After receiving 241 applications in less than seven days I wasn’t ghosting anyone.
I was swamped with applications and with all the tasks required to get Book Launchers up and running.
I thanked Miss O* for her email and let her know that she’d made my job easier by taking one more name off my short list. You can send me a tweet and tell me if I was too harsh, but Miss O* was definitely off my list!
If you don’t want to land that job, get the new client or secure a new gig, then I’ve got some great advice for you. I’ve spent about 40 hours in the last month searching for great talent for my new business. I’m hiring two employees and lining up half a dozen contractors. Some people have absolutely wowed me with their attention getting approach, their professionalism, and personality. Then there’s the folks who make it easy to eliminate them.
5 Ways to Not Land that Gig You Want
Assume your awesomeness is obvious
Yes, you probably are awesome at what you do. Maybe you think it’s obvious that you’re the perfect solution to the client’s problem or to the employers job needs, but remember you have to get attention first and then you can sell yourself. And, the best way to sell yourself is to try to figure out what the other person needs and then present your strengths in a way that showcases how you are the best fit for what the other person needs.
I had a couple of incredibly impressive resumes hit my inbox. One was an Emmy Award winning writer. Another had several New York Times Bestselling authors as clients. I was impressed, but I didn’t put them on my interview short list because they were accompanied with curt cover letters essentially saying ‘my credentials speak for themselves – see my resume/see my website.‘
It’s cool you won an Emmy for your writing or that you’ve helped publish a New York Times Bestseller, but how does that actually help me solve my problem? If you don’t answer that question for the person on the other side, you’re not getting the gig.
And, if you think you’re so awesome you don’t have to sell yourself, you may never get the chance to even pitch your talents for the gig.
Google says you’re guilty of sexual assault
I dedicated an entire chapter to the subject of Google in The New Brand You.
It’s worth repeating. People are typing your name into Google and the results are impacting their opinion of you.
This is a true example from my search for a Writing Coach for Book Launchers.
An applicant with an impressive track record of writing non-fiction books applied for the job. He piqued my interest. I wanted to check out the books he’d written so I did a quick Google search of his name. I was looking for an author website. I wasn’t looking for a criminal background … but that’s what I found. The first three search results were all about his March 2017 conviction!
He didn’t get an interview.
Your potential employers and clients are typing your name into Google. Make sure you know what Google is saying about you!
Tell me the job interests you because you have to pay the bills somehow
The best answer to a question like “What led you to apply for this job?” is not “I wanted the money”.
It kind of goes without saying that you’re looking for a job to earn a little income.
I shortlisted and interviewed two different people who basically told me they would rather be full time writers but that doesn’t pay the bills. One of them actually is a pretty successful internationally published writer and probably could pay his bills with his writing if he took a little more initiative, but he seems like he’s waiting for success to happen instead of creating his own success.
Regardless of his writing success, he’s not getting the job to coach my authors.
I don’t want a team of people thinking, ‘Ugh – I should be writing my own book not helping you with yours‘.
Look for clients that you love and gigs that help you create your ideal day. If you’re not, maybe you should take a hard look at the excuses you’re making for NOT doing the thing you really want to do.
Need a little kick in the butt? Read how to free your life and mind from mediocrity.
Ask questions that the job posting clearly answers
If your potential client has a great website that clearly explains their business, you better read through it before you pitch them your services. If they have outlined what they need from you in a proposal or a job application, read that thoroughly and consider how to present yourself relative to what they need.
What you do not do, ever, is ask questions that could have been answered by reading easily accessible material like a job ad or a website.
I eliminated at least 20 people because their cover letter made it clear they didn’t even read the job ad. Further, I decided not to interview four people I was interested in because they emailed me questions in response to my request for more information from them. I don’t mind questions, but almost all of them were answered by checking out the website or reading the job ad more carefully.
If you want your potential client or employer to know you truly do care about the role and you will do a great job, you need to show that from the start.
Read the material they’ve put out publicly so you know what they have done and what they are looking for.
“I wasn’t actually interested anyway.”
I tried to send a little note back to every one of the 241 applicants, even if I wasn’t going to be interviewing them. Leaving people hanging isn’t something I like to do if I can avoid it. A few were rather rude in response to my polite rejection.
I silently thanked them for their rudeness. Better to know you’re a jerk now, rather than find out later.
My favorite one came on a cover letter though. “Your job ad was riddled with errors. So much so that it was distracting. I’d be happy to fix that for you so you don’t miss out on great applicants because of a poorly written ad.”
I may have left that person hanging without a response …
The Good News for You
The competition isn’t as fierce as you might think it is. Too many people wing it, don’t want to take risks or invest much energy. Less than 15% of the 241 applicants were good enough for me to reach out to learn more. Most people make it really easy to eliminate them from the running.
If you really want to stand out, it’s simple. Find out the name of the person you’re going to be communicating with. Learn what you can about them before you meet them. Get to know the company you’re going to work with. Understand where you can fit in.
There are a lot of highly qualified people who are “throwing a lot of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.” Yes, one applicant actually said those exact words to me … and no, I didn’t hire him.
If you are willing to work hard, take a few risks to stand out and you do your homework, you’re going to be on the short list!
And, maybe you won’t get the gig this time, but you’ll be remembered in a positive light. That might mean a referral or a job in the future! At the very least, you won’t be forever remembered as the gal that accused her potential employer of ghosting her.
*Miss O wasn’t her name … but it did start with the letter O. 🙂
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