Job Seekers - "Don't Tell a Sob Story"

David Eggers recently wrote a column at the Wall Street Journal entitled "Top Eight Rules of Networking"

Here are his suggestions:

1. Have a Solid Introduction
"First impressions count heavily. Make sure your attire, attitude and overall appearance are the best possible before introducing yourself to someone."

No brainer, right?

2. Don't Confuse People with Your Pitch
"No one needs to hear your entire work history upon meeting you. If someone asks you to tell them a bit about yourself, your explanation from start to finish shouldn't take more than 30 to 60 seconds."

This is something you should be practicing -- in the car, in the shower, in front of the mirror. Put yourself in the listener's shoes, would you want to hear a two hour dialogue from someone you just met?

3. Don't Tell a Sob Story
"No matter how tough it's been, you need to paint a positive picture when you're making new connections. 'Potential employers or connections aren't going to bring on people who are down in the dumps just to make them feel better,' . . . They want people who project a good, can-do attitude, and who will be energetic and excited about the position, not people who are just excited to have a job."

Think about it. Have you ever been on a date with someone who told you their whole horrific medical history? I bet you couldn't wait to get out of there.

4. Spend More Time Listening Than Talking
See number two.

5. Avoid Being Socially Inept
"There's a fine line between being friendly and personable and being awkward. You do not want to be the latter. 'Steer clear of talking about things that would make people uncomfortable.'"

See number three.

6. Don't Overstay Your Welcome
"Taking up too much of someone's time is almost as bad as ignoring them entirely."

7. Hand out Your Business Card, Not Your Resume
"What?" you ask. You don't have a business card? Go to the local stationary store and buy a box of blank business cards. If you have Microsoft Word there are plenty of templates to choose from. Make sure you put your name, address, phone number, and email address on your business card. A catchy one liner is good, for example: Registered Nurse Seeks Job.

8. Follow Up and Through
"Perhaps the 'Cardinal Rule' of networking is that once you've planted the seeds of a new relationship, you must follow up to maintain it. Whether it's a business referral, job lead, or a professional connection, get in touch – within 24 hours – to say you enjoyed meeting them."

That doesn't mean hounding them everyday, or asking them to become your friend of FaceBook (BTW never, EVER, do this with business colleagues, or potential business colleagues), just send them a brief email.


  1. Many people about to enter the work force, especially in such a competitive employment market should benefit from heeding such great advice. Along the lines of making a good impression from the start, is simply exhibiting common sense. With that said, always be prompt on appointments, particularly pertaining to an interview. However, one shouldn't be so early as to wait so long in the lobby, this can be interpreted as too much eagerness or even negatively as being desperate. Another way to make a favorable impression, is through one's hand shake. A handshake should be firm, but not so firm as to crush the other person's hand. This is just another way to convey assertiveness and confidence nonverbally. Speaking of nonverbal communication, good eye contact and a nice smile goes a long way to making a great impression.

  2. Advice from this article can be beneficial to anyone who is going into their first interview blind. Even myself, someone who is an experienced interview veteran found some of this information useful. For example over staying your welcome, when you look from the perspective as the interviewer would you really want someone to linger too long? The only advice I would have to add to this article would be to make sure you're well groomed during your interview. No one wants to hire someone with bed head and food stuck between their teeth. Always make sure you take care of your personal hygiene before an interview. Being clean cut and personable is a great way to get your foot in the door.

  3. This article was extremely helpful to me. I recently got a job and in the interview I kept my answers short and simple. You would think that telling a sob story in your interview can help you get the job but when you really think about it you are just trying to make them feel bad for you and obviously employers do not play the pity card. Also following up after an interview is a great way to help land you a job but finding a job in this economic crisis is difficuly but following the tips from the article might help.

  4. I think this was really great advice. Many people don't know what to do when they go to a job interview. It is a really nerve wracking experience and it helps a lot to have some guidance. I thought it was really interesting that they suggested a business card instead of a resume, I've always only heard resumes. I think the business card is a good idea though, it is short and sweet and to the point. The part I thought to be the most helpful that a lot of people probably don't think to do is the follow-up. You want to make sure that you are serious about applying and that they will remember you. This should be helpful for anyone applying to a job to allow them to make a good impression.

  5. As of the last week I have invested in a business and this has been very beneficial. Going into anything new can be overwhelming, especially when taking in so much information. The women above (Miss Tanu)me has told me several of this hints and tips, and boy oh boy does it confirm seeing it on this blog. She has mentioned strong first impressions, to listen more than talk, business cards, and following through. Something catchy Miss Tanu shared with me is "God gave us two ears and one mouth" emphasizing to listen more than we speak, which has stuck with me considering I do a lot of talking. Miss Tanu is also very strong on the following through idea, especially about getting confirmations.

    I however am somewhat new to tip #2. I like the idea of keeping things short: 30-60 seconds. Thinking on this, it also allows people to be curious about you, also, getting back to listening more, allowing them a chance to ask questions, and giving you a chance to flatter yourself.

    Between this last week of business tips and now this blog.. I think it is time I invest in some business cards, dont you?

