The Job Search is a Test of Communication Skills

If you or someone you know is set to embark on a job search, or has completed one recently, you will likely agree that the art of finding a job is a skill unto itself. Why do those with the best backgrounds or the best skills not always land in the final chair? Because prospective employers don’t usually get to watch us go about our day-to-day business. They don’t see us do all we can do. Instead, they rely on us telling them the story of our potential. Through documents and conversations, we must communicate our value concisely, impactfully and convincingly.

When my colleagues and I are coaching people through their job search process, there are a few foundational communication mindsets that are essential:

  1. Think of your resume like a marketing document.

Too often, our clients are overwhelmed by the uniqueness of a resume. If we think of a resume in its purest form like an advertisement, one meant to capture attention, provoke intrigue and generate engagement, we can begin to think more logically about the content we include. The resume is not meant to be comprehensive capture of every element of your life. Rather, the resume is meant to give a clear sense of who you are and what your experiences have been.

  1. An interview is a conversation.

Like any conversation, both sides should talk, both sides should ask questions and both sides should come away with more information than they had before. Interviews are not interrogations. And your job in the interview is not to regurgitate what is included in your resume. Rather, your job in the interview is to give a sense of who you are as a person, and what it will be like to work with you. So think about how you show up, how you listen, how you treat the other person… just like a good conversation.

  1. Forget what you learned about writing a college thesis paper.

In college, we learn to develop a simple thesis statement into a 10-page paper. Through your job search, your goal should be to get your point across as succinctly as possible (without sacrificing clarity and impact). We don’t get paid by the word, or the paragraph. Instead, we will capture attention by getting to the point quickly and clearly, and being able to our story as powerfully as possible.

  1. Speak in bullet points and lists.

Just as we do when we coach experienced executives to give pivotal presentations, we coach job seekers to speak in bullets. This technique will help you, as the speaker, hit all of your intended points. It also makes it much easier for your audience to come away with the key messages of your candidacy. “This job attracted me for 3 main reasons…”

  1. Put yourself in the audience’s chair, with their perspective.

There is an inherent imbalance in the hiring process. Recruiters are professionals and review candidates all day, every day. And when it comes to their company and their process, they have more information than you ever will. A lot more. But take some time to learn as much as you can about the company, the industry and the individual with whom you are communicating. What is going on in the industry? What are the headlines about the company? What can you learn about your interviewer? Learn as much as you can.

The interview process is about making yourself stand out from the horde of others also applying. How will you get noticed? How will you get remembered? It is never easy, unless you get a high-level, warm introduction from a friend. But absent that sort of advantage, you need to do some work. It is not easy, but the path to success is also not complicated.

And don’t forget that The Latimer Group’s NextGen team is here to help you, or the person you care about, through the search.

Good luck, and have a great day!

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

We transform teams and individuals with repeatable toolsets for persuasive communication.
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A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.