Read these 4 Get Your Foot in the Door Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Job Search tips and hundreds of other topics.
Chances are, everyone you know is going to have advice on what companies you should be looking at, industries you should be targeting, and people you should be talking with regarding your job search. Remember that each person has his or her own perspective shaped by a unique set of experiences. The value systems and perspectives of others may or may not correspond to your own.
ASK a lot of questions. LISTEN to the responses of others. Then proactively RESEARCH and EVALUATE the information you've gathered. Try to get a variety of insights from those within your field of choice. Attempt to make contact with a diverse group of people within an industry or organization to understand the "big picture."
Part of convincing a potential employer that you are the best candidate for the job is being able to readily articulate your past accomplishments. You must convince them that you've had a history of success in each of your previous positions.
To start this process, get out several pieces of paper. List all the jobs you have had over the last 5 to 10 years. If you are a recent college grad, include part-time and seasonal work, clubs and organizations, and academic experiences.
For each experience, ask yourself these questions and jot down notes as accomplishments come to mind:
Did you increase sales (make money for the company)?
Did you decrease costs (save the company money)?
Did you introduce new concepts, products, services, or ideas?
Did you design a new process or system that improved workflow or efficiency?
Did you create technological improvements?
Did you increase company/organization morale?
Did you train others or help others receive professional development?
Did you do perform with fewer resources than normal (people/money/equipment)?
Did you receive any awards or recognition, formally or informally?
Did you solve problems?
Did you innovate?
Next, decide how you will convey these accomplishments to a potential employer. Try using the OAR Method.
O - Opportunity for Improvement
A - Activities You Engaged In
R - Results You or Your Organization Achieved
Here's an example:
O: (Opportunity) "I was asked to take over the implementation of our annual assessment by my supervisor."
A: (Actions) "After reviewing data compiled from previous years, I decided to make changes to the assessments to make the questions more clear and improve our response ratio. I led the entire staff of 12 people in implementing the annual survey."
R: (Result) "We experience a 20% increase in our response rate for the assessment initiative, the highest the organization had ever obtained. I was able to gain valuable information that my manager used for strategic planning the following fiscal year."
When using this technique, try to keep it short and to the point, adding detail only to illustrate critical points. Try to demonstrate your your actions added value to the organization as a whole. This could be in dollars saved (number or percentage), improved processes (quality, customer satisfaction, efficiency), or in dollars earned (through revenue, greater quantity of clients/customers, etc.)
According to a national survey of executives, over 90% consider the advice of their administrative assistants to be important when making hiring decisions. Remember this when you arrive for your interview! You are being evaluated by everyone you come in contact with, regardless of whether or not they are part of the official interview process. Smile, give a firm handshake, and express your thanks and appreciation. Remember everyone's name and ask for business cards where appropriate so that you may follow up with a note of thanks.
Assuming that all other candidates have resumes as impressive as yours, there is one factor that will likely give you an edge over the competition. No, it's not having the lowest salary requirements. Nor is it sending a thank you note to the employer, although that doesn't hurt. It's knowing more about the firm than any other candidate so you can effectively discuss how your skills meet their needs.