putting your best foot forward: track & field
You’ve got résumés out to 100 companies. How to make sense of it all? Categorize them by type, location, priority or preference. Follow up with each contact as if the only one. The personal touch can never be overestimated. Don’t send an email, but write (in longhand) and mail a card thanking for the opportunity. Use the post office’s breast-cancer stamps—not to impress anyone, but simply to do the right thing. And even though this is through and through a business relationship, don’t forego the personal touches, the fellowship of similar interests, the acknowledgement of mutual goals. Keep track of even small details, an effort that will distinguish you as a prime prospect.
When called back for interviews, field each and every call, email, inquiry and request for follow-up materials in a timely way. Adhere to the letter of all such communications. If you show yourself unable to muster unquestioned responsibility at this early stage, any prospective employer is going to recognize this as a red flag. If putting your best foot forward at the preliminary stage involves tripping or sidestepping, you’ll likely be looking elsewhere for that company parking space.
You’ve just landed your dream job. Take careful note of fellow employees, of well-established procedures, and seek out mentors within the company whom you particularly respect and admire. Pay close attention to the organizational structure, and begin by working within it rather than attempting to reinvent the world, at least not at first. Keep track of even small details. These efforts will distinguish you as a key team player.
You’re ensconced in your new office or workspace. Let no detail go; field all messages, emails and assignments as if they’re the only ones out there, with complete awareness of detail, form, procedure and effectiveness. If you reveal yourself unable to perform during the initial stages, new employers are much less inclined to forgive when the going gets tougher, which it surely will. Operate with transparency and integrity, and difficulties will invariably be taken in stride.
It’s your life. Run with it.