10 Mistakes During The Interview That Can Cost You The Offer

Congratulations on your interview! Here’s your opportunity to show the company why you’d be the best person for the job, so take it seriously. Many of the mistakes from the phone interview still apply when interviewing in person, but here are a few more to keep in mind.

  1. Postponing The Interview—Of course things come up but I have found it’s very rare that someone Image by Stuart Milesgenuinely wants to reschedule after postponing. If you are interested, keep the appointment. If a true emergency arises state what it is. The term “family emergency”, while perhaps factual, sends the recruiter a red flag. People use this term when they leave messages on voice mails in the middle of the night because they don’t know how to admit they are no longer interested, something better came up or they never planned to come to the interview in the first place. Few emergencies are so private they can’t be mentioned, so be honest. Call during business hours, explain your situation and reschedule with the recruiter immediately.
  2. Three’s A Crowd—Or, in this case, two. There is no reason for anyone to attend your interview with you. If you have car trouble and need to be dropped off your ride should wait down the street, then give him a call after the interview for a pick up.
  3. Late Arrival—If possible do a practice run the day before the interview. It’s difficult to guess how long the drive might be in rush hour traffic if you’ve never timed the route. Who knows, you might have to park in the back of the lot, trek to the building or take an elevator to the 23rd floor, all of which add time to the total commute. If it is unavoidable call the recruiter to tell her you are on the way.
  4. Extremely Early Arrival— Many people live by the 15 minute rule–if you arrive 15 minutes early you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re already late. Great rule of thumb. On the flip side, there is such a thing as too early. The interviewer more than likely has his day mapped out and has other tasks planned right up until your scheduled time. If you arrive 30 or 45 minutes early you could be throwing a monkey wrench into his day. Instead of going inside, sit in your car and kill some time or go down the street to a coffee shop. Just don’t spill anything on your suit! Which brings me to my next point.
  5. Dress/Appearance — Of course most hiring managers will expect to see you in a suit unless you were told otherwise by the person who set up your appointment. Your shoes should be polished, your clothing should fit well – not too big or too small, too low-cut or too high—and you should select a color that is neutral. Think black or navy. Clothing is the first thing to come to mind, but this category includes cleanliness, hair, nails, piercings and visible tattoos as well. If you look as if you rolled out of bed and threw on the first thing your eyes landed on in your closet you are stating, ‘This is the best I am willing to do’. Definitely not a candidate recruiters want to vouch for. I’ve even had a few candidates refuse to take off their coat during the winter months. That is odd behavior that is sure to raise an eyebrow.
  6. Preparation – Come to the interview with a few copies of your resume in a portfolio in case you interview with a panel or team. Or if the company is having printer issues. This can go a long way when you’re up against candidates who arrive empty-handed.
  7. Condescending Attitude – Every company expects you to bring something to the table but you must also be a team player who is teachable. You might be chock full of information, but you don’t know everything, especially if you are entering a new industry. Be willing to add to your arsenal by listening to what others have to contribute. Also remember you should never discount anyone you meet. The receptionist could be the owner’s mother for all you know, or the owner herself. Respect everyone. No one is beneath you, and if you feel the job is, think twice before you apply.
  8. General Answers/Skipping A Question—Recruiters are seeking specific examples so we can determine how you actually handled a situation vs. how you would theoretically handle it. Anyone can claim the customer is always right, but back that claim up with an example. If you get stumped it is better to ask for a moment to think of an answer than to ask to come back to the question. Check out this post for some tips on how to prepare: No Job Offer-Part 2: http://wp.me/p2Yxve-q.
  9. Over The Top—There’s enthusiasm and then there’s inappropriate. Building rapport is a must, and I
    free clip art.net

    free clip art.net

    laugh frequently during interviews, but be careful not to come across as too familiar or unprofessional. Years ago a candidate made derogatory remarks about his ex-wife in a joking fashion and told an inappropriate story that he found funny. I doubted our customers would and had to move on to other applicants. You are not at the bar and you haven’t been hired as a comedian. Know how to read the interviewer. If they aren’t smiling or laughing with you you’re sinking fast.

