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12 Tactics Smart Job Applicants Never Told You

12 Tactics Smart Job Applicants Never Told You

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.

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 January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

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