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The 4 Communication Tools You Need to Get Hired

The 4 Communication Tools You Need to Get Hired

March 16, 2010

Ah, unwritten rules. With the constant influx of new ways to get in touch with people, we’ve developed all sorts of fine lines as far as what form of contact to use, depending on the level of formality for each particular situation (no Jersey Shore pun intended). When job seeking, it’s especially important to use the right form of contact to make the right impression.

So with that said, here’s a little guide on how to best utilize the four main forms of communication in your job search: phone, e-mail, social networking and face-to-face meetings.

Phone


If you’re anything like me, using the phone gives you the heebie-jeebies. Maybe it’s mom’s leftover advice about not talking to strangers. Maybe it’s because I feel like I’m a pest when talking to people who would probably rather be doing other things. I don’t know; I just dislike it, and I know I’m not alone. But it’s a necessary annoyance. Unless you’re explicitly told by a potential employer not to call them, call them. And if you send out a resume on the internet, always follow up with a phone call.
The phone is much more personal, and it shows the employer that you’ve made some effort. Plus, I’m sure older folks who have been using the phone more than our generation appreciate a traditional phone call in this era of e-mails and texts. Most importantly, it helps the employer to put a voice with a resume, and it helps give you some personality. With that said, phone calls should not be the initial form of contact, with the only exception being if you’re contacting somebody you already know. The first method of networking contact is always…

E-mail


Typically, if you’re just reaching out to someone to ask about job opportunities or send a resume, e-mail is the way to go. Most of you already know this.
The frustrating part with e-mail is that you rarely get a response. If you’re directed to send an e-mail to a given person, many times you won’t ever hear back from that person, since they’re probably flooded with e-mails and don’t have time to respond to everybody.
But e-mail is still a great tool overall because it’s so quick and easy. I also like it because you can send resumes to people even if they don’t have a listed job opening, and that can be a great job gateway sometimes. The biggest lesson with e-mail? It never hurts to send one, but people can (and almost always will) ignore it. Just prepare yourself for plenty of silence.

Social Networking



This is a tricky one. Unless you know somebody very well, you probably don’t want to use social networking as a means of contacting someone for a job, and you definitely don’t want to casually use Facebook or MySpace. I shouldn’t need to tell you how informal that comes off to a potential employer. Professional job networking sites like MonsterCollege, however, are the social networking exception. Since it’s intended to be a strictly professional site, this is a new and great way to network. I only joined it a few months ago, and I’ve already noticed that joining different groups (especially college alum groups) has been quite helpful, since people within your group sometimes post jobs. It’s a great resource for everyone, but especially for those who have already made contacts, since you can more easily contact them through a professional social networking tool.

Face-to-face



If you’re networking, sometimes you might have an old boss or know someone (or know someone who knows someone) who is willing to sit down with you and chat with you about your job search. It’s not an interview (not covering that), but it’s not nothing, either.

If you can, always take the opportunity to have these face-to-face meetings- even in these times where just about everything seems to be done online, nothing beats a good ol’-fashioned sit-down. It puts a face with the stack of resumes, and it’s an extra chance to impress people. Here’s how to knock their socks off. In these situations, always treat face-to-face meetings as a proper interview, even if it’s your mom’s best friend or your old boss who you’re still friends with. If that person has the ability to help you out, show them that you really want it.

Another important note about in-person networking: Dress nice. No matter what. Even if it’s someone you already know well, you still have to dress well. Gents, wear a button down and nice pants with shoes (at least), and ladies, wear the equivalent. If the person isn’t expecting you to dress up, you’ll get a “you didn’t have to do that” or a “wow, you look nice." It impresses those who didn’t expect it and satisfies those that did. It’s a win-win.

If you haven’t seen the person in a while, try and find out what they’ve been doing, and ask some questions. Google their company, ask around and find out more about the person. Show some interest. Ultimately, you want to treat these informal networking meetings as a proper interviews. These meetings are a real chance for you to stand above the crowd, make sure you take them.