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Make your next interview a success with these three things

Interviewing is hard work. If you’re currently looking for something new, you know that finding a job is a job. From preparing your favorite suit to revising your resume to networking and rounds of interviews – there are times it feels like it will never end. It can be tough to keep your head above water with your existing role while you’re balancing your life and your job search. To ensure you’re making the most out of every interview, do these three things.

Research. The best part about job searching in the age of the internet is transparency. This is something that has never existed in the same way in the past. Take advantage of it. Use websites like Glassdoor, Salary.com, and Indeed to find out how much companies are paying. Look up company reviews to find out what employees think of their workplace. Read through the common interview questions for the company you’re interested in. Search on Google and the company website to learn what new changes the company has recently undergone. And, use LinkedIn to learn more about the hiring manager– or better yet, use it to find the hiring manager’s name. The internet is an invaluable tool to job seekers.

Customize your application materials. If you’ve been working to crank out a high volume of applications every day, it’s something you may not have thought of. The more you target your application materials to the company (and the particular job), the more you increase the likelihood a company will be interested in you. And, it’s not hard to do. Start with your resume. Read the job description closely and ensure you’re highlighting the skills the employer is looking for. Customize your objective statement to include both the job title and the company name. Use a similar approach with your cover letter. Specifically mention the job title and company name — and ensure you explain why you’re a perfect fit for this particular role.

Don’t take it personally. Unfortunately, you’re not going to get every job you interview for. The higher you climb the ladder and the more specialized your skills are, the truer this becomes. Just because you weren’t hired doesn’t mean the hiring manager doesn’t like you. There are a number of reasons you might have been overlooked that have nothing to do with your skills. For example, an internal candidate may have been preselected. The job may have been put on hold. The hiring manager may have left the company. None of these reasons are about you.

When you’re rejected, you can either choose to walk away unhappy. Or you can choose to build a relationship with the company. Very often, when you first interview with a company, they’re just getting to know you. If you stay in touch, you will increase your odds of being hired the next time they’re looking for someone with your skillset.

Doing your research, customizing your application, and moving through rejection are three keys to making your job search a success.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

You weren’t picked. Now what?

Being overlooked for a job is the worst. It’s especially bad after you’ve had a series of interviews. You took off work (multiple times), bought a new suit, and updated your resume. How could they reject you after all of that hard work?

First, I’m with you. It’s pretty awful when a company puts you through the ringer, just to toss you aside in the end. Sometimes they don’t even notify you. They aren’t shopping for a new pair of shoes. You’re a person.

So, what are you going to do now that you’ve been rejected? If you’re like most people, you are going to stay as far away from the company as possible. It’s like a bad breakup. They rejected you. Clearly, they didn’t want you. Why would you want to pour salt in those wounds?

This is totally reasonable. But, what if we chose to see the situation from a different perspective? What if it wasn’t a complete rejection? Just maybe, hiring could have been put on hold. Another candidate could have been preselected. Your salary history could have been a bit high for the role. Or, perhaps the hiring manager felt you were overqualified for the job. Often, we don’t know what the real reason was. We make assumptions; assumptions that the company didn’t like us.

What if we decided not to take it personally? What if we looked at the interviews as the start of a longer conversation?

If we did this, we would probably reach back out to the hiring manager in the future. We’d keep an eye on new jobs in the same department. And, we might even meet up with someone from the team every now and then for a coffee.

What’s the worst that could happen? The hiring manager might get to know you better. They might really like you. And, they might call you the next time they’re hiring. In fact, they might call you before the position is posted online.

But, this approach takes two things. First, it requires you to separate yourself from the rejection of not being selected the first time around. You have to be confident enough in your skills to say, “This wasn’t the right fit this time” instead of, “this will never work.” Second, it takes longer. It requires you to put in more time. It’s not an immediate answer, and it could even take years to build a relationship with the company that rejected you.

I’d argue that it’s worth it. If you take this approach across the board, you will grow your network more than you can imagine. Instead of searching for a new job, jobs begin to come to you. Hiring managers will call you when you are a good fit. They will call when they can pay you enough and when they have a job that really meets your skills.

But, it requires looking at things differently when you’re not picked. So, what’s your next move – complete rejection or conversation starter?

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.