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.

Before You Launch Your Resume Into Deep Space, Read This

Have you ever gotten a job by uploading your resume to an online application portal? I haven’t and I don’t know anyone who has. You could be the answer to an employer’s prayers, but if you don’t know how to appease the algorithm—by, say, using a sans-serif font like Verdana instead of a serif font like Times New Roman (for years the resume standard)—you’re sunk.

As if writing your resume for a human audience weren’t challenging enough, you now have to write it for an audience both human and robot.

The designation “black hole” comes up again and again in complaints from recruiters as well as candidates—when you upload your resume into an applicant tracking system (ATS), it’s sucked into the void. My hero, Liz Ryan, inventor of the Human-Voiced Resume and a longtime HR executive, puts it this way: “You’re better off putting a stack of paper resumes on the passenger seat of your car and driving down the freeway with the window open. One of the resumes from your stack might fly out the window and land on a hiring manager’s desk.”

Once your resume is swallowed by the gaping maw, it’s anyone’s guess where it goes. Where it almost certainly does NOT go is the desk of the person you want to be your next boss. There is a way around this, however; write a letter.

The best way to get a job is to have someone who works at the company you’ve targeted refer you to the person you want to be your next boss. In real estate, the mantra is “location, location, location;” in the job search it’s “networking, networking, networking.” That’s how you develop a contact who works for the company you want to work for.

Skip the resume abyss for now and write a letter directly to the person you want to be your next boss. Even if you’re not able to open with something like “Peggy Olsen suggested I contact you,” write a letter. Even if there’s no job opening at your target company, write a letter. In fact, there’s a hidden job market chock-full of positions that are never posted.

Jobs can also be created. It happened to me. I approached the woman I wanted to be my next boss at a UCLA extension course—her scheduled appearance on a panel of industry big wigs was the reason I took the course. During a break, I marched up to her and delivered my (finely honed) pitch. She asked me to send her my resume and a letter reiterating what we’d talked about.

In the letter I sent her, I reiterated who I was and what we’d talked about, but I also took the opportunity to tell her what I could do for her—I knew what she needed done because I’D done my homework. Before you network, network, network, you must research, research, research. I’ll get you started; here’s a great article from the aforementioned Liz Ryan called “How to Reach Your Hiring Manager Directly.”

I told the woman who would become my next boss that I understood what she and her team were going through, then gave her a couple of examples of how I’d successfully confronted the same issue for my previous employer. Liz Ryan calls these “pain letters,” because they say to the person you want to be your next boss, “I feel your pain. I know how to relieve it. Here’s how I did it for my last boss.”

Once you’ve arranged a meeting, if necessary, you and your next boss can figure out how best to get your resume through the ATS. Or not. When someone is champing at the bit to hire you, it’s amazing how easily the system can be circumvented.

Truth be told, you could study up on how to beat the resume-submission robots—there are plenty of tricks online—and still not be able to penetrate the fortress. Or you could write a letter. On paper, stapled to your resume, unfolded in an 8.5 x 11 envelope. How much email do you get in a day? How much snail mail? If you want to stand out, sometimes “ya gotta kick it old-school.”

Don’t get me wrong—I love robots. They’re terrific for surgery, weaponry, manufacturing, even hunting and killing jellyfish, but when it comes to finding you a job, don’t be surprised if all they have to offer is “Warning! Warning! Alien spacecraft approaching!”

A version of this post was published on Creative Profiles on 12/4/2015.

photo credit: STS-133 Launch from KSC press site, No. 1 via photopin (license)