Whether you’ve been recently laid off or have decided to embark on a new career, you’ve likely learned how competitive today’s job market is. For every available position there are as many as 30-40 qualified candidates vying for the same spot as you. Therefore, if you really want that new position and title, you have to know the rules of today’s job search reality.
While in years’ past you simply had to write a good resume and be confident in an interview, today it’s not so cut and dry. In fact, regardless of your desired industry or position, in today’s job market you must be a master promoter – of yourself, your strengths, your background, your expertise, and even your future contributions. But promoting does not mean exaggerating the facts. It simply means talking about your competencies, your attitude, and what you can do for the company.
Remember, the person interviewing you has something you (and many other people) want. The more prepared you are for any interview and the more you sell yourself, the better your chances of getting the job. As you continue to embark on your job search quest, keep the following guidelines in mind so you can promote yourself in the best way possible.
• Know what to say…
Being gracious, warm, and cordial to the interviewer is great, but being chatty is not acceptable. So when someone asks you a question, answer the question with a brief example of what you’re describing, but don’t give the person a novella. They don’t want to hear your entire history – just the highlights of your work history. Remember that it’s a job interview, not a social engagement.
• …And know what not to say.
Never say anything negative about a past employer. Even if you were fired from a past position and they know it, don’t say, “The company was so disorganized and didn’t know what they were doing, so I was glad to leave.” Instead, stay as positive and likeable as possible. You could say, “Yes, I got fired. Here’s why and here’s what I’ve learned from it.”
• Be likable.
Often, being likable is more important than qualifications. Companies want people who are likable, who get along well with others, who are open minded, and who can learn fast. Show them that you’re that person in everything you say and do.
• Use the four magic words during the interview.
The four magic words are: “I want the job.” If you’ve done all your research on the company, you like the person interviewing you, and you know you want the position, then speak up and say so. Come right out and say, “Thank you for the interview. I want the job. What are the next steps?”
No one ever said getting a job in today’s marketplace was easy. But it is doable if you have the right attitude. With some patience and a proactive approach, you can find the job of your dreams.