Avoid an interview disaster

0 comments / February 9, 2017

It would be great if you had warning lights or a siren to notify you of an impending interview disaster. Unfortunately, there are no blinking lights telling you to take a new direction when things appear awkward during an interview.

There are warning signs but you must look for them and know how to change directions when danger is near. The cues usually come in the form of verbal and non-verbal language, and paying close attention to them helps you avoid an interview fiasco.

The reasons are unclear as to why candidates are invited to an interview only to be sent mixed messages but it does happen. A candidate recently described a situation in which the interviewer starting yawning during her answers and after the third yawn, she started feeling uneasy about the meeting.

While yawning is not a crime, it can send a “not interested” message if kept up during the meeting. In her case, after sighing several times with no apology, she sensed the interviewer was bored and going through the motions rather than being interested.

It’s embarrassing and disheartening to a job candidate who has their hopes up in making a good impression only to encounter a difficult interview situation.

If you face an interview that appears to be going nowhere, here are some suggestions that you could take to save it.

For instance, the yawning interviewer could easily send mixed messages. If your meeting is after lunch or follows a series of interviews with different candidates a yawn could indicate tiredness rather than disinterest. A day of interviews can be tiring. In this case, take the cue and start adding more energy in your voice by making your answers engaging.

Up your game by giving results and telling them about your unique contributions. You need to re-energize the discussion or you run the risk of blending in with everyone else.

If the interviewer is rushed and trying to juggle a work schedule while conducting interviews, chances are your answers will get lost. Another candidate once described an interview with a manager that took three calls and glanced at his emails through their meeting.

Multi-tasking is a cue for you to change directions, consider stop talking and show empathy towards a busy work schedule. Ask if there is a better time to meet. While you may run the risk of rescheduling, an interview is an important meeting for both you and the employer.

This is a good example of a non-verbal warning, if the interviewer is not paying attention to you during an interview, how would they respond to you as an employee?

What about the interviewer who puts you on trial? That’s the one who interrogates you rather than build rapport. Every question seems like a trap for more in-depth examination to catch you not giving a correct answer. There could be an explanation behind this, namely unskilled interviewers with good intentions but lack the skills needed to put the candidate at ease.

If the hairsplitting questions continue throughout your meeting, it could be a huge reflection of their management style. You can help turn the interview around by using clarifying questions such as, “did I answer your concerns” or “help me understand the type of information you are looking for”. You might be the one that puts the interviewer at ease by changing your communication strategy and listen for their concerns.

Watch out for the interviewer who paints a negative picture of those that have gone before you. They could be looking for a candidate that does not exist. If the job is that difficult with a lot of turnover, that’s a cue for you to observe and ask more questions.

If you have trouble getting clear answers to the types of skills they are looking for, this could be a sign this job would be a disaster to your career.

Not every job will be the right one for you regardless of your desire to work. Every interview serves as a cue as to what the organization values, style of management and whether it will be a good match for you.

The warning signs are around you, just watch for them. They will tell you how to redirect the interview and avoid a disaster.

How have you turned around an awkward interview?

Is your birth order influencing your career?

0 comments / February 2, 2017

If you ever found yourself having difficulty in letting things go at work or following a colleague whom you deem to be less knowledgeable than you – then you might be the firstborn in your family.

Your birth order gives you a unique view of the world around you and often influences the way you interact with others at work. Discussing birth orders and how they affect your relationships may seem like an unfair advantage or disadvantage, but the truth is we are all shaped by our upbringing to some degree. Birth order can influence the roles and positions we seek in our careers and affect the way we interact with others.

While you can’t change your birth order you can develop awareness and appreciate the differences that each person brings to the workplace. Birth orders do shed some light as to why others might be uncomfortable in taking a leadership position and the natural tendency for being a good negotiator.

Firstborns: It all starts with the firstborn child who is typically characterized as a serious, conscientious leader who is used to taking control and setting the stage for younger siblings to follow. To a firstborn taking over and giving out directions fits into the natural order at home where they were brought up with high expectations. Firstborns usually work with an intense focus and like to follow procedures with a conservative approach in the way they interact with others.

In the work setting, firstborns can bring with them an authoritarian style and can lean towards being controlling. As a firstborn, learning how to compromise and value the differences that others bring to the workplace is important.

