Applying for jobs takes effort. For each job application, you may need to complete a lengthy online questionnaire and then transmit your resume and cover letter. If you are tailoring your submission to the job as I recommend, it takes even more time. Many people get exhausted by the process, which they liken to a full-time job.
So what I’m about to say may not sit well with all you worn-out job seekers: Putting extra effort into your job search may be the reason you get hired. When an employer considers all the qualified candidates, you want to be the one he or she remembers most. You want to be the one who stands out. You want to get the job offer. If you focus your hunt on the jobs you most want and seek opportunities by networking, you often can streamline the process because you are not applying for every job opening.
So what does extra effort in the job search look like? Following are some examples.
- Seek out a contact at an organization of interest if possible. Let the person know you are applying for a job and ask if he or she can put you in touch with the right individual. Human contact can keep you from getting screened out. You can often accomplish this kind of networking via email, which makes it less daunting for shy and introverted job seekers.
- Show enthusiasm throughout the job search process and during all employer interactions, including in your cover letter, phone conversations, emails, and job interviews. Believe it or not, many job candidates react to job openings as if they could take it or leave it. When I was a hiring manager, I had candidates tell me they just needed any job. That’s not the best way to show you’ll work with gusto for the employer.
- Give examples of your skills and knowledge in your cover letter and resume and in job interviews. Show how you will meet and exceed the company’s needs and expectations by providing specific examples of how you helped previous employers function, improve, prosper, and grow.
- Submit samples of your work and explain why they are relevant to your potential employer. Consider creating a website that showcases and links to your best material, if your field lends itself to that type of presentation. It’s a great way for introverted and shy job seekers to excel in the job hunt.
- Prepare for job interviews by researching all you can about the company and the job and making a list of questions to ask, such as the employer’s biggest challenges and the traits of their ideal candidate for the job. Don’t ask about points you can learn from the organization’s website. Show your knowledge of the field, the company, and the job by making insightful comments about the organization’s purpose or products. Also rehearse answers to commonly asked interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you want to work here?” Preparation is a great way to reduce shyness and nervousness.
- Look the part. Be sure to dress well for interviews. It never hurts to be a bit more dressed up than you will need to be on the job. Good dressing and grooming make a great impression and show you care.
- Say you want the job. Hardly anyone tells employers, “I’d love to work here. I want this job.” Making this statement is a powerful way to make a memorable impression. Employers want you to be a committed and excited part of their team, so don’t let them guess about this point.
- Send a thank-you note or email after job interviews. Restate your desire for the job. Most job seekers don’t send thank-you notes, and it’s an easy way to be remembered, especially if you are shy or introverted. Plus it’s good manners.
- Make a follow-up call to the organization about a week after the interview. Let the person know you want the job, mention again how your skills fit the job, and ask if the person has any more questions for you.
Have you taken extra effort in your job search? If so, tell me what you did and what happened.