Interview Translation: What 4 Common Questions Really Mean

Author: Sara Mccord

Acing the interview isn’t just about having the perfect canned speeches. Yes, you need to show off your experience, talents, and personality—but before answering each question, you also have to figure out what the interviewer is actually asking you.

Those seemingly innocuous questions, like “tell me about yourself” and “where do you see yourself in a few years?” aren’t just get-to-know-you conversation starters. They’re one of the key ways an interviewer will seek to uncover whether you’re the right fit for the job.

So, before you start to share your life story—or recite the same answer you gave at the last interview—it’s important to figure out what the interviewer really wants to know. Check out our guide to translating interviewer-speak, and learn how to plot your answers accordingly.

 

1. Question: Tell me about yourself.

 

Translation: Tell me why you’re the right fit for this job.

The interviewer already has your resume and cover letter, so she’s not looking for a rundown of your employment history. Nor does she care that you grew up in Boston and love to jog on the weekends. She’s looking for a pitch—one that’s concise, compelling, and keeps her attention, and one that tells her exactly why you’re the right fit for the job.

So, while this is a good time to paint a broad picture of who you are, it’s most important that you include a couple of key facts that will sell you as the right candidate.

Think about the 2-3 specific accomplishments or experiences that you most want the interviewer to know about, and share them here. You can frame your stories or tie them together using a theme or a quote, if appropriate, such as “My first boss told me that fundraising is really building relationships, and that’s the approach I’ve taken throughout my career. For example…”

It’s also a good idea to practice your answer aloud, record it, then listen to your pitch. Are you engaging? Are you rambling? Are you getting your most important points across loud and clear? (This is good advice for any interview question.)

 

2. Question: How would you explain our organization’s mission?

 

Translation: Can you be an ambassador for our organization?

Any candidate can read and regurgitate the company’s “About” page. So, when an interviewer asks you this, she isn’t necessarily trying to gauge whether you understand the mission—she wants to know whether you care about it, and she’s looking for who in the applicant pool can most effectively discuss the organization’s work and its impact.

So, in addition to doing your research on the company’s work, think about concrete ways it relates to your passions and experiences, and weave them into your answer.

Start with one line that shows you understand the mission, using a couple key words and phrases from the website, but then go on to make it personal. Say, “I’m personally drawn to this mission because…” or “I really believe in this approach because…” and share a personal example or two. For example, if you’re interviewing at a school that stresses character, share some specific character-building education activities you’ve led for students in your last job. If you’re interviewing for a position at a hospital, talk about the 5K you recently ran to raise money for leukemia or your passion for volunteering your time to help children with cancer.

 

3. Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?

 

Translation: Do you care about our work?

Hiring someone is an investment, and interviewers believe (as you would expect) that someone genuinely interested in the organization’s work will be the better hire. So, what she really wants to know is whether this particular job and company is part of your career path, or whether you’ll be jumping ship in a year once you land your “real” dream job.

So how should you answer? If the position you’re interviewing for is on the track to your goals, share that, plus give some specifics. For example, if you’re interviewing for an account executive position an advertising firm, and you know your goal is to become an account supervisor, say that. And then add specifics about the sort of clients you hope to work with, which will help your answer sound genuine, not canned—and again show why this particular company will be a good fit.

If the position isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket to your aspirations, the best approach is to be genuine, but to follow your answer up by connecting the dots between the specific duties in this role and your future goals. It’s OK to say that you’re not quite sure what the future holds, but that you see this experience playing an important role in helping you make that decision, or that you’re excited about the management or communications skills you’ll gain.

 

4. Question: Do you have any questions for us?

 

Translation: Have you really been listening?

It’s easy to go into an interview with a list of questions about the position. But the tougher part—and what the interviewer really wants to see—is whether you can roll with the punches, engage in the conversation, and ask questions that weren’t already answered over the course of the interview.

This will require some thinking on your feet. As you’re going along in the interview, be thinking which key areas—job duties, company culture, the team you’ll be working with—haven’t been covered yet, so you can target your questions there. You can also prepare ahead of time by thinking of more non-traditional questions, or ask questions targeted to the interviewer herself, which probably won’t be covered in the interview.

Try things like: What you like most about working here? What drew you to work for this organization? What do you think are the current strategic challenges facing the organization? What advice would you give to someone in this role?

Remember, there’s no “right” answer to an interview question—or at least not one that’s right for every job. But by thinking about what an interviewer is really after, you can go a long way in showing her why you’re right for the job.

To read the original article, click here.


How To Ask People for Things Via Email: An 8-Step Program

Author: Jocelyn K. Glei

One of the golden rules of writing is: Respect the reader’s intelligence. This rule gets magnified by a factor of 10 when it comes to composing unsolicited emails.

Most people who receive any significant quantity of email in a day have developed extremely refined bullshit detectors. They can identify an impersonal templated email in 0.5 seconds, and they can spot a time-wasting “let’s explore the possibilities” ask from a mile off.