Only child: They resemble firstborns in assuming leadership roles and are naturally independent. Because an only child has the entire attention of parents, they have a tendency to relate to adults and can be exposed to a higher vocabulary. An only child leader usually takes work seriously and has more self-confidence than the other birth orders that often shapes their unique view on creativity. Most only children excel at being independent and are super reliant.

As an only child, developing your view of teamwork and learning how expand your social side are important attributes in growing your career. Allowing yourself to learn from mistakes instead of personalizing them as failure can help you be more tolerant of others in the workplace.

Middle child: Learns how to adapt and naturally seeks a position of compromise being sandwiched between the oldest and youngest. In the workplace, learning how to give and take gives the middle child an excellent advantage in working with teams. They desire harmony and are the content when relationships are running smooth at work.

Working with a middle child can be one of the best working relationships to have because they understand the value of negotiating, and as managers, often have empathy for those who do not get recognition. Out of all the birth orders a middle child can be the most open minded and establishes open-door policies where communication is encouraged and valued.

As a middle child, developing your own identity is important as well as learning that you can’t always please everyone and that in the workplace there will be situations where harmony will not always be present.

Youngest child: Is the baby of the family and as a result does not often carry the load of responsibility as their older siblings. By the time the youngest child comes around parents are usually more lenient and younger children develop a care-free attitude with a tendency to let others take the lead. This care-free upbringing can spill over to the workplace, and if not aware, can send a perception that you view work as less serious than others may view it.

In the workplace the youngest child might need more supervision and patience as they develop the skills needed to participant in teams. With the youngest child’s sense of creativity and adventuresome spirit they can be great innovators. As the youngest child, developing decision-making skills and learning to take lead roles, even though uncomfortable, can help you grow in your career.

It is helpful to understand how birth orders can impact your communication style and may help explain why it’s easier to get along some better than others. Understanding the differences can foster better working relationships and help you manage your career.

What are your thoughts about birth orders at work?

Are you prepared for a panel interview?

0 comments / January 27, 2017

Getting an interview is one thing, going on a panel interview is another. In either case, it’s a compliment to you to be invited for an interview. Yet facing a panel of potential colleagues and bosses can be somewhat stressful for most people. The key to success is understanding panel interviews and preparing ahead of time.

We live and work in a global community and participating in a team will most likely affect your career progression. Interviewing with teams is common especially if the position will play a large role in an organization or with a smaller company that depends on team interaction.

Panel interviews give hiring decision makers a glimpse of how you interact with others and answer questions on the spot.

Take the case of a recent job candidate, who was invited for a panel interview. He described it, as “being on stage” for the group rather than having a discussion with just one person. He’s not alone, panel interviews can feel somewhat intimidating in talking with five people and being observed rather than just one.

Even though his panel interview felt overwhelming he did manage to work through the pressure and did a great job. He ended up being invited back to meet one-on-one with the decision-maker and was offered the job.

Here is how he aced the interviews and his strategy might be helpful to you as well:

• He acknowledged members of panel as well as the person asking the question. This helped send the message that each member was important and their input mattered.
• His answers as well as his non-verbal responses formed a perception among team members about his ability to work with them.
• He used “results” oriented accomplishments to back up his answers and support his credibility.
• He asked clarifying questions to the group if he had any reservations about his answers.
• He took a notebook in the meeting and briefly jotted down information that would be important later.
• He focused on developing good rapport and adjusted his communication style as needed.
• He paid attention to the questions asked and took a moment to reflect before answering them. Taking a brief pause before answering helped him demonstrate his critical thinking skills.
• He sent every interviewer a thank-you note, personalizing each one.

Every interview opportunity gives you the ability to learn and improve your skills for the future. He landed a job offer yet he acknowledged several areas that he could have improved on with his panel interview.

• Before the interview ask about the schedule and who you will be meeting with such as; titles, team members who will participate in the interview and brief background information if possible.
• Prepare for group panel interviews by thoroughly researching the company such as possible problems they are facing, company culture and industry trends.
• Keep panel interviews in perspective: Instead of being overwhelmed look at them as chance to meet others on your team. Meeting them will help you decide whether the company would be a good fit for you.

Building chemistry is an important skill to have for all interviews but in a panel interview it is magnified. Technical skills may have landed you the first interview but chemistry and how well you relate to others will get you to the offer stage.

What has been your keys to success with panel interviews?

5 ways to handle an unexpected career change

0 comments / January 19, 2017

Dealing with change is a big subject in your career, and how you approach it affects your results. Career change usually happens in a couple of ways: unexpected and planned.

