Today I was discussing my discouraging job search with a blogging buddy who is in the same sinking boat. Somehow we got on the subject of blog topics and he suggested I write up a list of job-hunting tips.
Problem is, seven-and-a-half months of hard effort have not yet garnered a job offer so while I am certainly a reluctant and repeated veteran of the unemployment wars I don’t feel qualified to suggest anything positive to other career seekers.
However, I do feel up to providing a bulleted breakdown of things to avoid, so here goes.
- …talk too much in interviews. My biggest weakness. And the more I worry about my prospects, the more I talk. I volunteer all sorts of nonsense. I’m sure some interviewers think I’m on truth serum. I need to constantly work on this character flaw (note to self: reduce coffee intake prior to interviewing).
- …avoid your homework. Know at least something about your prospect’s business. A few times during this period I have not researched far and wide enough. It tends to show.
- …stare dumbly when you’re asked if you have any final questions. ALWAYS save at least one for that time. It always comes up. The interviewer will look at you expectantly, and you had better have something for them. Just don’t violate the first bullet in your eagerness.
- …forget the Thank You notes. A quick email or LinkedIn message after the interview is nice, but a handwritten card can seal the deal if you’re on equal footing with another candidate. Just keep the card simple. No stickers, smiley faces or jokes. Most importantly, never write “LOL” on any communications.
- …let despair get the best of you. That’s been the hardest one of all for me, especially when I’m turned down for an interview or offer. It can be difficult not to take it personally sometimes. Pulling weeds in my garden helps vent the frustration, and keeps me from expanding to fill my chair as I wait patiently, crackers in hand, for THAT phone call.
All kidding aside, I’ve definitely been honing my technique and have a feeling it is about to pay off. An interview next week seems very promising. Now I just have to psyche myself up for a really long commute…