  10. No Questions —No matter how much research you’ve done you don’t know everything about a company. Think about what is important to you: benefits, tuition reimbursement, advancement, relocation, responsibilities, etc. and ask. Even if you repeat yourself throughout the interview process, each person you encounter will answer you based on his experiences. Anticipate questions (see No Job Offer-Part 3: http://wp.me/p2Yxve-C) and write them down. If I had a dollar for every  interviewee who said, “I had a lot of questions at home. I just can’t remember them now,” I could take a pretty decent vacation.

There it is—mistakes to avoid at all levels of the application process. Hopefully these tips will help you sail through the interviews and land your dream job in no time.

Come back soon for more interviewing and job advice!

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10 Phone Interview Mistakes That Can Cost You A Face-To-Face Interview

The recruiter called after reviewing your application, but don’t relax just yet. Whether she sets up a specific appointment or catches you on the fly, you still need to shine if you want to secure a face-to-face interview. To make it a reality, here are a few things to keep in mind.

 

  1. Language—This refers not only your word choices (profanity is never acceptable) but also how you speak. The recruiter is
    Image by Ambro

    Image by Ambro

    not your friend, so don’t speak to him like he’s your buddy at the bar. On the other hand, don’t be so uptight that you come across as someone who won’t fit in with the company culture. Use proper English and leave out slang and overused phrases (you know, this and that, like, etc.).

  2. Complaints—Yes, we have all had some unpleasant situations occur at work. We’ve all had to deal with customers or even co-workers who are impossible–uh, I mean challenging. Regardless, it is not a good idea to complain about them, and especially not during an interview. If discussing a difficult situation is unavoidable choose your words wisely as you explain—words like ‘challenging’.
  3. Excuses—Rather than blaming the fact that you didn’t meet a goal or complete a task on someone else, choose a situation that tripped you up in the past and share what steps you took to be successful later on. At the end of the day you are accountable for your performance.
  4. Deception, aka Lying — Once you are caught in a lie, whether it’s in regard to your education, experience or job history, there is not much you can do to convince a recruiter you can be truthful, and you effectively eliminate your chances to get into that organization. I have had candidates lie about their education on their application, confess when I explain we verify the information, then ask in the same breath if they can apply for other opportunities in the company. My answer is always polite, yet firm.
  5. Criminal History – While most companies don’t automatically reject individuals who might have an indiscretion in their past, you should be prepared to discuss it in a professional manner. The recruiter will ask for details about the incident, if it went to court, how you pled, did you serve time, what you did to rehabilitate yourself and if you are currently on probation. He might also ask how old you were when the incident occurred. We’ve all been young and dumb, and age really can affect the company’s decision to move forward.
  6. Distractions – You might be distracted or there could just be way too much background noise in your home. Find a quiet area where you can hear the recruiter and she can hear you. Do not do anything but answer questions and take notes. Once I had a scheduled phone interview with a candidate who felt it was perfectly appropriate to cook (I heard the microwave beep in the background), drink and eat a meal during the hour-long interview. When I asked her about it, after a startled pause, she told me she had to take medication at a specific time to which I suggested she might have chosen a different time for the interview. She became defensive and asked, rather unpleasantly, if I wanted to reschedule. “No,” I said, “why don’t we just finish now.” And finish we did.
  7. Lack of Preparation – Scheduled phone screens can be open-book tests. Take advantage of this and prepare the same way you would for an in-person interview. Use a cheat sheet. If the recruiter catches you off-guard ask if you can set a time—preferably later that day—and explain you’d like to give her your undivided attention. This is a reasonable request and it will allow you time to familiarize yourself with the company and prepare your answers. Know the dates of your employment and reasons for leaving past jobs because job history can be a hindrance to moving forward. Remember, what you say should match what you listed on the application (see #4).
  8. Babbling – You have to know when to rein it in. Answer the questions, be personable, but don’t continue to say the same thing over and over, and don’t get off on tangents. If the recruiter is frustrated she’s also imagining how frustrated customers and colleagues will be.
  9. Improper Questions — The phone interview is not the place to ask about pay. We understand you want to know the compensation is feasible, but most applications have a place for you to list your desired salary. If the recruiter contacts you, more than likely what he has to offer falls in the range you listed. Asking gives us the impression you aren’t truly seeking a career but just the highest bidder and, in spite of what we say, you won’t be a good match for the opportunity.
  10. Long Term Goals — No matter what experience you bring to the table recruiters want a win-win. You should too. That is,
    Free Clip-Art.Net