Naturally, planned changes make you feel more in control when deciding to pursue a different career path or sharing your goals with your boss. Yet planning does not prevent surprise when change does happen, such as suspecting possible change when your employer is facing challenges. Even though you might have mentally prepared for change, it’s not like the real event when your department is affected.

When unexpected change does happen, the way you handle it often determines how fast you get back on your feet. Change is part of your career and learning how to work with it helps make you a more productive contributor as well as an effective job seeker.

It helps to understand that change has a process to it. In talking about job loss, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross stages of grief are often quoted to help normalize change. While her model was originally based on bereavement, the stages are applicable to various types of loss in life.

While losing a job and accepting a new one will happen in your career, no two people will experience the same reactions in the same way. So how does understanding the stages of grief help you with career changes, such as a job loss? It helps you gain a better perspective and see change in a different way, to leverage it with a positive focus.

It’s also important to know that not everyone in a job loss will go through the same stages. I remember a friend once telling me she bypassed all the stages and was in acceptance by the time she packed her office. She was ready to leave.

Contrast that to a job candidate who loved their job and through no fault of their own was affected by a shift in business. They will go through a job loss in a different phase, with denial most likely leading the way. It might take them weeks to arrive at the acceptance stage, and over time could experience waves of loss while moving forward. You can experience pain from change and move toward your goals at the same time.

Author M.J. Ryan, “How to Survive Change … You Didn’t Ask For” talks about some ways to approach change to empower your ability to get your career back on track and thriving.

• Focus on the solution, not the problem. While you may question, “why is this happening to me?” dwelling on it serves no purpose for you. Focusing on the problem can keep you stuck in despair. Instead spend your energy on the solution.
• Fake it till you make it. Losing your job can often affect your confidence and new brain research suggests the thoughts you hold create new pathways in your brain. The notion that changing your thoughts, changes your brain is valid. Act as though you are confident and you’ll become confident.
• Set aside worrying time. This may sound counterproductive but there is truth in it, those who are prone to worry usually spend a great portion of the day and night worrying. Trying to stop worrying can be a futile exercise. Give yourself permission to worry by scheduling time, like 15 minutes a day at a certain time. It helps to control the habit of worrying all day.
• Hang around happy people. Get out and be around people who are positive, it’s contagious. Happy people count their blessings and tend to be moving forward with new ideas and perspectives. They are a great source of encouragement and support when you are experiencing an unexpected change.
• Consider options before saying no. A measure of fear will hold hands with change and it’s easy to become closed minded when faced with potential options. Before you say that something won’t work, take some time to consider it just might.

How have you handled unexpected career change? What did you learn from it?

Are thank-you letters enough?

0 comments / January 12, 2017

Thanking an interviewer for their time is common courtesy and most likely will send a good impression if the letter is written well. Most interviewers expect some form of a thank-you letter and tend to mentally check the box when they receive one as a sign of professional protocol.

As much time as it takes to craft a letter, some job candidates wonder if a thank-you letter is necessary for landing a job. The paradox that takes place during the hiring process can be confusing, without showing gratitude you could be considered rude and unappreciative even though a thank-you letter will not guarantee a job offer.

While a thank-you letter may not influence a hiring decision maker to bring you on board, without one it sends a negative message that you may not really be interested in the job. Following up with interviewers is part of the job search process and skipping the thank-you message is too risky.

A thank-you letter did impact one job candidate’s career path by keeping him in the mind of the hiring decision-maker. His interview was not that unusual and most job candidates can relate to meeting multiple interviewers before an offer is made. In his case, he was one of two top candidates being considered for a leadership position and he ended coming in as the second choice.

The offer went to the first candidate, but he did something that most take for granted – he sent a thank-you letter and followed it up with a phone call even though he wasn’t selected. In his letter, he mentioned again how much he enjoyed meeting everyone and reiterated his desire to work for the company. He wished the hiring manager much success and hoped to keep communication open.

In less than two months, the first candidate left due to unexpected family issues and the employer called him immediately. The manager voluntary told him that his thank-you letter and follow up made an impact on their decision.

Communicating your appreciation is memorable however consider going a step further and follow-up with a phone call. Letters, email, notes can all be forgotten over the long run but when a personal call is made expressing interest it supports your letter and makes you a distinct candidate.

