I tell my daughter, who is often late for appointments, that life is about minutes. The first time I told her this was when she was scheduled to meet someone for an interview, but it applies to any appointment of any kind.
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This message is particularly appropriate for the job search. Here are five notable examples of how a successful job search can depend on how you treat people :
1. Be Punctual
Punctuality isn't only important when you have an interview; it's also important when you've made arrangements to meet with fellow networkers. Being late sends a message to anyone who has set aside time in their schedule to meet with you. This message is: "I don't care about your time or your willingness to see me."
2. First Impressions Count
You might be rolling your eyes at seeing this well-known fact yet again, but I'm talking about internalizing and embracing it. You can practice shaking hands, maintaining eye contact, and dressing for the occasion, but this is something you must do every day.
Think beyond the interview if you want to conduct a successful job search. Your first impressions must be outstanding during networking events, while you're connecting in your community, and even at family gatherings.
3. The Way You Communicate Matters in All Forms
Of course your written and verbal communication – which includes your resume, networking meetings, and interviews – are important, but communicating effectively also includes listening and not over-talking.
And what is "over-talking"? Treating someone with respect means allowing them to do at least some of the talking. I've been to too many networking events where someone feels the need to dominate the conversation. This is insulting, and it makes me think this person doesn't care about my opinions.
4. Think of Others in Your Network
One of my favorite posts I've ever written is "5 Ways to Give When You're Networking for a Job." This isn't one of my favorite posts because it garnered many views, but because it talks about the importance of giving back in the job search.
True networkers don't think only of themselves; they think of others as well. Treat others well by reciprocating when someone does a favor for you.
That being said, you don't need to wait for someone to help you first. Take initiative by doing something helpful for other job seekers. Offer advice on their resume or LinkedIn profile, provide a lead, etc.
5. Meet Your Stakeholders' Expectations
This raises the question: Who are your stakeholders? The most obvious stakeholder in your job search is a potential employer. Meet their expectations by networking your way to a referral from someone at the company. Submit a resume that speaks to their needs and backs up your claims with accomplishment statements. Do your research and go to the interview prepared.
Other stakeholders include your network. Consider ways to reach out to various stakeholders like the community in which you live. For example, when you have time, shovel your neighbor's driveway or help them move furniture. Help them help you by giving them a clear understanding of what you do and what your goals are.
The success of your job search will depend on how you treat other people, whether they're other job seekers, your neighbors, or potential employers. It comes down to more than just being punctual: You must heed your first impressions, communicate properly, treat your network well, and satisfy your stakeholders. When all of this comes into place, your chances of landing a job will be greater.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.