In short, getting someone that you don’t know to pay attention to you—and respond—is a delicate art. One that requires craftsmanship, charm, concision, and a lot of self-editing.

Based on years of drafting, redrafting, observation, and misfires, here are a few pointers to keep in mind when composing an email “ask”:

Step 1: Make it easy to say, “Yes.”

When it comes to giving good email, making it easy to say “Yes!” is objective number one. Sadly, it’s also where most people fall down on the job.

I frequently receive emails from people who are interested in some sort of knowledge exchange but never clarify how they would like for me to take action. Do they want to have a coffee? Do they want to do a phone call? It’s unclear, which means that instead of saying, “Yes!” I have to respond by asking them what they’re asking me for in the first place. Or, not respond at all.

If you are asking someone to take the time to answer you, it should be very clear what you are asking for. Look at your email and ask yourself: “Can the recipient say ‘Yes’ without further discussion?”  If the answer is yes, you’re doing well. If not, you need to redraft.

Step 2: Write an intriguing subject line. 

Composing a good email subject line is akin to writing a great headline. If you’re cold-emailing someone you’ve never met, it’s important to strike a balance between being direct and being interesting.

If I were asking someone to speak at our annual 99U Conference, for instance, I might use a subject like: “Jessica + Behance’s 99U Conference?” (Analysis: Using someone’s name feels personal; mentioning Behance in addition to 99U gives more chance of name recognition; and the question mark gives a sense of possibility/ creates curiosity.)

Keep in mind that while it’s always good to be clear, you also don’t want to give anyone a reason to dismiss your email before reading it. For that reason, you’ll want to avoid stock or cookie-cutter phrases that might get your email lumped in (and glossed over) with others.

For instance, for a speaker ask for the 99U Conference, I typically avoid run-of-the-mill phrases like “speaking opportunity” or “speaking invitation,” because they can turn people off before they’ve really assessed my particular opportunity.

Step 3: Establish your credibility.

“Why should I care?” is the tacit question hovering in most people’s minds every time they open an email from someone they don’t know. This is why establishing your credibility is crucial. Tell your reader why you are different, why you are accomplished, and why they should pay attention to you.

If I’m contacting someone about contributing to 99u.com, I might share stats on our monthly pageviews and social media reach to do this. If the ask is related to one of our events, I would share audience size, years sold out, and a power-list of past speakers.

If you don’t have “data points” to share, you can also establish credibility by being a keen observer of the person you are contacting; you could tell them how long you’ve followed their work, how you enjoyed the last blog post they wrote, etc. As long as it’s not fawning, most people appreciate being noticed.

Step 4: Be concise & get to the point.

Never assume that someone is going to read your entire email. You should make it clear from the get-go exactly what you are asking for. That means clarifying why you’re reaching out in the first sentence or two, and no later.

However, sometimes everything you need to say can’t be explained in 1-3 sentences. If this is the case for your ask, go ahead and say your piece (as concisely as you can) but assume your reader will be skimming it. This means using bolding, bullet pointing, and so forth as much as possible.

If it’s necessary to give some backstory prior to the ask, I like to just go ahead and break out the ask in paragraph two with a bolded preface that reads, “The Ask:” If you’re asking for something, there’s no point in beating around the bush. Make your objective clear.

Step 5: Give a deadline if you can.

People are often shy about including deadlines in emails, especially when cold-emailing. While it’s never a good idea to come off as presumptuous, deadlines do have great utility. In fact, most busy people like them. Bear in mind when you are emailing someone that—surprise!—they are probably also getting tons of emails from other people.

Most of those emails fall into one of two categories: 1) Things they have to do, and 2) Random requests for things that they might like to do, time permitting. Chances are, your email falls into group two. Which means it’s really important to know whensomething needs a response by. In other words, do whatever you can to help the receiver put the requested task on a timeline and prioritize it.

Step 6: Be interesting and interested.

At the most basic level, this means do not ever send anyone a templated email. If you are asking someone to take the time and energy to reply to you, make it clear that you actually know who they are.

That doesn’t mean being obsequious and singing their praises, it does mean talking to them like you are one human talking to another human. It’s nice to articulate why you’re interested in them. It’s also nice to articulate why they should be interested in you. Try to have a voice and say something funny, meaningful, or thoughtful—preferably all three!

Step 7: Never ever ever use the word “synergy.”

No single word lights up the experienced emailer’s bullshit detector like the word “synergy.” No one worth their salt wants to spend their time talking about exploring synergies. Emails with this language typically mean that the person asking for something hasn’t really thought through their ask enough to offer any specificity. If you want someone to take a chance on you, show them respect by thinking through what you are asking for and being up front about it. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and theirs.

Step 8: Preview your email on a phone.

You probably write most of your “ask” emails on a desktop computer. Bear in mind that your recipient will be receiving and reading your email on their mobile phone in almost all instances. And what looks “digestible” on a desktop computer looks like an epic poem on a mobile phone.

