Monday, June 29, 2009

Looking in the Rear View Mirror (Part2)

[This is the fourth part of a discussion on Rejection in our Job Search. Please read the previous posts for context]

Writing this blog, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with many folks who are also on this journey. And I have not talked to anyone who has not been rejected in one way or the other. (I’m guessing the ones who got the first job they applied for aren’t reading this blog or don’t have time to share their vast and obvious wisdom.) If we’re going to job search, we’re going to experience rejection.

In past entries, I’ve share some facets surrounding the issue of rejection. Now we’re looking at “takeaways,” actually (pardon the moralization) learning from the process and focusing on those issues which we can and should control to help us get that job we want. We’ve looked at Accuracy, now let’s consider two more in our alliterated list.

Accomplishments: Getting a job is not just about what we can do (that’s about capability), it’s also about what we have done (that’s achievement). Too often, our resumes are over-crowded with duties we’ve performed, degrees we’ve earned, titles we’ve held and the companies where we’ve worked. But how much is devoted to what we actually accomplished in any of those areas? Employers want to know about our skills, they want to see our successes. It’s less about what we can do and more about what we can do…for them. And they want clear examples.

Our resumes and our interviews should include specific and measurable examples of our accomplishments. Yes, I can plan an event, but my potential employer will be more impressed when I detail how I successfully planned a two-day, out-of-state conference for more than 5,000 attendees, with an increase over the previous year’s attendance by 8 percent. It’s good that I can write a news release, but how much more notable is it that I increased the media coverage of my last employer by 25 percent?

We know it’s not considered polite to brag about ourselves. We are discouraged from “tooting our own horn.” But when it comes to job searching, refusal to trumpet our successes just might leave us watching the band play without us.

Attitude: We come now to one of those controllable areas that is not about my resume. I can have all the words spelled correctly and impeccable grammar, but when I go into the interview, it’s about selling myself on the open market. The needed ingredient at this point now is a winning attitude. And we’re not talking about the two-fingers snapped, oh-no-she-diddunt kind of attitude.

As I read articles and blogs from corporate leaders and recruiters, they are looking for candidates who display enthusiasm and confidence as well as knowledge and skill during the interview. When it comes down to two equally qualified applicants, the attitude of one can be the tipping point in their favor.

While that may seem obvious, I am always stunned (and amused to the point of LOL'ing) when I read recruiter talks about interviews where a qualified candidate was rejected primarily because of a negative attitude. There are reports of those who show up for an interview, but appear uninterested, bored, lethargic or distracted (i.e., turn off the cell phone). Do you have some place more important to be? Recruiters talk about candidates who are sarcastic, arrogant (which is not the same as confident), defensive, rude and even flirty. (One recruiter told of a candidate who asks her out…during the interview. Seriously?)

Of course our stellar abilities are important to getting a job offer, but without the proper attitude, they will likely go to the next qualified candidate.
Know this: our attitude will be checked even before our references!

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