Who needs the help of a recruiting service? Land interviews and wow prospective employers in 13 easy steps.
1. Network with everybody you’ve ever worked with; connect on LinkedIn with each person you meet on the job. “LinkedIn will be a lifeline for your next job,” says Don Raskin, author of The Dirty Little Secrets of Getting Your Dream Job.
2. Google your name—your interviewer will. Don’t like what you see? Update your profiles on social media (especially LinkedIn and Twitter) to accurately reflect your professional self. Clean up your Facebook and Instagram accounts or make them private. Dynamic, positive content on active social media accounts will rank high in a Google search, advises Thomas Choberka of the law firm Kelley Kronenberg in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
3. “Make sure your online presence reflects the awesome candidate that you are,” advises executive performance coach Andrea James of Seattle-based Solve for X Coaching. To spread the word that you’re current on job skills, write about your achievements on your LinkedIn profile; endorse others on LinkedIn; and encourage them to reciprocate.
4. Talk to the right person at prospective companies. To find the names of hiring managers, search LinkedIn, advises Liz Ryan of HumanWorkplace.com. Then call the hiring manager. Think of yourself as someone who can solve a particular pain for your desired employer, Ryan suggests, and use that as a pitch for an interview.
5. If your first contact is by email, make a great impression. Don’t say, “Please see attached,” Raskin says. Briefly entice the interviewer to read your attached résumé and cover letter, possibly starting this way: I read about the terrific position available at your firm and feel that my internship with XYZ Co. would be a huge asset.
6. Understand the position. Don’t apply for an advertising job when your background is in something else—a misstep Raskin sees daily.
7. Make small talk with the receptionist as you wait for your job interview; the boss may ask his or her opinion of you.
8. Present yourself as the best in class during interviews. “Everyone wants to buy the best,” Raskin says. Give examples of initiative, such as how a boss let you run with your idea. Express enthusiasm! Right: I initiated my own programming at a college radio station. Wrong: I worked at a college radio station—no one listened. “You can take any situation and be enthusiastic about it,” Raskin says.
9. Be yourself, honestly and transparently. Says Eber Oroz, a recruiter for SMX Services & Consulting in Miami: We’d rather hire an upfront go-getter who can learn a missing skill than one who misrepresents his abilities and would have to be replaced in a month.
10. Ask for a business card at the end of each job interview, Raskin says, and write a thank-you note or email to every interviewer.
11. Take care with your appearance. Dress up, not down—better than day-to-day job requirements; the company’s website or Facebook page might have dress-code clues, Raskin says.
12. Have names and contact information for references—pre-notify these folks so they’re ready if contacted.
13. Résumé trick: View online résumés from your field so yours measures up to the industry’s expected style, Raskin suggests.
Related: 8 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get the Job
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.