As per point 4, you may think you have already confirmed that your email is concise. But is it still concise on an iPhone? Once you check, you will probably realize there are a few more things you can remove. Edit your email again, and then send.

To read the original article, click here.


No Response After An Interview? Here’s How To Send A Follow Up Email

Author: Biron Clark

So, you finished your interview, went home excited to hear back, but now what? Maybe it’s been a few days (or more) and you haven’t heard anything.

I’m going to show you exactly how to send a follow up email after your interview if you’ve gotten no response, with examples and templates.

One WARNING first though: Don’t use these follow-up templates to email the company after one day! It takes time for the company to interview people and make decisions. If it’s one day after your interview, you should be sending a “thank you” email instead (I’ll cover that too).

How To Follow Up By Email After An Interview:

Step 1: The Follow-Up Email Subject Line

Follow up email subject lines are important. They decide whether your email gets opened, and how fast.

I’d recommend following up with whoever said they’d been in touch. Or follow up with whoever you’ve been talking to for scheduling, etc.

The best subject line, and the one that’s going to get opened faster than anything else, is to simply reply to the latest email between the two of you.

It’ll look something like this:

“Re: Interview on Thursday at 10 AM”

They’ll open it immediately because it’ll appear as part of the previous conversation. Much better than starting a whole new email for this.

Step 2: The Body Of Your Follow Up Email

I’d keep it simple and straight-forward. Don’t be shy or unclear. Tell them you’re excited to hear back and wanted to check if there’s an update or a decision yet.

Best follow-up email if you already sent a “Thank You” email:

“Hi <NAME>,

I wanted to follow up to see if there have been any updates regarding the <JOB TITLE> position that I had interviewed for on <DATE>. I’m still very interested based on what I heard in the interview and I’m excited to hear about next steps, so any information you can share on your end would be great. Thanks!”

Note: This template above is best if you’ve already sent a “Thank You” email a day after your interview. I’m going to give you one in this article coming up in a minute, so keep reading.

We can’t go back in time though. So if you didn’t send a “Thank You” email after your last interview and a few days have passed, here’s what to send… You just need a follow up email that also thanks them for interviewing you, since this is your first contact with them.

Best follow-up email if you DIDN’T already send a “Thank You” email:

“Hi <NAME>,

Thank you for taking the time to interview me on <DATE>, I enjoyed learning about the <JOB TITLE> position and wanted to follow up to see if any progress has been made in terms of a decision. The role sounds like a great opportunity based on what I’ve learned so far, and I’m looking forward to getting feedback when you have a chance. Thanks!”

For future use, here is a “Thank You” email template I recommend. Send it at lunchtime the day after your interview:

“Hi <NAME>,

I wanted to take a minute to thank you for your time yesterday. I enjoyed our conversation about <SPECIFIC TOPIC>, and the <JOB TITLE> position sounds like an exciting opportunity for me at this point in my career. I’m looking forward to hearing any updates you can share, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.”

“These Emails Seem Too Simple. Should I Add More?”

No. Don’t complicate it. Be up-front and say what you actually want, which I assume is an update on the status.

This email is your best shot at getting that update without seeming pushy, anxious, insecure, desperate, or any of the things that’ll turn a company off.

In all likelihood, the person you emailed will get back to you and apologize and say they’re still working on a decision. Or there’s a chance they have news to share and will update you as soon as they get your email.

Either way, you reminded them you’re waiting for news and still interested, which is important if 4-5 days have passed because companies love to hire people that seem genuinely interested. If you want to know why, or what else a company looks for first, you should check out my complete list of job interview tips. It’ll help you understand the company’s mindset a lot better.

What If The Company Says They Don’t Have Any News Yet?

This is a pretty likely scenario, they respond to your email and say they’re still waiting for something to happen. Sometimes they’ll be specific on what that ‘something’ is but usually not. Either way I’d respond with something to keep the conversation alive and give yourself an opening to follow up again if needed.

Here’s an example of an email reply you could send them:

“Thanks for the update. Do you have a sense of what the timing will look like moving forward? Or when would be an appropriate time for me to check back in? I’m excited about the opportunity, but I know these things take time so I don’t want to follow up too often here.”

What If The Company Still Hasn’t Responded To Any Emails After The Interview?

If you sent your followup email after the interview and didn’t hear back, here’s what I’d do:

First, make sure you’ve waited a one or two days for a response (not counting weekends). Give them some time.

Then send a followup to the same person, replying to the same email you already sent and keeping the subject line.

Email Body:

“Hi <NAME>,

Just wanted to make sure you saw my last email and follow up again to see if you had any updates regarding the <JOB TITLE> position. Please let me know when you get a chance, thanks!”

Be Patient After This…

If you still haven’t heard back at that point, I’d be very patient. There’s a chance someone necessary for the decision is on vacation or the person you emailed is extremely busy. If you get nothing after 48 MORE hours, you can email somebody else in the company.

