Make It Personal

In this digital era, face to face interaction has become antiquated in many ways. Our electronic tools make it possible to communicate long-distance and connect with people in a matter of seconds. It is often much simpler to send a quick email or text message to someone, and we are starting to place more and more value on this convenience factor. Unfortunately, this can cause us to inadvertently start working as though we’re in a vacuum with just a computer screen and a stack of papers instead of actually interacting back and forth with other people. As a candidate, you never want to be lost in the shuffle of resumes and job applications. A person is much less forgettable than a piece of paper, so your goal is to find ways to be as personal and personable as possible in your interactions with your interviewing company. Here are some great ways to do that.

Include a Picture

If a picture tells a thousand words, your photo has just communicated an entire document’s worth of information. It will immediately give the company a way to remember you and the visual reminder that all of the data in your resume is attached to an actual person. Your photo should be current so they have an accurate picture of who you are, and it should give the interviewer a good first impression of you that makes them think “I want to meet this person.” Be very careful not to present it in a way that’s just cheesy; if the photo is too big, it becomes awkward to look at and distracts from the rest of the resume. A couple of great ideas that I’ve seen frequently are a small image of your headshot in the signature section of your email or on your business card. It’s small enough not to be overwhelming, yet it’s perfectly positioned to put your name with your face right in front of them.

Make Conversation

Appropriate conversation before, during, or after the interview can really flesh you out as a real person. You are no longer just a set of credentials; you are now an individual with a unique story, talents, and interests. Making a point to acknowledge and introduce yourself to as many people as you can at the interview location shows them that you consider everyone at their company to be valuable and worth your time and interest. Don’t force it or push it to the point that it becomes awkward; just show genuine interest in the person or people you’re speaking with. It can go a long way when it comes to their choosing a candidate who is a great team player.

Send a Thank You Note

This simple little step, as alluded to in this previous post, is a critical part of the interview process and should never be ignored. Remember, this is the final impression that you get to make, and not only does it prevent you from being forgotten, it also makes them remember you in a very positive light. It should be a summary of who you are, how much you appreciated their time, how impressed you are with their company, and specifically how you would love to be a great asset to their team. Whether in the form of a hand-written note or an email to all parties involved in the interview, make sure that it is courteous, concise, specific, and personal. Believe me, in the instance where your skill sets and background experience are equivalent to another candidate’s, your thank you note could end up being the deciding factor in your favor.

You are much more than just a piece of paper, so it’s very important to communicate that during the entire interview process. At the end of the day, people don’t form relationships with computers, they form relationships with other people. Companies want to have solid teams of individuals who value both the work that they do and the people they work with. Being intentional about finding ways to be personal and personable with them is the best way to give them a preview of the kind of team member you would be. You can avoid becoming a faceless name in a stack of other faceless names and be that much closer to the offer letter you’ve been waiting for.

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