By Cathy Eng
When I was searching for my first corporate job, I was called a few days after an interview and told, “Thank you for coming in, however we’ve decided to offer the position to someone else.” I politely thanked her and let her know I appreciated the interview and follow-up call. The next day, I received a call from the same person with a job offer. I remember her words so vividly: “I’ll bet you weren’t expecting to hear from me!” It turns out the other applicant had opted for another offer and I was the runner-up.That was an exciting call and I was so thankful that I handled the initial rejection call so well.
This example is just one reason why attitude and tact are so important in job searching. You can have the best suit and a nice, glossy resume but if your attitude is not positive, personable, and confident you could be burning bridges you didn’t even know existed!
Because most companies only accept resumes electronically, there is much less real-life interaction between the job seeker and potential employer than there used to be. That makes it even more important to leave a good impression when you do talk to a person. Here are some of those situations and how to handle them:
Following up after sending your resume: Be clear and concise about why you are calling. Tell them you respect their time and want to quickly let them know that you are available if they have any questions about your resume (and don’t forget to say your name very clearly – twice if possible). You can also say this in a quick voicemail. Don’t annoy them with a solicitation as they are most likely very busy; the purpose of the call is just to let them know you are more ambitious and interested than your competition.
Following up after sending your resume (but reaching an assistant): While calling a hiring manager, the line is picked up by an assistant. What do you say? I would advise speaking to that person with the same respect and attentiveness you would give the manager. Odds are that assistant has more influence than you may think. After all, everyone deserves equal respect regardless of their title.
Talking to the interviewer: There is a lot of advice out there about interviewing and behavior, but the bottom line is hiring managers don’t want to interview a timid push-over, or a high and mighty bragger. They want to interview a personable, honest, and confident professional. Remember, the person has interviewed hundreds of people before you and has seen every kind of person. They can tell when you are extremely nervous or putting on an act. They just want to talk to a real person who can demonstrate themselves as a good fit for the position and company.
Getting a rejection call: Like the example at the top shows, it pays to be kind even if you don’t have to. Of course, reacting with a ‘I don’t want to work for you anyway’ statement is totally inappropriate, but it would also be a bad idea to pout or shrug off a rejection with a “Yeah, okay. Bye.” Remain gracious and let them know you are available if any other similar positions become open.
A great resume and new suit will get you in the door for an interview, but getting past those first few hurdles in the screening and interviewing process is about a positive and confident attitude. It is easy to get frustrated and downtrodden, especially if you have been job searching for several months, but your attitude may make the difference between you and your competition!
But you do have to get in the door…
Cathy Eng is a Certified Advanced Resume Writer and owner of Resume Rocketeer, Inc. She specializes in helping clients leverage their best skills and experiences to create a powerful, effective resume and cover letter. Cathy specializes in a wide variety of fields and experience levels, as well as professionals looking to change career paths and those returning to the workforce after an extended period of time. She is a member of the National Resume Writers Association, Career Directors International, and Professional Association of Resume Writers.
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