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Why you should follow directions in your job search

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In kindergarten we are taught to follow directions and yet as we get older we often figure that we know better. Once in awhile, we do know better but job search is generally not one of them.

Why you want to follow directions in your job search

Every so often I have a very prepared and eager job seeker. Their goal is to get a new job and get it now! They may have additional information ready to go to the job of their dreams. They may have developed an extensive career marketing portfolio to share with the interviewer. They may think that the best time to get all that extra information into the hands of the hiring manager is right away.

Stop!

If the job application asks for you to send the resume and cover letter, that’s what you should submit. Thinking you can email a 20 page beautifully done marketing proposal for the job with the application is a bad idea. Yes, you are thinking outside the box and being innovative. But one of the parts of the initial job search is to find candidates who actually follow directions.

When I asked Dawn Bugni and Barb Poole, two professional career industry colleagues I love consulting with on career marketing issues, for their opinions on extra information during the initial job search, they had this to say:

Dawn: “You can’t tell everything on the first date. Would your client show up on a first date with suitcases full of his entire wardrobe and 5 dysfunctional family members in tow, just so the person of interest could know every shred of detail about him, immediately? Probably not. Then don’t do it to a hiring authority.”

Barb: “In addition to the risk of being throwing in the circular file for not jumping the hoops as asked for, a client is throwing all his eggs in the basket early.”

We all agree as career professionals. There is no reason to commit career sabotage by sending volumes when the directions clearly stated just the resume and cover letter. On the other hand, using networks to get in the back door and preparing a portfolio or proposal to wow the interviewer when you get to the second interview or as a follow-up to the first interview, if you know the interviewer would appreciate it, is good job search sense.

Preparation is always a good idea

Most people don’t follow directions for good interviewing either. They let their nerves do the talking instead of their brain. While specifics for good interviewing is a topic for very different post, if you treat every part of your job search seriously and follow directions, you will be walking into the door to your new job much more quickly.

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