    Free Clip-Art.Net

    your goals are in line with the company’s and vice versa. If you would like to spend your days on archaeological digs, don’t apply for a Dental Hygienist opening. Even if you made it through the interview process, you will make your co-workers, customers and yourself miserable. If you need something “just for now” choose a job that will help you land a spot on the dig. Companies that hire for careers pour a lot of money into training and expect you to stick around.

 

Keep these tips in mind during your phone interviews this week and hopefully you will be invited for a face-to-face interview. Join me next time for the list of things during the interview that can cost you an offer.

Make it a great week!

 

 

10 Things That Can Cost You the Job Before the Interview

With so many people searching for work it can be costly to make mistakes in the application process. Here is a short list of some of those mistakes you should avoid if you want to increase your chances of being contacted by the recruiter.

  1. Grammar and spelling. Why take the time to meticulously comb through your resume and cover letter for correct spelling and punctuation and then throw your information onto the application carelessly? Give your application and all

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    correspondence—i.e. emails and voice mail messages—proper attention so that you continue to make a good impression throughout the interview process.

  2. Appearance of resume.  If your resume lacks uniformity–such as various fonts for each job title, clarity or pertinent information–many recruiters will keep looking for other candidates. Perhaps you even chose a font you thought was appropriate but it really sends the wrong message (think Comic Sans). While it might be fun for a flyer, it’s definitely not the way to go to prove you’re ready to embark on a serious career.
  3. N/A – Answering ‘not applicable’ to the question: Why did you leave your last job? It IS definitely applicable.  Another answer that is equally poor is ‘found another job’. That is obvious. Otherwise you’d still be employed with the company in question. A recruiter wants to know if you were seeking more money, more responsibility, advancement opportunities or you just didn’t like your co-worker’s choice of ties.
  4. Job Gaps—Job gaps are not necessarily a bad thing. There are several reasons why candidates might not be currently employed: stay-at-home parent, lay-off, relocation or full-time student, for instance. If you quit a job and did not line another one up beforehand you should have a strong reason why. Recruiters might wonder if you really want to work or if you make good decisions.
  5. Job Hopping—In some industries this is acceptable due to the nature of the business, but in most companies jumping from job to job even on a year-to-year basis raises a red flag. You are obviously unsure about what you’d like to do for a living and companies will be reluctant to risk the expense of training someone who is, quite frankly, flighty. If you fall into this category it is a good idea to stay put for a while to prove you can commit to a company. If you move around too much you probably haven’t even seen all your current organization has to offer anyway. If you decide to move on, do some research and choose wisely so you can stick with the next job for a reasonable amount of time.  (Reasonable meaning years, plural).
  6. Incompatible Objective—Recruiters regularly come across objectives that don’t apply to the position we are seeking to fill.  Candidates who want to work in marketing research and apply for human resources for example. Equally troubling is the objective that names a specific company, yet it’s not the company for which you applied. Besides a lack of attention to detail, naming a specific company is not a good objective. You should give the employer an idea of what skills you bring to the table, what you are seeking in an organization and, perhaps, the industry in which you would like to utilize those skills.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Objective: To implement my customer service and sales experience in an organization where I can make a positive impact on the bottom line and have opportunities for advancement into management. 
  7. Incorrect Phone number – No need to go into detail, however, it is just as damaging to have a voice mail that is either full or not set up. If you only get one phone call you’ve just missed the boat. On another note, recruiters only want to hear an old-fashioned ring vs. a ring back tone when we call.
  8. Incorrect Email Address — Due to a high volume of applications some companies only make their initial contact via email, so double-check the information you provide on the application and only use an email account that you check regularly.   Your.name@hotmail.com
  9. Not meeting the job requirements.  Most recruiters have been in their role for a long time so they know when someone is  just throwing it at the wall to see if it sticks–that is, applying for everything under the sun and hoping for a bite. Don’t waste your time or the company’s by going for jobs in which you have zero interest.
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    free-clipart.net