I might wait even longer though. Really, at this point, you’re not going to gain anything by sending more followups one day sooner. So if in doubt, just wait a bit. I might wait a full week at this point if it were my job search.

However, when you do feel it’s time to take things further and check back in, here’s what to do…

Pick the next logical person and send them an email. If you were emailing an HR person before, try the hiring manager or somebody in the department you interviewed in. Or the other way around – if you’ve been emailing with the hiring manager before the interview and they’ve gone silent, try checking in with HR.

Example Subject Line:

“Any interview updates? I emailed <CONTACT’S NAME> and didn’t hear back”

It’s a bit long, but it’s specific which means it’ll get opened and the person on the other end will know it’s not spam.

The contact’s name is who you’ve been emailing previously – the person who isn’t answering your emails.

The Email Body:

“Hi <NAME>,

I emailed <CONTACT’S NAME> last week and hadn’t heard back so I wanted to send you a brief note. Is there any feedback you can share about my interview or the status of the <JOB TITLE> position? I’m looking forward to hearing any new updates when your team has a chance, thanks!”

Final Tips For Following Up

Make sure to end each interview by asking when you can expect to hear back from them.

It’ll save you some stress and you’ll know whether it’s time to follow up or not. Sometimes it’s normal to wait 1-2 weeks for a response after your interview. Maybe you were the first person they spoke with and they have many interviews scheduled.

UPDATE: 

If you have more interviews coming up and don’t want to leave anything to chance, I’ve created a new guide where you can copy my exact step-by-step method for getting job offers. You can get more details here.

To read the original article, click here.


How to NOT Sound Rude in an Email

Author: Wenzhu Sun

At Global Cleveland, I spend a good amount of time talking to international job-seekers every day. Most of my job is done through emailing: providing consultations, explaining visa issues, and connecting them to professionals in their field through our Professional Connection Volunteer Program.

Quite often, I would receive an email that seems really "irritating"--full of requests and no gratitude--it almost made me feel like I'm reading an order from a harsh boss. But later when I call or meet up with these "rude" students, they are actually very nice and polite. Apparently, they never meant to be rude in the emails at all, but somehow failed.

I am familiar with Chinese culture, and have learnt a lot about Indian culture over time. The suggestions and examples below came from my daily interactions with those international job-seekers I work with (80% being Chinese/Indian international students). While I can't speak for other cultures, I did notice that many of the "rude" emails written by people from these two cultures, have something in common that we can all work on.

Email subject matters.

Use a proper subject, make it clear and direct. For example: “Looking to Connect”, “Looking for career opportunities” or “Position 56473 Application Follow-up”.

Bad examples: blank subject line, “A reminder in case there is any opportunity for me”, “job”

Give me a reason to reply.

Once I received an email with the subject "Checking in", and one line in the email body "Hi Wenzhu how are you". While I appreciate the effort the student is making in terms of keeping in touch, this email did not give me a good reason to reply. When people are busy, it's unlikely for them to reply an email just to say "I'm fine, thank you. What about you".  So what would be a good way to follow up? Well, an email with some actual content/new information. Tell the reader what you've been up to in a few sentences, send an interesting article with a good question, or other things that will make the reader want to reply and feel like it's worth his/her time to do so.

Make sure you spell all the names right, especially if you're asking them for a favor of any kind.

Bad example: “Hi Wenzhou (my name is Wenzhu) I'm *** from Kent State University, hope you remember me. I'm sending you my updated resume and Cover letter. Also Introduce me to your connections who look for entry level IT profiles. Thank You”

Now, if the name was just mentioned by someone and you really can't confirm it (Google, LinkedIn, their company's staff page etc), then you can say something like "Hi Elisa (I'm sorry if I spelled your name wrong), I met your colleague Jody at the *** event last night and she gave me your contact information." But, it would be great if you have asked Jody the question before emailing this "Elisa" person.

In addition, never assume the recipient is a male or female! If you can't google out any more details about the recipient, just use "Dear Fist Name, Last Name". There were a few times I got an email starting with "Dear Mr. Wenzhu" or "Hello Sir", and I questioned myself for a second there: does my profile picture on GC staff page really look like a dude? Here's more tips on addressing unknown/external recipients.

Use a professional email address.

You can use your university email, or a gmail account that has your name (Johnsmith@gmail.com for example). HRs are not likely to open an email from Candykitty@gmail.com.

Check your spelling!

Double check, or triple check--make sure that you don't have any misspelling, or grammar mistakes in the email. WORD has spelling-check function, use it. Bad example: I once received an email with 5 misspellings in 2 paragraphs.

Learn about cultural differences.

Pay attention to cultural differences: people from different cultures speak and write differently. For example, a few Indian students told me that “Please do the needful” is a common expression in emails back home, but it is not common here in America.

