Getting Hired: The Two Phases of Landing Any Job

Getting hired for a job can be one of the most tiresome processes. Often, it feels especially daunting when you don’t actually have a job and require it desperately. Moreover, the time taken could frustrate you, demotivate you, and in turn affect your productivity and efficiency.

However, like any lengthy process, getting hired can be broken down into phases and steps. This makes the job search process easier.

The job search can be categorized into two phases: the “preparation phase” and the “’D-Day’ phase,” (when you appear for the job interview), with steps within each.

The Preparation Phase

Completing Your Resume

Basically, your resume is what represents you before you do. Getting hired starts with a resume that is formal yet refreshing, mentioning all your skills. Start by browsing the most recent templates of resumes based upon your job profile. Various applications create resumes free of cost.


Your network works as a kind of PR, so you should make sure to keep connecting with new people. Social media sites like LinkedIn help you connect with employees and employers from across the world. So try connecting with them and expanding your network.

Finding a Career Counselor

Try getting in contact with a career counselor. They could analyze your skills and come up with better career options for you. If you wish, you can consider these options and can even choose to change your career. Additionally, these counselors can help you create a list of target employers to pursue.

Job Hunting

Job hunting is the most tiring job of the process. Enroll in job fairs and online platforms that might get you in contact with job vacancies. Several employers post job vacancies on social media sites like LinkedIn. All you need to do is enter your career preference on the application to get started.

Job Vacancy Research

When you come across a job vacancy, do some brief research about it. Study the job posting thoroughly for what they’re looking for. Before you apply, prepare a good cover letter to accompany your resume. Draft the cover letter according to the job profile. Make sure you convert the letter to PDF format before sending it.

Following the Rules of Etiquette

Each time you send an email or reply to an email, make sure you are on your best behavior. Your words represent your personality. You do not always need to be formal, but definitely be professional. The salutations have to be accurate. Make sure you write “Sir/ Ma’am” if you do not know the gender of the person you’re addressing.

Giving Professional Replies

If the company sends you an email to inform you about something, make sure you reply to it and notify them that you have received the email. Prompt replies are crucial to the process of getting hired. They show you’re reliable and have a strong interest in the work.

The “D-Day” Phase

Don’t Forget Self-Care

The day of the interview shall decide your future with the company. It’s the difference between getting hired and getting shown the door. Be well prepared for the day. Eat well so that you have an abundance of energy. Make sure you get to sleep, shower, and dress your best.

Practice Your Answers

Practice a short introduction about yourself, the professional responsibilities you’ve accomplished in the past, and your previous job roles. Also, practice your delivery of information in the mirror. Experiment with different tones to make sure you sound confident. And be sure to know your resume like the back of your hand.

Nail The Interview

During the actual interview process, be precise and informative. If you’re thrown a curveball question during the interview, be honest and tell the interviewer you’re not sure about an answer. Authenticity is best. Also, come prepared with questions of your own. Never say, “I do not have any questions.” Instead, ask the interviewer about their expectations from their employees, the job role, and where they see the company 10 years down the line. This will show that you’re a thoughtful individual with a serious interest in the organization.

In conclusion, by adhering to these phases and steps, you’ll be well-positioned to find a great role at any organization.

7 Ways Candidates Blow A Phone Interview

I’m consistently amazed by how unaware the average job seeker is of how to establish a positive first impression on a phone interview. I hear the same frustrated complaints from employers of all industries and sizes – that candidates who voluntarily submitted their resumes in hopes of discussing a position they’re supposedly interested in just can’t seem to get it together. Remember when all you needed was a solid resume to be guaranteed a face-to-face interview? For the sake of saving time, resources, and money, recruiters have become much more selective on who they decide to meet in person. In an effort to weed out time-wasters and soft-skill-deficient candidates, recruiters are conducting phone screens to find out who’s off their game.

1. They’re unprepared to take the call.
If you’re 4 beers deep at a Yankees game or trying to wrestle a dirty diaper off a screaming baby, you probably shouldn’t answer a call you don’t recognize. Yet, most of the candidates my recruiting team speaks with are under the impression that it’s better to answer a call you’re not completely prepared for than to miss the call altogether. It’s not. If you find yourself in a situation that isn’t suitable for a professional conversation, don’t pick up. Instead, call back within 24 hours, after you’ve collected your thoughts, can speak confidently, and have locked down a quiet location.

Not to mention, they start timing you from the second they leave a voicemail, which brings me to my next point. If you’re actively looking, you should have a professional voicemail with specific instructions to avoid an unwanted game of phone tag. For example, “Hi, you’ve reached Mark Smith. If you’re calling in regards to my resume, please leave your name and number as well as the best times for me to reach you.”

