A Jagaimo.com Project tech.job.search guide




New Etiquette

New Etiquette

Jason Truesdell

Contemporary business etiquette isn't about insincere flattery. It's about effectively understanding and contributing to the business of the people you encounter.

When you're looking for a job, keeping this in mind will make you a much stronger candidate.

Here are some guidelines that will show employers you respect their needs. No flowery language or long-winded 19th century "trusting to await your further orders, gentlemen, I am, and remain, faithfully yours" type letter-closings required.

Understand the business

Employers are not hiring out of altruism; they either have or they anticipate a business need that requires hiring someone with some special skills. When you learn about a position, gather information about the company and its business and as many details about the problems the team you'd be working with is trying to solve. Target your resume to highlight how you can apply your knowledge to provide solutions. Early in an interview, ask the interviewer about the job and try to learn what problems they are trying to solve. When the interviewer asks you questions, try to frame your answers in a way that emphasizes how you can contribute to the employer's objectives.

Value time

Reading resumes and conducting job interviews is a distraction from the daily routine. If your employers had loads of extra free time, they probably wouldn't be hiring additional people. In email and phone conversations, be brief and to the point. By writing your resume in a manner that highlights the value you would add to a company or project, you make it possible for the hiring manager to find and bring in the most relevant candidate for an interview. By being honest about your skill-set, you don't waste your time or the interviewers by coming in to talk about a job you're not quite ready for. By making being well-prepared for the interview, you will make the most effective use of your interviewer's time.

Think deliverables

Employers need you to think in terms they can understand. All of the technical expertise in the world is useless unless it is used to accomplish something. Focus on tangible results and highlight things that demonstrate your ability to deliver products (or services, depending on the job scope). In an interview you might be asked about your work history; you are really being asked to explain what results you achieved in your previous work, not just what the nature of the business was. When you're asked problem-solving questions, you're simultaneously being asked to address the technical side of the problem as well as the business issues. Go beyond the technical side when the scope of a question permits it, and show how your way of thinking would add value to their business.

What it all means

Keeping these things in mind will differentiate you from the desperate candidate who expects somebody to rescue them from unemployment. Even if you don't get the job, you'll leave a positive impression that could result in your resume being passed to other teams or business contacts, or getting another phone call when a company's hiring needs change.


Last modification to this page: 2000.12.18

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© 1999-2001 Jason Truesdell.
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