How to Not Follow Up After A Job Interview

Reposted from: The Ladders

By Lisa Vaas

If you can craft an intelligent letter or e-mail to follow up after a job interview, it could be the tipping point that pushes you into the job candidate finalist category.

“The thank-you note remains one of the most overlooked marketing tools of the job search,” said Stephanie Daniel, vice president and group program manager at Keystone Associates, a career-management and transition services consultancy.

And then there’s the not-so-well-crafted message, which can put you, the job seeker, in the “loser” category. A number of professionals on the receiving end of follow-up e-mail, snailmail, FedEx packages, singing telegrams and other communications shared with us this rogues’ gallery of infamously inappropriate follow-ups. They caution readers: Do not to try this at home.

The monologist

Heather Krasna, an expert in public-sector executive jobs, tells of a client who left a long-winded thank-you message on an executive’s voicemail, directly reading from the thank-you letter she was going to send.

“This was just weird from the employer’s perspective and came across as too intense or desperate as well as an inappropriate use of voicemail,” Krasna said. “She would have been better off had she just mailed a thank-you note.”

The unprofessional e-mailer

Carl Gould, Chief Discovery Officer at business mentoring firm CMT Mentors, told us about one job applicant who used a personal e-mail address that referenced a side job as a part-time clown. “Needless to say, we filtered that one into the garbage rather quickly,” Gould said.

The aggressive ones

Scott R. Gingold, CEO of Powerfeedback, has had follow-ups come via Twitter, LinkedIn, FedEx, snailmail, fax, Web site and at business events. They can get creepy regardless of the medium. His personal rogues’ gallery features:

  • Being invited to a sporting event by an applicant who doesn’t know him
  • Having female candidates be sexually suggestive
  • Multiple phone calls after he’s told the job seeker not to call
  • Daily e-mail after he’s told applicants to stop
  • Being told in a letter that he reminds an applicant of a deceased relative

The angry guy

Krasna had a “horrific” experience years ago in which a job candidate, still in school, sent an angry e-mail to a recruiter because he didn’t get the job. The job seeker said he was “glad he didn’t get the job because he wouldn’t have wanted to work for the company anyway,” Krasna said, and then “complimented” the recruiter on her figure.

“Needless to say, this e-mail was forwarded along to the college career center, and the student was informed that he would no longer be allowed to use our career services,” she said. “It was a while before the college’s reputation would be recovered at that company!”

The cranky guy

Thomas Tuft, an attorney with Tuft & Arnold Law Offices, in Maplewood, Minn., once had a law student send a “very cranky letter” after the firm hadn’t responded to his resume submission within a week. Mind you, this was at a time when the firm wasn’t hiring. “It is not our practice to respond to the dozens of resumes we receive unsolicited,” Tuft said. “That student will never be hired here.”

The casually sloppy

While the preceding are all somewhat spectacularly bad follow-ups, Krasna pointed out that people often hurt their chances simply by not using good grammar and spelling in their communications. “Taking the time to write a careful thank-you note that touches on all the reasons you want to work for the organization, as well as how you would be a perfect fit for them, will make you stand apart in a more positive way,” she noted.

Lisa Vaas covers resume writing techniques and the technology behind the job search for TheLadders.

5 Steps for Channeling Your Weight-Loss Motivation Into Your Career

While fat melting is certainly stupendous, it’s not the only lifestyle transformation.

Reposted from: Brazen Life

You just watched the latest episode of The Biggest Loser or Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, and you’re feeling mega-inspired to hit the gym.

The problem? Unlike the contestants of these shows, you don’t have major pounds to shed!

Your problem isn’t empty calories; it’s wasted time on Hootsuite.

Your problem isn’t mindless snacking; it’s unconscious dilly dallying.

Your problem isn’t motivating yourself to hit the gym; it’s firing yourself up to make uncomfortable phone calls or to write that cover letter.

Contrary to what you may think, these inspiring weight-loss shows have not only taught you how to lose weight. The time-tested strategies they demonstrate might actually be more useful for creating results in your career.

Here’s how:

1. Get ridiculously motivated

Are you seriously committed to change? Lifestyle transformation is an inherently long and difficult process.

If you don’t want success in your career badly enough, you’re doomed to fall back into patterns of binge eating and couch-potato-ness when the going gets tough. You have to want it so badly that the mere thought of failing keeps you awake at night.

2. Buy a goal dress

When contestants on Extreme Makeover begin their year-long journey, the trainer always gives them a big goal for the end of the year. This big goal gives you a picture of what success will look like, taste like and feel like. Having a “goal dress” represents the crystal-clear image of your victory.

How will it feel when you slip into your power suit? What does victory smell like? What will you be able to do then that you can’t do now?

3. Baby steps, baby

Though that hot red dress will look fantastic on you, it’s going to take a while to get there. To maintain momentum, cut that goal into bite-sized, time-sensitive chunks. If it’s going to take a year to reach your ultimate goal, then try breaking it into four or six pieces to seem more attainable.

For example, if your ultimate goal is to gain 1,000 subscribers to your blog in a year, how many will you need to gain in the first two months? What specific actions will you take in order to make it happen?

Or, if your ultimate goal is to earn $5,000 per month freelancing, your first small goal might be to sell your first clip. Challenge yourself to make that happen in the next two months.

4. Keep a success journal

Food journals are a classic weight-loss tactic. Likewise, keeping a journal of every action you take to advance your career will help you to see which actions are earning you money and which ones are a big ol’ waste of time.

In the weekly journal (in the form of a Word document) that I keep for my website, The Rule Breaker’s Club, I keep track of how many posts I write, the people I connect with and my email subscription numbers. Some weeks are better than others, and because I keep track, I know exactly why.