Be careful with the word “Please”. This is a really polite word in most Asian cultures, but when you say “please do something” here in America, a lot of times it would sound like a command. Bad example: “I sent you my resume, please add it into your database. I also sent you invitation on LinkedIn please accept it so you can be in my network. Also requested to join the group, please accept that too.”

Instead of "please do something", use “I’d appreciate it if you can….” “Thank you so much for….” “Could you…?” It doesn't matter how much this person is able to help you; it's a nice thing to always say thank you and show your appreciation.

Other bits and pieces:

Try not to use abbreviations unless necessary; this is not texting with your friends. Bad example: "Hope u have a good day. Ty."

When you say “attached is my resume”, make sure you have actually attached it. Double check before hitting the “send” button. In fact, it’s a good idea to attach the files first, and then write the email body so you don’t forget about it.

Think about what you want to say and put them into one single email. I’ve had job seeker sending me 3 emails all 1 minute apart, just to add in another one or two sentences to the previous one.

 

  "Too many not-to-dos! What should I do?"

 

My friends, no need to panic!

For many international people, writing an email in English is still a daunting task. Like many of you, the English I learnt was from textbooks--schools back in China taught me how to write academic essays and how to get high scores in English tests, but there was not much training or practicing opportunities on how to exchange emails like a real American professional.

Here's what you CAN do:

One simple thing to do is to Google. Google "Email Etiquette" and you will be able to see tons of articles on that. Do some reading and you will start to get a good sense of how things work here.

Another help you can get is through Global Cleveland. We have a Professional Connection Volunteer program, where our volunteers can work with you on networking, emailing, and job search practice.

Hope some of these tips can help. Questions? Suggestions? Let me know: Wenzhu@globalcleveland.org

 

Photo credit: Nelson Biagio Jr - WordPress.com


"Help Me Find a Job!" Emails to Send to Your Network

Author: Adrian Granzella Larssen

You’ve updated your resume, perfected your LinkedIn profile, and honed in on your target positions. And now, you’re ready to reach out to your network.

Which, let’s be honest, can be sort of daunting. Who do you reach out to? Where do you start? And, um, isn’t it sort of awkward asking people for help?

Here’s the thing: People are actually always willing to help out. But you can make their job easier—and get better results—if you give specifics about what you’re asking for. And that’s the step that most people miss: asking the right people for the right things, in the right way.

So to make sure you get the most bang for your job search buck, we’ve put together a five-step plan—sample emails included—for enlisting the help of your network as you're looking for a job.

Step #1: Draft Your Talking Points

At this point, you’ve (hopefully) updated your resume, but people will find it much easier and quicker to look at a short, bulleted list of where you’ve been and where you want to go (especially if they’re not totally familiar with your field). This should take no more than 10 minutes to pull together, but it will reap serious rewards.

In it, you should include:

  1. A list of your last three position titles, companies you’ve worked for, and responsibilities. Think your resume, but condensed into three bullets.
  2. Your ideal job title and function, as well as other job titles and functions you’d consider.
  3. A list of 4-5 companies you’d love to work for, plus their locations.

Example

Work Experience

  • Account Executive, Smith PR: Served as main point of contact for tech clients including Microsoft
  • Account Coordinator, APCO Worldwide: Assisted on high-profile consumer products campaigns
  • PR Assistant, Columbia University: Drafted press releases that resulted in media coverage in the New York Times

Positions Seeking

  • Senior Account Executive
  • Account Supervisor
  • Public Relations Manager

Dream Companies

  • Edelman, San Francisco or Mountain View
  • Ogilvy, San Francisco
  • Ketchum, San Francisco or Silicon Valley
  • Google, San Francisco or Mountain View

Step #2: Send the Mass Email

Your next step is to contact everyone in your network. (Well, everyone except your mentors, former bosses or colleagues who you’re close to, and anyone who works for your dream companies. We’ll get to that next.)

Draft an email sharing that you’re looking for a new gig, and that you’re enlisting their help. Most importantly: Be specific about what you’re asking for—is it job leads or postings? Informational interviews? New contacts? All of the above?

Also include all the details about you: your current position and company, the length of time you’ve been there, and what you’re looking for and where. Even if your friends know this information, this email may be passed around to people who don’t know you well. Finally, include your bulleted talking points at the end of the email, and attach your resume.

Example

Hi friends and colleagues,

I hope all is well!

As many of you know, I have been at my current position as Account Executive for Smith PR for almost 3 years. I have recently decided to look for a new challenge in the public relations field and am reaching out to you to ask for your help with any leads or contacts.

I am looking for a mid-level public relations position in San Francisco, ideally in the tech or consumer products field. I am particularly interested in joining an agency, but would also consider interesting in-house work.

If you know of any job opportunities or leads that you might be able to share with me, please send them my way. Below, I have included a list of my past experience, my target positions, and my list of dream companies. I have also attached my resume for your reference, and feel free to pass it along.

Thanks in advance for your help! I hope you all are doing well and hope to catch up with you individually soon.

