Part 1: How to Impress Potential Employers
These days, it is more important than ever to impress a potential employer. In today’s job market, you need to make the most of every opportunity. But many job seekers commit common mistakes that can doom their chances, says Andrea Kay, career consultant and author of the upcoming book, “This is How to Get Your Next Job: An inside look at what employers really want.”
TOP: What do job seekers do that turn off employers?
Kay: I asked employers--and based my new book on this one question: "Why didn't you hire the last 10 people you interviewed?" All of them said it was because of how the job applicant seemed based on how he or she acted before, during or after an interview. They felt the behaviors revealed or predicted what kind of employee someone might be, whether the person could do the job and whether he or she would be a "good fit" for their company. Specific examples: shared details about personal problems, got exasperated when asked probing questions about their qualifications or background, and sent resumes and other documents with typographical errors.
TOP: What do employers want (but have a hard time finding) in a potential employee?
Kay: Experience is nice, but overrated. And if you're new to the job market or changing careers, you won't have much of it. Abilities and skills to do a particular job can be key. But employers care most about a person's particular qualities, characteristics and attitudes. Some of the specifics they're looking for (I discuss 17 in the book)—and they are having a hard time finding candidates who exhibit--include:
• Consistent, stable behavior
• Clear, critical thinking
• Excitement about the job or industry
• Intellectual curiosity
• Gumption and passion that says you're worth the investment
• Ability to communicate effectively
TOP: How can you demonstrate some of these qualities when you first contact an employer or follow up?
Kay: First, think through the specific qualities and other ways you want to be seen. Then think: What do I need to say on the phone or write in my correspondence to illustrate this? What particular language would I use? Is there an achievement or experience I can summarize that illustrates how much, for example, I love technology? Most people would just say or write: "I really enjoy technology." That's nice. But several million other people also do. If you want to get the employer's attention and demonstrate your excitement about this work, share examples of how you utilize and seek out technology in your own life. Mention what you know about projects the company is working on (yes, you have do your research) and how this is similar to a project you worked on that did such-and-such and why that excites you.
We’ll share Part 2 of our chat with Andrea tomorrow.
Image courtesy of AndreaKay