In the aftermath of 9/11, a sluggish economy and the decline of the dot.com industry, finding desirable employment has become more difficult and more competitive than ever. Success in today's job market requires a different perspective and a new approach.
One way to change your outlook is to pretend you are the employer. Visualizing yourself as the decision maker will not only increase your chances of job-search success, but also enhance your potential for advancement after accepting the job offer.
So how does one begin to think like an employer? Well let's begin with the paperwork and walk through each phase of the job search. Remember, as an employer, your primary focus when hiring is evaluating what a specific person brings to the table. How can this person help you achieve your goals?
As an employer, how would you rank hundreds of resumes and select the most promising applicants to be interviewed? Other than skills that match the job description, what additional information would help with your decision? Is there a resume that grabs your interest and demands your attention? Would the color of the paper be more important to you than the resume's content? Your answers to these questions will help you determine the most effective way to present information on your resume.
Would you hire a file clerk, secretary or office assistant that submitted a resume with several misspelled words and grammatical errors? Was the cover letter accompanying the resume brief and well composed? Did it give you information about the applicant's qualifications that was not included on the resume? Did it indicate that the applicant had researched the company and the position; did the applicant spell your name correctly?
Many highly qualified applicants lose a chance to be selected for a position simply because they are unable to interview well. Thinking like an employer during this critical phase of your job search will help you come up with stronger answers and make the interview process a rewarding rather than an intimidating experience. It will increase your self-confidence and help you project the right degree of enthusiasm and professionalism.
As an employer interviewing a prospective employee, what are some of the qualities you would look for in an applicant? Would dependability be important to you as an employer? Was the applicant on time for the interview? Did she mention a good attendance record at school or on former jobs? Does the applicant fit the image of your business? Does she have a firm handshake, good posture and good eye contact?
Does the applicant show confidence by describing his education, training and experience that relates to the job? Does the applicant demonstrate good communication skills, an ability to effectively communicate with the public as well as other employees? Does he appear knowledgeable about the business and the position?
Employers agree that displaying many of the qualities mentioned are essential for a successful interview. Elizabeth Youngman, owner of Totally Tan tanning salon in Sacramento, adds that likability is an important quality she looks for when interviewing potential employees. She feels that if the job candidate is likeable, many of the other skills can be taught.
Nathan Tasta of Remedy Staffing has found that employers these days are really impressed with longevity. He stresses the importance of calling attention to how long you were on a specific job and how much you learned while on that job.
Would receiving a thank-you card after an interview create a more favorable impression of a candidate where two or more finalists are in the running for a position? Would a follow-up call remind you that the candidate shows more than a passing interest in the job and took the time to check back? Let the answer to these questions guide your own behavior during your job search.
Once you secure your dream job, using the same employer visualization skills can also help you earn rapid advancements in both salary and responsibility. As an employer, your most valued employees always arrive at work on time or before; they do not take extended breaks or lunch periods; and they are "team players" - people who can always be trusted to get the job done. Displaying these qualities can quickly lead to added responsibilities and put you in the fast lane for a job promotion. Begin thinking like an employer today and you will see wonderful possibilities opening up in job search, job retention and career success.