Tips for Landing a Job!

In today’s hard-hit economy, let’s face it. It’s hard to find a job!

This may surprise you, but being the publisher of Coupondipity is not my job. In reality, I work for a firm that does very high level Executive Searches (which means that we place executives in top-level jobs – CEOs, company presidents, etc.). I can share with you, from the inside, some tips and tricks to help you to set yourself apart when you are competing for a job with several other candidates.

1. Have a Resume. You might say, “Okay, but I’m only applying for a server position at Applebee’s.” Fine. Have a resume. Here’s the deal: let’s say that six of you are applying for the job and all of you are pretty much equally experienced. YOU will be remembered if you arrive to an interview with a resume to give your interviewer. It shows initiative. If you don’t have a lot of experience, there are many things that you can put on your resume aside from a lot of job history.

When you are listing your employment history on your resume, refrain from using initials. Although people in your town may know what you’re referring to, others may not. For instance, if, on my resume, I indicated that I was employed by NYM, that could be New York Medical Center, or New York Monthly, or any number of places. Spell it out.

Click here for a free resume writing template that will guide you through the process, step by step.

2. Have a cover letter with your resume. You may think that this is not important, but it does show that you are interested enough to personally reach out rather than just providing a resume that everyone you contact receives. In fact, any candidate that would like to be considered for a job that my company is searching is required to submit a cover letter to be attached to his/her resume.

3. Provide references. Don’t wait to be asked. Don’t put on your resume or cover letter, “References available upon request”. Why? Because you make the company that is filling the job do one more step to hire you (contacting you to provide references). The easier you make things, the better your chances of being the person who is ultimately hired. When listing your references, give names, contact info, and whether this is a business or personal reference. It’s also a good idea, if it’s a business reference, to indicate how you are affiliated with this person. Co-worker? Boss?

4. DO NOT MISSPELL! You may not be a great speller. If that’s the case, have a couple of friends or family members proofread your resume. You know what misspelled words tell an interviewer? Either a) you can’t spell or b) you’re careless or c) this doesn’t really mean that much to you.

5. Complete anything asked of you on time. This includes arriving to an interview (and on time in this case means 10 minutes early). If you’re asked for any kind of documentation, provide it immediately. My company has deadlines for applying for certain positions. Amazingly, people do apply after the deadline. We will usually accept their resume package and application, but we NOTE on their file that they were late in applying. It tells us that either they are disorganized or really don’t care about the job.

6. Dress appropriately for interviews. You may think that this goes without saying, but unfortunately not. Never wear jeans, shorts, flip flops or t-shirts to a job interview…ever. (Unless you are specifically told to do so by the interviewer). There was a funny incident once with a pilot who was applying to fly for Southwest airlines. He arrived for his interview appropriately dressed (he thought) in a suit and tie. Southwest is notorious for being a little ‘off the wall’. The interviewer made him go to one of the airport shops and buy shorts and a Hawaiian shirt for his interview. But unless you’re applying to fly for Southwest, dress appropriately. Along with this, do not wear heavy cologne or perfume. If it’s a scent that the interviewer doesn’t like, he/she may want to rush you out of their office! Ladies, be aware of your dress or skirt length. This is not the time to show someone how cute you are.

7. Be friendly – but not overly so. Don’t gush, chatter, or compliment the interviewer on anything personal (clothes, shoes, purse, etc.). If you feel that you want to say something nice, compliment something in their office – a piece of art, the wall color, etc.

8. Do not engage in conversations about your personal life. Don’t mention your kids, your spouse, your significant other, your parents, your siblings, etc. Certainly answer if you’re asked, but DO NOT be the one to bring this stuff up. It’s not professional.

9. Sell yourself, but don’t appear to be arrogant. Confidence is great, but don’t brag about your accomplishments.

10. Find out at least ONE FACT about the company that shows that you did some research, and make sure to work it into the conversation. Let’s say that you’re applying for a job at a bank. Say something like, “I love the fact that senior citizens get free checking.” or, “It’s great that you have savings accounts for kids.”

11. Be assertive with your handshake. When meeting your interviewer, thrust out your hand first and shake firmly. There’s nothing worse than a dead fish handshake!

12. Send a follow up thank you note. As soon as you get home! Get a thank you note in the mail to your interviewer. This will also help you to stand out. Just thank them for their time and for considering you for the job. Let them know that you feel that you would be a good fit.

13. Be prepared with answers to the most common interview questions.

Click here for some common interview questions and the best answers.

14. Bonus Tip! If you’re looking for a job, take a temporary position, or a holiday position. If you are a great worker and make yourself valuable, there’s a great chance that you’ll be kept on after the temporary period or holidays end!

15. Bonus Tip! When you’re in an interview, (in person or on the phone) watch your language! Even terms that may seem like no big deal to you may mean a red flag to the interviewer. If you use any curse words, the interviewer may feel that this is inappropriate in an interview and shows a lack of judgement. For instance, if you’re asked why you left your last job, you don’t want to answer, “They just didn’t give a d*** about me!” That’s not appropriate language.

16. Bonus Tip! When you email any documents to a prospective employer, (resume, references, etc.) make sure that you have your name in the document title. You know who you are, but the employer likely has several resumes and files to go through. For example, don’t just email your resume named ‘resume’. Instead, name it something that the employer will recognize, such as ‘John Smith Resume’ or ‘Smith Resume’. This will simply make things easier, and the easier you are to find, the better your chances of getting hired!

17. Bonus Tip! Consider opening an email account just for your job search with your name in the email address in some way. When several applicants have emailed information to a prospective employer, it’s best that they can immediately identify you with your email. For example: doesn’t reflect who you are, neither is it professional. A much better option would be Your prospective employer can immediately identify which email(s) have come from you!

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