Make it easy for the employer to pick you!

You know that reinforcement makes information stick in your memory – that’s why you take notes during class and then study your notes repeatedly (reinforcement) to get a good grade. Use the same technique in your job search! Reinforce in the employer’s mind the relevance of your education, experience (including transferable skills) and character (including your attitude and personal qualities), as well as the results you will deliver. You can be memorable!

  • When your interesting cover letter and resume grab the employer’s interest (reinforcement #1), then
  • The employer reads your documents with enhanced interest (reinforcement #2). If the employer’s interest is captured, then
  • You are invited for the interview. Inevitably the first request of the interviewer is ‘Tell me about yourself’ (TMAY). Your response (reinforcement #3) should mention the relevance to this position of your education, your experience and your character, conveying the results you will deliver.
  • Towards the end of the interview, most employers give the applicant a chance to ask some questions. After doing so, restate slightly differently (reinforcement #4) the relevance to this position of your education, experience and character, again conveying the results that will deliver.
  • After the interview, send a thank you note (reinforcement #5).The thank you note should be gracious in conveying thanks for the opportunity to interview but it should also reinforce the same message as in the previous steps.
  • Most applicants stop there but you shouldn’t. If you truly want this position, follow up in one week after you sent your thank you note (reinforcement #6). You might write: ‘I wanted you to know that every day since I interviewed, I have thought about what a great fit my education, experience and character will be for this position and how I can deliver the results you need.’ Go into a little detail about how these are relevant. Almost no applicants will have done this last step, but you will.

The process I have described involves six steps of reinforcing the same carefully crafted message. If you study your notes six times before an exam, I am confident your grade will go up dramatically. Sometimes when employers have multiple candidates who seem equally qualified, the person who wants the job the most (you) will stand out because you will have gone to extra lengths to reinforce the great fit.

Reinforce what you want the employer to know about you!

The Career Center has numerous tips about writing interesting cover letters and resumes as well as tips about answering interview questions on our website. Schedule a meeting with a career counselor to build your confidence (303-871-2150).

By John Haag
John Haag Internship Director and Career Counselor John Haag