Getting help

You land a job offer when a hiring manager decides she likes the way you come across. Put another way, you get the job when her perception of you matches up with the requirements of the job and the culture of the company. So, how useful would it be to know how you’re coming across to others? I’ll tell you — it’s critical.

The hiring manager’s perception of you involves how you look, sound, interact, and present on paper, email, telephone or web. To increase your odds of getting hired for the job you want, you’ll need help to figure out (and improve) how you’re perceived. Ideally, you’ll have a small team helping you (resources below).

If you can afford professional help with your resume or even a coach to work with you through your job search, get it.  You’re looking for people who will not hesitate to tell you (politely) what 99% won’t – that you have bad breath, bad taste, bad timing, bad posture, body odor, personality issues, typos or whatever.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is entry-level stuff. Silly defects will stop a VP from becoming a CEO just as easily as they’ll stop a college grad from getting his first job. You’ve got to find someone who’s not shy and knows the environment you want to get hired into. Someone who can tell you how to fit in better if you have some rough edges. And who doesn’t?

Employment is a team sport for employers and it should be for you also. When we post a job, the position description has been reviewed by at least a handful of people in my company (who each usually suggest an edit or two). The text gets better with each review. The team approach improves every aspect of recruiting in my company (especially interviewing). So, why would you want to go solo in your job search?

when you need help with your job search, ask for itAre you a do-it-yourselfer? You want to get vital feedback and assistance from your friends and family with your resume, your cover letter(s), your dress, people skills and interviewing style.  You need to know how you come across to others, so, don’t give up until you find the right friend or coach.

If you don’t know anyone with the right smarts, consider networking with informational interviews to meet people that are in a position to give you valuable feedback and advice. These informational interviews may also lead directly to your next job – it happens.

Whether you go with professional help or prefer the do-it-yourself approach, getting feedback is a critical step in getting a job you love. Asking for feedback is also critical to keeping a job you love, so create the habit now.

For comprehensive advice on the entire job search process, read our complete guide to landing a job at a great company or visit our career advice hub.



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  • Years ago, I had interviewed for a fortune 500 company, I made the mistake in believing hiring managers only interested in your skill set. I did not realize that everything was judged; from what you are wearing and how you look. Yes, I was dressed in a suit and yes, I looked professional but what I did not know is that they were looking for someone that “fit” their environment. What I mean is that although I had a professional suit on it wasn’t a name brand suit and while I had nice shoes on they were not high heals. I did manage to get the job but only because they could not find anyone else that had the skill set (that would move). Overtime, I learned how to dress and carry myself that fit their environment. Hence, I recommend that if you are interviewing take some time to visit before an interview and look at what they are wearing. I know it might seem silly but you do want to fit into their “culture” and knowing what they are “looking for” is important.

  • Having spent a few years working in the public sector after completing my undergraduate degree, I have learned firsthand the value of seeking help and providing it for others when you can. As I get ready to pursue my MBA this fall, I am grateful for this valuable lesson.

    As the author rightly states, it is important to have a team behind you that you can both rely on and feel comfortable seeking help. Throughout my job, I have sought out mentors who have helped me both personally and professionally. As a young employee looking to start our careers, we often allow our ego to get in the way of asking for help. This could lead to disastrous consequences. Society should not look at asking for help as a weakness, but rather a strength that should be promoted.

    As we get more comfortable in our respective industries, it is important to be a resource to those who follow after you. Maybe it’s an intern who doesn’t understand the complexities of a job as well as you do. Perhaps it as an older colleague who needs help with their computer. At the end of the day, we should seek out the golden rule in the work place, and those who offer help are more likely to receive it too.

  • I never got much help in the ways of passing an evaluation. Sure, my parents would point me in the right direction, suggesting what jobs to apply for, yet I still lacked on the interview and application portion. I was able to fill out an application no problem, yet I even I could tell that it didn’t look very professional. Having a coach, mentor, even an experienced friend to help me with scoring a job would have work wonders. As of now, I’ve learned it’s more than just an application. You need to walk into their door, ready and prepared to present yourself in the best manner you ever could. While it took me a few years, I can say now that I’m much more experienced when it comes to applications and interviews. However, I would have loved to get help much earlier. The key to success is not to be created by yourself. If you have others to help you along the way, you’d be a fool not to take it.

