By Cathy G. Sutherland
We just may have turned the job market corner.
There is a general feeling of positivity and confidence that hasn’t existed since early 2008. Not only is there pent-up demand from years of companies doing all they can with lean resources, but those resources – namely human resources – are lifting up their heads from theirs desks and computers to begin to look elsewhere for new roles. That means opening up positions. Job seekers, dust off your navy blue suits – or at least one of your super cool business outfits.
Whether you are a VP of sales, an operations supervisor, an administrative assistant or president, it is time to prepare. As you begin to get more calls in response to your resume and get ready for forthcoming interviews, here are a few tips to have those potential new employers keeping you top of mind as you leave their office:
Do Your Homework. Spend an hour or more reviewing the company website. Google the company name and see what articles you can find. Be intelligent about who the company is, their competition, what they stand for, what their products and services are. Whatever level job you are interviewing for, those who know a lot more about the company will leave a more lasting impression. Ask for a position description to be sent to you in advance of your interview.
Have an Elevator Pitch. No matter who you meet, you need to have this question and an answer in your mind: “Why do you want to work here and why should we hire you?” You could meet the president in the elevator and if she or he asks you why you want the job, you need to have that answer. More importantly, if you really know what the answer is, you will go into your interview with more confidence.
Eat Healthy/Exercise/Rest. We all know how we feel when we are taking care of ourselves – more relaxed and confident. You aren’t going to lose 20 pounds in a week, but you will “shine” more if you are taking care of yourself! And, even if you want to lose weight, don’t squeeze yourself into a suit that doesn’t fit. Buy one that does, even if you say to yourself, “I am going to donate this to Goodwill as soon as I get a new job and lose 20 pounds.” Right or wrong, employers judge people based on their appearance. Poised and polished still works.
So the good news is that more jobs will open up, but there are more candidates applying for the same role. You must do whatever you can to demonstrate your genuine interest in working there as well as your ability to make a difference.
Cathy Sutherland is an executive vice president and search consultant with Kensington International, a boutique executive search firm based in Oak Brook, Ill. Sutherland returned to Middletown in 2012 to open an office for her firm in Red Bank after being in Chicago for 20 years.