Successful businesses know the advantage of following up with customers to find out how well they’re doing. I’ve done the same in the job search. Now mind you, I don’t call up the folks who don’t hire me to find out why. The Hiring Director is too busy and doesn’t have any obligation to tell you why you failed at the interview.

That being said, I have no problem asking my supervisor what made him choose my application over the others (after I’ve been on the job a few weeks.) Here’s what I uncovered in my most recent position which involved a lengthy online application and electronic resume attachment. I find it’s in my best interest to find out what I’m doing right so I can pass the info along to my clients. You might want to do the same to find out what makes you successful against competitors that you never see perform.

Q: “How many applications did you receive for this position?”
A: 32

Q: “What made you choose my application over the others?”
A: You filled it out neatly and completely (note: I put the exact hire date and departure date right down to the day. When companies do a reference check and everything matches up exactly, the company knows I’m honest, and won’t have any problems when it comes to me keeping track of important information.)

Q: “What was my competition like?”
A: Most were beginners right out of college. Your resume showed you had years of major market radio experience, which is what I was seeking. Plus you live here, they were from out of town. I didn’t have to pay a moving expense.”

You may never know what made the scales tip in your favor unless you ask. It still amazes me how the little things like filling out an application neatly and thoroughly make a positive impression, because I have typed my applications long before the days of computers and the Internet. I never realized what my competitors were doing until I asked.

Good luck in your job search! And remember, neatness counts!

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes