Simple secrets that add spark to your job search by Ann Wallace Khan
Job hunting is a lot like dating. If you’re down, if you’re desperate, or if you’re disheveled, you probably won’t have much luck. But if you invest a little in time improving your energy and appearance, jobs will come to you much more easily.
Really? Yes. It’s the law of attraction. People want to be with winners, they want to be around winners, and they want to hire winners. Improve your energy and then start to mix in new circles. You will attract people and things will happen.
Here are 10 rules of attraction to help your job search that won’t cost you a dime.
1. Get fresh air and exercise.
Is your job search stressing you out? There’s no pill or cream that can do more for you than fresh air and exercise. The result is healthy skin, more energy and reduced stress. Did I forget to say burning calories? Reducing munchies? Decreasing your appetite? All of the above are important reasons for taking a walk, run or bike ride to get fresh air in your lungs. Cold weather is no excuse – it’s just colder. Put on some layers.
How much does that cost? Absolutely nothing! People respond to smiles: they smile back. More importantly, they will remember you! And that’s a good thing.
In a job interview, one of the best things you can do is wear a confident smile. This will tell hiring managers that you're enthusiastic and motivated. It even helps to smile during a phone interview! You might feel silly smiling when no one's watching, but trust us, the interviewer will hear that smile in your voice.
Next time you meet someone new, whether in a job interview or at a party, practice your active listening skills. Active listening means giving the other person your full attention and then repeating what they say in your own words to show that you understand. Active listening is a fun way to get to know people and be remembered. If you are listening-challenged, and that goes for men and women, then you really need to practice this. Nobody is attracted to conversation hogs who talk about themselves incessantly.
4. Ask questions.
Questions are a sign that you are listening. Even if the person you’re speaking with is boring you to tears, ask at least one question. It’s the polite thing to do – and you might learn something new. Asking questions during a job interview is essential. If you don't, the interviewer will get the impression that you don't care much about the job.
5. Practice remembering details about new acquaintances.
Names are the most important thing. If you have trouble with names, look at the person’s face and make a connection – “Perfect Teeth Tanya.” It’s a game the pros learn to do well. But don’t focus on something that will change, like hairstyles or clothes! Once you’ve got a person’s name, try to remember at least one detail about their family, interests or work that you can bring up the next time you meet them. This may make all the difference in impressing a potential boss or coworker.
Enjoy the moment. Poke fun at yourself or the celebrity freak-out du jour. Don’t make fun of others, and don’t divulge your political persuasion in casual conversation or job interviews. (You’re allowed one vote. Keep your politics to yourself.) Find something to laugh about and your new friend will appreciate your humor.
7. Wash your hands often.
I always feel better after I wash my hands. I feel clean and protected from viruses. I know if I meet someone new, I can shake with confidence. And a warm, strong, clean handshake makes a fantastic first impression in a job interview. (There’s nothing worse than shaking hands with someone who had fast food for lunch and didn’t wash their hands.)
8. Shine your shoes.
If you don’t have a shoe shine kit, this one’s going to cost you a little cash. But polished shoes make a difference. Shoes give you confidence if they fit right and look well-cared for. Jos. A. Bank makes an on-the-go brush you can keep in your car or computer bag. For less than $10, you can ensure your shoes will always look their best.
9. Keep your hands groomed.
There’s no excuse for chipped nail polish, ripped nails or long, uneven fingernails. Some headhunters I’ve met say they can judge a candidate by the look of their hands. It shows how much time you take for yourself. Besides, when your hands are cleaned and groomed, that tells an interviewer you pay attention to detail.
10. Stand tall, shoulders back.
Mom was right: Slouching definitely says you’re lacking confidence in yourself. If you think you need help in this regard, ask a friend to poke you in the back when you hunch over. Eventually good posture will come naturally, and people will notice.
These rules of attraction are something we all know. When you realize they work, you will make them part of your everyday habits and great opportunities – in your job search and your life – will start to come your way.
Ann Wallace Khan is an image consultant based in Richmond, Virginia.