    Burning a bridge. Far more often than you might imagine recruiters get applications from candidates who have applied in the past but were less than professional when they pulled out of the process. They canceled an interview the day of or, worse, didn’t show up at all. If you have made this mistake, yet you want to re-apply, and a significant amount of time has not passed (in some cases a couple of years), cross that opportunity off your list. Going forward, act in a more professional manner.

Check back next time for a list of things that can cost you a face-to-face interview during a phone screen or phone interview.

As always, good luck with your job search!

QUICK TIPS: Interviewing

Image by Stuart Miles

With graduation just a few weeks behind us recruiters are often swamped with interviews this time of year. Let’s say you’re scheduled for one of these interviews but have decided the position is not the right one for you. What should you do?

A. Nothing. You’re not interested in the position and you won’t be applying for it in the future.

B. Send the recruiter a polite email explaining you have decided to pursue other opportunities.

C. Go anyway. It’s not professional to cancel after the fact.

B is the best way to go. An email is fine, but a phone call is more professional (and not a voicemail left in the middle of the night). This isn’t so much about the job as it is your character. You never know if the company might offer another position that is of interest to you. In fact, the recruiter might actually keep you in mind and reach out to you later on.

A might seem like a good idea, but I caution you to never burn bridges. Guess where recruiters go when they leave a company? often to other recruiting roles. If you canceled on the recruiter when she worked at Victory Logistics there’s no reason for her to believe you’ll be reliable at Procter & Gamble.

C could be a waste of your time and the hiring manager’s. Call the person who set up the interview to let him know you’d like to cancel and give an honest reason. You might have a misunderstanding about the opportunity that he can clear up—and, frankly, it’s less cowardly. This is called professional courtesy. After that, if he asks you to come in anyway, consider it. No one can have a thorough idea of a job even if they go through the entire interview process, but you will at least learn more. Hopefully an observation or shadow will be part of the process to provide you with even more insight. You might even change your mind.

For more interviewing tips check out the following posts:

Didn’t Get the Job? It’s Not You: http://wp.me/p2Yxve-9

Post Grad And No Job? Relax: http://wp.me/p2Yxve-25

 

 

Your Ethics = Your Brand

Years ago when my former manager wanted to announce my promotion it appeared my drug test wasn’t going to make it back in time. Because I’d proved myself an employee of integrity and honesty another manager told him, “There’s no way you have to worry about Nichole.” What do others say about your honesty? Your integrity? The choices you make?

Image by David Castillo Dominici

Image by David Castillo Dominici

I never want to look back on my so-called accomplishments and have to wonder which ones I genuinely earned and which ones I achieved by cheating. No, I’m not perfect. No one is, but mistakes and lifestyles are two totally different things. Poor decisions will catch up with you. Sure, maybe you’ll get the job, but eventually that company is going to find you out. Once you have a bad reputation it is difficult to change others’ minds about you. Hollywood and the general population can be forgiving, but real life is different.

