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Posted: May 09, 2012

Seven ways to land that job

It's easy to see why some people are still looking

David Sneed

With the unemployment rate bouncing around 8 percent, there are still loads of unemployed and under-employed Americans. Several have applied at my company, and I see why some of them are still looking. Being a planner, I came up with a reminder sheet for myself in case I ever lose my job, and it's based on blunders that I see job seekers make every day.

1. Listen to the recruiter or interviewer; they already know what they’re looking for. Pay attention to what they‘re saying, and explain how you fit their needs. As Calvin Coolidge said, "No man ever listened himself out of a job."         
2. When submitting an application in response to a job posting, use their phrases in your resume. If the posting at CNN asks for a “battle-hardened photographer” and you have this quality, state that you’re a “battle-hardened photographer.” And yes, this means that your resume is personalized for each submission. Kandid Kiddie probably won’t consider “battle-hardened” a desirable trait.

3. Be prepared to start today.  I hear  job seekers respond to the question: “And when would you be able to start?” with “Well, next week I’m going to Cancun with my sister Jane, and the week after my parents are flying in from Dallas, so I could probably start after that.” The correct answer is “This afternoon.” If you really want a job you may have to re-arrange your life a little bit, so be ready for that.

4. Stick to using words you’re familiar with. A thesaurus is a blessing if you already know a word but can’t find it and a curse if you think “I have a lot of sales experience” sounds too dumb. A light sentence becomes an execution: “I comprise many familiarities with facilitating the procurement of products by consumers.” This linguistic disaster doesn’t make you seem smarter. In fact it may do the opposite - whatever the word for that is.

5. Pay special attention to your appearance. I’m talking about the impression you’re giving more than what you’re wearing.  If you want a job as an engineer, do you seem like an engineer? A white shirt with a pocket protector may be nerdy to you, but to the interviewer you may look like their dream candidate.  Remember: it isn’t always the most qualified who gets the job.  Sadly, it’s often the best presentation.

6. When an interviewer asks about your talents, refrain from saying, “I can do everything.” They want to know specifically what your skills are - and how those skills apply to the company. Be brief, and don’t forget to include intangible skills such as “a great phone voice” or “one of my hobbies is chess which helps me to think ahead.”  Personal and real abilities are more important to an interviewer than saying “I think outside the box.”

7. Don’t lose hope because, when you do, you unconsciously display a negative and desperate vibe. Employers hire optimists and you want to avoid approaching an interview with the attitude that: “I probably won’t get this job.” It shows.

I know it’s easy to become discouraged, but moping around doesn’t help your chances of landing a job. At the end of a long day of interviews, be sad if you’d like – but get up the next morning with your enthu-siasm intact and bounce bravely into the fray. 


David Sneed is the owner of Alpine Fence Company,and the author of" Everyone Has A Boss– The Two Hour Guide to Being the Most Valuable Employee at Any Company." As a Marine, father, employee and boss, David has learned how to help others succeed. He teaches the benefits of a strong work ethic to entry and mid-level employees. Contact him at

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Readers Respond

I really appreciate the advice, as it was a real pep talk for me. I have recently graduated from CSU and have sent out over 60-80 resumes with only 3 interviews so far. It can be really disheartening. Two of the interviews have been "no's" So I'm hoping this Thursday will be an enthusiastic "yes". Thanks again. Blas R. Estrada By Blas Estrada on 2012 05 22
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