03/01/2003

Prepare, Practice, and Persistence

By Michael S. Levy

As a Career Advisor with Bernard Haldane Associates, the largest and oldest Career Marketing Company, I’m often asked, “What does it take to be the one job seeker selected for employment?” Of course there is not one answer, but I can offer a simple answer; all you’ll need to remember are the 3 “P’s.” Preparation, Practice, and Persistence! There is never a guarantee that you will be the one selected, but you manage more of the hiring process than you think.

Preparation starts with a well thought-out and consistent resume. The resume should provide a clear picture of what you want to do, what qualifies you to do it, what achievements/accomplishments relate to what you want to do, and where you got your experience. But that’s only the beginning. Many resumes circulating in the job market are missing the essence of a strong opening. Tell the reader what you want in your Objective, and give it to them straight. Trite words or phrases, such as “challenging and rewarding” or “responsible position” don’t offer the reader much in the way of uniqueness and don’t provide much information regarding what you are prepared to talk about in the interview. Quite honestly, who doesn’t want these types of positions? As the first key element of your resume, your Objective should be a statement of purpose. Consider this to be your attention getter, to invite the reader to continue through the rest of your resume with excitement rather than boredom. An Objective that tells what you want to do, what skills you have to do it and what you can contribute to the organization would be much more enticing to read.

Preparation and practice are essential to effective interviewing. Practice all different types of interview questions with your spouse, family member, or a friend. Almost any regular bookstore sells books with practice interview questions. Stay focused on your skills, talents and abilities as they relate to the position for which you are applying. Ask intelligent questions to uncover the employer’s needs and to find a suitable fit. The typical opening question is the first in a set of stumpers, “Tell me about yourself.” Just like your resume Objective, this is the attention getter. This question is not delving into learning more about your 17-year marriage, your teenage son, or your family trip to Walley World as in Chevy Chase’s hilarious movie “Vacation.” Instead this is a time to share your skills, talents and experience and how they relate to the position. Share a few of your best achievements and accomplishments, the ones that contributed most to your past performance. As an interviewer, I look for an opportunity to create a dialogue with the potential new hire. Remember, my interview questions are designed to facilitate our interview discussion and uncover who you are. Your interview responses must show that you are listening carefully and sharing information that will hopefully help me to decide that you are the best fit for the position.

Persistence and pestering can certainly draw a fine line. It’s the job seeker’s responsibility to “close the sale” or at least make a good attempt. Ask the interviewer when they plan on making a selection. How many others are being interviewed for the position? Are any of the candidates internal? The importance of company-centered questions cannot be over emphasized. If you haven’t heard from the employer on the agreed upon date, call the following day to see how the interview process is progressing. If you are unable to reach the interviewer, leave a voice mail letting them know you are inquiring about the interview. Following up could possibly make the difference in getting the offer or not. Even if you are not in the running, it can provide closure and most importantly peace of mind. If you incorporate these three simple P’s, there is no doubt that your job search skills will increase by leaps and bounds.


Michael S. Levy, GCDF/GCDI, is a Senior Career Advisor at Bernard Haldane Associates Las Vegas, NV 89123 He can be reached at Phone: (702) 990-8540 Fax: (702) 938-1050

In addition to being a Career Advisor for Bernard Haldane Associates since 2000, Michael served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force as Personnel Manager. He has an M.A., Organizational Management, University of Phoenix and B.S., Business Administration, Regis College. Michael has provided career direction to over 215 clients.


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