An Unexpected Gift


I almost had a job offer. Prior to learning I didn’t receive the offer, I was sure I was getting the job. I was excited for obvious reasons and it was a job I really wanted. I had already begun cultivating ideas and thinking about possible prospects as if already in the new sales position. I felt comfortable with the people and was impressed by the company.

The process took four weeks from beginning until end. I went through one phone screening and two in-person interviews. One with the vice president and the second interview was with one of the owners. The next stage they would make an offer for the position. At that point, I thought my job search was over and my life would change. Unfortunately, in the week prior, a more qualified candidate surfaced and knocked me out of the way.

Although it stung, I was given an unexpected gift at an unexpected time. The hiring vice president called me with the bad news, but he decided to take the time to give me feedback. He explained what happened and that he had planned to hire me. He continued to give me positive feedback on my performance through the process. It was his reassurance that took away some of the disappointment from not getting the job. His gift continues to fuel me on my job search.

He had mentioned possibly hiring two new sales managers during my interview and even though he couldn’t do it right now, he did say things change quickly in his industry. He told me to contact him before I accept a job offer.

I understand that I couldn’t compete with the candidate’s experience in the field and it was the sensible business decision. Instead of feeling completely defeated, by the end of the conversation I felt my confidence returning. It helped to know my instincts were right. I did read the signs correctly.

If I didn’t get the feedback, I’d waste time second-guessing myself and analyzing each interaction. Perhaps even altering my actions in future interviews. Instead, hearing the compliments made me stronger. I was reminded that I’m a valuable candidate even though I didn’t get the job.

Job rejection is hard, but feedback can benefit you. Even negative feedback is a gift. Because of this experience I’m now going to make an effort to ask for feedback.

I read some suggestions from the experts. Here are tips on how to ask for feedback when you don’t get the job:

  1. Ask for feedback via email. Calling someone puts them in an uncomfortable situation.
  2. Keep in mind that companies fear lawsuits, so make sure you’re clear and reasonable with your request.
  3. Any feedback is a gift, so be grateful, listen and make necessary adjustments in your job search.
  4. When you receive a reply, send a short “thank you” email and don’t try to change his/her opinions with another email.

Below is a link to a great sample email from the Evil HR Lady I found via CBS.com. The entire article is a good read and gave me some laughs, too.


How to ask why you didn’t get the job by Evil HR Lady via CBSnews.com

Have you received feedback that helped you grow and become better? Please share.

Good luck to us all!



Be the best to beat the competition


I was brainstorming for an upcoming interview and thought of a great question to ask. As a salesperson, I thought the question showcases my consultative approach. Unfortunately, you can’t ask the question. Every job seeker wants to know the answer to the question:

Who is my competition? 

Obviously, you’re not looking for a name, but wouldn’t you like to know the skill-set and experience of the competition? You’d know how to position yourself for getting the job.

Due to privacy issues and other reasons, you aren’t able to know your competition. Without this information, how do you win the battle for the job?

  1. DO YOUR BEST - The key is to put forth your very best effort. Invest time preparing for each opportunity. From writing your tailored cover letter and resume, to sending a thank you note to every interviewer, do the very best job you can. 
  2. KNOW YOUR COMPETITORS ARE TOUGH TO BEAT. Imagine the competition as the defending champion. The other candidates are experienced and skilled just like you. Try to think they’re fierce competitors as well. Tough to beat.
  3. You have a short time to convince the interviewer that you’re the right candidate for the job. STUDY THE JOB DESCRIPTION to help you make sure you can backup every listed responsibility. Prepare and practice
  4.  If you can, try ways to uncover hidden needs that weren’t included in the job description. ASK GOOD QUESTIONS. It’s possible to find more reasons that you’re the best candidate. 

Since your competition is a secret, to beat them you must be the best candidate. The entire job search is a fierce competition, but you don’t know who your up against. The only choice you have is to work hard at putting forth your very best effort.

Good luck to us all!​



LinkedIn Profile Picture: Tips for the job seeker


Whenever I scan my LinkedIn list of “People You Might Know,” I notice some profile photos that need updating. Updating your photo isn’t a difficult task, but when you’re looking for a job it’s easy to get caught up in your search and leave an old photo, not realizing your mistake. 

A decent profile picture gives you a better chance of getting an interview. Don’t overlook this important detail. It’s part of the job search that doesn’t take much time, but can be highly effective.

The best advice for a perfect LinkedIn profile picture is simple: Ask for opinions. Before posting your photo, pick out two or three pictures and ask for feedback from friends and family. This is simple to do via email and you can ask as many people as you think necessary to make your choice.

Whatever you do, don’t skip adding your picture in your LinkedIn profile. I’m sure there are good reasons people have for not posting, but if you’re a job seeker, I think it’s a requirement. There are many applicants for each job posting. Why not promote yourself?

Of course, before you can ask for opinions, you need to take the picture.

Here are some helpful tips to taking your profile picture:

  1.  Look at other profile pictures and pick out a few that you like and try to recreate the look. Maybe it’s the pose or background that you like.
  2. Ask a friend for a quick ten minute photo shoot specifically for your LinkedIn profile. I suggest taking at least a dozen shots.
  3. Think of this as a yearbook picture for your career, so dress as if you were going on an interview. You want a current, professional-looking portrait. 
  4. The picture should be of JUST YOU. I’m sure your children and pets are adorable, but use photos with loved ones for Facebook, not LinkedIn. Don’t use a logo, either. 
  5. Smile. 

This entire process took me less than a half hour. If your photo is more than six months old, take the time and make the update.

If you have any profile picture suggestions or tips, please share.

Good luck to us all!