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You know you have the skills to pay the bills — but no one seems interested in hiring you.

You may start to doubt yourself as a result. This self-doubt can affect your overall confidence in your abilities, which can negatively impact your performance during interviews, leading to a vicious cycle.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, there are concrete steps you can take to improve your performance in your job search and land the gig you want. Just follow these 11 simple rules for getting hired quickly:

1. Don’t Burn Bridges

Even when you feel 10,000 percent justified in burning that bridge, hold your chin up high. You decided to work for the company. You built up relationships and put the work in. For some reason, it didn’t work out in the end. These things happen.

Burning bridges destroys relationships, experiences, references, and positive results. There are times when burning a bridge is unavoidable, but do what you can to prevent it from happening whenever you can.

2. Don’t Lie to Yourself

You are either qualified for a job or you are not. Do not lie to yourself. If you have to invent reasons why you are qualified to convince yourself you are qualified, you have a problem.

If you do not have the experience and want the job, learn what is required and come back later. You will feel better and smarter for doing this, while discovering whether the job was right for you in the first place.

3. Always Be Learning

The world is changing — and faster than ever before. You have to keep your mind fresh to stay on track. Take every chance you have to learn something new for your career. Stay relevant in your industry by staying attuned to the future of your industry.

4. Know Your Stuff

The jobs you want may require certifications, degrees, or licenses. How much do you think you can learn from job experience alone? No one goes from mailroom to CEO anymore, unless they have the education to make it happen.

Age should not be an obstacle. If you need to, don’t hesitate to go back to school at 30, 40, 50, or 60. If you feel the winds of change, you need to stay ahead of them.

5. Don’t Take Business Decisions Personally

Businesses have to makes tough decisions, but many people shy away from such decisions out of fear of offending someone or receiving negative feedback.

But think about this for a moment: Would Elon Musk be successful if he only listened to people who thought his ideas were unrealistic? Would Henry Ford have experienced success in the automotive industry if he cared about the opinions of horse and buggy drivers?

If you are turned down for a job, see it as a learning experience and move forward.

6. Keep Your Job Until You Have a New One

Companies love to copy the successes of others. If you’re employed at Company A while looking for a job, Company B will find you more attractive.

Unemployed job candidates are often seen as “too eager” or “not good enough.” But if your current employer thinks you’re worth employing, then other companies will, too.

7. Tailor Your Resume to the Job at Hand

Companies care a little about what you have done for other employers, but they care a lot more about what you can do for them specifically that would justify paying you.

8. Clean Up Your Social Media Presence

Look at your online posts. Would you hire yourself based on those posts? What you say today can hold you back in the future. First impressions are forever.

9. Lighten Up

No matter what kind of interview you’re doing — standard conversation, executive interview, case interview, etc. — no one likes talking to a stiff, boring board of a person.

Go in with a positive, energetic attitude. See the interview as a chance to meet new people and show off what you know.

It is true that ageism, gender bias, and racial discrimination exist, and that you may face such things during interviews. However, the most successful candidates do not consider these things as they walk in. Assuming that a company will behave this way sets you up to fail. You are rejecting yourself before the company rejects you.

10. Be Friendly and Likable

Don’t carry personal grudges, political beliefs, or private issues into job interviews. Being friendly and likable while doing your best will make a great first impression during an interview.

Smile. Be positive. Do not try so hard. Let the chips fall where they may. If you want to be hired, show people you are a pleasure to have around.

11. Listen, Listen, and Listen Some More

Do not go into the job interview intending to impress people with your rehearsed answers. As they say, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen more and talk less to make a great impression.

The interviewers will tell you about the company with pride. They want to tell you important things, so listen! Listen for the implications and subtext of their words. Most importantly, listen until they stop talking.

You want to be a person who knows the difference between when to talk and when to listen.

Steven Lowell is an account executive at Find My Profession.



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