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Three Habits of Strong Jobseekers


Job applications and interviews can feel like a mine field. Luckily there are three habits that every jobseeker can adopt -- regardless of what's on your resume -- to help strengthen your candidacy and create more comfort and ease with the process.


Write a personal and heartfelt cover letter. You know what's going to help you stand out? It's not a 3-page cover letter that re-hashes your career. It's a 1-pager that conveys your specific interest in the organization's mission and draws connections to your passions. Most job descriptions will include a name to address your cover letter. If you do nothing else, at least address it to the right person. No "Dear Hiring Committee" and definitely no "Dear Sir or Madam." I mean, really?


Practice speaking concisely and to the point. One thing that can trip up interviewees easily is giving lengthy answers to questions. For most jobs, being able to communicate concisely and to the point is a core competency. As interviews can be nerve wracking in the moment, practice talking about your professional experience and skills -- including specific examples -- before you get on the phone or Zoom interview. If you know someone who is a seasoned interviewer, ask them to role-play and provide honest feedback.


Answer the question being asked. Interviewing is hard. Candidates are rarely given the chance to truly process questions before they have to give an answer (See my post on Do's and Don'ts for Hiring Managers that encourages organizations to share interview questions in advance.) Before answering, take a beat and formulate an answer that addresses the question at hand. Set yourself up for success by having the job description and your resume at hand. Want to be even more prepared? Job down examples of your skillset that matches the requirements of the job.


Easy peasy, right? For some, yes. For others, even this article may cause a fight-or-flight reaction. Remember the person reviewing your cover letter and conducting the interview wants you to succeed in the hiring process. And so do I.


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