Here are some suggestions for writing robust thank-you letter:

• Start by expressing your appreciation for their time and interest during the interview.
• Reinstate your overall understanding of the position discussed and the employer’s needs mentioned during the interview.
• Correct any type of misgivings or objections that surfaced during your meeting. This can be a good strategy for minimizing doubt on the part of the interview and strengthening your candidacy.
• End the letter by communicating your interest in working for them and the company.
• Keep it short, be concise and make every word count. You want to keep it around four paragraphs.
• Respond with a thank-you message within 48 hours.

In about a week after you sent the letter, consider following up with a call confirming the interviewer received your note of appreciation. A brief call can add to the rapport made during the interview as well as convey your interest in helping them succeed.

The most important thing to keep in mind is the time it takes to make a good hiring decision. Managers are selecting candidates while keeping up their daily work schedule and somewhere in between the decision to make an offer surfaces. When you follow up with a call, it can help refresh a hiring manager’s decision when they are faced with selecting one candidate out of numerous others who could be equally as qualified.

Of course, you need to be keenly aware of how many times you follow up – too much can send a desperate tone. Seeking the right balance in using a thank-you letter and phone call can be an effective search strategy.

What has been your experience with thank-you letters and following up?

The top three resume concerns

0 comments / January 5, 2017

About this time of year, people are psyched up for a new beginning and changing jobs ranks high on their list. Before you set out to start a job search here are the top three questions that candidates have concerning their resumes.

Should my resume be one page or two pages?
It depends, both are appropriate. There is no such thing as a “one size” fits all resume. You may need different resumes for different opportunities, in some cases a three-page resume works.

I have been reviewing all of my old resumes and noticed I used an objective statement. I have stayed in the same field however my objectives have changed. Is it necessary to use an objective statement?

The first part of your resume is the most expensive real estate and can either generate interest of deflect it. You might want to reconsider using an objective statement for a variety of reasons.

If you have just graduated with minimal experience the use of an objective statement might be appropriate however if you have work experience an objective statement does not tell much except what you are seeking from an employer.

A typical statement might read, “Seeking a growing position in the Software Development Field” or “Electronic Engineer seeking a management role in a growing company”. Both examples lack attention and miss selling your value to the prospective employer.

In today’s job market, you want your resume to quickly interest the reader in what you can do for them instead of vice versa. A career summary is a more effective way of describing your profile rather than using a one-sentence objective statement. A summary replaces the objective statement and consists of a small paragraph describing your unique set of sills, credentials or expertise that you offer.

Consider dropping the objective statement and use a summary instead to generate attention.

How do I know if my resume needs a makeover?

A good indication is the type of results your resume is generating. Hiring professionals will agree that most resumes give too much information and lose the reader with too many details.

Keep in mind what a resume is for. It’s not designed to take the place of an interview; rather, it should showcase your skills as they relate to the position you are pursuing. Here is a checklist of suggestions to help you determine if your resume needs a makeover.

• Present a clear picture of your background and experience as it relates to the position you are applying for.
• Never misrepresent your background, it will only circle back to cause a credibility issue.
• Make sure you use key words throughout your resume.
• Be concise with your experience yet do not make the mistake of keeping your information so brief that you end up minimizing your value.
• Avoid limiting your resume to one page unless there is a strategy to do so, a two page resume will often give the reader a chance to review your career history without taking away your credibility.
• Use results oriented accomplishment statements they help the reader visualize your contributions.
• Take out the statement such as “references available upon request”. The hiring decision-maker will ask you when they need your references.

• Your resume is a marketing sheet – it is design to sell your experience, qualifications and value to the potential employer. It is not a biography of your life with every role and responsibility spelled out in detail.
• Be careful not to date yourself by going back 25 years + at the beginning of your resume. Senior job candidates have no reason to hide their experience however you need to consider starting out your resume with such information.

Resumes do not have to be complicated. They should be written in a clear concise way that sells your value to the reader. Also keep in mind that your resume will change as your needs change, most professionals have two or more versions of their resumes.

While resumes will not land a job for you, they will generate attention and it’s always a good idea to address concerns before they turn into stumbling blocks.

What concerns you most about your resume?

Keep these job search habits in 2017

0 comments / December 29, 2016

Habits can often be a double-edge sword: Some are great to keep and others can be your own worst enemy, preventing you from achieving your career dreams. The job search habits to keep in 2017 should be ones that are the most productive.

