Dana Manciagli, called “a combination of Jillian Michaels and Suze Orman for careers,” has been a corporate executive for more than 30 years and has leveraged her employee hiring and management experience into that of author, blogger, keynote speaker, career coach, and global career expert. Dana has coached, interviewed, and hired thousands of job seekers.
Turns out, your mother was right! Sending thank you notes is the right thing to do. However, in the job search process it is also required. The benefit in conducting good job search follow up is that it shows great persistence and professionalism. You can use the opportunity to expand, reinforce or clarify something that you discussed in the interview. Finally, it prevents the interviewers from forgetting about you (which they may) and it shows that you really want their job.
As a former hiring manager, I can tell you, with certainty, that one of the weakest parts of candidates’ job search steps is their follow up. So, now that you know better, there’s no excuse for inadequate follow up.
Start by sending your thank you note via e-mail 24-48 hours after your interview. You want the interview to be fresh in your mind and in the company’s! Address a note to each person with whom you met; no group e-mails. Be sure you have spelled everyone’s names correctly and write every e-mail with perfect grammar and a full signature with your full name, phone number and e-mail.
The Flow of aWell-crafted Thank You Note Includes:
Thank them for the opportunity to meet and acknowledge that they took the time to do so.
Using bullets, highlight between one and three reasons why you’re the best fit for the role. Your goal here is to remind them why you would be a good fit.
Close by hitting these three points: Express your interest, commit to following up again within a specified timeframe (ideally in a week), and thank them, again, for their time and consideration.
Now, you cannot sit back and wait for a response. Unless and until you hear definitively about the job, you will send up to three follow up e-mails. Yes, three.
Space them seven days apart. Each follow up note should begin with pleasantries, then contain a sentence explaining where you left off in your last communication with them. Something like: “You had indicated to me that you’d be making your final decision during the week of, and I just wanted to follow up to see where you are in that decision.” Then, rather than continue to pester them about when the decision will be made, take the opportunity to include something of value about you; mention training you just completed, discuss a deal you closed, or highlight a project you finished. Close the thank you note by indicating that you intend to follow up again in another week.
3 Tricks to Great Follow Up:
Always appear gracious, positive, patient, and interested. Minimize the use of “I, me and my.”
When following up via e-mail, always attached the prior e-mail you are referring to.
Match your communications medium to the one the interviewer has been using; return e-mails with e-mails, but if they call you, return their call.
Practice writing thank you note e–mails and get a friend to read them for feedback. It may not be second nature to send up to four thank you and follow up notes to a prospective employer, but this could be the difference between being forgotten and standing out.
Ok, you landed an interview at one of your top companies to work for! Great job. Now, I’d like to share one of my tried and true interview tips before you get to the meeting—ask strong questions in the interview. Believe it or not, the questions you ask in an interview can help you OR knock you out of the running for the job.
Before he became my client, Joseph had an interview with the hiring manager for a position he really wanted. He researched the company, re–read the job description, and brushed up on his top strengths and weaknesses. He was on time and did well during the interview…until the last 15 minutes. When the manager asked, “Joseph, what questions do you have for me?” he wasn’t prepared to answer this question and he sabotaged his odds of winning this job.
When I started working with Joseph, I developed scenarios to get him thinking differently. These apply to anyone headed into a job interview.
Scenario #1: Joseph didn’t have any questions prepared. Mistake! Solution #1: Prepare your questions, write them down, and bring them with you to the interview. As a matter of fact, show your interviewer that you have them written down and they will be impressed with your preparation.
Scenario #2: Joseph asked, “What is the starting salary?” Mistake! Solution #2: Never talk salary, even in ranges. As a matter of fact, don’t ask anything financial in nature, such as benefits. Your mission is to get an offer in hand. Once you do, you can ask questions and possibly negotiate, but not before.
Scenario #3: Joseph asked, “Is there a training program or structured on-boarding process?” Mistake! Solution #3: Think about the perception you are creating with your questions. In this case, the interviewer may think: “He needs hand-holding and may be too high maintenance for me. I need someone who knows how to do this.” If a training program is mentioned in the job description or on the company website, then it is appropriate to ask for more insights about the structure, length, etc.