If you’re looking to maximize productivity, you will also want to use your success journal as a weekly time log. The one created by time management maven Laura Vanderkam is truly ah-ma-zing. Download the spreadsheet and get busy tracking!

5. Finally, paint the town red

Did you just achieve a two-month goal? Pop open the champagne!

When you reach each small career goal, treat yourself to a mini vacation, tickets to the big game or those shoes that you’ve been eyeballing for months. Do not deny yourself. You worked hard and deserve a reward. That’s the whole point, after all!

In fact, patting yourself on the back is so important that I encourage you to take 10 minutes right now to brainstorm a list of possible rewards. Once you’ve done that, print out a picture to represent each reward. Paste the picture on your wall or fridge.

Can you think of any other weight-loss strategies that could apply to your career?

Courtney Johnston is a lifestyle writer and the creator of The Rule Breaker’s Club, a slice of the web all about sticking it to the status quo. She has spent two years in Paris and is passionate about happiness, cheap wine and making $2,000 a month with her Project Moolah by August 2013.


Lessons From the Catwalk for Your Job Search

How dressing for success can help with the most important attribute a job seeker can have.

Reposted from The Ladders

As Fashion Week wraps up in the Big Apple, dressing to impress is on everyone’s mind. It’s an important reminder for those looking for employment as well as those in the fashion industry: You are what you wear.

Of course, that’s not really true, but as far as hiring managers, people you meet at networking events and even your own colleagues are concerned, it might as well be. When there is a limited amount of time to evaluate someone’s skills, work ethic and professionalism, how you present yourself as a potential employee can make all the difference.

And, experts say, that type of personal branding has a lot to do with your wardrobe. Laurie D. Battaglia, a certified professional coach and founder of Living the Dream Coaches, said a lot of professionals do themselves a disservice by dressing down in today’s “casualized” society. “It’s better to overdress than to under-dress,” Battaglia said. “Once you’re dressed too casually it’s hard to undo that impression.”  On the other hand, she says, if you go overboard and find yourself at an event completely overdressed, it’s easier to scale it down by putting on a sweater, taking off a blazer or removing your tie. This rule of thumb goes for most professional settings, including:

  • The first few days of starting a new job
  • Business meetings with new clients
  • Industry conferences and networking events (even mixers that are held at bars)
  • The dreaded interview process where your value will be assessed at the drop of a hat

“Clothing does matter and how you present yourself does matter,” Battaglia said. “Higher-end employers, they expect you to know how to dress. It will hold you back and you won’t know it. … Hard work will get you to a certain level and then you’re going to plateau.” Of course, all industries are different. The dress code at a technology company, for example, is probably more laid back than one at an investment bank. The wardrobe for jobs in other fields such as sales can depend on the circumstances.

Battaglia said it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially for young women who need to prove that they’re serious professionals. “If you can wear it to your grandmother’s and she wouldn’t worry about how high it was, then you’re on the right track,” she said. This might require spending some money on upgrading your wardrobe, but it’s totally worth it if a new suit lands you a job. Battaglia said to think of it as an investment.

Also, she said, don’t sacrifice comfort for style. It’s may be even more important to feel good in your job-searching clothes than it is to look good. If you’re dressed nicely but feel stiff, you’ll come off that way and it’ll all be for nothing. “It’s important to get a suit that fits right,” she said. “If you’re tugging and pulling, it’s no good.”

Just like what the buyers are looking for during Fashion Week, you ultimately want a look that projects success and feels comfortable. That combination will give the most important attribute in your job search — confidence.

Written by Andrew Klappholz, a general assignment reporter for TheLadders.

5 Things NOT to Do in an Interview

Reposted from The Undercover Recruiter

Author: Jorgen Sundberg is a Social Media consultant and trainer for recruitment and HR at Link Humans in London. He has a penchant for LinkedIn, branding and the odd joke on Twitter.

Given we do a lot of work helping individuals prepare for their interviews, we get asked a lot about interview technique and how to go about acing an interview. Here are a few tips to help you along your way. This is what you should avoid doing in an interview so as not to damage your chances of success…

1. Being too dominant

In every conversation there tends to be a ‘leader’. The leader can change as you move through a conversation or interview. Make sure that you aren’t the one leading the whole time. You don’t want to come across too dominant or domineering as this will make the interviewer wonder how you will be with others you work with.

People want collaboration and a ‘team’ approach, so make sure that the conversation works both ways and isn’t all led by you.

2. Clock Watching

Have you ever been with someone who constantly clock watches? Isn’t it annoying? Don’t do it – especially in an interview. It’s distracting, annoying and rude to the interviewer. If you’re serious about the job you need to show it by giving it your full attention.

3. Being unprepared

If you turn up at an interview not knowing anything about the company or role you are going for, you will look stupid! Make sure that you have done your homework and know about what the company does, where it’s heading and what they are trying to do.

You should know about the role you are going for and also about the people who are interviewing you.

4. Expressing irrelevant opinions

Going on about something that is completely irrelevant to your interview is counter-productive and a waste of time in an interview. You may not even realize that you are doing it because you get so excited about a certain topic – but make sure that you become more alert to this problem.

Some of us are easily distracted and can get wrapped up in a conversation if we have strong views on it and find it interesting. However, if it’s not relevant to the role or job you’re going after – suck it up – be quiet!

5. Not listening or responding to the questions

If you don’t really listen to the questions, you won’t respond to them well or properly. Making sure that you put on your ‘listening’ cap as well as your ‘speaking and get my opinions & talents across’ cap. If you don’t listen in your interview you are pretty much sunk!