istock_000006404981xsmallThere are many ways job hunters can shine in a future employer’s eyes by taking some simple steps. The goodwill you create may make the difference in getting the job or being remembered by the employer for another job that comes up later. Kathy Marcus found that out last month when an employer she previously interviewed with called her up about a six month contract assignment. Today, Kathy shares her tips for making positive impressions with future employers.

Day 8 – The Good

Kathy MarcusWhile job transition can be a stressful period, we job seekers need to always be on our best behavior. Not only do we need to be positive and forward thinking (as mentioned in previous tips) but our etiquette, both written and verbal, needs to be spot on.

There are many opportunities for us to shine as job candidates or networking connections and those same opportunities can present a hole to fall into with one misstep. Here are just a few examples:

Cover letters with job postings

Put extra effort into a cover letter with your resume when posting for a position, even if it’s not required, can go a long way to separate you from the pack. I have a general one that I took some time drafting and then I plug-in key phrases to align with the different jobs I’ve applied to.

I look at cover letters as another way to demonstrate your communication skills and to show the hiring manager that you are serious about the opportunity. Don’t leave it off of your checklist and do it right!

Post job interview thank you notes

Believe it or not, a very small percentage of job candidates send thank you notes after a job interview. What an easy way to distinguish yourself! Not only does a well written thank you note or email convey thoughtfulness and follow-through, it’s a great opportunity to include strengths that you weren’t able to discuss during the interview.

I always ask the interviewers what the attributes of their ideal candidate are and then I include those attributes in my thank you with examples of how I fit the bill. All within a couple of paragraphs of course! Thank you note writing is both an art and science but is well worth the time spent. I’ve heard stories of candidates being hired over other finalists just because they were the only ones to send a note!

Post networking meeting thank you notes

Every connection who agrees to meet with you in person or over the phone deserves a thank you note. After all, they took time out of their day to meet with you, answer your questions, give you information about their company or other companies, give advice and, hopefully, offer you more contacts. My goodness, if that doesn’t deserve an email or thank you card, what does? These are easy to write and those few minutes of effort will solidify your relationship with the contact.

How can I help you?

We job seekers, especially those people newly in transition, have been humbled and may feel like we have little to offer to employed people. That is simply not true. We have our own list of contacts, our knowledge of our former employers as well as other skills we can bring to the table. Perhaps we’re really good at writing or editing resumes or handling tough interview questions.

There are a number of ways we can assist our networking contacts. With that in mind, don’t ever forget to ask, ‘How can I help you?’ during each conversation you have with a connection. Again, it will set you apart in a positive way and your new (or renewed) connection will leave feeling positive about introducing you to their connections.

Applying for jobs, interviewing for jobs and networking is hard work. Leverage etiquette positively to make that effort pay off!