Step #3: Send Targeted Emails

The same day (this is important—you don’t want anyone to feel like an afterthought), craft targeted, specific emails to your former bosses, your mentors, people who work at your dream company, or anyone who you think might be able to help you out in a specific way.

You’ll want to personalize each one (there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re getting a form letter with your name slapped up top!). And most importantly, you’ll want to make a specific request—more specific than your mass email—about how each person might be able to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific introductions or job leads at a particular company. You can also ask for informational interviews, general advice on companies and positions, or feedback on your resume.

Example

Hi Susan,

I hope all is well! I saw the photos of the conference you held last month on Facebook—it looked like a fantastic event.

I’m reaching out because I’m currently seeking a new position. As you know, I have been Smith PR for almost three years, but I’m ready for a new challenge in the tech PR world.

I know that you used to do work for Ogilvy, which is on my short list of dream companies. Do you still have any contacts there, and if so, is there someone that might be willing to do an informational interview with me? Any introductions you could make would be greatly appreciated.

In addition, if you know of any job opportunities or leads that you might be able to share with me, please send them my way. I’ve attached my resume for your reference, and feel free to pass it along.

Thanks in advance for your help! Please keep me posted on how things are going and if there’s anything I can do to return the favor.

4. Be Patient

In an ideal world, your inbox would be filled with new job leads two hours later—but remember that this stuff takes time. Even if people can’t help out right away, rest assured that they’re keeping their eyes out and that you’ll be on their radar if any opportunities come their way.

That said, if you haven’t received many responses in a month or so, it can be helpful to send a follow-up email. (A friendly, non-desperate follow-up email. One.)

Example

Hi everyone,

Thanks so much for the great leads and feedback you’ve sent so far. I just wanted to update you that I’m still searching for that perfect opportunity, so if you have any leads come your way, please pass them along. I hope all is well!

5. Say Thanks

You must, must, must send a personal reply and thank every single person who responds to your email or offers to help you out, whether or not his or her lead or contact is helpful in your job search. Yes, people are happy to help, but they also like to know that their efforts are appreciated.

Plus, remember: After you land this dream job, you may be enlisting their help again a few years down the line.

Photo of woman with laptop courtesy of Shutterstock.

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5 Email Templates to Respond to Recruiters (No Matter Where You Are in Your Search)

Author: Jaclyn Westlake

Getting approached about a job opening can feel super flattering (and it’s a sure sign that you’re doing something right!), but depending on where you are in your career, figuring out how to respond can be a bit of a headache.

You don’t want to come off as rude or dismissive if you aren’t interested, and you definitely don’t want to seem desperate or needy if you are. So yes, finding the right words can be tricky, but these five templates will make responding to recruiters a breeze—regardless of your current status.

1. If You’re 100% Not Job Searching

You love what you’re doing , and there’s nothing anyone can say or do to convince you to consider a new opportunity—at least not for the foreseeable future. But, you don’t want to close the door on what could be a potentially helpful relationship down the line either.

Hi [Name],

Thanks for reaching out! This certainly sounds like an interesting job, and I appreciate your consideration.

I really love the work I’m doing for [Your Company] and am not in the market for a new opportunity at the moment. That said, if I find myself looking to make a change in the future, I’ll be sure to get in touch.

Thanks again! 
[Your Name]

If you happen to know someone who might be interested in this role, you could also add something like, “I may have a colleague who could be a good fit for this role; would you mind if I passed your contact information on to them?” For recruiters, the next best thing to finding the right candidate is finding someone who knows the right candidate .

2. If You’re Open to the Right Opportunity

You’re pretty happy where you are and haven’t given a lot of thought to finding a new job, but this role sounds like it could have some potential. The goal here is to be upfront about your status while also conveying your interest. You’re essentially playing it cool—if this person wants to schedule a quick call , great; if he doesn’t, that’s fine, too.

Hi [Name],

Thanks for getting in touch!

I’m pretty happy in my current role with [Your Company] and am not actively looking to change jobs, but I’d be open to discussing this role, as I never turn down a chance to chat about [compelling trait about the job description, e.g., software development or sales enablement]. Would it be possible for us to connect sometime next week? I should be available for a quick call on [dates and times that’ll work with your schedule].

Moving forward, you can reach me directly here: [your email address and/or phone number].

Looking forward to speaking with you!

Best, 
[Your Name]

3. If You’re Actively Searching But Aren't Interested in This Job

When you’re in the market for a new job, hearing from a recruiter’s really exciting—until you realize that the job she’s approached you about isn’t at all what you’re looking for. But don’t worry too much about the role itself; this is a great opportunity for you to establish a relationship with someone who might be able to help you find the right one. Now’s your chance to tell them what you’re looking for and ask whether they know of anything that lines up with your goals.

Hi [Name],

Thanks for thinking of me for this role! I am currently exploring new opportunities, but would ideally like to find a position that would allow me to [traits of your ideal position here, e.g., work from home, expand on my content development experience, step into the nonprofit space, earn at least $X annually, etc.]. It sounds like this particular role isn’t quite what I’m looking for, but do you happen to know of any other opportunities that may be a better fit? If so, I’d love to connect!

