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Rev Up Your Job Search: Do’s and Don’ts

Looking for work? It’s not enough that you search the job boards. You’ve gotta know how to master the art of packaging and presenting yourself – and of connecting with your would-be boss’ representative.

What have you got to offer the world of business? Plenty, right? It’s important that you take steps to accentuate the positive and diminish or ameliorate the negative (think: damage control, if there’s something you aren’t particularly proud of, which is circulating online).

Here are some do’s and don’ts to enhance the way you’re seen by future and would-be employers, and to help keep you upwind of anything that’ll take away from a good impression.

DO check information on yourself, online. It’s important, however, not to let everything you find online bother you  – many items on the ‘net aren’t necessarily reliable, and hiring managers know that.

Share what you’ve been up to lately. You might wish to refresh the info you find (from a professional perspective).  For instance, have you veered a bit, vocationally – perhaps broadening your involvement in the sales training field?

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that, in your last three jobs your duties were strictly sales-related.  But as of last week, you’ve been promoted – Congratulations!- and are now part of top management.  It’s time to let your business-related social sites catch up with you.

Google yourself to see if there are networking sites that haven’t been updated to indicate your latest position(s).  Update them pronto.

DON’T mix personal and business information. There’s nothing wrong with telling your circle of friends and close acquaintances of your BMXing ambitions.  Certainly you WANT your pals (especially if they’re at all competitive) to learn of your derring-do.

Are you sure, ‘though, that you’d like to flaunt your exploits to those who would be depending on you on a pretty regular basis?  They’d rather know that you’re doing all you can to protect life and limb.

Try to see it from your would-be employer’s point of view.  If they’re thinking you might end up with fractures or other sports-related ills as a result of your activities, they might think twice before hiring you. Why?  They wouldn’t want to lose your services for weeks on end…or to have you in bandages or on crutches, as that might interfere with your ability to carry out your job duties.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

The solution?  Set your social media pages to “Private only”, and otherwise arrange to have photos and anecdotes about your risky avocations removed (or un-tagged) so they’re rendered “not for public viewing”.

And if there’s any sort of information that doesn’t present you in your best possible light, and which will no doubt end up on the hiring manager’s desk, bone up on what you’re going to be telling your interviewer.

None of us are perfect; mistakes happen.

It’s how you handle the situation, and, most important, how you plan to go forward from here on in, that counts.

For example:  were you let go from one job because a customer complained bitterly about you?  Take a moment not to overlook the forest, for the trees.

The pro’s – you were, overall, an A+ worker; your ethics were impeccable – you were honest and hardworking – you gave good value for your salary; you were in before anyone else in the office and you were always among the last to leave.

The cons – you ticked off a customer who spent a huge amount in advertising – but you’d love the opportunity to make it right, if you could – and you haven’t remained bitter about the dismissal.

In fact, you consider the years you spent in the company to have been most instructive and fulfilling.

Would you do things differently if you could? Absolutely. But hindsight is always 20/20.

Tell your interviewer you’re a quick learner, and that you were always affable and respectful…that this was an isolated incident.

NEVER badmouth either the ex-employer or a customer. Impress the interviewer with how you consider this one of the most informative lessons of late. Mention that you’ve taken steps to tweak your approach.  Then demonstrate to the hiring manager just how you’d handle the incident differently, if given another chance.

DO practice simple etiquette when faced with a few nibbles.  If you want to stay in the running, do NOT put off responding to a reply. Remember that the hiring managers are scouting for enthusiastic team players, not dilly dalliers who seem lethargic in their communiqués. What do I mean?

Which answer seems more employable to you?

Background: The date of the potential client’s reply was December 3.

Response I

December 4 –

Dear Mr. Josephson:  Thank you for your response to my application. I am excited to have the opportunity to continue with our dialogue to see if there is, indeed a fit.

I have ten years of experience as a Development Consultant, and welcome the opportunity to detail just how my skill sets dovetail into your specifications.

Would it be possible for me to set up a telephone consultation via Skype, or, if you’ll provide me with your direct number, to place a long-distance call from my office here in Cincinnati to yours, in Chicago?

Looking forward to hearing from you, I am

Sincerely yours,

Rafaela Nelson

Response II

December 12

To Whom It May Concern:

Thanks for your e-mail.

I’m kind-of tied up right now but would like to discuss the particulars of the job as soon as I get a free moment.

I’ll be in touch – probably next week.

Yours,

Rafaela Nelson

Analysis:

Sample II is not only not timely, but it’s off-the-cuff (there doesn’t seem to have been any thought put into the letter)…and not at all enthusiastic.

As if that weren’t enough, the response leaves the hiring manager hanging, by not giving a specific follow-up date as to when the applicant will be available for an interview.

DO tell your contacts that you’re in the market for a lucrative, well-paying and challenging job in your field.

Then, provide some sort of an incentive.

Tell those same contacts that, to those who provide leads which include a name (first and last) and, if possible, a title, you’ll buy them lunch.

Better yet, barter with them!  Are you a computer guru? Tell your associates you’ll help them set up the basics of a site for their new concept-in-development.

Do you have a flair for baking?  Chocolate cupcakes would do nicely as a thank you.

The idea is to fix the idea in your network pals’ minds….and, of course, to practice your win/win skills.

The next time a golden opportunity opens up, you just might find that you hear about it pretty early in the game.

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