The Class of 2017 is now home and ready to put their newly earned degrees to work. Job market newbies need to bring their best game to the interview. Here are some tips so you WILL get the offer, instead of being passed over. Learn from these proven mistakes.
Number 1 reason you didn’t get the job:
This document is your professional entrée to an employer. It needs to look great, be flawless in spelling and punctuation and follow the Goldilocks rule – not too long, not too short, but just right. Read it, read it again and have other people read it. Is it attractive? Does it highlight relevant classwork, experience, and extracurricular activities? Get rid of the fluff. Make every word meaningful. Pay attention to layout and readability.
Number 2 reason you didn’t get the job:
You didn’t prepare for the interview.
We bet most of you spend a good part of your free time surfing the internet. When you are job hunting, use those skills to gather intelligence. This means look at a prospective employer’s website, click through several pages. Read the content. Check out the person who is going to interview you on the company’s website, LinkedIn or Twitter. Do your homework leading up to the interview. Go in knowing more than just the time of your appointment.
Number 3 reason you didn’t get the job:
When I asked you if you had any questions, you asked me how much vacation time came with the position.
Now that’s something that is important, it’s just not the right time to ask it. There are many good questions to ask an interviewer like, “Why is the position open?” “How would you describe the company culture?” etc. There are books and many useful job search sites that can offer you good preparation for these questions.
Number 4 reason you didn’t the job:
You dressed for failure.
Casual attire is not appropriate for an interview – even if you know the environment is likely to be informal. No old jeans..no tee shirts, no sundresses or shorts, no flip flops, no sunglasses (either on your face or on the top of your head), no plunging necklines. If you would wear it to a barbecue or a club – don’t wear it to the interview. The employer wants to know you have the common sense to know what is right, even if your daily job will allow you to dress business casual.
Number 5 reason you didn’t get the job:
You are too addicted to your technology.
This means you thought you could sneak a peak at your cell phone or held it in your palm. You forgot to silence the ringer or message alert. TURN IT OFF. Provide your undivided attention to the interviewer.
Number 6 reason you didn’t get the job:
You thought you could “wing” your answers.
Interviewers are likely to ask you some core questions, regardless of the job or industry. Things like “What interests you most about this opportunity?” – “What are your strengths or weaknesses?” “Why should we hire you?” These basic questions are common to most every intervew so you really need to have these answers glide off your lips easily. Get a book about interviewing or find a website with sample questions. Practice your responses. Role play with someone. See where you need work or what kinds of questions trip you up. An interview is really no different than studying for an exam and showing the interviewer you know the material – in this case, YOU!
Number 7 reason you didn’t the job:
You barely made eye contact, your handshake was weak, you fidgeted in your seat or you didn’t smile.
We get that you’re nervous, but guess what – people hire people they like. People who appear friendly, confident, approachable. Be that person.
Number 8 reason you didn’t get the job:
You didn’t convince me you wanted it.
The interviewer wants to know the position interests you. When you give an answer tell why you are the right person. What makes you stand out from other entry level candidates – is it your internship, your work experience, your good grades, your desire to learn at an organization like ours? Show me that you want to know what our culture is about – beyond the job description.
Number 9 reason you didn’t get the job:
You showed up late.
This can be a kiss of death. Timing is important. An interviewer can run late, but a job candidate cannot. That’s the rule. Live it.
Number 10 reason you didn’t the job:
You didn’t send a thank you note.
When you leave, be sure to have the interviewer’s correct name and title. If they have a business card on their desk, ask if you may take one. Send a nicely written note – email is fine, but not text messages. Reinforce your interest in the position and why you are the right fit. Be sure you do not use text abbreviations – spell out words – no OMG or LOL. This is also a good place to give the employer a link to your LinkedIn profile – giving more information about yourself – if you have not already provided it.
Number 11 reason you didn’t get the job:
You don’t have a LinkedIn profile or you didn’t check out your digital footprint.
What – no LinkedIn profile? Create one tonight. Put up a nice, professional looking photo of yourself – don’t crop out someone else so you still see their head. Make sure your resume and your profile have the same dates and info. Ask your instructors or past employers to write testimonials about you and why you are a good prospective employee— these can be seen easily and read by a future boss. Many people think LinkedIn profiles will replace the traditional resume. Create one now and start building your professional online network as soon as possible. Then while you’re at it google yourself. Anything questionable come up? While you are job hunting, remove detractors like wild party photos, posts with cursing, political nastiness, inappropriate jokes, embarrassing videos – you get the idea. Don’t be brought down by digital dirt and no posting about that “lame interviewer” in your Twitter feed.
Number 12 reason you didn’t get the job:
You didn’t follow up.
Lots of candidates have a tough time with this. They sit and wait for the phone to ring like someone waiting for a second date. They are afraid to be proactive. At the end of the interview, be sure you ask what the decision making process is – when will they decide and how will you know. Give it a week, go ahead and make the call. If the news is you didn’t get it, ask if you can re-apply in the future or how you might have improved your chances of getting hired. It is better to know this than to not know, but a lot of people are afraid to hear it. Use whatever you learn to make the next interview you land even better.
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