Tag Archives: getting noticed

Credit where credit is due

It’s time for a round of applause for job seekers who have found success and some encouragement for those who are still on the hunt.

The situation out there is still bleak (though it’s significantly better than it was at the beginning of the year) and we  haven’t declared that we’re out of the recession nor are we sure when we will be. It’s still a little miserable out there.

But sometimes you gotta look past that and focus on the good.

This post is dedicated to a friend of mine and reader who got a job offer and graciously accepted. How did he do it? He went to a job fair, he made a connection with a recruiter, he listened to what that recruiter told him and made changes to his materials, he followed up appropriately, he struck a chord with his interviewers – and the rest is history.

So congrats to him on getting the job and congratulations to the employer on getting an outstanding employee. All around good news!

Do you know anyone who’s gotten a job recently? Give them a shout and congratulate them if you haven’t already. Looking to help people find jobs? Try connecting with JobAngels to do your part. Still looking for a job? Keep positive, try new things and remember that it only takes one yes to get where you want.

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YOU be the judge.

In my previous post about finding a job through significant persistence, I wrote about my experience as a ballroom dance judge. There are so many people out on the floor that sometimes some of them can get lost. Sometimes, this happens to applicants as well, but it’s not a reason to despair.

In response, the awesome Matt Hawk asked this in the comments:

Mike, as a ballroom dance judge you mentioned you were unable to notice all the dancers. I’m sure it wasn’t a day-glo orange safety vest, but how did you use that knowledge to become more noticable when you did go back to the dance floor? Crisper steps, higher kicks, brighter outfits?

What tactical advice would you give a job seeker? Paper weight/color? Font? Language style? I’d be curious to hear.

Equipped with the knowledge of what a judge is doing and looking for, I made almost no alterations to my practice habits. Sure, I continued working with my partner, improving my technique and enhancing my presentation like I had already been doing, but beyond that, I didn’t make any changes. What’s the alternative? Positioning myself directly in front of judgse so they have to see me? Well, that actually guarantees I won’t be picked. Get a flashier outfit that calls attention to me right away? I’ll admit that my costume is flashy enough as it is (yes, there are rhinestones) that too much more would be tasteless and would turn judges off. The moral here is that gimmicks don’t work.

What did differ was my mental state. Knowing that my dancing would shine though if it was good enough and that the only thing I could do was to dance my best, I stopped feeling like I had to force the issue to be seen and simply danced my heart out while having a good time – I stopped caring about the judges and focused more on what I was doing. In others, I instilled a level of confidence in myself that I didn’t have before.

And that is exactly what I would suggest to job seekers out there. Make your work your best. Show off who you are in the best way possible. Be proud of the work that you’re putting out there. But be sure you put down who you actually are and not who you think someone else wants you to be. No, you won’t get picked every time – I certainly didn’t get called back for every round – but when you do, it will be for the right reasons, because that employer is interested in meeting the candidate represented by the piece of paper.

I recognize that it seems like I’m telling you to do nothing. No, don’t change the font size or the weight of the paper (though there shouldn’t be a paper weight since you should be using e-mail nowadays anyway…). Again, gimmicks don’t work (and you don’t want to work for an employer who responds to gimmicks anyway because that means that the employer only responds to neediness and cries for attention).

What I am suggesting is that you change your state of mind – express your passion for the things that you want. Don’t hesitate to let loose and be honest about who you are (within reason, of course) and what you’re looking for. Employers will respond to it eventually, you just have to give it some time.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

Getting picked last is better than not getting picked at all.

An employee came in and asked us about why we picked her resume out of the bunch. After going back to school and changing careers, she was convinced that the long process was because there was something fishy going on in the background, and she wanted our take.

I remembered her application vividly. The resume had all the skills we were looking for, as well as internships and external activities that clearly supported what she was doing. And her cover letter was filled with enthusiasm, passion and sincere excitedness for the position. I could tell this was someone who not only wanted a job, but wanted a job with us – she had done her research and was even more interested after looking into us. And I was right – she’s been an awesome fit in the time she’s spent with us.

But it did make me think about the year and a half she spent NOT getting interviews. Was there foul play? Maybe. But without really knowing what was going on in the hiring managers’ minds, there’s no way of being sure of that conclusion, and no reason to assume the worst.

As a ballroom dancer, I used to assume the very same at my dance competitions – the judges weren’t picking me because there was something wrong with my dancing or because of politics, because they knew all the people they picked over me. Well, as it turns out, when I started to judge, I realized that sometimes you just can’t possibly notice everyone – you don’t have enough time or energy to see all of the great people out there. There are times when you, as the dancer do everything right, but you just don’t get seen, so you fall through the cracks, however good you may be.

In job hunting, it’s the same way. You may be an excellent fit and you may do everything perfectly, but sometimes, it’s not enough to get you noticed. There’s no guarantee that you’ll make it in front of the hiring manager’s eyes in time to get interviewed and subsequently hired.

So what does that mean for you? It means that you can’t leap to conclusions and lose the negative attitude. Keep applying and putting yourself out there. Eventually, you’ll get to the person who needs to see how truly awesome you are. You have to keep making those connections to better your chances of that happening.

You may not live your whole life in the spotlight, but when it comes down to it, you’ll find it. Don’t lose hope. We, as a company, are lucky that my employee was forced to wait as long as she did – we’re better off for having her. Your next employer will feel the same way about you.