I’ve attached my resume for your review, and can be reached directly at [your email address and/or phone number] moving forward.

Best, 
[Your Name]

4. If You’re Intrigued By This Opportunity

Now we’re talking! You’re open to new opportunities, and this one sounds like it could have some serious potential. You can keep your response pretty straightforward—the goal here is to confirm your interest and get an initial interview on the calendar.

Hi [Name],

This sounds like a really interesting opportunity—thanks for thinking of me!

As you probably saw on my profile, I have [X years] of experience in the [industry or job function, e.g., digital marketing or project management] space, and am particularly interested in opportunities that allow me to [relevant job duty/deliverable, e.g. leverage my creativity in a design-focused role or build new programs from the ground up]. Based on the information you’ve shared, it sounds like the role certainly could be a great fit!

I’d love to schedule a time for us to discuss how my skills and experience could benefit the team; would it be possible for us to connect sometime this week? I’ve included my availability below:

[dates/times]

You can reach me directly at [your e-mail address and/or phone number]. Looking forward to connecting!

Best, 
[Your Name]

5. If This Is Hands Down Your Dream Job

Be cool. Your dream job just literally fell into your lap. You’ve got this.

Demonstrating enthusiasm for a role’s always a great move (recruiters love working with motivated candidates), but don’t forget that you’ll want to highlight the myriad reasons that you’re absolutely perfect for this job. A response that demonstrates your excitement and emphasizes your transferable skills should all but guarantee that you’ll land an initial interview.

Hi [Name],

Thanks for getting in touch! Based on what you’ve shared about this role, I’d be eager to learn more.

It sounds like you’re looking for an [job title] with [relevant skills/experience] expertise and a talent for developing [insert outcomes, e.g., unique and compelling marketing campaigns across a variety of digital channels]—that’s me!

As someone with [X years of experience] in the industry, I know what it takes to deliver [deliverables based on job description, e.g., flawlessly executed e-mail campaigns from start to finish]. In my current role at [Your Current Company], I [description of relevant experience and tangible results based on job description, i.e., guide the production and execution of 25 unique monthly email campaigns and have grown new lead generation by 50% in just six months].

I’d love to schedule a time for us to discuss how my skills and experience could benefit the [Company Name] team; would it be possible for us to connect sometime this week? I’ve included my availability below:

[dates/times]

You can reach me directly at [your e-mail address and/or phone number]. Looking forward to connecting!

Best, 
[Your Name]

If you happen to have something in common, like a shared connection or alma mater, it wouldn’t hurt to mention that at the end of your message. Try saying something like, “By the way, I noticed you’re a Chico State alum, too. It’s always great to hear from a fellow Wildcat!” or “it looks like you’re also connected with [Name of Mutual Acquaintance]. I used to work with her at [Company Name]!”

Going beyond the basics serves to establish a more personal connection and might just give you an edge.

Finding the right candidates to approach about an open position can be a tough job, and recruiters spend a lot of time trying to track qualified people like you down, so receiving a response—even if it’s a “Thanks, but no thanks!”—is always appreciated. Taking a few minutes to write back will help you to establish what could be an invaluable career ally. And if the role you’ve been approached about is exactly what you’re looking for, even better!

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How to Have a Great Coffee Meeting—Guaranteed

Author: Lily Herman

You’ve been admiring a particular professional for a really long time, you finally worked up the courage to say hi and ask her to coffee, and she surprisingly said yes! But now the panic sets in: How do you wow your role model without coming off as trying too hard or being a total stalker (especially after looking at her LinkedIn profile at least 10 times)?

Good news: We’ve scoured the web for the best resources to use when you’re asking and meeting an important professional contact for coffee. (It’s actually a pretty easy feat once you know what you’re doing.)

  • The hardest part of a coffee meeting is sending an email asking for one. Luckily,here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to craft the best “Wanna grab coffee sometime?” message. (99U)
  • If you’re still having trouble putting together your email, here’s one really great example that only takes five sentences. (Lifehacker)
  • Having trouble grabbing a slot with someone who just seems super busy all the time? There are ways to get around even the most jam-packed schedules.(Forbes)
  • Ever wondered why meeting someone for coffee is the norm? Comedian Jerry Seinfeld breaks down this 21st century contraption. (Fast Company)
  • Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Mark Suster encourages people to take 50 coffee meetings . Find out why. (Both Sides of the Table)
  • If you’re worried that asking someone to coffee might be too informal, here’s why coffee metings are totally awesome. (LinkedIn)
  • The four secrets to a great coffee meeting? Don’t be awkward, stalk, don’t do it out of obligation, and make later plans. (Technori)
  • Lastly, have you ever considered just working in a “coffice ?” (DailyWorth)

Looking for more advice on how to have awesome coffee meetings? Check out our suggestions!

