Be the “Big Fish” in the Great Sea of Job Applicants . . .
Here are some tips on how little details can make a big impression:
- Tailor/customize your cover letter & resume to the specifics in the job posting. Yes this is extra work for you, but if it’s a job you are really interested in, the extra effort is worthwhile. Match your language to the language of the advertisement. For example, if the job posting stated they wanted a teacher or two years of teaching experience, I’d use the words “taught” “instructed” in my cover letter/resume more often than I would say “trained” or “facilitated”, even though all words are basically synonymous.
- Ask ahead of time how many people will be in the interview and what time you should arrive
- Remember names, use them once in a while during the interview. Most people have a hard time remembering names so if you do, that may impress the employer. Just don’t overuse their names . . . am I the only one that this annoys? I doubt it!
- Bring extra copies of your resume for everyone in the interview, plus one or two extra, just in case, and offer to distribute at an appropriate time in the interview (i.e. they start fumbling around in their piles of paper saying “I saw on your resume . . .”) Often in group interviews, not everyone has a copy. Providing one helps them feel included and on the same page as the rest of the interviewers.
- Bring a portfolio or samples of your work to offer during an interview, if your work is something you can bring with you. I keep mine discretely in my bag, only taking it out if it feels appropriate to do so. It shows preparedness and that “extra touch” or “extra mile”, that you are indeed interested in the job and confident in your work.
- Bring a list of references with contact information to the interview to offer at the end. This can include copies of letters of recommendation as well. Offer these if it seems appropriate, too.
- Get a business card(s) at the end of the interview.
- Follow up quickly with a thank you letter for all interviewers (or at least the key hiring staff.) The business card (see above) ensure correctly spelled names, a professional detail that will impress. If you can’t get cards for everyone, discreetly enlist the help of the receptionist on your way out if you can.
- Contact your references ahead of the interview to give them the heads up that a certain company and/or person may be calling for a reference. Call ahead of time, some employers call your references before you even get home from the interview! Give your references the job title & general duties so they are prepared for the phone call when it comes. You can even supply your references with information you’d like them to share with the potential employers. Many people appreciate getting some direction from you on what they should say. And, most employers will be impressed if your references say “Oh, good, I’ve been expecting you, Sara told me you would be calling.”
“Let your net always be cast. In the pool you least expect it, there will be fish.” – Ovid