A lack of ethics can be detrimental to your career or even prevent you from launching one. Paula Deen had at least 12 companies sever ties with her because of allegations of racial discrimination last year and still hasn’t fully recovered. After a domestic violence charge Chad Johnson’s NFL football career ended. Swiftly. Although she has bounced back in a major way, Martha Stewart had to serve jail time for insider trading. Some other unethical behavior in your workplace might include:

  • Getting paid under the table–I am amazed how few people realize this is illegal

    Image by jesadaphorn

    Image by jesadaphorn

  • Stealing–Money, supplies, products
  • Abuse of policies and guidelines—A simple example might be using a company discount for friends or family outside of the organization.
  • Harassment—This can be direct or indirect in the form of pictures or inappropriate language that isn’t even directed at a co-worker.
  • Cheating
  • Inappropriate computer use
  • Misuse of company time
  • Misrepresentation—employees making false claims in order to sell products
  • Retaliation-those in authority mistreating employees as a form of punishment

In addition to termination, consequences can include arrest, demand for restitution, revoke of privileges, jail-time or, perhaps, demotion. And you’re not the only one who will suffer. The company could also pay a price. This was the case last month when we had a clogged drain at home. My husband called a plumber who came out and took care of the issue. When signing the bill the guy handed my husband a bottle of Pipe Cleaner. He asked about the charge on the bill and the plumber replied, “Oh, that’s part of the package.”

Part of the package? Suspect. I like to believe the best about everyone but that sounded odd to me—even more so when I looked at the bill later and saw the Pipe Cleaner was listed on a separate line. Of course I called the company. Not that I wouldn’t have bought the product anyway but I wanted to be given the option, not the assumed sale. It made me wonder if he’d inflated the price of his service as well. In actuality, according the person I spoke with in the business office, he gave us a break on the cost of the service. That’s great if it’s true, but think of the damage he could have done. I’d questioned his character. And, for me, that’s not something I’m willing to sacrifice. Going forward maybe he’ll learn to be up front in the beginning because I am still reluctant to do business with him or the company again.

If you see yourself in any of the examples above, what will it take for you to change? Will it cost you your job? Your friends? How about your family? I know what you’re thinking. I’d never lie to my family. To which I’d ask, how do you know? Could you really tell your spouse about the questionable things you’ve done at work? Or would you opt for a lie—either an overt lie or a lie of omission where you just say nothing? Was Lance Armstrong able to confide in anyone? Of course not. He kept the deception going until the wheels fell off.

When you start to deceive others, dishonesty cannot be contained. It might start at work but it will grow and it will follow you home, spill into your personal life and cause all kinds of fallout. Yes, once again, grandma was right. Oh what a wicked web we weave when we first practice to deceive.

The point is simple. DO THE RIGHT THING! Never let scandal, deception or dishonesty be associated with your name. After all, you only have one reputation. Protect it with everything you’ve got.

 

Ethics–The Lost Art?

Image by Stuart Miles

Image by Stuart Miles

As you read job descriptions and qualifications there is one that won’t show up under the bullet points, but is just as important to bring to the table to build a successful career. These are qualities that are hopefully planted in your early years by your parents, your church, your culture, even life experience, and grow over time as you nurture them. They are a reflection of your character, your brand, your reputation. I’m talking about your ethics.

Sadly, I am encountering more and more people who seem to lack integrity and morals. After a couple of candidates failed to show up for interviews and another was less than honest about a termination, I found myself frustrated by the lack of professionalism and character constantly popping up—and not just at work. Any Mystery Diner fans out there? On a recent episode (well, frankly, all episodes) after an owner discovered some questionable behavior–servers stealing tips from their co-workers and rigging some of the games played in the bar–he fired them, and rightfully so. The surprising part comes at the end where the guilty person not only feels zero remorse for their actions, but can’t seem to understand why they’ve been fired, even while much of their rant against their unjust dismissal is riddled with curses.

If you ask someone to define ethics you just might get a blank stare, but everyone has that standard they measure themselves against to determine what they feel is right or wrong. Or, at least, they should. When I was a manager in my organization every product that left my store had my name on it. It was a reflection of me, so it was important that it was a quality product. The same goes for every candidate I send on in the interview process.

