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12 Tactics Smart Job Applicants Never Told You

12 Tactics Smart Job Applicants Never Told You
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Do job applicants even know how to apply to companies anymore?

Apparently not because Internet job boards still exist, and people still create cover letters.

I remember wondering when employers didn’t respond to me and I could never make it to the second interview. But then I worked in a recruiting position for five months and had a period where I went through ten jobs in several years to find one that fit my skills perfectly. I had all the odds against me to land another job: considered a job-hopper, poor work references, and a startup spirit.

Even so, I continued to land job after job using specialized tactics that I knew worked. Many of them are common sense, but sometimes you just have to hear it from someone who’s gone through the job applicant path ten times over.

If you’re looking for a job, here are the twelve tactics smart job applicants never told you.

1. They know Internet job boards have the worst jobs.

Great companies don’t waste their time posting on internet job boards. They compensate with their brand. Ambitious job seekers will naturally go to their websites or companies looking for the job application process. It’s an easy way to weed out those who are determined and those who are not.

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For small companies without a brand and a ton of potential, you can find them on AngelList and Crunchbase.

Keep in mind, applying using Internet job boards keeps you as just another faceless resume and cover letter. The truth is your personality is everything when finding a job that will fit you, so if you’re just another resume, you’re not applying the right way.

2. They don’t admit to being a job-hopper; they just say they’re a freelancer.

Employers still frown upon job-hopping. Even in today’s fast-paced world with constant innovation, and the need to switch projects quickly, they want someone who will be committed.

At almost every interview I’ve had, they’ve asked me if I’m a job-hopper. I simply reply, “I’ve been freelancing.” Not only does this make me seem independent, reliable, and able to complete projects without supervision, but I receive much more respect. In an instant, I’ve turned my biggest hurdle to the job process into a huge benefit.

I suggest doing some freelance work, so you’re not lying to them. There’s nothing worse than a job applicant who doesn’t speak the truth.

3. They know their best option is to walk in with their resume.

Applying for jobs online is outdated. I suggest going directly to the company with your resume. Each time I’ve done this, I’ve received numerous compliments on my courage and determination. Moreover, almost every time, I was sat down for an immediate interview.

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Companies want to hire the type of employee who’s willing to walk in and hand the boss their resume because it shows you’re willing to go above and beyond to get work done.

4. They know small growing companies don’t want the suit and tie.

When a corporation has hundreds or thousands of employees, their company culture deteriorates, and everyone begins to wear a suit and tie and look like clones. When you’re working for a small growing company and possibly right next to the CEO, they want someone who has a personality they can work with.

The suit and tie look doesn’t say anything about your personality. Moreover, the suit and tie are for those who need to cover up their lack of expertise with good looks.

5. They know wearing glasses improves their chances.

Hiring managers and employers have a biased perception on how interviewees look. I’ve received much more positive feedback when I wear glasses. Employers naturally assume I’m smarter and more reliable.

So, if you don’t have glasses, I suggest a pair of inexpensive fake ones.

6. They know employers only care about the numbers on your resume.

Fancy job titles don’t mean anything. You can invent your job title up; however, you can’t fake the numbers from completed projects. I suggest almost every line on your resume contain a number reflecting what you’ve accomplished.

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For instance, if I said I built a better customer relationship management system for our company, the employer would have no idea what that means. If I told them I had built a customer relationship management system that resulted in $40,000 more revenue and a 7% improvement in customer support satisfaction—now that’s cool.

7. They arrive with a checklist of the immediate value they can provide.

I’ve landed several jobs by sending the hiring manager a thirteen-page write-up on what I can do for the company once I start. If they know you can provide immediate value, then they are less likely to hesitate to hire you. This tactic has won a job for me fifty percent of the time. It’s an all-in method, but the employers give you tremendous respect.

8. They join companies with less than twenty employees if they’re looking for growth.

I don’t care if the corporation you work for is Facebook, Apple, or Google. If you’re the fifty thousandth employee there, then you’re the fifty thousandth employee in a corporate environment with little room for growth. I’ve worked with people who held jobs at all three of these companies, and I’ve learned more in a year of working for a small company than they learned in several.

The reason: The earlier you’re in a company, the more risk you have to take and more responsibility you must pick up. Both of these factors quickly push you up the learning curve. It’s harder but well worth it.

9. They know networking will always be the best way to land a job.

I know many entrepreneurs who skipped out on college because they receive incredible jobs purely through networking. They opted out from creating their resume to create a blog with a list of their projects and accomplishments.

Also, they attend numerous industry events where high-end players are immediately interested in speaking to them because of their enormous ambition for their age. When you’re the only person at a networking event under the age of twenty-five, people take good notice.

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10. They know cover letters are for those who don’t have exceptional qualifications.

You don’t need to bring a cover letter if you’re applying in person because you can quickly recite everything on that piece paper in a couple of minutes. So, if you created a cover letter and are wondering why you haven’t received a job offer, it’s because you’re applying in channels that require that piece of paper.

Remember, you’re a human being, not two sheets of scribble. If you can find ways to reach out to companies and show them that you’re not part of the line outside their front door, then they’ll show you respect. Job seeking is all about perception.

11. They understand that traditional resumes won’t exist shortly.

By 2020, freelancers are expected to make up 50% of the workforce. Freelancers don’t have traditional resumes; instead, they have an online portfolio and excellent networking skills. These are the must haves to land a job in the next three to five years.

12. They believe corporate culture is more important than pay.

If you don’t like your fellow employees or your boss, you’ll hate your job. I’ve been there, and there are millions scared to leave this position because they might not land another job.

According to research, just 40 percent of U.S. employees trust their companies to keep their commitments; 52 percent don’t trust what their management tells them; 67 percent “do not identify with or feel motivated to drive their employer’s business goals.”
Sounds pretty awful, right?

If you’re looking to stay employed with a company for the long run, I suggest putting corporate culture first in mind. There’s nothing worst than working forty plus hours for a job you’re slow to get up for in the morning.

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Most of all, continue to believe in yourself because your biggest obstacle is a lack of confidence.

Good luck on your job search!

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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