With the Presidential election closing in, many Americans are focused on what most of us would consider the biggest “interview” process for the title of “Leader of the Free World.” Our own job search, however, is no less important. Candidates can learn a lot from the Presidential candidates, in terms of what strategies to employ and what tactics to avoid.
If you’ve watched the debates (or have been within 100 miles of a computer), you know that the first debate went to the candidate who was better equipped and engaged. By asking questions during interviews, job seekers can show the hiring manager that they have done their research and are genuinely interested in the company. That said, it’s imperative to have the facts. Know the company’s strengths, and also the areas that can be improved, and make sure to call out personal strengths that will positively impact the company, overall.
Connections are key – both in politics and in the corporate world – so it’s not surprising that 82% of job seekers feel that knowing someone at a company gives them a leg up and that 73% said they landed an interview based on an employee referral. Referrals are generally the hiring managers’ preferred method of finding candidates. If someone is willing to stake their professional reputation on you, then you must be worthy of consideration. Don’t be afraid to seek out referrals. Getting your foot in the door is often the hardest part, so use your connections to get the interview and THEN show the company why you deserve the role.
While Presidential candidates start campaigning heavily a year or so before the actual election, job seekers always should be networking. In fact, networking is one of the most important components of the job search, and establishing a strong network takes time. If you don’t network while employed, it’s likely that your network will be weak when you need it most. Leverage social networking, and be diligent about noting the names and numbers of new contacts. You never know, they could end up being your swing vote.
David Levy is a Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC) for TheLadders. While he loves his job helping clients build their careers, he usually manages to sneak out of the office on weekends to play Lacrosse and make new friends on New York City’s friendly subway system.