So why does it seem so few people feel the same way? Perhaps the answer lies in the feedback from some of my ethics presentations. Check out these scenarios.

  • You leave the movies and notice another one you really want to see is just beginning. Do you slip in without paying?
  • As you walk out of a store you see a lady with a cart full of merchandise, obviously stolen since she has no bags, making her way to her car. Do you report her?
  • You go into your bank to make a substantial withdrawal. When you get into your car and count the money, you discover the teller has given you double the amount expected. Do you take the money back?

Tough questions for some people. After I share the examples the students and I have a lively group discussion.

Pay for another movie? They charge so much everyone should get to see two. Especially if the first one was the pits. One student reasoned in a similar example, “Hey, the movie’s playing regardless. My admission isn’t going to make or break anything.”

The lady with the cart? Some stated they would confront the person directly or tell security while others said, “It’s not my problem. Doesn’t affect me”. That group relies on karma to take care of the guilty. “But what do you think happens when a store suffers losses?” I ask. Is there an accounting fairy that comes along and makes it all better? No, that cost gets passed on to other consumers—a.k.a. you. And me.

The third scenario happened to me. If you’d been in my place you might reason that free money was an answer to prayer. In fact, you’d be doing the teller a favor by keeping it since she obviously can’t count. Once she gets fired, she’ll be free to discover her true calling. Only a couple of bold students have said they’d keep the money (I usually ask that student’s name and joke that I’m making a mental note not to hire him.).

Most, to my relief, have said they’d return it. Not because it’s the right thing to do, acknowledging the money is not theirs. Nope. It’s because they wouldn’t want the teller to lose her job. I’m still deciding if that’s admirable or disturbing. Shades of gray.

No, not the book. It’s the idea that there is no black or white and everyone makes their own choices. Doing something that would cause another person to lose their job is a no-no, but skipping out on paying for the movie is perfectly fine. For some reason it doesn’t register that both are stealing.

Overall, the students made the right decisions. In spite of that, some people feel it’s okay to lie on an application. To say they have skills they don’t have or deny they’ve been terminated. Some cheat on tests and skip out on group projects leaving three ticked off team members in their wake to pick up their slack.

Candidates who’ve lied about terminations actually still expect to get the job. I know because I receive emails after sending out rejection letters that ask, “Can you please give me feedback as to why I wasn’t selected?” Frankly, it scares me. Because that line that some wouldn’t dare cross—like the bank incident above—gets more and more blurry with every “gray area” decision.

You might be rolling your eyes by now, thinking, Get a grip. What’s the big deal? Everyone cuts corners here and there. But that’s a discussion for another post. See you next time when we’ll talk about it.

Don’t Give Up

Your #1 New Year’s resolution was Find a New Job. What you might be discovering is tons of people made that same resolution. And not just December grads. Many experienced people joined the January frenzy too.

You might not get the first job you pursue, but don’t be discouraged. Given the volume of applicants recruiters are receiving it might be more challenging and take more time before you get that coveted offer. If you are beginning to feel frustrated here are a few tips to keep in mind while you continue your search.

 Image by Stuart MilesDo some soul-searching

Be honest. Did you miss some offers due to your own errors?

Perhaps you came across as cocky instead of confident during the interview. Confidence is a wonderful attribute, however, overconfident body language and answers can be off-putting. This happened with a candidate who told one of our hiring managers, “When you call to offer me the job—and you will be calling me…”

This kind of attitude doesn’t make anyone feel warm and fuzzy. If the manager was rubbed the wrong way, how will customers and co-workers feel? If you want to convey you are the best person for the job simply reiterate your strengths.

“I think the leadership experience I gained as Vice-President of my sorority will be a real benefit to the Project Manager role. I’m looking forward to hearing from you regarding your decision.”

Did you walk into an interview without preparing? Maybe you went just for experience and the recruiter sensed that—despite the fact that you discovered mid-interview the job would be right up your alley. Even if you’re not excited about the opportunity when you apply, if you accept an interview take time to prepare and go with an open mind. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I applied for my company simply because it was in my home city where I planned to return after college. To my surprise, the person who interviewed me had such great things to say I was sold. I originally thought I’d stick around for 3 months then move on.

