of the person (or people) who interviewed you.  You can get this from the receptionist if you do not already have it.  Ask for their business card if you think they may have one (a fast food restaurant or small mom & pop store manager may not have one).

Upon returning home, get a Thank You card in the mail to the interviewer.   KISS – Keep It Super Simple.  Do not restate your qualifications.  Do not dazzle them with colorful pens or markers.  Just a simple “Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to interview me for the position of XYZ.  I look forward to hearing of your decision.”  Sign it with your full name and phone number.   If you have bad handwriting, print your name.   This one small step will make you stand out above the hundreds of other applicants.

I’ll never forget the ONE (yes – ONLY ONE) follow up card I got in the mail after a week long interviewing process.  Needless to say, that person got the job.

And again…just like before…call once a week to check and see if the position has been filled.

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Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
What will you do with it?

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This post is PART TWO of a series
If you have not read PART ONE, visit here

So…You’ve been called for an interview…now what?

CRUNCH TIME…if you haven’t already – find out as much as you can about the company. You want to be able to have an intelligent conversation about your potential job.

Think of the answers to the following questions:

1. Why do you want to work for XYZ company?
(Don’t ever say “I need money”. Think of a good reason.)

2. What are your strengths?
(Don’t brag too much here. Just list a couple strengths.)

3. What are your weaknesses?
(Don’t ever say “I have none”. NO ONE is perfect. This question is a classic interview test. Say things like “Some people think I’m a perfectionist” or “I am not comfortable asking for help, but am willing to accept it.”)

4. Do you have any more questions for me?
(Try to think of something…anything…to ask about the position)

Plan what you will wear to the interview ahead of time. You will want to be neatly groomed (ie: hair washed and combed, clothes freshly washed, teeth brushed, deodorant on, etc…) Don’t laugh. I used to be a human resource rep and you would be surprised at the number of people who don’t even appear to have combed their hair for an interview. An interviewer’s worst nightmare is trying to conduct an interview with a clearly qualified candidate who has bad breath or body odor. Before you get to the interview, suck on a mint or chew a piece of gum (GET RID OF IT BEFORE THE INTERVIEW. Don’t be sucking on a mint or chewing gum at the interview.)

On the flip side, DO NOT use perfume or cologne. I remember one time I interviewed this woman who posessed every qualification we wanted, however, after the excruciating interview, my co-workers told me they would QUIT if I hired this person. Her perfume was so overwhelming that we could taste it. The stench hung in the air for the rest of the day. People would walk into my office and ask what in the world that horrible smell was. The perfume probably smelled good in moderation, however, so many people have no clue what moderation means that it is safer to just shower, brush your teeth and put deodorant on and no other scents.  Not to mention, the scent of your perfume or cologne may be attached to memories of a terrible relationship for your interviewer and you just blew your interview.  You don’t want that to happen.

Keep these appearance tips in mind when preparing for your interview. No one expects you to look like a model, however, you can take steps to appear and smell neatly groomed.

When you are being interviewed, sit up straight but not rigid. Take a deep breath and think for a second or two before you answer.  Interviewers understand that you are nervous.  That’s ok.  Your answers and appearance are what matter at this point.

GOOD LUCK!!!

NEXT IN THE SERIES – You Survived the Interview, Now What?

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Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

What will you do with it?

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How to Find a JOB in Today’s Economy

This post is PART ONE of a series

First of all, let me say that I don’t advocate having a “job”. I am a self employed entrepreneur and do not ever want to have to go do the 9 to 5 thing again. It is not a fit for me. Now…with that said…there are many people out there who are not good candidates to be self employed and need a job. This post is for you.

I don’t care how bad people claim the economy is. There are a lot of companies hiring. They may not be paying what you are used to. For example, you may have to work for $10 per hour instead of $12, but $10 is better than ZERO. Working for any amount of money is better than laying around on unemployment being a bum. So…let’s get started.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. You have no job. Maybe you just graduated school or maybe you lost your job due to unforeseen circumstances. Maybe you are just looking for a new job because you hate the one you have now. Whatever the reason, you are looking for a new job.

First identify what you would like to do. Search online for companies in your area. Look through the phone book. Look around as you’re driving down the road and see if any companies come to mind as a place you would like to work. Let’s say you love shoes. Well…start with the local shoe stores. You may not make a lot of money, but you will probably get a really good discount on something you like to buy anyway. This post isn’t about making a ton of money, it’s about step ONE – getting a job and getting some cash flow. Once you find a job, you can always look for something better.

Once you’ve identified a few companies at which you would like to work, you are ready for step two. Go to each of these companies and fill out an application. DO NOT ASK IF THEY ARE HIRING. This is very important. All companies accept applications and resumes whether they are hiring or not. No one can tell the future. They don’t know if perhaps someone will die tomorrow, leaving them with an opening. Or maybe someone quits. Or maybe the punk kid who loves to defy authority will punch the boss in the nose and end up in jail, leaving an opening. See what I mean? This is why you never wait until there is an opening to apply.

When you hand in your application, ask if there is someone you can talk to about it. If no one is available right then, ask who the hiring manager is. Write down their name and direct phone number or extension. This person will be one of your new best friends.

Every 3 to 4 days (once per week MINIMUM), call the hiring manager. Let him or her know that you filled out an application (or submitted a resume) on whatever date you did it. Tell them you just wanted to make a quick call to see if any openings have come up. Keep this call short unless the hiring manager asks you questions. If that happens, answer the questions as clearly and quickly as possible. Don’t go off on a tangent or chit chat. If they are asking you questions, that means there is a reason for it. Maybe they know an opening is coming up.

You never want to “pop in” without an appointment. Here is why you should call as opposed to walking in. Let’s say you applied at a store where the hiring manager works in a visible position. You walk in and say “Hi – I’m Joe Smith and I filled out an application on (date). I wanted to touch base and see if you anticipate any openings coming up in the near future.” Mr./Ms. Hiring Manager is not prepared for you at that point. They will most likely be polite and say there are no openings right now. You go on your merry way and the person who is scheduled for the next shift doesn’t show up. The hiring manager thinks “HHMMM…I should call that person who came in to check on their application. But…I have 50 applications here and don’t remember his name. He has brown hair. I can picture his face, but his name escapes me.” and they go to the pile of 50 applications and may not come across yours before they find someone else willing to work.

However, if you call, managers are already predisposed to have a pen and paper handy when taking a phone call. When taking your call, the will write down your name. This extra step of writing your name down will help them remember it. Now when the person who is scheduled for the next shift doesn’t show up, the hiring manager thinks “OH – Joe Smith has been calling. Let me pull his application and call him. He seems like someone who actually WANTS to work.” Your NAME will be on their mind instead of your FACE. (CAUTION: This will only work if you call on a regular basis. If you call one day and don’t call again for a month, it will not work. You MUST be consistent.)

Don’t forget – you identified a few companies in step one. The more companies you have in the pipeline, the better. Let’s say you chose 10 companies. You can take one day per week and call all of them. Keep notes of when you called and with whom you spoke. If you do not actually speak with the hiring manager, keep calling on a daily basis until you speak with them directly. Add one or two new companies per week to the pipeline (or more if you are real serious about getting a job).

NEXT IN THE SERIES – You’ve Got an Interview, Now What?

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Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
What will you do with it?

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