Scenario #4: Joseph asked, “What does your division or company do?” Really big mistake! Solution #4: It is still shocking how many job seekers ask this question. With the web, calling people you know, social media, and many other resources, there is no excuse for not knowing what a company does. Research what their department or division does, as well. Tip: One of my favorite resources is your local city’s Business Journal, both their online resources and the printed publication. Find your city’s resource here.
Ok, so what are good questions to ask in an interview? Below are my top 7 questions for you to ask in your next interview. You won’t get to all seven, and you need to pick the right questions for the right audience, so read carefully and choose the ones that are right for you.
I’m very self-motivated. How will you measure my success in this position after one full year?
The first 30 days are very important for me to meet as many team members as possible. How will you recommend I do that?
What are the top three skills or experiences you are looking for that may not be mentioned in the job description?
Of all the people who have worked for you, what are the characteristics of those who have stood out as great performers?
I have to admit I’m a perfectionist in some areas. What are the aspects of this position that absolutely require precision and attention to detail?
Of all the criteria you have outlined for this position, what are the top three in stack rank order?
The position we are discussing is something I am very excited about. Do I have your support to proceed to the next level of the hiring process? (This is called “going for the close” or “asking for the order” in sales.)
As an experienced hiring manager and interviewer, I am impressed when a candidate brings out a piece of paper with their questions written out. It means they are prepared, thoughtful and thorough. It’s even better when they write down the answers I gave under each question! I know that’s the type of employee I want on my team and most hiring managers would feel the same.
If you have ever been to a career or job fair, you know that standing out and making a good impression are keys to success. Following my basic, but important, rules of what to do before, during and after a career or job fair will prepare you for success and boost your confidence. And while job offers will not be made at the job fair, if you follow through with these steps, you could be on your way toward a successful interview at the company of your choice!
Before the Career or Job Fair
Map out your plan of attack.
Secure a list of companies attending the job fair.
Pick your top ten companies to target so you can move to those booths or tables at the beginning.
Research; find positions you want on each company’s website and bring copies of the job descriptions to the fair!
Script your answers to the two questions you be asked frequently: “Tell me about yourself” and “What are you looking for?” Prepare concise answers to each and be ready to give the recruiter a clear sense of your background and the specific positions you are targeting.
At the Career or Job Fair
Keep in mind that your main objective at the fair is to get the name, title and e-mail of the primary contact within the company who hires in your field.
Arrive early! Walk around to get a feel for the layout and where each of your targeted employers is located. Decide with whom you want to speak and in what order. Approach the company table and introduce yourself with a strong handshake and eye contact. Pick up any of their literature, job listings and other material. Take notes on what you learn from the company representative. Show that you are alert, enthusiastic and confident. State your specific job goals and communicate how your goals fit with the needs of the company.
If you created a personal business card, which I recommend, give it to the recruiter. Do not use a business card from your current employer with your work phone and e–mail. Be sure to collect business cards from the company representatives and write down everything you learn from each employer.
If there is a company that you really want to work for, but they are not hiring for your field, approach the recruiter and ask: “Who should I contact in your company for a position in my field (e.g., computer programming)?” They might invite you to send your résumé to them and forward it.
Before you leave, go back to the companies you really want to work for. Wait until the recruiter is free. Walk up and thank him or her for their time. This lasting impression is very important for future contact. Remember, they may be talking to 50 -100 people, and it is best if they can remember your name and face over all the other candidates!
After the Careeror Job Fair
Connect with the company representatives you met 24 to 48 hours after the event! Send a thank you e-mail referencing your meeting at the fair. Examples:
Here are the qualifications and experience I bring to the position…<3 bullet points.>
I would appreciate the opportunity to speak to you further in an interview.
I will e-mail you next week to arrange a time when we can further discuss how my skills can benefit your organization.
Connect via LinkedIn by writing a personal connection message from your computer and not via the LinkedIn mobile app. Today, the app makes it very hard to write a professional connection request.
