This is a list of rules. They are so obvious that its seems no one should ever need to say them. Nonetheless, you’d be amazed the number of people who break these rules.
Learn to sell yourself – Not hard sales, like a used car salesman. Don’t go in promising to triple company sales and invent a cure for cancer (unless that’s the job you’re applying for). Go in promising to do what you do, do it well and be there on time, every time. Not sure. Look for books at the library on sales and think of the product as you. (Hint: All sales is about selling yourself. What you are hawking is YOU!
Follow up with people – If you really want it, stay in touch. Follow up and see if things have changed.
Don’t be annoying and don’t be a stalker. Contacting someone once a week is fine. Be cordial, polite and brief.
“Hi, it’s Harriett Stowe. Just wanted to touch base and see how things are going and if you have anything for me. No? No problem. Can I call you again next week? Great. Have an awesome week.”
Simple and polite.
Use thank you notes – Not to sound too much like Miss Manners, but if you get an interview or a phone call, send a nice hand-written thank you note. Thank them for their time and tell how you look forward to working with them.
If you have terrible handwriting, slow down and take your time. They don’t need a note that looks like it was written by a busy doctor.
Speak the Queen’s English – When you’re sitting in a bar with your friends, it’s fine to sound like a rapper or to speak in text message codes. When you are sitting in front of someone you are trying to get a job from, use the English language that you were taught in elementary school. Think Brian Williams or Anderson Cooper, Connie Chung or Katie Couric. It should go without saying, no cussing, no swearing. Even words that are now okay on television, are not acceptable for an interview, ever.
It’s their house and their rules – If they swear that does not give you permission to swear. If they smoke, it doesn’t mean you can. If your meeting is over cocktails, you drink soda. Even if they invite you, just politely tell them that you want to keep your head about you. If, and this might make you not want to take the job, your interview is in a strip joint, sit with your back to the stage and keep your lap empty.
They owe you nothing – Remember that! Not matter how great you think you are or how great you really are, these people do not owe you a job. In spite of our “everybody gets a trophy” culture, no everyone can get everything they show up for. Go to the interview knowing that you are one of many.
Shave, shower, clean up – On second thought, if we have to tell you this, don’t go to the interview because you are a baked potato.
Forget Bigfoot – Everyone has some wacko theories that they subscribe too. Bigfoot, aliens, the Trilateral Commission, chip implants, whatever. Do not share these ideas with the person you are interviewing with. They don’t need to know that your Aunt Ida was the subject of government experiments and that you think dolphins are psychic. Again, even if your host talks about this kind of stuff, smile, nod and listen, but don’t add to the conversation.
Two pages maximum – No one needs a resume that is 4 pages long. Almost everyone should have a one page resume. If you won the Nobel Prize in physics, you can have a second page, but otherwise…one page.
Have your ride park around the corner – Sometimes someone will drive you to an interview. Have them park where no one can see them. You don’t want your interviewer to rush your talk because they feel bad for the person in the car.
Bonus: No religion, no politics, no controversy – Don’t even express your undying love for the Walking Dead. For all you know, the person who is interviewing you is a Zombie Rights Activist who sees the show as enforcing a stereotype. No strong opinions about anything but your ability to do the job!
This should all be very obvious, but sometimes we forget.
Good luck and stay calm. You’ll do great if you just act normal and relax.
Got more “obvious” rules to share? Add them in the comments and let everyone benefit from your wisdom.
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