What if I told you there were 7 things you could do that would increase the odds of getting hired?
From sending thank-you messages to creating your list of references, there are hacks that you can implement today that will make you look more professional. Now would be a good time to familiarize yourself with some of these lesser-known job-search practices.
So if you think you have mastered all the subtleties of job search, think again. There are many unwritten rules or secret best practices you won’t know about until it’s too late.
Your Reference List Is More Than Names and Contact Info
Technically, all you need to supply is the name and contact information for your references. However, there is one question every hiring manager has when reading your list of references- “How does this person know your work?” You can easily fix this and make your list of references more valuable.
All you need to do is describe your relationship with each of your references. When you provide a one-sentence description of how each person knows your work, it will help in the outreach and questioning during a reference check. There’s another reason this is important. The references you list may not work at the same company any longer, due to the fact that people change jobs so frequently. When you describe how the person knows your work, indicate what role they held and how long they’ve known you and your work. If there was an important project, you may want to reference that as well. The information you provide may look something like this:
Charles Smith, Manager
X Company, New York, NY
Telephone: (212) 555-1234
Hired by Mr. Smith to be a part of his inside customer service team. I worked closely with Mr. Smith during my five years at X.
Coach Your References
It isn’t enough to just ask past colleagues to be references. What they say about your performance could make or break your chances of getting a job offer. This is what you need to do (and most people won’t).
As you enter the final steps in the interview and the interviewer asks for your references, reach out to each of your references and let them know what’s going on. Send them an email to say they may be contacted soon. In your email, also outline the important skills the job requires. You could even include the job description.
You want to make it easy for your references to mention/highlight the right qualities and skills. The added bonus is that your references will appreciate your effort and professionalism.
Yes, You Need Business Cards
Handing over your business card is so much easier than writing your contact information on a napkin. If you’ve been networking without them, now is a great time to make yourself look and feel more professional. So what information goes on your business card?
While it’s best to include your profession or type of role you are looking for, don’t let that get in the way of ordering your cards. There’s nothing wrong with having an all-purpose business card with your name, phone number, email address and LinkedIn profile URL. Instead of using a specific job title, you can use the broader occupational title. For example, instead of project manager, you could use project management. Yours may look something like this:
Project Management | Software Development
Add A Voicemail Greeting
Too often people do not record a greeting on their voicemail. Not only is it impersonal, it can also lead some human resource professionals to wonder if they’ve reached the right person. Eliminate the doubt and use a warm professional greeting.
Thank the person for reaching out and be sure to include your name. It may sound something like:
“You’ve reached the voicemail for Pat Jones. Thank you for calling. I’m unable to answer my phone right now but please leave your name and number and I’ll call you back as soon as possible.”
Respond To Messages Immediately
Have you ignored emails or voicemail messages for days? To stand out and show how attentive and responsible you are, don’t wait. Respond to every email and voicemail within 24 hours. Even a short response that says you’ve received the message and you’ll be in touch soon, is better than nothing.
Always Follow-Up With A Thank You Message
Sending a thank-you note after an interview is fairly common. But it is less common to receive a thank you, either via email or regular mail, after a networking exchange. This is exactly why you should take the time to do it.
In your brief message, thank the person for their time and information. If you walked away from your meeting with any pearl of wisdom or the conversation resulted in future contacts, mention those as well.
Notify Your Network When You Secure A New Job
The most important thing you can do once you’ve received a job offer is to let your network know. Close the loop with all the contacts you’ve made throughout your job search.
Your message should express your gratitude for their assistance. You also want to keep the lines of communication open, so be sure you invite them to reach out if they need anything. You will need your network again and showing your appreciation helps build a strong relationship.
This post originally appeared on US News & World Report
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.