How to Get a Job Offer

by Al Stewart

Finding a job is hard work. For every attractive position, numerous candidates vie for attention and try to make a nice impression. Coming out ahead in a highly competitive job market takes preparation, attention to detail and, perhaps most important, a positive attitude. Demonstrate that you're the best person for the job by carefully preparing for each step of the process. Position yourself as the ideal candidate, and you'll get the job offer.

Plan your job hunting strategy with an eye toward locating opportunities consistent with your qualifications. Rather than cast a wide net and apply to numerous jobs, focus on a limited number of positions likely to yield results. Tap into the hidden job market by networking and seek out unadvertised opportunities. Focus on where you'd like to work and find out the identity of the decision maker.

Make a compelling presentation that enables you to stand out from others. Consider having someone prepare your resume professionally. Develop a portfolio that strengthens your case. This might include news clips about your achievements or samples of your work. Have a list of references with contact information ready before being asked. Make certain you have sharp wardrobe selections that are professional looking and suitable for the job you're seeking.

Nail the interview by anticipating questions and doing research on the employer. Be prepared to discuss specifics about the employer's areas of operation as well as significant events. Create a compelling sales pitch that stresses your qualifications and how the job relates to your background. Rehearse with mock interviews covering a range of scenarios, including one where the interviewer's abrupt or curt. Understand the importance of a firm handshake and a warm smile.

Follow up with the employer after the interview or initial corespondence. Be aggressive and assertive without being pushy. Affirm your interest and be confident. Say, for example, "This is an outstanding opportunity, and I know I would be a perfect fit for you." Be flexible about a starting date and a work schedule. Ask if there's anything else you can do that might enhance your chances.

Stay at it. Often in the business world, "no" really means "not now." If an employer doesn't offer the job, revisit the opportunity later. Don't be discouraged by rejection, because this is a routine part of the process. Persistence and determination will help you get a job offer.

About the Author

Al Stewart's 30-year background as a writer/editor includes staff positions at "Adweek," "Billboard," "Chain Drug Review," "Cable World," "DNR" (men's fashion), "National Floor Trends," and "Variety." A native New Yorker, he is now a writer/editor living in Los Angeles. He has a BA in political science from Wagner College.

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