Finally, after the event, be sure write down your notes about the day: whom you met, what you learned, additional research to be done, networking opportunities, etc. Keeping track of all this information will come in handy when you get the call to come in for an interview!
Add Cold Calling Techniquesto Land Your Career Move
Making cold calls on companies can give job seekers the chills! As a hiring manager and job search professional for over 30 years, I have yet to meet one job seeker who is comfortable making cold calls for jobs, sending e-mails to a perfect stranger, or corresponding with people they aren’t personally connected to. However, when done well, cold calling works and there’s no downside to it.
By the way, today’s version of cold calling does NOT mean dialing for jobs! Do NOT pick up the phone and interrupt someone’s work day. Today’s job search cold calling is sending extremely well–done e-mails describing your credentials.
Many of my clients tell me how hard it is to click the ‘connect’ button in LinkedIn, and they are not even talking to a real person yet! Imagine reaching out to someone who is in an executive position, and introducing yourself, and then asking if there are career opportunities to discuss. It’s just not easy, but it can produce results. Tony, a client of mine, learned to tackle cold calling like a champ. After working with me, he sent out 25 very well–done cold call solicitations. He got three requests for phone interviews. One landed in a face–to–face interview, resulting in a job offer.
Cold calling is a long–established job search activity. And, like every other job search action, it should become a normal part of your job search to-do list. Recruiters, HR officers and senior executives are always on the lookout for great talent. Honestly, after making numerous cold calls you probably won’t get many responses. But that one person who gets back to you could change your career path forever.
Here are three common scenarios when cold calling may be effective:
You see a job advertised but don’t know anybody at that company. You don’t want to just apply because you know the odds are high your application will go into a black hole. But you want to win the job by networking! You can cold call someone to be your job advocate.
You see a job advertised and you do know someone at that company remotely or via LinkedIn. They may not be the hiring manager but at least you have a connection. You only need to find one who will help you out!
You know someone who works at a target company, based on your career goal, but you don’t know if there are any relevant positions. As a matter of fact, you don’t see any posted on their website, but you happen to know one person who works there.
Making a cold call would work for all the above scenarios and others. Great, but how do you do it? Begin by following these three steps for making cold calls.
Start by writing great e-mails. If you know anybody at your target company, regardless of their position or level, contact them via e-mail. Use LinkedIn and other sources to find their e-mail address. Make sure you send a professionally written request through e-mail that they can forward to someone else in the company, if necessary. Always attach your credentials (cover letter and résumé).
Research and use social media. Before you start cold calling, go online and spend time researching the companies you are targeting. Try to find a contact name and e-mail within your desired department or division, rather than sending a cold call cover letter into human resources. Take accountability to research before you cold call.
Always be prepared before you write the cold call e-mail. What if you get a call back to have a conversation? Are you prepared to answer questions like “What kind of position are you looking for?” or do you have a scripted, concise response to “Tell me about yourself”?
Making cold calls to land your ideal job is not going to be easy, but nothing ever is. As you get more comfortable with cold calling, be sure to incorporate it into your normal job search process. Remember to always be friendly, courteous and clear when making cold connections. The more precise and specific you are about why you are calling, the better the chances of them engaging with you. And with all job search activities, be prepared; write down what you want to say and have your goals in front of you.
Why a Great Job Search Goal Will Get You Hired Faster
Developing a clear job search goal is a key step before you begin hunting for your next career move. It is important to know how to create a great job goal, not just a good one. Many job seekers out there are applying to positions without a clear sense as to what they want to do next. Others have what they think is a job goal, but it’s poorly defined.
I recently met Pamela who sent her résumé to nine different job postings and got no results. After working with her, I discovered she had applied to be a project manager, a sales representative, and a business operations manager. And, while she may be qualified for all, she didn’t have a focus or a compelling story about any of them. The solution to this situation is that prior to applying to any position in the future, you have to develop your job search goal.
Ineffective Job Search Goals
Sometimes it helps to know what a job search goal is NOT. Here are real responses to the question: “What type of position are you looking for?”
A challenging position where I can leverage my skills and where there’s an opportunity for growth.