2. They expect the recruiter to fill in the blanks.
“Hi, what job did I apply for again? What company are you calling on behalf of?” It pains me to admit this, but these responses are the norm when an employer reaches out to a candidate, even for high-level positions. You’re a job seeker, which means you probably apply to several jobs each week. We understand that it’s tough to keep track, but it’s essential – if only for the sake of a recruiter’s sanity – that you start taking notes. Just by picking up the phone and saying, “Hi Wendy, you must be calling in regards to the Customer Service position I applied for last week.” Mind blown.

3. They conduct an unorganized job search.
This goes hand in hand with my last point. Today, it’s not enough to print out a handful of resumes and call it a day. We always recommend that our candidates keep a spreadsheet of every job application they submitted with corresponding dates, company names, and relevant contacts. Or, if you’re a tech wiz, try these awesome job search apps. That way, when the phone rings, you’ll have a handy guide that’ll save you from playing guessing games. Also, it’s important to keep your background information and portfolios within arms reach to provide some quick material for preliminary questions. It says a great deal about your personal brand if you’re prepared to answer a challenging question, and even have some on-hand stats to back up your argument. And for bonus points, don’t forget to browse company websites and connect with HR personnel on LinkedIn. Taking that extra step makes a huge impression.

4. They don’t understand why recruiters really call.
More often than not, recruiters aren’t calling to simply schedule a personal interview; they’re calling to conduct a prescreen. In other words, to decide whether they want to move you forward. Remember all that research you were supposed to do when you applied for the gig? Use it to show recruiters you know something about how their company culture works and that you’re serious about the job.

5. They have a bad “radio personality.”
Phones are tough – all you have to make an impression is your voice. Candidates, especially introverts, often fail to heighten their energy over the phone. Nobody’s expecting you to sound like Ron Burgundy, but you should at the very least sound excited, confident, and prepared. Excessive “umms,” stammering, or sounding like you’re dead inside are huge turnoffs to recruiters. The only way to overcome this obstacle is through practice. Record yourself on any device you have handy, and ask yourself this difficult question: “Would you hire you?” Getting your career narrative down in a way that engages and connects with an employer is essential to winning that face-to-face meeting.

6. They have a weak or unprofessional online presence.
Chances are, if recruiters are interested in what you have to say, they’ll be googling you before then end of your conversation. A half-complete LinkedIn profile or a racy Facebook picture is all it takes to eliminate you from the game. Just last week, one of my recruiters found a candidate with a stellar background and scheduled her for an interview right away. But just minutes before their call, she discovered an R-rated photo online that involved a stripper pole. Needless to say, the recruiter’s mind was made up before the conversation started.

7. They fail to treat a phone interview with the same decorum as they would a personal one.
Just because you didn’t put on a suit or block out time in your day doesn’t mean it counts any less towards your chances of securing the job. Request follow up procedures, send personalized thank you notes, and be sure to highlight any takeaways to reinforce your sincerity. Take it from me, the small things really do matter.

photo credit: Phone Talkin via photopin (license)

Smart Career Moves By Smart Women

With the conversation about equal pay for equal work reignited, it’s never been more important for women in the workplace to be smart, speak up, and reach for the next rung on the career ladder. But the landscape of career growth can be tricky to navigate. Thankfully, many powerful women have gone successfully before – blazing the trail and leaving women with a treasure trove of insights and advice to help us grab our own slice of the pie.

Whether you’re looking for a promotion, raise, or the courage to venture out on your own, there’s a strong woman you can look to for advice or inspiration. Stop just thinking about making your next career move and start doing something to make that move. To help you get inspired, here’s some timeless career advice.

Speak Up

There’s some kind of Victorian hang-up about women being seen and not heard that still haunts women in today’s workplace. Typically, women ask for raises less often than their male counterparts and when they do, they ask for less money. It’s time to speak up and start asking for what you want.

“Ask for a raise. Every year,” successful writer/blogger Joanna Goddard said. “Make a list of your accomplishments over the past year. Phrase it by saying you’ve “earned” a raise (not that you “deserve” one)…And don’t just ask for raises, ask for everything: promotions, bigger assignments, more responsibility. If you’re enthusiastic and hardworking, you will be amazed by how often you hear ‘yes.’”

If you want the chance to show everyone what you can do – ask for it. If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will. You are your greatest advocate, so speak up and be heard.

Take Criticism on the Chin

We all want to hear how awesome we are, but it can be difficult to listen to criticism – yet there is no growth without it. Take “American Idol” for example. There was definitely a sick fascination with Simon Cowell’s acerbic denigration of lackluster performances, but his comments were usually the only ones that could actually turn a shy Kelly Clarkson into a powerhouse superstar.

“You are going to face many Simons,” career counselor Heather Hay said in a “LiveCareer” article. “And being able to smile in the face of adversity while maintaining your composure is essential.”

Look at criticism as a gift, and take it with grace and an eye to how it can help you improve. You may even want to seek out a Simon-like mentor who isn’t afraid to tell you the hard truth if it’s in your best interest.

