Feedback to Fuel Your Job Search

They say perception is king, and there are few places where that's truer than in the job search. First impressions and your interviews influence what others think of you – and your chances of finding a job.

What you don't know matters in the job search; we all have blind spots when it comes to our behavior. It's part of being human. But these blind spots can also hinder your ability to find a job.

Here's the harsh reality. Everyone hates asking for feedback. As someone conducting a job search, you may feel even more vulnerable asking others to point out your weak spots. Now is the time to be brave.

Learning what others think of you is valuable information that will help you land your dream job by opening your eyes to these blind spots. You’ll use feedback to inform your daily tasks and offer insights to help you conduct your job search and find employment. Feedback must become part of your weekly routine.

Call several people you've worked with recently and ask for in-person interviews with each. You don’t want to ask for feedback in an email that could be easily shared with others. You also want recent information about yourself, not irrelevant intel from five years ago.

To help you remember key points from these conversations, take notes, or ask for permission to record them on your phone. Despite the somewhat formal nature of taking notes, don't insist on a formal conversation. You want honest answers, not some presentation.

To get those answers, use precise questions that will help you create a plan of action. Ask for samples or scenarios to further explain important points.

For example, if you ask, "do I make enough eye contact during meetings?" and they say no, follow-up with, "tell me about a time when making eye contact would've changed the outcome of the meeting?"

Feedback isn't all bad or solely about learning how to improve. It’s also about understanding where your strengths lie. What do you do well? Knowing this can help you highlight these strengths when meeting with potential employers and pursue jobs where you are more likely to thrive.

Look for areas where everyone agrees, even if you don't like what they say. The stuff that’s hard to hear or believe – that’s where the wisdom lies. It's often hard to accept, but don’t dismiss negative feedback. You really can't learn these things about yourself any other way.

Keep in mind that the person offering feedback is trying to help you, so don’t take offense if they say something you don’t agree with or like. Regardless of the feedback they offer, positive or negative, always thank the person at the end of your conversation and send a handwritten note. It's just as tricky to dole out feedback as it is to hear it at times.

Your goal in gathering feedback is to become better – a better interviewee, team member, and worker. Use the information collected to tailor your approach to coaching and learning opportunities. Then listen and incorporate the advice. The more you practice, the easier it will become.

Read on for more ways to make your job search a success: Job Searching: Using the Johari Window to Better Understand Yourself

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