Many of the mistakes people make when job hunting could be avoided, says Robin Ryan (www.robinryan.com), a vocational counselor, motivational speaker and author of 60 Seconds & You’re Hired!
“I divide my time between talking to hiring executives, HR folks and working with job search clients. This gives me a very broad view of what people do that works, and what trips them up—often without realizing it,” Ryan says.
In the competitive business world, even the little things can help you stand out. Make sure it's in a good way. The Business Protocol Handbook
The top reasons job hunters fail, according to Ryan:
1. Failure to quickly sell your accomplishments and results. “Résumés get glanced at and rejected in 15 seconds or less. Generic job descriptions, vague and unfocused résumés don’t work,” she says.
Tips: Use verbs like "streamlined," "created" and "implemented"—to show you’re a take-charge, get-the-job-done person. When applying online, always follow up by mailing a hard-copy résumé—it doubles your chances of getting noticed.
2. Not writing a cover letter. Job hunters often think they can skip this step, especially when they apply electronically. But a well-written one can capture the interview.
Tip: Make one document that includes both cover letter and résumé. Begin your letter with a powerful first paragraph that sums up your related experience, key strengths, skills and accomplishments.
3. Making a poor first impression. Dressing inappropriately, wasting time telling your life story, not appearing confident, not being well-informed about the company or nervousness gets you off to a bad start—a start from which you may never recover.
“Employers often make snap decisions and many confess that they often mentally dismiss a candidate during the first five minutes after meeting them,” Ryan says.
Tip: When the interviewer leans back and says, “Tell me about yourself,” forget an autobiography. Use a “60-second sell” to sum up your top-five selling points, based on the job skills the employer seeks.
4. Stumped by tough interview questions. Today’s job hunters seem unprepared for the tougher typical questions, says Ryan, such as “Tell us about your worst boss.”
Tip: Be ready for situational questions, where you need to recall specific examples of past performance, such as, “Describe a recent work mistake.”
5. Asking mundane questions. Hiring managers complain that candidates seem to care only about how much they’ll earn and how much vacation time they’ll get. Other candidates often search for something to ask, seeming spacey or uninterested.
Tip: Most employers listen to the questions you ask as a sign of how you’d think and act on the job.
Good questions to ask: “Could you describe to me your management style?” “What are your major concerns that need to be immediately addressed in this job?” or “How have budget cuts affected the department?”
Not only can you use Business Protocol Handbook to brush up on office etiquette, you can also use it to get ahead. Using the tips the handbook provides, you can impress clients and land those deals that might have passed you by if you hadn’t gone that extra mile. Professional courtesy is always appreciated – and it can even make people want to do business with you.
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