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We usually consider interviews to be where we win jobs. But we can help our efforts in important moments both before and after those interviews, according to tips from Natasha Nurse and John Sullivan.

Ms. Nurse, an entrepreneur, suggests applying the common journalistic Five Ws and How to your résumé. Those storytelling ingredients are important because your resume is sharing your story:

  • Who: Share who you are and what drives you – the story behind choosing your present career.
  • What: What are you excited about in the future?
  • When: Here you might want to relate when you realized something valuable about yourself or made a transition in your career.
  • Where: Again, look to the future to indicate where you are going and how this new chapter in your life fits with the job.
  • Why: Explain why you will benefit this company.
  • How: Tell how you have made major accomplishments. “The mechanism of your struggles and triumphs is how you differentiate yourself from others,” Ms. Nurse writes on the FairyGodboss site.

After the final interview, recruiting specialist John Sullivan says, you need to face up to the fact the odds are against you. Even if you got to the final round, there are probably three other candidates, so your chances, arguably, are only 25 per cent. “With such low odds, realize that you need to do numerous small things well to stand out and gain a competitive advantage when others are waiting idly by,” he writes on his blog.

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That begins as you leave the interview. People are watching you. Be extremely confident, polite and excited as you say goodbye. Acknowledge and thank any administrative staff or people you meet on the way out. He says a goal is to get everyone to think at least for a moment, “I would enjoy working with that person” so if your name comes up during the waiting period, they will say positive things.

Immediately after you leave the building, take some time to remember the interview questions you were asked. Write some notes on the ones you answered poorly, to improve your chances in interviews for other jobs. Also, list the surprise questions that you didn’t anticipate and overall what were the strong points you made in the session.

Now send a mostly pre-written thank-you note – text or LinkedIn message – to the hiring manager, including something positive from the interview so the communication comes across as written in real time. Don’t wait! Indicate your enthusiasm by getting it off within 10 minutes of the interview ending. Then, at the nearest post office, immediately mail a short and simple written thank you card reiterating your excitement and confidence. “The fact that the card will literally land in the office the next day will surprise many and show your resourcefulness. In a world dominated by electronic messages, hard copy materials get noticed and it will likely sit on their desks for a while,” Mr. Sullivan advises.

Send any follow-up materials as quickly as you can. Show your continued interest by asking any key people that you met to connect with you on LinkedIn. Reveal your excitement on social media unless you can’t let that get back to your current boss. Many firms check your social media as part of their background checking and this note will be a delight to see. And start to think about what kind of offer you will accept, should one arrive.

There’s a rigour required for effective job hunting. These tips will help you improve your own standing.

Quick hits

  • Hearst Magazines chief content officer Kate Lewis writes a content list once a week with everything on it – an overwhelming full page of items in an eight-point font. Then she throws it out! She tells The Cut anything she remembers and acts on in coming days will be what she really has to do.
  • Productivity coach Melissa Gratias says to estimate the time required for important projects calculate the most optimistic turnaround time; the most likely; and the most pessimistic. Then calculate a weighted average using this formula: O + 4L + P – all then divided by 6.
  • Entrepreneur Seth Godin asks whether today’s emergency will be remembered in a year’s time. Given that, ask what could you do today that would matter a year from now?
  • Psychologist Jacinta Jimenez says in Fast Company that you should choose wonder over worry when adversity hits. Pause, step back, and be curious rather than let your thoughts affect emotions and behaviours.
  • Management guru Tom Peters says in a weekly quote “excellence is 98 per cent about the little touches, not the big touches. Because that’s the kind of thing people remember, forever and ever and ever.”

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