That was in 1994.

Have you been aiming too high? If you only have 1-2 years of experience (or maybe even less) and every opportunity you seek requires 5+ years, you are barking up the wrong tree. Commit to searching for entry-level jobs and you should see some doors begin to open. The same is true for more seasoned candidates. If you have a wealth of experience and your goal is to walk into a management role, cross entry-level opportunities off your list. They more than likely will not offer the compensation or responsibility you are seeking.

Remain Positive

Whether you are in the application stage or face-to-face interview stage, no one likes to hear the word no. When those no’s multiply over a few weeks, though it may tug at you hard, resist the woe-is-me mentality.

Do some things that make you feel good. Go to the gym, spend time with friends, participate in a sport or treat yourself to dinner or a movie—within your budget, of course. Give yourself permission to not think about your career search while you are out having fun.

If the negative thoughts come, replace them with good ones. 

Don’t lament because you got passed over. Again! Consider this: there is something out there that is a better fit for you. Had you gotten the other position(s) you would have missed out.

Years ago when my husband and I were looking at houses we found one we both liked and put in a bid. I was absolutely convinced it was the house—the perfect one for us. Imagine my disappointment when we didn’t get it. Then there was a second one I fell in love with. My husband, not so much. Yet I kept dreaming about that place. Finally we found yet another one that we both agreed on: open floor plan for him, attached garage for me and a bonus sun room. That was the one we got, and it is so much better than the others. Think about your job search in the same way. Even if the position seemed like the one that got away, keep believing something better is on the horizon.

Don’t cry reverse ageism. It’s the timeless dilemma: How can I get the experience required for the career I want if no one will give me a shot?  You are not totally devoid of experience. There are entry-level careers that only require the skills you were able to pick up at your high school and college jobs.

When my husband first began his career in IT no one was willing to give a young guy with no computer experience an opportunity. After a long search he was grateful to land a job in his field making less than minimum wage. He used that time to his advantage, learning as much as he could, proving himself and, slowly, other opportunities opened up. He eventually became a Senior Manager and a Director in his field. The moral of the story: don’t knock humble beginnings. Pay your dues and you will reap the benefits.

Don’t dwell on the interview that was an epic fail. If at first you don’t succeed try, try again. Prep for the next time. Brush up on interviewing tips or sign up for a mock interview at your alma mater (Bonus tip: recruiters who conduct mock interviews are hoping to find some leads).

Bitter is not better. I’ve seen it dozens of times. You don’t get the offer and then you lash out. The problem is, when you become bitter it can show in your interviews. If you get a rejection notice and feel a need to respond, keep it professional.

“Thank you for reviewing my application. Should any other opportunities become available for which you feel I am qualified, please keep me in mind.” This is a message that could score some points with the interviewer, so she just might give you a call when another position becomes available.

On the other hand, “I’d like to know why I wasn’t considered for the job. I meet every single qualification listed!” more than likely will not elicit a reply. Even if it does, it won’t be, You’re correct. I made a mistake. Your demanding email indicates you’d bring unity and harmony to our team. The recruiter will not be inclined to keep you in mind for anything except an example of what not to do during the interview process. What grandma taught you still rings true: You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Walk into every interview as if it’s the first

It might sound odd, but if you have a fresh mindset it will show. If you are replaying rejections in your head you could come across as desperate, defeated, or both. Remember this when you ask for the job, emphasis on ask, not plead.

Don’t rule out a part-time gig. Yes, student loans are around the corner, but a few months might allow you some time to find direction now that you don’t have fifteen things going on at once — classes and projects and meetings (oh my). Even if you begin your new career in April, you’d still beat the May/June grads and have a few months before you have to face the loans.

Remember, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it (Charles Swindoll), so choose wisely.

Make it a great day!