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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How I Sealed My Deal: Interview Time!


I have been job hunting for nearly 6 months now.  For some, that may not be long at all but for me it seemed like forever.  I can't say I went on a million interviews because I was quite specific about the jobs I applied to but I went on a good 10-15 interviews in a 6 month period.  Sometimes I feel I had a GREAT interview and nailed the job but only to find out I was the very first person they interviewed so it would be a couple of weeks before they got back to me.  Well, a couple of weeks later I think is a bit long to remember someone!  Especially, if you are constantly interviewing other applicants during that time.  I learned quite a bit from my experience that I want to share with you.

DIRECT CONTACT IS KEY
After a while, I started only applying to companies where I could directly email my resume to a specific person.  Whether it be the HR rep or the actual hiring manager, sending my resume directly to a person as opposed to filling out an online application yielded better results.  I almost always heard back from someone whether it was via email or by phone.  It became frustrating sitting down for 30 minutes to an hour on some of those online applications to never actually hear back from a person.  Rather you get the 'thank you for applying but we have decided to go with another candidate' email.  If you've been job hunting, that last line should sounds VERY familiar! Lol.

DRESS ACCORDINGLY
When you're in school, they say to make the best impression you want to wear a nice suit (skirt suit for women) and a button down shirt.  Well, this may not be the ideal attire for ALL jobs.  If you are familiar with the type of dress code that office usually abides by then try to imitate that on the best level.  Meaning, if you know the office normally is business casual then maybe wearing a suit with a casual shirt underneath may work better than a button down (for women).  You want to give off the impression that you can fit in and you want them to be able to picture you working alongside them.  Definitely, if you are unsure about the normal office attire then be safe and wear the suit with a button down shirt.  The shirt does not have to be white though.  Switch it up and use a pale blue or pink, even a grey would be okay. (Again this is for women only!)

INTERACTION
Don't be Mrs. Boring during your interview!  This is your time to play up your personality and strengths.  Show them that dazzling smile that accompanies your smarts.  They are not looking for someone who is just going to say "Yes" or "Okay" to everything.  Follow up their remarks with your own, preferably by applying it to your past experience or how it may relate to you.  I know everyone says this but ask questions!  It really does keep the conversation flowing smoothly.  Asking questions will also let them know that you are not just looking for any job but making sure this job is a good fit for you as well.  Applying for jobs is a two way street, don't forget that.  Of course, the employer has the last say in hiring but you are also providing them with your skills, time and profession.  You need to make sure they deserve that.

FOLLOW UP
This is something fairly new to me as I just recently started doing it.  Follow up your interview with a letter or email thanking whoever interviewed you.  In this letter/email, you can also address things you may have forgotten to bring up during the interview.  It also keeps a constant flow of communication between you and whoever is doing the hiring.  If a company is conducting multiple interviews, sending a follow up letter/email will also keep you at the front of their memory when making a decision.  On the flip side, should you have had a bad interview, following up with an email of thanks may smooth things out a bit and give them some insight to your real personality.

During my journey, I encountered some road bumps and lots of disappointments but always stayed positive.  My hunny teased me saying "You always say you got this one and then  you're disappointed when you don't get the job!".  I felt like if I didn't claim it, someone else would!  Then there came a time when I just stopped applying to jobs because I felt like God just wanted me to stay home with my children for a bit.  Well I stopped applying for a couple of months all together then I went online last Thursday and found 2 jobs to send my resume to.  My FRIDAY afternoon (the very next day) both jobs called me back for an interview.  And, I'm pleased to say I received a job offer from one today which is less than a week from my initial application!  Its not a job that is "basically", "almost", or "just as good" as what I wanted... it IS the job I always wanted from the very start!  It took a TON of patience and some intricate attention to detail but it all paid off in the end.
Above is the exact outfit I wore to the interview that I received the job offer on.  I was pretty aware of the type of dress code the office had so I wore a dressy blouse instead of a button down shirt.  I also chose a color that was flattering for my complexion and stood out.  This entire outfit can be pricey but I bought the suit during a sale where I bought the jacket and got the pant for free PLUS I had a $20 off coupon.  I just recently bought the shirt and had a $10 off coupon which brought it down to $19.90!  I don't recommend  buying a wardrobe of suits as soon as you get called for some interviews.  Get one staple suit and mix and match the shirts you wear underneath.  Nobody wants to be jobless and broke but with a closet full of nice suits! Lol.

I hope my experience can help someone else in attaining the job they want which is the only reason I wrote this post.  I am in no way a professional or saying that these things will definitely work.  If that was the case, I would have had a job 6 months ago! Haha!  I just know I am not the only one out there on that crazy job hunt.  There is light at the end of the tunnel and being unemployed isn't a permanent situation.  Toodles!

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