  • I am a freshman at Towson University, and I created my first job resume when I was a senior in high school. My english teacher assisted me in creating it, but I needed to make some adjustments to it. The academic center of Towson University assisted me in changing my format from bullets of responsibilities to bullets of what those responsibilities taught me. This assisted me in landing jobs quicker and drawing attention to myself because anyone can list responsibilities of a job; not only does listing what you learned prove your responsibilities, but also shows that you gained experience and let the experience sink into you.

  • I remember going to my first interview and trying to impress the employer. The question that got me was, “What asset do I bring to the company?” I of course was floored because my resume was obviously very small, I had very little job experience, and all I was experience in sales. I unfortunately, did not get the job. In looking back at my resume, I can see why I didn’t. The interview was one of the many obstacles that I had to face during an interview. I have applied to jobs with what I thought was a competitive resume, just to be turned down. However, after hiring a service and attending several workshops, I finally was able to produce a resume that would et employers to notice me. I found that using big fancy words only makes them dislike you more, or seem confused. Keeping things simple in explaining skills and your ability is key.

  • I myself am an older student, throughout the years in school I was under the impression that I was on my own when it came to resumes. I was able to get resources through the community College helping me with the problems I was facing putting my resume all together. It was not only refreshing it was a huge relief at the same time.

    At the time I was not familiar with the type of resources the college had, after finding out the last year I was there I was disappointed I didn’t use them sooner. Fortunately I am attending a University in the Fall and I intend to use every resource available to me.

    Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or should not be seen as a bad thing. If anything, taking constructive criticism is a great quality to have and will make you stronger in the long run.

  • I am a younger student and have been presented two job opportunities to where I have never written a resume. The job opportunities I have had have given me the experience of filling out multiple applications. The piece I find most relatable is the idea that discusses working alone. This article chooses to take the approach to talk about how the look of an outside perspective when it comes to searching for a job. I read this and took a different mental approach to what the author meant when in regard to “are you a do-it-yourselfer”. When I hear that, I think of my independence. I try to handle everything on my own, understanding that I am above average for my maturity and responsibility levels. After reading this, I understand a different aspect of asking for help. I do understand that asking for help sometimes is very good and beneficial especially in circumstances such as these. It is important to understand the outside perspective because a first impression can either make, or break an opportunity.

  • I’m happy to see the addition of the do-it-yourselfer tips, since I fit that category. I’m not completely sure my girlfriend would be completely honest with me, so the idea of networking with informational interviews is a great idea. I know that the way I come across to people is important, so thank you for the great read!

  • As a young person in the workforce today, you are nto taught how to create a resume. I find that it is the hardest part of getting a job, because that is the first thing the potiental employer see’s. This is such an awesome way to help people learn the in’s and out’s of how to create a good resume, and all the tools that you would need to further your sucess.

  • With all the competition in current job market, a professional must have everything in order to impress the human resource manager. This lesson taught me how vital preparation is before an interview which could be a deal breaker. This is an ongoing process throughout your career.

  • Having others tell you what is wrong with you can be the most difficult thing to overcome, but it is essential to succeed in life. I have definitely had issues with my resume, at first I was shy about what to “brag” about on resumes, so it is hard to find a happy medium. My dad’s friend job is in the hiring process of her department and she helped me adjust my resume and overall look to get the job I wanted. Although I still do not have the “job of my dreams” but five minutes of harsh opinion will help me in the future. I learned to always look happy, even if you are having a bad day, and be confident in what you are saying. Being personable was another great advice because interviewers can become bored with monotone people that cannot portray any emotions. Getting professional advice on how to portray yourself was very helpful.

  • I am an older student and had to learn the new mindset technique to writing a resume. Years ago the resume was about adding all of your accomplishments in sentence form and a bullet for each job task under the employer name. This format has changed significantly and has been a continual learning process. Just when you think you know what you are doing the game changes. It has taken me several weeks to accept the change of presenting a one page resume advertisement for all the years of hard work but it is more about the personality rather than the formal format used years ago. Time is limited and employers want concise clear explanation of your ability.

  • Thank you so much! I found this post enormously helpful. Please send me more articles like this in the future!

    • I thought these tips were very helpful. Your appearance, personality, everything about a person really does give off a certain vibe to other people. That vibe can be very important if you are getting interviewed because one thing can throw off the interviewer and then you might not land the job. Knowing tips on how to better you success rate on lading a job just based off of the interview can help so many people in the long run. These tips were very helpful and can help even the youngest of people just starting off and getting their first job. I was educated on these tips from a teacher who mocked an interview and gave my class tips on what to say, how to say it, how to sit, how to present your resume, and even how to shake the interviewers hand. They tips are just like the ones I received a few years ago. Landing a job is a very important thing and if we find out what the interviewers look for we can all have a chance at landing our dream jobs.

