Tips for Generating Quality Job Interviews

Many IT professionals are having a difficult time finding enough quality job opportunities in today's tight job market. At the same time, I've heard from people who are getting multiple job offers from companies they want to work for. These people have somehow identified the secrets to uncovering job interviews with attractive companies.

What are these successful job seekers doing to generate multiple job interviews? After listening to many of them share what worked for them, I was able to identify their top methods. My conclusion: By taking a focused and deliberate approach, you will begin producing job interviews that will put you on track to get the kind of offers you are seeking. I call these tactics the "nine Vs." Choose the one that will put you over the top, or try several of them.

1. Volunteering.

Be seen in a positive light. Volunteer with an association or charity where employed people in your industry can get to know you on a personal level. Select a volunteer opportunity that your prospective employer is involved in. What volunteer activities have you been involved with in recent months? A good book on this topic is Ricky Steele's "The Heart of Networking," which can be found at www.rickysteele.net.

2. Vendors.

Identify the vendors that service the industry or companies that you want to work for. Then take a key contact at one of these vendors out to lunch or for a cup of coffee. You might be able to help them when you get employed again, but in the meantime, they can help you. Integrate these vendors into your network of contacts.

3. Venting.

By this, I don't mean that you should vent; I want you to listen to what employers are venting about. What problems do they need to fix that simply are not getting resolved? Are there newspaper articles, Web sites or newsgroups that could help you identify their problems? How can you position yourself as the person who can solve them? When speaking to employed people, ask them what problems they are trying to solve to improve their companies. Then find a way to offer your ideas as solutions to their problems. This is a great way to get their attention and provide value.

4. Valuable contacts.

Which of the business cards lying on your desk can connect you to that next job interview? What have you done to help that person in his business so he considers you a valuable contact? The key is to be valuable to them first. One of the best Web sites to help you do this is www.netweaving.com.

5. Value.

Most people out of work have an "elevator pitch" that outlines their career experience and skills. Instead, try to focus on communicating what your higher-level value is. If you can clearly define your value in a 30-second "commercial," people will more quickly grasp how they can help you. Your own value becomes a calling card that will attract other people to you. An example might be: "I help companies turn their IT departments into profit centers." That would get my attention; I'd want to learn how you do that!

6. Validate.

Have you validated your job search? A validated job search is one where you have taken the time to write down your goals. On a single piece of paper, write down what type of job and company will match those goals, and begin networking to make it happen. I recently met someone who had targeted three local employers. Everyone, from his wife to his friends, was trying to help him. Finally, someone told him that one of his neighbors was an executive at one of his target companies, and it resulted in an interview and then finally a job offer.

7. Vince.

The incomparable coach Vince Lombardi is quoted as saying, "The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare to win." We must be ready to start each day with preparation that is focused on having the will to network and stretch beyond our normal comfort zones. Use this quote to inspire you to achieve your daily goals. It comes from one of the greatest football coaches in history. If you had an interview today, would you be the most prepared candidate, or would you just show up to learn more about the job?

8. Volume.

When on the phone, speak up! Convey energy. Stand up. Be ready to discuss how you help companies improve their bottom lines. People are attracted to others who speak with excitement and conviction. Be yourself, but increase your volume. A few years ago, I called a prospective candidate at 9 a.m., and I still can't believe this: He yawned twice during our 10-minute interview. Obviously, he made my decision very easy.

9. Vault.

Everyone has treasures hidden in his own personal vault. Your treasures are your skills and achievements that should be discussed, shared and used for the benefit of others. Begin sharing your treasures today by opening up your vault for others to see. Great things (like job interviews) can happen to you if you do.

Use the nine Vs to multiply your success in generating job interviews. Job interviews are taking place every day with companies you would love to work for. Shouldn't they be interviewing you?

Jay Litton is director of sales, Central region, for Macrovision. Jay shares his 20 years of sales and sales management experiences so professionals can market themselves better. Permission to reprint is provided by notifying Jay at jlitton@macrovision.com and including this paragraph in your reprint.

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