Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nail Your Job Objectives

Nail Your Job Objectives

You've made it through one of the toughest parts of your job search — the interview. Your goal now? Getting a callback. To score additional interviews and land the job, follow a few key steps, experts advise.

Respond. Start with a follow-up letter. This keeps you fresh in the interviewer's mind and conveys your interest in the job, says career coach Peter Veruki, contributor to the "Adams Job Interview Almanac."

Depending on the job, you could have several callback interviews, each with a different person.

Send a follow-up letter after each interview, Veruki advises.

"The letter should be brief — no more than a page — and personalized," he said, adding: "Express appreciation for the opportunity to interview with the recruiter, (convey interest in) the position and company, and recap your strengths. Include your phone number and request another meeting."

Wait five to 10 business days and follow up with a phone call. Be businesslike: "Express your continued interest in the position," link your key skills to the job — and limit the call to less than a minute.

Keep moving. Even if the job you've interviewed for is ideal, pursue leads with other firms. If you get a callback for that plum job, great.

If not, you won't have wasted time waiting, says Richard Beatty, author of "The Ultimate Job Search."

Be prepared. While pursuing other leads, plan for second interviews. This is where recruiters narrow the playing field, looking at weaknesses as well as strengths.

"At this point, focus on presenting yourself as a well-balanced choice," Veruki said. "Listen carefully to the interviewer's questions so you can determine his or her underlying concerns and try to dispel them."

Flesh it out. In second and third interviews, the questions become much more specific.

"The company must now test the depth of your knowledge of the field," Veruki said, "including how well you're able to apply your education and experience to the job."

Second-round interviewers often include your potential boss' manager or execs in related departments.

Among the things they're evaluating? Your experience and how well you fit in with the firm, notes Richard Bolles, author of "The Job-Hunter's Survival Guide."

In follow-up interviews, you'll be asked for detailed examples of how you tackle issues and solve problems. "Use what you said in the screening interview as an outline, but be prepared to build on it with more developed details, examples and ideas," Veruki said.

Think of your top assets and work them into your answers.

Look ahead. Depending on the job, you could have two to five callbacks. After each of them, start planning for the next.

Build on what you did well in each interview. Eliminate weak spots. Use questions from prior interviews to help you anticipate the next round. And come ready with to-the-point responses, says Veruki.

Play it smart. When asked about salary requirements, avoid specifics until an offer is made. In the meantime, limit your responses to salary ranges. Simply say your requirements are competitive with industry norms.

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