  • When I graduated high school and enrolled in my first University, I thought it would be four years and then I’d have my degree and onto the job world. Unfortunately I had to take time off from school and missed semesters at a time while I dealt with personal issues. I worked retail jobs to support myself during this time. Some of the best job hunting advise came from my former Store Manager. He encouraged me to go back to school. He helped me put together my first resume. He coached me on how to interview for future jobs and how to present myself.

    Eventually I left that job and moved to a new state, where I currently reside. I am a full time student and worker, and have found a new mentor in the form of one of my former professors. I have been searching for internship and have consulted with him several times to spruce up my resume and keep in mind things that potential employers are looking for. He advised me on what to keep handy in my portfolio. Having previously been an business owner in the field I am studying, he gives me constructive advise on how to show off my work.

  • When I went in for an interview for a business consulting company I was very nervous, but I had always been good at hiding my nerves and revealing my inner confidence. When the interviewer(who is now my boss) came in the room I stood up a shook his hand firmly and introduced myself. Right away he began questioning me and I answered his questions quickly and confidently. My resume exceeded his expectations and it was clear that I was ready. After the interview my boss asked who had been coaching me. I had no idea what he was talking about and just chuckled thanked him for his time as I moved towards the door. Now I know what coach he was talking about.

  • It is absolutely important to understand how you come across to others. I did not realize that when I applied for a job, but I was lucky enough to get it. Later, when I was working there, I realized how important it was. Interviewees would talk to the current employees and when they left, the hiring official would talk to us individually to see what we thought. Our office and field of work was very small and it was crucial to like the person because if we did not and they got hired, we would be stuck with them.

    Not only did we evaluate if we would get along, but we looked at their manners, how did they dress, how did they feel about the workload, the hours, the office, were they professional, how was their handwriting, and were they able to communicate effectively both in person and on paper. In addition, did we feel like they were a good fit for us in general and how would they come across to the clients. This was after their resume had been looked at and they had been screened and interviewed once before. If a person is interviewing for a job, it is helpful to do practices with others and have them evaluated. Or a person can try to be in a setting where they can see that profession at work to watch the mannerisms and compare themselves to those employees.

  • While I was a freshman in college I was not very good at getting help when I needed it. I went into that year thinking that I had to try and do well in my classes simply through my own intelligence and hard work, this didn’t work out so well. After my first semester I did not do nearly as well as I had “planned” on doing and I couldn’t seem to figure out why that was. Then as I began my second semester I decided that I would use the same method that I used in the first semester, but this time I was going to work even harder, this did not work either. It wasn’t until the end of my second semester that I began to even exercise the thought of seeking out help from my professors and classmates to better understand the material, as well as study more effectively. In my mind, using my classmates for help was sort of cheating in a way; but I soon realized that working together to maximize both you and your friends’ college performance is key to surviving in difficult courses. Nowadays, as I enter my Junior year of college, I am very diligent about getting help from my professors and studying with classmates because I know the benefits that can come from seeking help. I am enjoying school a lot more and getting a lot more out of it too.

  • I have a friend who has been having a great deal of difficulty finding work over the last year. I finally asked to see her resume. The structure, layout, and verbiage were definitely affecting the perception of the reader as to whether she was actually qualified enough for the position. Additionally, she needed to work on sounding more professional, conducting herself with confidence not arrogance, and ensuring that she did not talk too much about herself but focused on the questions put forth instead. My friend and I have worked with her to help her see where she may be making mistakes, helped her revamp her resume and cover letter, and had her send thank you notes or emails following an interview to show her gratitude for the time. It has helped her considerably, although she has not been able to find permanent work as of yet. She told us that the input we provided her, allowing her to do practice interviews with us, and rewriting her resume has helped her remain steadily working as a temporary employee for the last 6 months. She’s learned to shine and will continue polishing her skills to land something permanent…or impresses her temporary employers enough so that they will hire her permanently. Perception is the key to getting your foot in the door; skill and hard work will keep you there.

  • I have experienced this as well in my current position as a customer service representative for Blue Cross Blue Shield. For the interview, I met with three managers of the department, I was pretty nervous yet excited to display my interpersonal skills and experience within the department. Luckily, I carried copies of my resume and prior achievement evaluations from past positions within the company. It was a pleasure meeting the ladies because my boss called the day after to congratulate me on an impressive interview. I will admit, it was a true amazing feeling!