Don’t waste your time shooting out résumés before you’ve aimed for your ideal job, Davidson says. “When you go after jobs you aren’t qualified for, you are rejected more often. Take the time to ready your job search, aim for what you want and pursue your career with fiery determination.”
“Unless you’re looking to be cast in the next play, hiring managers are not interested in watching you act,” Hollister says. Decide whether a video résumé is appropriate to the position for which you’re applying before sending one.
Never call your interviewer by his or her first name, including interviewers younger than you, says career management expert Sally Haver. Until you hear, “You can call me Fred,” or the equivalent, address the interviewer formally.
“Keep your private life private,” Davidson advises. “Make sure all of your wild photos on Facebook or MySpace are not available to the public.”
“One of the biggest turn-offs for a hiring manager is when a candidate they are interviewing has not done the research necessary to understand both the position and the company they are applying for,” Hollister says. Davidson agrees: “Unless you are more prepared, more practiced and more passionate than the other candidates, you are wasting everyone’s time.”
You’ve heard it once. You’ll hear it again. “Don’t dress too sexy, too casual, too outrageous or wear too much jewelry,” says Bill Behn, national director of staffing for the Atlanta branch of SolomonEdwardsGroup, a CFO services firm. “Dress for the position you want to have.”
Apply only for the jobs and companies that interest you, Davidson says. “Go after that job like an Olympic athlete goes for a medal.” Don’t waste time sending out résumés for positions you don’t really want.
“An interviewer is not looking for a yes or no response to their question,” Hollister says. “They do want a direct response, but it is OK to support your point with specific examples that are relevant to your work experience.” On the other hand don’t too talk too much. It reveals nervousness or the inability to deliver a direct response.
“I actually had an interviewee tell me to contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Behn says. “Needless to say, that person was not offered the job.”
“Sending a 10-page résumé is a mammoth error,” Davidson says. Highlight your abilities in one page. If you’re having trouble, invite someone to help you. “Remember the person reviewing résumés has 15 seconds to decide to bring you in.”
“They say it’s all about networking,” Hollister says. “They’re right.” Not networking with everyone you know cuts your chances of finding a great job, Davidson says. The more people you involve, the better your chances.
Many applicants think asking for help is a sign of weakness, Davidson says. In reality, it’s one of the most courageous and effective actions you can take. Ask someone you admire for help during your job search.
Always send a thank-you e-mail to the hiring manager. Use it as an opportunity to leave an impression on him or her by referencing something you discussed in your interview, Hollister suggests.
“Regardless of how valid your point-of-view is, it’s not necessary to trash your past employer,” Hollister says. If you’re asked to talk about your previous job, be prepared to put a positive spin on it, showing you valued the experience.
“Not asking open-ended questions is a sure-fire way to show that you don’t care about the company or the position you’re interviewing for,” Behn says. Ask questions like, “Where do you see this position going?” “What is going to make the person who takes this position successful?” “Why is the position open?” or, “How do you see me fitting in here?”
Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
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