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Like a Sore Thumb

stick out like a sore thumbThere are many ways a person might stand out from the crowd. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Depending on the way you choose to stand out, though, sometimes it’s not. When you’re a candidate competing for a job, your experience and qualifications are the things that should differentiate you from your competition. Not gimmicks.

Far too often, I’ve read well-intentioned pieces of advice about creative and unique ways to stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs, and today I’d like to tell you why you shouldn’t follow any of them. Read More

A Graceful Exit

sad eggDuring a job search – possibly many times in succession – you’ll almost certainly face the rejection and disappointment of being passed over for a job. Heck, ‘disappointment’ sometimes doesn’t even come close to describing how that feels. If you’ve been through interviews where you felt like you and the other people just clicked, if you’ve started to imagine working in that job, if you’ve started to picture a long-term future with that company, it can feel like you’ve just been crushed. Compound that many times over if you’re unemployed, already feeling down, and really need the job. Read More


ghosted candidate standing on city street

I’ve heard hundreds of stories about people who’ve gone to multiple interviews, met hiring managers and team members, gotten their hopes up about what seemed like a slam dunk … only to be ‘ghosted’. No word back, not a phone call or even an email, despite polite messages requesting an update. What are you supposed to do when you’re ghosted? Read More

Smooth Operator

speedbumps to avoid when working with a recruiter

As a candidate working with a recruiter, it’s to your benefit to help them be as efficient as possible. There are aspects of this that you can’t control. The suitability of your experience and qualifications for the job I’m hiring for, for example. It’s either a good fit, or it’s not. There’s one thing you can control, though. That factor is: friction. Read More

Pleased to Meet You

handshake making a first impression

How can you make a great first impression? The first few moments of any meeting can be anxiety-inducing for many people. Unless you’re a natural extravert who’s energized by social interaction, and small talk comes easily to you, greetings can feel strained and awkward. A job interview amps any tension up even further, because of the context. There’s a power imbalance at play, of course, and if a lot is riding on the meeting (the job is one you really want or need, or both), the pressure in that moment can be pretty high.

I’d like to share with you three areas where otherwise good candidates have made a poor first impression, so that you can avoid making the same mistakes.

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Taking Stock

hand writing skills and strengths

Knowing the skills and strengths you bring to each of your jobs is more than just about having answers to the interview questions about them. That knowledge can also point you towards jobs that are a better fit for you, and also help you to write really excellent resumes and cover letters when you’re applying for them.

In a perfect world, every working person would be doing inventories of both skills and strengths on an ongoing basis. When embarking on an active job search, it’s essential.

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On Target

dartboard targetIn any target sport, hitting your mark is a matter of disciplined preparation, careful aim, and a perfect release. Targeting job applications is no different. If you take the time, each application you send will have a greater chance of hitting the bullseye and landing you an interview. Read More

Listening In

As a candidate being interviewed, it’s in your best interest to be listening as closely as you can. But in an interview, in the context of being assessed and evaluated, there’s a lot going on. It’s very difficult to remain truly ‘in the moment’. It will be helpful for you to train yourself for active listening.headphones for active listening

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The First Cut is the Deepest

knife cutting orange for screening candidates

The resume is, clearly, one of the most important parts of any job search. When deciding whether you’re a good enough fit to spend time interviewing, recruiters base that decision on that document above all else. Words on a page can get you in the door, or they can close it forever. But does your resume get you screened in, or screened out? Read More

Giving Thanks

Gratitude is never unwelcome. Saying a sincere ‘thank you’ to someone who’s done something for you just feels good. And being thanked forthank you something you’ve done feels equally nice.

When you’re a candidate involved in a hiring process, showing appreciation is critical. It’s not just meaningless lip-service, either. Whether an external recruiter or a hiring manager with a company you want to work for, it’s an investment of time (and therefore money) when someone meets with you. It’s good professional etiquette to acknowledge that.

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