Something in the fashion business. I can do anything. I know I don’t want to do retail.
Neither of these are acceptable goals. Let’s break them down.
Saying you are looking for a “challenging position” is classic. This response has no specifics. Who would ever ask for a non-challenging position? When indicating that you want to “leverage my skills,” you need to understand—and this may come as a shock—the job search process isn’t about you. It’s about you fitting into an employer’s need. Avoid the “l-word,” “leverage” altogether.
Where it mentions “opportunity for growth,” realize that there is opportunity in any company. You may want upward mobility but keep those desires to yourself. You don’t want to come across like you’re going to take this job and ask for a promotion in six months. The opportunity for growth is what you make of the position after you land it.
Indicating that you are looking for “something in the fashion business” is too broad. You can state an industry, but an industry is not a job. Focus more on the function of the department versus the industry.
One of the worst things you can say is, “I can do anything.” First, you can’t do everything. Second, it sends a signal of “I don’t know,” or “I’m desperate.” It shows you may lack focus and could be a high-risk hire. Finally, no one wants to hear what you don’t want to do.
A Great Job Search Goal Statement
Ok, so how do you go about setting a solid job search goal? Here are two tricks to developing a great job goal statement:
Err on the very specific side. You can always edit it later. It is much harder to take a ‘squishy’ goal and try to get specific.
Read your stated goal to friends and family for input. See if they understand it the first time without any explanation.
To create a great job search goal, you need to window shop your industry and narrow down your job goals. Window shopping means learning what the market is looking for, learning the current terminology and buzzwords, identifying the top skills, and listing out key words and phrases. Narrow down your job search goals by scouring the internet for possible functions, occupations and vocations. Look through job search websites (don’t apply, just read job descriptions). Print out 10 jobs that interest you and circle keywords they have in common. Read job descriptions in their entirety; identify the functions, occupations or tasks you could see yourself doing…every day.
Fill in the blanks to craft your new job search goal:
I’m seeking a <function> position in the <industry> with a <size> corporation in <city>.
Now, let’s practice:
Question: Pamela, what type of role are you looking for?
Pamela’s new answer: Thank you for asking! I’m seeking a digital marketing manager position in the technology industry with a large company here in Chicago.
Question: Wow, great, and can you give me some company names you are targeting?
Pamela: Well, yes, <company>, <company> and <company>. Do you know anyone at these companies who I may contact?
See where this is going? The clearer and more prepared you are to engage with your network, recruiters and total strangers you meet on LinkedIn, the more engagement and results you will get. If you are actively searching today without a job search goal, STOP and go do the goal-setting work. You can do this!
Side Hustles: 3 Ways to Thrive in Today’s Gig Economy
It’s no secret: side hustles are the newest norm in business today. From student debt and low retirement benefits to fear of job loss, many people of all ages are turning to entrepreneurial endeavors for peace of mind and extra cash.
Forbes estimates that 57 million people earn money through the gig economy. Online platforms like Airbnb, Uber and Etsy make business start-up simple. However, what’s not simple is launching a business that yields dependable long-term revenue. According to the Washington Post, 85% of side-gig workers bring in less than $500 each month.
According to business expert, author and international speaker, Marcos Jacober, making your side hustle thrive will be even more challenging in 2019. I recently spoke with Marcos who serves as CEO of Life Hacks Wealth and is also the founder of Airbtheboss.
He provided insight on three ways to make your side hustle thrive this year.
1 – Be Nimble and Current.
Because the gig marketplace is evolving and expanding, the shift is changing the rules of the game, Jacober said. In order to make money from a side hustle in 2019, it’s essential to have new strategies in place – part of the approach stems from asking the right questions before starting any new endeavor. He said, “The question you should ask yourself is not, ‘How can I get more gigs?’ rather, ‘How can this business run on cruise control?’”
2 – Leverage Your Resources.
In 2019, a successful side hustle will require you to leverage your abilities or resources, not your time, Jacober explained. “This strategy will allow you to have several side hustles going on simultaneously, and it should not require more money,” he said. Some gig platforms are better suited for this approach than others. For example, when it comes to ride sharing, platforms such as Uber and Lyft require you to spend time in the car, while other platforms, like Turo, allow you to leverage your resources and rent your car out to other drivers.
