Answer the interview question, “what’s your weakness?” with a positive spin (ex: “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too hard”). Ummm…. I’m pretty sure interviewers can see through that. The best answer I ever gave? “I’m young”. I think it pointed out (the obvious) that because of my age I wasn’t as experienced as the next guy, but also highlighted that I would have a different perspective. But at the end of the day you’re not being honest if you say something like “perfectionist” – it doesn’t highlight your uniqueness and sounds like you’re reading something from a book. Be honest, show how you overcame that weakness and for God’s sake, stand out.
Follow a template. For the longest time I wrote cover letters with this general outline:
- State the position for which you’re applying
- Mention two qualifications and what you know about the company
- Refer to enclosed resume and state when you’ll be following up
None of those cover letters got a reply. I’ve said this a million times already, but be honest, write well, try not to be boring and switch it up so your letter doesn’t get lost in the pile.
Don’t quit your day job. Unless you’re unemployed you a) wont be pressured to get the work done, b) wont have the time to really find another job you love and c) will find a million excuses to stay in your comfortable cubicle. There are a million ways to make money during “unemployment” while you find the perfect full time job. One you actually want.
Spend a lot of time on your resume and cover letter. I don’t know how many times I need to say this, but no one reads that shit. You get a job by knowing people and the perfect resume wont help you with that. This is where your winning personality and go-getter attitude comes in. Spend that new-found time on LinkedIn, making contacts and researching your field.
Check job boards and company HR sites daily. By the time these jobs are posted, the opening has been there for a while. People would rather hire a recommendation from a colleague than a stranger from a site. Get the inside scoop and don’t waste time applying via button click.
Be careful with your web image. Maybe don’t put naked photos of yourself online, but try not to let HR/Facebook horror stories wreck your groove. Make sure that when companies Google you, you’re all over the place rather than hiding under the proverbial rock.
Cold call. It’s annoying, doesn’t work and it’s better to make a few, but great, connections than a lot of random and insincere ones.
A couple pieces of good career advice:
“Hire a some to write your resume” ~Penelope Trunk
“Make your life one giant networking event” ~Dan Schawbel
“Embrace your inner geek” ~Michelle Goodman
“There really never was a career path for you” ~Chris Brogan