Job searching is built upon layers of techniques combined with your personal touch that makes
your career story unique from others. Everyone has their own introduction, work experience and communication style that keeps them memorable, yet the candidates who land their dream jobs all share five core attributes that make their job search successful.

The top five habits that will change your job search are:

1. Never look back. Being persistent with your job search goals helps keep you focused and on track. It’s easy to let your job search go by the wayside when employers are not responsive, but the one habit that will energize your search is persistence. Having a tenacious attitude keeps you moving forward.

2. Follow up. Following up is a habit that makes the difference between those who land a great opportunity and those who miss out. There are so many ways to follow up with people and successful job candidates make it a part of their routine. They follow up through multiple channels in order to keep communication strong. The habit of following up is a powerful way to keep your name in front of a decision maker and send the perception that you are motivated.

3. Stay flexible. Keeping an open mind towards attending new events and using new job search techniques will help you thrive in a competitive job market. No one can predict all the opportunities you will encounter during your search and staying flexible increases your chances of meeting the right employer.

4. Maintain and expand your connections. Keeping a social networking presence online as well as meeting others in-person is a good habit to maintain. Being connected to others in your career field helps build your knowledge with the latest trends and keeps you posted on future developments. Make it a goal to meet others for lunch and join a professional association. When you stay connected, you increase your chances of uncovering a great opportunity.

5. Think of others. A successful job search is made up exchanging information, it’s a two-way street in sharing conversations, time and information with others. There are numerous ways to give back such as volunteering and remembering those who have helped you. Keeping the habit of giving back sends a message of good will and in turn comes back to you in unexpected ways.

Good habits will bring you freedom from an unproductive job search and give you a sense of achievement. Making these five habits a part of your career in general will help keep you moving towards a bright future. All successful job candidates knows the power of good habits combined with a positive attitude. Success in life largely depends on the habits you keep.

The most memorable job search

0 comments / December 20, 2016

The end of the year is always a good time for reflection and you can learn from looking back and carrying the lessons forward to a new year. One of the most memorable job search stories happened to a job candidate who had been working for the same employer for years and lost her job right in the middle of a really tough economy.

Her story is just as viable now as it was years ago because the way she landed a job is the same way you will most likely find one.

Learning how she faced a job search when the timing wasn’t exactly right gives encouragement to those who can get bogged down with bad news and face the challenges of finding employment. Her story sticks in my mind because it happened when others were talking about how bad the economy was and no one appeared to be hiring.

She began her search the day after losing her job and without skipping a beat starting reaching out to people she knew. She didn’t even have a completed resume and yet within 15 days she landed a job that came with a higher compensation.

Her friends were shocked that she found a job so fast and when she talked about how she did it, her experience confirmed everything you hear about with networking.

The power of who you know

What made this particular story so memorable was that she landed a job without a resume, through her contacts supported by strong references. The power of who you know is always significant. While a strong resume plays a part of your search it’s not necessarily why you get hired.

In tracing her steps to get a better understanding of how she landed a job that fast, it helps to know that while she was working steady for years she paid attention to changes within the company.

When her career path at work started to become unstable with a series of reorganizations, she began to think ahead. It’s easy to put your head in the sand and hope that a job change will not happen to you but in her case she was looking towards the future.

Here are the key factors that influenced her job search with quick results:

• She kept her awareness of a possible job search even though she was working full time and that gave her time to plan ahead.

• She started reaching out to her contacts when there was no pressure to job search.

• She had time to research market trends in the industry that led to good questions when talking with others.

• Made it a priority to attend professional and social events.

• Stayed in contact with her references and kept them informed of changes.

Her job search experience just reinforces the need to stay in touch with others and build good working relationships. Her story confirms that “who you know” and “who knows you” are often all you need in landing a good job in record breaking time.

Most people tend overlook the power of networking and spend an enormous amount of time on the formalities of a search. Yes, you do need a strong resume and good marketing material however the lesson to be learned is never discount who you know and to stay in contact.

Choose appropriate gifts for job seekers

0 comments / December 20, 2016

I received a question from a reader who has a relative in the midst of a job search and was wanting ideas on gifts that might be helpful to them. I thought she asked a good question and wanted to share the suggestions with you.

Going through a job search this time of year can be stressful and thoughtful gifts mean more than you might realize. Job searching can get lonely and gifts that are beneficial can be encouraging as well as provide a practical need.

