The job search and interviews can be such a buzz kill if you are not prepared. I’m not talking about studying the company, the manager, or other obvious things. I am talking PREPARED, honey! There are 5 key points I share with all of my fellow Leaders in Letto’s to get you into the role you desire.
- Always attach a cover letter to your application
A cover letter is your opportunity to shine and stand out against other applicants. I receive hundreds of applications when I open a new position. Typically all of the applicants meet the minimum standards, so a cover letter will really set you apart from the crowd. Most people are applying for multiple jobs at once, so they do not take the time to do a personal cover letter for each position. If you are serious about the position and want to secure the interview, always attach a cover letter. There are templates online that can help you generate a cover letter, but be sure to focus on why you chose to apply for the position, describe what sets you apart from other applicants, and why you should be selected. It is always nice to throw in some fun facts and personality as well, to show the hiring manager, you are human. Sometimes we see so many applications, we forget there are human beings applying for these positions, and not computers. Describe exactly why you are the best choice for the job!
2. Review your resume, and speak with your references
Some people are thinking, why do I have to review my resume? You want to pull the projects, job duties, and achievements from each role that pertain to your prospective role. For instance, if you have Burger King on your resume from 4 years ago, but you are applying for a project management position, focus on projects you completed while at Burger King. Explain how you were able to complete tasks from start to finish, or the processes you improved upon. 95% of the time, you can pull skills from every job you’ve previously worked, that fit into the role you are pursuing. Get creative!
When you are interviewing for a new role, you want to make sure all of your references are aware of your job search. Explain to them what type of role you are applying for and what attributes the hiring manager may be looking for. I am not saying you should tell them what to say, it just makes it so much easier when they receive the call, and they know what to focus on. A good example was when I was transitioning into a leadership role from being in direct patient care. I didn’t want my references to harp on how clinically capable I was, I needed them to hone in on my ability to lead. This made it easier for my reference to focus on projects I led, and other leadership qualities.
3. Be yourself
When you go into an interview, be yourself. This is going to save you so many headaches down the line. If you made it into the interview, chances are, you already fit the description on paper and hit all of the technical aspects of what is necessary for the role. It is important to be yourself, because you want to work for a company who knows who you truly are, and they embrace YOU. It can be so exhausting showing up to work each day pretending to be somebody you aren’t. If you are yourself, and you do not get the job, it wasn’t meant to be. Trust me, what feels like a loss right now, is truly going to be a blessing down the line. Work culture and fit are very important to great leaders. A great hiring manager not only has their best interest at heart, but they are looking out for you as well.
4. Do research, and always ask questions
After you are finished with your interview, the interviewer may ask, “do you have any questions for me?” It is essential that you ask questions. I am not talking, “how much will I get paid?” I mean, really set yourself up for success. I always ask the question, “If I am lucky enough to be selected for this role, what would you like to see me accomplish within my first 90 days?” This shows that you are already focused on performance, and have specific deadlines. The hiring manager can set expectations right off the back. Write these things down, and if you are selected, be sure to deliver. Another great question I like is, “What does a high performer look like in this role?” This gives the interviewer a chance to share what they expect out of their highest performers. Once again, listen, take notes, and once you get the job, deliver.
5. Thank the interviewer
Once you are done with the interview, be sure to thank the interviewer for the opportunity. I love it when interviewees bring a “thank you,” card to the interview. If you are not able to bring a card to the interview, be sure to send a follow up email thanking the hiring manager and/or interviewer. This shows that you understand this was an opportunity, and not every applicant was given this chance. A lot of times, people assume the interview is just part of the process. It is a privilege to receive an interview, be sure you show the interviewer you acknowledge and understand.