Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Things You Can Control In The Hiring Process

What gets people most nervous are the things they can't control. That's why parents get pretty antsy at their kids' sports games or other events. It's not only because they want them to do really well; they also have no control over the outcome.

It would seem there is little about the hiring process you can control. Everything seems to be out of your hands once you send in your job application. In reality, there are a number of things that you can control. It all starts with what we just mentioned: Sending in your application on time.

Most job descriptions note when resumés and cover letters must be received. Some job seekers make the mistake of either not seeing this deadline or not taking it seriously. While it's true that they are sometimes not followed, you should always err on the side of caution and get your application in as early as possible. You don't want a perfectly good resumé  to go to waste by not being seen.

Job interviews are where you really get the chance to control things. It all starts with presentation. Follow the old cliché "dress to impress" by making sure you are wearing appropriate clothing to the interview (i.e., no jeans, sneakers, or T-shirts). Looking unprofessional is one of the best ways to sink your chances of getting a job. If you're unsure about what to wear, find out the dress code of the nonprofit. Wear khakis and a button-downed shirt if you aren't able to get this information.

Finally, it's important to remember that a job interview is not a casual chat. You should come off as charming, but you aren't trying to make a new friend; you're trying to get a job. This means you need to show the hiring manager that you understand the needs of the organization and that you are the right person to fulfill them. Don't be uptight or too casual. Finding the right balance is key.