Photo of coffee cups courtesy of Shutterstock .


Finally: 5 Email Templates That Make Following Up With Anyone Way Less Awkward

Author: Aja Frost

I think most of us would agree the initial part of networking—meeting people—isn’t the hardest part. (And if that sentence just floored you, check out this and this on making the process much easier.) However, maintaining those connections is much more difficult. After all, if you don’t have an immediate reason to stay in contact with a person—you just think he or she would be “good to keep in touch with,” it’s hard to justify sending an email.

Well, until now. After dealing with this issue one too many times, I created five check-in email templates —one for each type of connection. With these in your back pocket, you’ll have no trouble holding on to relationships that could one day prove very valuable.Read more


How to Hunt Down a Hiring Manager's Email Address

Author: Alexis Grant

We all know it’s better to address a cover letter or pitch email to a specific person rather than just saying “Dear hiring manager.” And not just anyperson, but the right person—the person who could choose you for the job.

But even once you figure out who holds the power to hire for the position you seek, getting your note to land in his or her inbox is often easier said than done. Sure, some hiring managers post their email addresses in obvious places, making it easy to contact them. But others go out of their way to keep their contact information private with the hopes that they won’t hear from unsolicited job seekers (like, er, you).

Ironically, the people who are difficult to get in touch with might actually offer more opportunities: If it’s not easy to find their email addresses, fewer candidates are emailing them—and your email stands a better chance of getting read.

All it takes to get your foot in their inbox is a little sleuthing. (These tips, by the way, work whether you’re a job seeker, a freelancer trying to land clients, a blogger growing your network , or a startup aiming for news coverage.)

Start With Google

Obvious, right? But don’t just type the person’s name into Google. You can start with that, but if it doesn’t land you on his or her website or another digital home with an obvious way of getting in touch, take it a step further.

Let’s use Joe Schmo who works at Starbucks as an example. Try Googling:

“Joe Schmo email”

“Joe Schmo @gmail.com”

“Joe Schmo @Starbucks.com”

Most of us only use Google’s basic features, but you can also add words and symbols to target your search . If you wanted to limit your search to the Starbucks website, for example, try “Joe Schmo site:http://www.starbucks.com.”

Try Twitter

Does the hiring manager have a Twitter handle ? The best way to find out is via Google—searching for “Joe Schmo Twitter”—rather than using Twitter’s lackluster search tool.

Once you find someone’s profile, check out the link that’s listed feature in the URL field. Occasionally you’ll find a gem here: an About.me page or a personal website that doesn’t rank high in Google. Dig a little on that page, and you might find an email, too.

Still coming up empty-handed? Use your own Twitter account to @reply to the tweep and let him or her know why you want to get in touch . (Be specific and compelling—a random “Can you send me your email?” won’t get you far.) You might also follow the person, so he or she can send you a direct message—people are often more comfortable disclosing their email address via direct message than in their public feed.

Give LinkedIn a Shot

No luck yet? Try Googling “Joe Schmo LinkedIn.”

First, look at the hiring manager’s contact information on his or her profile; as with Twitter, there’s a chance you’ll find a website you haven’t noticed before, and if you follow that trail, you might find an email, too.

If you happen to be a member of a LinkedIn group this hiring manager is also a member of, you might be able to send him or her a message (depending on whether that person accepts messages from group members). This sounds far-fetched, but if you work in the same industry, there’s a chance you’ll have at least one group in common.

If that’s a dead end, consider sending this person an InMail (LinkedIn-speak for a message to someone you’re not connected to). You’ll have to pay to send InMail, either on a one-off basis or as part of an upgrade to LinkedIn’s premium version, but it can be worth it for people who are extra-tough to find.

And of course, look to see whether you and this person share any connections—you might be able to ask that common contact to introduce you . A warm introduction is always better than a cold one.

Find a Colleague

So, you’ve scoured Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn and still can’t find contact information for the person you want to reach. Know what’s second best? An email for one of his or her colleagues.

This is one of my absolute favorite hacks—look at the structure of that colleague’s email and apply it to the name of the person you want to reach. Say you found one of Joe Schmo’s colleagues, Mary King, and her email is mking@starbucks.com. Knowing that, you can easily guess what Joe Schmo’s email might be: jschmo@starbucks.com.

Of course, sometimes your target’s email will deviate from a company’s email structure—Joe Schmo’s a pretty common name, so he might need to include his middle initial, for example. If you suspect that might be the case, find emails for several people at the company, compare them, and take an educated guess.

Then, send your pitch or cover letter to that email with your fingers crossed. If it doesn’t bounce back, you can bet you’ve found a way in.

Still in the dark? Well, sometimes you’ll go through all of these steps and still hit a dead end—but at least you know you did the best you could, right? When you do find an email you’ve been looking for and finally land an interview , it makes all the effort worth it.

What tactics or tools have you used to track down someone’s email address?

Photo of man on computer courtesy of Shutterstock .

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