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Twelve Sure-Fire Ways To Snag a Job Interview

You are all set. You’ve put together that award-winning resume or Curriculum Vitae (more about the difference in a minute); you’ve picked out the snazziest suit you can find, dusted off your portfolio, and even splurged for a manicure and hair trim.

Good for you!First impressions count.

When you walk in through the door to speak with your recruiter or with the person doing the hiring, you’ll have the confidence and the expertise that goes hand-in-hand with being prepared.

So have you scheduled your first job interview yet? No? Hmmm.

That’s a major hurdle you’ll have to clear before you’re able to make that big impression.

“If I can only get in the door, I’m sure I can show them that I’m the person for the job,” you must be thinking.

You’re absolutely right.

If there’s one deciding factor, it’s the fact that you’ve been able to convince the recruiter that you’re worth investing some time and effort in. After all, there’s another impression that counts.  Yes, the initial one does, when the recruiter has your history in hand.  However, there’s one that’s even more important.

The game-clincher, the deal-maker is this:  You’ll be rated on how firm your grasp is when you shake hands; on how ready you seem to hit the floor running when you start your new job; on how prepared you are to join the company; on what sort of a team member you’d make…and all of this can only be determined in person.

Yes, some recruiters will have you cross a few t’s and dot a few i’s before you’re hired…you’ll have to meet so-and-so, to see if you gel, and your history and connections will be bandied about by a few powers-that-be.

But what got the ball rolling?

An in-person interview.

The fact that you walked in the door in the first place, and that you delivered on what your resume or CV promised.

When you proffered your exemplary resume and outstanding list of prior business references and/or connections, you built up your would-be employer’s expectations, and you did NOT dash them to smithereens when you walked in the door.

This cements the positive experience.

It’s a huge plus in a recruiter’s book when you reinforce the fact that interviewing you is one of the best decisions the recruiter has made all year. What they saw on paper/heard on the phone/read in Skype or Hangouts is exactly what they got – you!

And all of that because you snagged the interview to begin with.

Do you see how important it is to get you in the door?  The rest is up to you.

OK, so let’s do it!  Here’s what you need to accomplish to commandeer an interview.  In order of importance:

  1. Tweak your resume and CV.  Now let’s delve into the difference between the two formats. For fields where a huge emphasis is placed on education, teaching and publications, Curriculum Vitaes are welcome.  These are usually 2 or 3 pages in length.

A resume is more concise….in fact, the briefer a resume is, the more apt the recruiters or Hiring Managers will be to look at it.  Do be forewarned that some interviewers won’t look at a CV, as they find it too time-consuming.

Again, the field would have to be a bit scholarly for you to send CV’s exclusively.  Tip:  if you ARE concerned with detailing your academic background, teaching experience, presentations, etc., and fully expect it to be the usual 2 or 3-pager, you may be asked to submit a CV Summary, which, in cases where there are many applicants, dwindles the playing field a bit, so to speak.

A resume, of course, classifies everything:  your education, your experience, your skills and any other accomplishments which will show the interviewer that you are a well-balanced applicant.   It does this in a one to a one-and-a-half page format.

When you’re listing your history, remember to use action verbs which vary from entry to entry.  You wish to impress the interviewer with the fact that you are capable of all of the job skills which are, indeed, possessed by you.  If you say “coordinated” too many times, that skill set is likely to stay with the recruiter as your main asset.  Use a synonym dictionary or go online at synonym.com for help.

  1. Be realistic when pitching yourself on the phone or via e-mail, or via snail mail.  By that we mean that you should not over-emphasize certain capabilities if you are not truly expert at them.  Focus, instead, on all the great skills you excel at.
  2. Be prepared to answer a few select vetting questions on the phone or via e-mail.  Make a list of how you’ll answer the sorts of questions you have come to expect in most interviews. You don’t wish to be hemming and hawing when responding.  For instance, know in advance how you will answer when asked about challenges you met and conquered and reasons for leaving your previous places of business.
  3. Sign up for a Skype or Hangouts account. Many interviewers like the “shorthand” method of reaching out, at least initially.
  4. Practice modulating your voice. Listen to a recording of yourself.  Breathe in and out like the Yogi’s do – to a count of 4 – 7 – 8  (4 seconds through your nose on the intake; 7 to hold and 8 to exhale through the mouth).  Don’t rush when speaking.  Similarly, don’t dawdle when answering questions—or asking them.
  5. Be ultra-specific when laying claim to what it is you are looking to do.  Stand out from the crowd.  Be noticed by your desire to do what very few can do. Example:  Rather than keeping it generic when announcing that you would like to be in management, explain what sort of management, in what industry, and to accomplish what.
  6. Do a bit of research on your would-be employers.
  7. Sit for a moment and think about what your strengths and skill sets truly are.  We all have unique personalities…and one-of-a-kind backgrounds…and way different approaches to things.  The combination is as special as a snowflake (no two are alike). In addition, examine how you perceive your capabilities. Don’t be wishy washy. Do you really feel as if you’re going to contribute to a company by coming on board? Then be prepared to explain what sort of a fit you’d make, and why.
  8. Make a valuable new connection by going “straight to the top”, as it were.  Call the person who’s directly in charge of hiring for the slot you’ve applied for.  Ask them to consider your application, and assure them that your background will dovetail into their requirements.
  9. Network.
  10. Engage in appropriate, but persistent, follow-up.
  11. Have you considered developing a marketing or leave-behind piece?  Design a one-paragraph “biopic”. It leaves more of an impression than a business card.

Now go snag that all-important job interview!

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