Education Career Services

June 13, 2009

Diagnosing Your Job Search Problem Areas: Part 4a Perfecting Interpersonal Skills

Filed under: Uncategorized — EducationCS @ 1:33 am
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red-crossIn our beginning-of-summer job search rundown, we’ve covered how to put together a top-notch résumé and how to get that document in the hands of the right people.  For our next-t0-last installment, we’ll cover some techniques for setting yourself apart throughout the rest of the hiring process.

If you missed the earlier postings of this series, scroll down the blog and look for the red cross symbol.


In the last post of this series, we covered the importance of networking as the basis for an effective job search.  Keep in mind, however, that your contacts aren’t primarily interested in your job search—so a self-centered approach is likely to fall flat.  What to do?

–Brainstorm ways you can reconnect with former colleagues in a less demanding way than simply asking for a job.  You might be able to orchestrate social interaction.  Email and online networking sites also offer a low-stress, low-commitment way to reach out…but they may not result in a flood of new leads.

–Making new contacts?  Consider what makes you valuable to them.  Do you have information or expertise to share?  Can you volunteer some time or get involved in an event?  Then by all means, do so!  By giving first, you are much more likely to receive the intel and recommendations you are looking for later.

Follow-Up Calls

Most job postings request candidates not call, or they shield contact information to avert a constantly ringing phone.  In these cases, don’t buck the system.  Following instructions is a basic characteristic of a good employee.

If you’re doing direct outreach to companies, however, follow-up calls are an important part of getting through.  Send your information to the contact you’ve identified, give it a few days to arrive, then call to schedule a time to meet. 

Follow-up calls may also be appropriate at other times in the process.  If you’ve had an interview or been told a decision is forthcoming but don’t hear anything for a while, a call to the hiring manager is acceptable.  Ask if they need more information or if you can answer any further questions.  Also, quickly underscore your key value points and where they align with the position.  Don’t become a stalker who calls every day, but don’t let an organization think you’ve lost interest, either. 

“Can you send me some more information?”

Have you received a telephone call from a hiring manager or recruiter requesting that you send a more detailed résumé, a document in another format, etc?  Don’t let this opportunity pass you by! 

Repurpose this call.  Highlight your interest in the position and ask for more information, mentioning that you’d like to send the right follow-up materials so they can accurately evaluate you.  Get the contact talking about the organization’s needs, then demonstrate how well you fit them. 

And don’t just send your standard cover letter.  Write a customized note based on the information you gleaned.  Mention your conversation to help spur the contact’s memory.  Ideally, this will spur an interview.

Check back here for the next installment where we look at interviewing.


Amy Lorenzo

Sr. Writer

Career Sevices International –

Education Career Services –


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