Embrace Risky Business

Many of us have fantasized about telling our boss to take a hike and going into business for ourselves. There’s no question that it’s a risky move, but it can be the difference between tolerating our professional life and absolutely loving it.

“When I was working at IBM in my early 20s, I was making great money and exceeding all my sales goals,” Cindy Barshop, owner and founder of Completely Bare spas, said. “But I had a gut feeling that I could do so much more and provide a service to change women’s lives. With big risks come greater rewards and the chance to make a difference.”

But even without a cause to champion, cutting the cord can sometimes be the only way to keep your career flourishing. When Rayna James (Connie Britton) started being sidelined by her label on “Nashville,” rather than quietly handing over the spotlight, she saved her career by launching her own label. Take a page from Rayna’s book. If you’re feeling stagnant, unfulfilled, or overlooked, stepping out on your own might be the best risk you’ve ever taken.

Show Your Ego the Door

It’s called a career ladder for a reason. You often have to start at the bottom and work your behind off to make it to the next rung.

“Don’t ever be ‘too good’ to do anything, and see the big picture in those little tasks,” Joan Otto, Editor of “Man vs. Debt” said. “My first job was typing the obituaries for a local newspaper – a job nobody wanted. But not only did I do them; I developed a system that made them more accurate and quicker to process – and THAT mindset led to a 13-plus-year career there, a management position, flexible hours and more. (And my degree was in mathematics!)”

Your career decisions shouldn’t be ego-driven. If all you’re looking for is an impressive title that will look good on paper, you’re likely to miss out on real opportunities to catch the attention of people who can help you achieve your career goals.

Women have more possibilities than ever to create the careers and lives they desire. If you’re lacking inspiration, look to these other successful ladies and put your professional future into your own hands. Whether it’s a real-life CEO or a powerful television icon, like Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) from “Scandal,” there is no end of strong, smart women to help you take the next step and realize your full potential.

So Much for the Job Have Nots: #TChat Recap

“All I know is that sometimes you have to be wary
Of a miracle too good to be true
All I know is that sometimes the truth is contrary
Everything in life you thought you knew…”

–Neil Peart

They sat in the front pews listening to our advice. The air conditioning didn’t work, so fans swirled warm air from back and forth between the open doors and windows, like restless dreams of the unknown. They listened with guarded optimism, looking tired, a little lost.

We talked about résumé best practices and where to look for jobs and how to optimize and leverage online professional profiles and where to find freelance and project work. We talked about volunteering and getting involved in your local community, not only to give back, but to exchange with one another via networking reciprocity; we never know where our next opportunity could come from. At one point toward the end of my segment, I forced a smile, thinking of my own career path, the highs and lows and mediocre in-betweens. I wiped my sweaty brow and looked toward the windows, already somewhat regretting my metaphorical cliche.

“Keep all those windows of opportunity open you find throughout your careers,” I said. “You never know when you’ll need them.”

These were the job have nots — working-class to middle-class folk who have lost their jobs, whose careers have ground to a halt, whose personal lives have gotten in the way of their professional ones. This was also my latest experience volunteering with Hirewire, a local organization to help job seekers in Santa Cruz County with career development and job search advice.

Consider one of the Hirewire attendees, an aerospace engineer in his late 50s out of work for nearly three years, struggling to fill the hole in his résumé and remain relevant and to again become employable.

Consider another of the Hirewire attendees, a service delivery professional in his early 40s out of work for over a year, struggling to find value in the local employment office workshops and counseling sessions.

Consider my best friend from college. In 1987 he wanted to be an airline pilot. He finished his college degree, flew hundreds of hours, finished all his flying certifications and — wallah — he became an airline pilot, first flying for a commuter airline and then for a global transport airline. But then just last month — wallah — he was out of a job, laid off due to the continued economic ice age.

Consider the thousands of men and women given highly skilled training to defend us near and abroad, to then find themselves again as civillians drowning in double-digit unemployment.

Consider the millions of high school graduates (and many more of those who didn’t graduate) who fight for a finite number of low-wage jobs while being shuffled to and fro from social service to social service and then told to look ahead, figure it out and find a job.

Figure what out, exactly? Sometimes the truth is contrary for the job have nots. And sometimes it’s a breath of fresh air, like the note I recently received from another friend of mine:

All is moving along for me…I’m doing some interesting work with companies both inside and outside of the HR space which is keeping things fresh. And still managing to find (some) balance in life by following your advice from the last time we spoke about “keeping all the windows open.”

Ah, so much for metaphorical clichés — so much is needed to warm the world of work again. So much has been lost during the darkest of modern economic winters. So much needs to be reinvented and reinvested.

So much for the job have nots.

Thank you for joining us yesterday. Your tweets couldn’t have come at a better time for the job have nots. If you missed the preview, click here.