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How to get more job interviews

Written by Amine

Richard Bolles, job search guru and author of What Color Is Your Parachute? predicts that you can expect to spend 1-2 months looking for work for every $10,000 you want to earn. So if you’re looking for a $40,000/year position, you can look for 4-8 months. Back when the economy was sizzling, this length of job search would have seemed outrageous, but now many people would be thrilled to search for only 4-8 months.

Now the question is: How can you limit the length of your job search regardless of what is happening with the local economy?

The answer to this question depends on the strength of your job search campaign. Check out these common job search problems. If your campaign is suffering from any of these symptoms, try one or more of the tips designed for each.

If you’re sending resumes but not getting interviews:

o Your campaign may not be intense enough. Remember, job hunting is a full-time job. Increase the number of contacts with the employer via phone, fax, mail and email to 10-20 per week. Collect leads from more different sources than you have used before, such as networks, newspaper ads and websites. But most importantly, tap into the hidden job market.

Bottom line: Getting interviews from resumes is partly a numbers game. Contact multiple employers to increase the odds in your favor.

o Your resume can reveal that you don’t have the skills employers want. Get them! A tight economy means employers can command whatever skills, credentials and experience they want, so why argue with them? Volunteer, take a course, or create a self-study program to learn what you need to learn. Or take a lower-level position that prepares you to advance to the job you really want.

Bottom line: It’s up to you to qualify for the job you want. Show your initiative and enroll in this class now, then don’t forget to list your new skills in your CV.

o You may not be contacting employers who are buying the skills you are selling. First, identify three skills you have that you want to offer employers. Second, match these skills to three different types of positions that commonly use your preferred skills. Next, link each of the positions you identify to specific local industries and employers that hire people with the skills you’re marketing. Then create different versions of your resume for each of the types of positions you intend to apply for. Make sure each version highlights and documents your ability to do what you claim you can do.

Bottom line: Different employers need different things from their employees. Know what you have to sell and sell it to the companies that want it. At all costs, avoid generalizing your resume with clich├ęs and vague statements.

o Your resume may misrepresent what you have to offer. If you have weaknesses in your employment chronology or if you are changing careers, you will need to pay close attention to structuring your resume content to overcome any perceived weaknesses. Create a strong career summary that highlights your primary skills, attributes, credentials, experience, and goals. Group your most marketable skills into an achievements section and showcase them with numbers, specific nouns, and clear labels of the results you’ve achieved. Use company research and the employer’s job description to target your edited resume to the company’s needs.

Bottom line: The person deciding whether or not to interview you will make that decision in just 15 to 25 seconds. Be clear, organized and focused on success to use these seconds to convince the employer to interview you. If you’re interviewing but have no job offers:

o You may have the basic skills an employer needs, but not the advanced skills they prefer. Go through the second bullet above and follow the suggestions presented. Once you’ve updated or expanded your skills through further education, experience or self-study, start building a portfolio of career achievements to demonstrate your success to potential employers. This will also help you answer the behavioral interview questions that are in vogue these days.

Bottom line: How you progress in your career is up to you. Find out what you lack and then learn a skill or develop an ability.

o You lack strong self-marketing skills, which shows in your interviews. If you want to improve the quality of your interpersonal communication and interview answers, take the course. Invite someone to role-play a conversation with you. Practice answering behavioral interview questions. Arrange to participate in a mock videotaped interview. To project your personality positively: Choose three to five things about yourself that you want the employer to know about you by the end of the interview. Think of ways to incorporate these things into your answers to common interview questions. Meet personalities different from your own. Smile and relax! Make strong but not excessive eye contact. Go into the interview armed with 5-8 words or phrases that positively describe your personality in the workplace, and use those words or phrases during the interview. Adapt your communication style to the interviewer’s questioning style. Know your resume and defend it. Keep your answers brief and always to the point.

Bottom line: Your performance in interviews serves as a preview of your performance in the workplace, so put your best foot forward. Research, Practice and Sell! Job hunting means making mistakes. The question is, do you learn from the job search mistakes you’ve made?

Evaluate your search every two to three months to fine-tune your campaign regularly. You probably tune up your car regularly. Why not do the same when looking for a job? With the right knowledge and the right tools, nothing can stop you!

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