3 – Provide Good Customer Service.
According to Jacober, a successful side hustler must also provide exceptional service and enhance the customer experience in every way possible, including follow-up and real-time experience management.
Jacober’s final piece of advice: “It’s crucial to realize that a side hustle can undoubtedly generate a lot of money, but it’s not a ‘get rich quick’ situation. Instead, it takes plenty of careful planning and preparation, and it also helps to get advice from the experts.”
“It’s important to realize: for a successful side hustle, you need to actuallyhustle,” he said. “Being careful doesn’t mean being slow. Take action, work hard, set goals and check them off your to-do list.”
Killer resume? Check. New suit for the interview? Check. Hair and makeup on point? Check. You have probably mastered these important aspects of job hunting and interviewing. But, what about the often overlooked but equally important finer details?
“When you’re competing for that one job opening and going against so many other highly-talented individuals, it’s the finer details that are going to help you stand out,”says Sharon Schweitzer, an employment attorney, cross cultural trainer, and modern manners expert.
Once you have been asked to come in for the initial interview, the first five seconds of meeting the recruiter or hiring manager are critical. “As the saying goes, it only takes a few seconds to make a first impression,” Schweitzer said.
When recruiters search for talent, the reality is it can be challenging to find the best candidate because so many people have years of experience and strong skills. Therefore, instead of focusing on IQ or traditional intelligence, the focus in recent years has been on the finer details, like EQ or emotional intelligence.
Schweitzer adds: “Today, the trend is for hiring managers to pay more attention to EQ, and many give it more weight than IQ. EQ helps recruiters gauge how well you will interact with clients and your coworkers. It shows us if you’re empathetic, understanding, flexible and the right fit for the team.
By paying attention to the finer details, you just might get a recruiter or hiring manager to take a liking to you. Be sure to keep the bar high with your networking meetings, too. Here are three ways to improve your EQ and stand out from the crowd at your next interview or networking meeting.
1 – Tell your story.
“The secret sauce is storytelling,” Schweitzer says. Show up to the interview with short stories demonstrating how you put your skills to use. Describe a time you kept your cool in a pressure-packed situation. Recount the day you turned an angry customer into a lifelong one. Recall the meeting when everyone was out of solutions and your non-traditional idea saved the day.
2 – Use your manners.
Perhaps one of the most important skills in both a professional setting and in life is having good manners. Afterall, who wants someone with a great skillset who is rude, obnoxious or rubs your customers or employees the wrong way?
Schweitzer suggests: “Say please and thank you. Hold the door open for people. Avoid speaking poorly of your previous employer or anyone else. If your interview is over lunch, exhibit excellent table manners because this is a direct reflection on you and your character. Immediately after the interview, within 24-48 hours, send a handwritten thank you note.” You know, all the stuff your parents taught you.
3 – Do your homework.
Remember that an interview is not only a chance for an employer to get to know you, it is also your chance to show your knowledge about them. “When talking with the interviewer, drop in some facts that show you’ve done your homework,” Schweitzer said. Show them you are familiar with the company’s history, some of their recent success, or key stakeholders. Even better, come prepared with a challenge they are currently facing, and show them how you would help solve it.
Today’s job market is tight, and you are competing with a lot of great talent. Everyone has the basics covered. Paying attention to the finer details that others often neglect will make you stand out and help you land your next job.
Are you as confused as I am? Do you know when it’s ideal to communicate with colleagues and clients via email or whether you should pick up the phone and call? Do you have a firm grasp on when a face-to-face conversation may be more appropriate?
In today’s constantly evolving digital landscape, there are a myriad of apps, tools and services that enable virtual communication. From voice and video calls to texting, emailing and social media posts, these virtual services not only enhance our personal lives but also help boost efficiencies and productivity in the workplace.
And while digital communication methods can indeed help in our professional lives, there is also still true value in good, old-fashioned face-to-face communication. I reached out to business leader, international speaker and mental health activist, Ulrich Kellerer, who has identified three reasons why face-to-face communication is still vital in today’s workplace.