Gifts can fall into a couple of categories, they can either be practical or luxury focused, depending on particular situations such as the length of your relative’s job search and their financial status.

Job candidates can always use items that are practical for their career now and in the future, such as interview attire, business cards, note cards, paying for professional association memberships and gift cards for office supplies. If your budget allows for a new laptop, tablet or printer all of those could be put to good use.

Keeping along the same lines of practicality, paying for services such as resume writing, career coaching and assessments could be helpful in supporting the job search process. It would be fair to say, every job candidate knows about networking but some are hesitant in meeting people at coffee shops or cafes due to a tight budget. When you are working, a cup of coffee is not a big deal but over time it adds up: Gifts cards for coffee shops are good ways to take off the financial pressure and help support networking meetings.

A home office is another area that is often ignored. Job searching from home can get rather crowded especially if you are sharing a space on your kitchen table or working in a spare room. Clutter can be a source of stress and distraction, paying for a professional organizer to help with clutter can be the start of a new beginning. Conducting a search from an organized work space can give this person an unexpected boost of confidence.

The longer a search lasts, the more draining it can be on finances and most job seekers can be embarrassed to ask for help. Prepaid cards for gas or groceries get to the heart of basic priority needs. Never underestimate the power of social interaction and things such as eating out and attending events are often taken for granted when you are employed, inviting a job candidate out to eat helps with the isolation of a job search.

If being practical is not on your list, some good luxury items that are both useful and enjoyable: salon and spa services, interviewing accessories, leather portfolios, updated smart phones, quality tote bags and purses. Makeovers can help with self-confidence and add to a positive attitude.

Keep in mind, it’s not the cost of a gift that matters rather the act of kindness that people will never forget during their job search.

What are some other ideas for gifts that would help job candidates?

Hurry up and wait

0 comments / December 8, 2016

Dear Career Rescue:
I feel as though my job has taken forever, especially with the response I get when applying for jobs. I have great conversations over the phone with recruiters and employers but they never get back to me. What could I being doing wrong?

CR:
It sounds like you are experiencing the roller-coaster ride of emotions associated with a job search. Sometimes the most difficult aspect of a job search has nothing to do with the mechanics of the process but rather the emotional aspects.

When there is a lack of communication it leaves room for you to second guess the next steps in your future and self-doubt can creep in to rein havoc on your confidence level.

Do they think I am over-qualified? Why the delay in calling me back? Is something wrong with my resume? All those can be questions tied to predicting what will happen next in your search. It’s human nature to personalize the lack of responses and try and figure out why employers aren’t calling you back.

There are always two perspectives during a job search; one from a job candidate’s point of view and one from the employers. To the candidate, time often becomes distorted, uneven and slow. From your perspective an hour means an hour and when you don’t hear back from an employer it can feel as though you have no control.

From an employer’s point of view, time is planned but can change in a moment’s notice with a flurry of activity. To an employer, getting back to you “as soon as possible” might mean seven hours from now or seven days.

In reality, there are some things you can control during your search and one of them is managing your expectations and understanding the process. Do your best to avoid connecting your value as a skilled professional to the lack of communication. Employers have numerous reasons for not responding as you would hope and not all of them are negative rather unplanned delays.

You can increase your chances of a job offer by actively following up with leads and interviews. The person that lands the job does not always have the strongest skills but set themselves apart from others by following up with the employer.

Following up with the next steps actually starts with the first interview, in your case it would be a phone interview. Before you leave the discussion always ask about the next steps and for the job.

There are a number of ways to convey your interest and inquire about the next steps. Before the interview is over, summarize your qualifications and then say, “After talking with you, I am confident this position is a good match. Is there anything I haven’t covered?”

Another way to reinforce your strong interest is to ask for the job. “I am eager to make contributions and this position is a good fit for my background and your needs. I would like to work with you and your team. What are the next steps in making a decision?”

To help speed up the hiring process, when you are applying for positions take the time to research who the position reports to and through your contacts find a personal connection within the company whereby you can talk with someone instead of going into a pool of candidates.

Internal referrals give you instant credibility and employers take them seriously, if two candidates are in a dead heat for a position, the one that comes with a known factor is more likely to be offered the job.

Sending a letter or email to the hiring decision-makers is another way of staying in touch.

Overall, a job search takes time and, even though time may seem like it stands still, you are making progress.

Instead of spending the energy second guessing, stay persistent, follow up and continue to build relationships and more than likely an opportunity will emerge.

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