1 – Builds Trust.
In general, our body language influences how others interpret our words. So, if your body language mirrors your words, you end up developing better trust and understanding with others. “If you can read someone’s body language in-person, you have better access to a wealth of crucial information that cannot be conveyed through a phone meeting or text message,” says Kellerer
2 – Enhances Engagement.
Visual connections can add an element of accountability for everyone involved in a face-to-face meeting. Kellerer adds, “With this strategy, participants who are often busy and easily distracted will not have the chance to attempt multitasking – which can unfortunately happen when meetings are handled via phone or email.” In-person communication also helps to create more collaborative environments that inspire people to participate in meetings.
3 – Reduces Confusion.
With personal interaction, you can reduce misunderstandings, increase opportunities for clarification, and foster more effective business practices. Never underestimate the importance of in-person conversations, in real rooms and in real-time.
Striving for a Personal Connection
Whileemails, phone calls and texts all help start – or continue – important conversations with colleagues and clients, the key is realizing that you still must do the hard work of building and nurturing relationships.
Ulrich adds, “The benefits of face-to-face communication are countless. Being in the presence of other people allows us to hear what they are saying, and helps us read and assess body language, non-verbal and emotional cues better, as well as formulate appropriate responses.”
Effective communication is a vital aspect of true connection in today’s business world and using only email and text just doesn’t cut it. Today’s employees require the support and encouragement that can only come in more profound ways via in-person communication.
When employees and clients come face-to-face with each other, they are compelled to be “real” and express themselves in deeper ways. And when you make an effort to get together with others in-person, you will experience a more significant benefit: the chance to truly connect and build meaningful, long-term relationships together.
The beginning of a new business cycle is a time of re-thinking old behaviors and acting on new ones. You may have recently had an end-of-year review or perhaps your organization is moving toward more frequent performance check-ins. Either way, work performance and career direction is probably top of mind.
It may be time to think about what habits you want to get rid of and which new ones will help you achieve the career-related results you want in the year ahead. You can strengthen your strong habits or build new behaviors that will help you achieve your ultimate goal – a career you love. During my 3-decade career I used the times when I changed positions or moved companies to “reinvent” myself by making conscious choices on what to take to my next role.
I talked to Performance Strategist, Laura Garnett, who has researched the science of performance, success and happiness. She discovered that building successful habits is one of the most important elements in having great work performance. She distilled the science and created a methodology that helps build the right kind of work habits to achieve career success.
From her research, she created The Genius Habit, which focuses on implementing simple practices to help you build more awareness about your work habits. The Genius Habit is composed of five principles that are essential for improved work performance and more career success.
The five principles are:
Challenge: Understand that challenge is an essential building block to great performance because it keeps you engaged intellectually. You need to find your ‘sweet spot’ of challenge; the challenge cannot be too hard or too easy for you. The best way to identify your sweet spot is to identify your Genius. This is the thinking or the problem-solving that you are best at. Garnett says, “In The Genius Habit, I walk you through the process of identifying your Genius. Using the performance tracker, you can monitor how often you are using your Genius.”
Impact: Motivation to perform well must come from within yourself, not from external rewards. It is also important to understand and have a personal connection to the impact that you are having on others or in the world.
Joy: Enjoy the actual work you are doing rather than counting on the achievement of your goals for fulfillment. There is nothing wrong with celebrating achievements, but when those achievements become your only excitement for work, it is a sign that there is more joy to be had.
Mindfulness: Slow down and be more aware of yourself. The ability to identify what is and is not working is essential for success. Without mindfulness, you cannot get to the root cause of any work issues that have you feeling anxious.
Perseverance: Failure is an inevitable part of any career. Garnett says, “In fact, if you’re never failing, then you probably aren’t stepping outside of your comfort zone enough. You should view failure as something to celebrate and work through. Perseverance is all about having grit and never giving up.”
So, if you are looking to shift how you operate at work this year, start by building the right behavior habits. They might just change the trajectory of your career.