  6. These days job seekers need all the help they can get. For the past few years the work force has been strongly competitive. Most of this blog is very helpful in a few different ways. A job interview can be stressful. To have a solid introduction seams like an obvious one, but many people show up to interviews in their normal street clothes. A first impression is always important. In an interview more people need to be short and sweet. The idea of having an explanation last no more than 60 seconds is very smart, because otherwise the interviewer does not notice the most important things about you just many random things. A large amount of people do tell a sob story when in reality an interviewer wants someone who is emotionally ready and fully prepared for the job. These days their are not many openings and companies are not just giving away jobs like charity. They only hire someone when they think that person will truly be beneficial to the company. So next time everyone should remember to tell how the company needs them and less about why they desperately need the job. The business card was a new one for me. It may keep someone's attention longer than a resume, but it can not point out your key strengths. The fact that I find most important is to follow up after an interview. Some people never do this and wonder why they did not get the job. The interviewer wants to see how much effort you are willing to put into this job before you even have it. One does not need to call every day, just a few days after the interview. If someone does not call then it is almost guaranteed that someone else will receive the job. Everyone should at least read these tips to refresh before an interview.

  7. This article really help us graduates and future graduates going to the corporate world. This knowledge can also be easily applied in the college world and among peers. First job interviews can be a nightmare for many. This helps me prepare for corporational interviews and interact with the people and friends.

  8. I really liked this article because it was straight and forward, didn't hesitate to say what he really wanted to say. There was the part part he talks about the business cards, that was a demanding voice, but it wasn't disrespectful. I think that this article gives really good advise on how to prepare for an interview and even how to act during an interview. I had never heard anything having business cards to hand out after the end of an interview, that's something to keep in mind, perhaps for when I finish school. the only thing that gets me thinking is giving an intro about myself in about 30 to 60 seconds. Gets me thinking about what are the most important things to say in an interview.

  9. This article not only sums up how to apply for a job/go to an interview. But, it also makes it simple, easy, and clear. Such as how you're clearly supposed to look presentable and come with a positive attitude and outlook. As well as having a simple 30-60 seconds explanation to tell about yourself and make yourself look good. I personally like how it also says that you should give a business card. Because everyone normally says just have a really good resume and/or cover letter, but handing a business card looks more professional and shows that you are more serious when really it doesn't take long or much money to achieve one. Almost everyone should read this article, especially students because there are some many people who think applying for a job is so difficult, when this proves how simple, easy, and how little work and practice you need to put in to do well.

  10. I agree with everything this article says when trying to get a job. The don't tell a sob story especially. Don't come across as if you are putting on a play to touch people's hearts. If you truly want to make an impression, you must enter the interview with a message. All you have to do is deliver the message in a positive and confident way. Telling a sob story often hints that one doubts themselves and does not have faith in their decisions. Essentially, every single job hires people who qualify to be future leaders.

  11. I think the tips added in the article would be very helpful for young adults looking for a job. This article explains exactly how to act during the interview and different ways to follow up to be sure that you are remembered by that specific client. I liked the 30-60 second explanation about yourself. A job is all about selling yourself and i also enjoyed how a date was intwined in there to give us (the readers) something to relate to. I personally will now follow up on these tips and try to see how helpful they can be towards me looking for a new jon during the next quarter.

  12. I like what they said in this article about what you shouldn't do while trying to get an job. I've seen some crazy things from people while we were in interviews. People are always trying to gain the upper hand than someone in every situation. don't go in to an interview bragging about your accomplishments or things like that. You have to seem humble and go with the flow of the interview. Managers can tell when you're lying and giving a sob story just to seem better. If you look over this before an interview then you should be fine. They are not hard nor scary, as long as you prepare and just be yourself then everything will be okay.

  13. Reading this article gave me a better idea of what job interviews should consist of. Now looking at my past couple of interviews I had no idea what to expect and to this day I really don't know how I got my jobs. So far i'm three for three. From experience instead of having a outline and speech ready. My advice along with this article is just being yourself because in reality this company isn't going to take you serious if you're not being real. I think the best advice this article gave me was numbers two and eight because it gives me a better idea of what I can add onto from what I already know. Graduation is coming soon and now that I have to get a grown up job, hopefully these steps and my experience helps get through my future job interviews sucessfully. Hopefully.

  14. "Avoid Being Socially Inept." Good luck with that. You sort of have it, or you don't, socially speaking. Luckily my parents didn't homeschool me and I've never lived in a commune, so I have halfway decent social skills, and boy have they payed dividends. I'm fairly sure that most of my employers were not as thrilled with my resume, as they have been when meeting me in person. In retrospect why did anyone ever hire me? Because I'm cool and laid back (damn, cool guys never say that). When I go into an interview, or when I have a chance to meet my prospected boss for the first time, rather that spouting off falsified qualifications, I just try to present myself as easy to work with. It takes some practice, but if you relax and avoid making people uncomfortable you might just get hired.

  15. Getting a job is much similar to getting a girlfriend / significant other. Having confidence will let your employer see that you do NOT depend on getting that specific job. There are plenty of jobs out there, and if you know you are capable of performing any kind of job in your specific field, and you let employer understand that, then he/she should realize that they could BENEFIT you as an employee. People should, though, be careful not to cross to the side of being cocky. I tend to see people being cocky instead of confident.
    Also, people like to feel appreciated, much similar to an employer. He/she wants to see you that you are appreciating the company, you are asking questions, you know background info about the company and more important, you let them know how you can contribute to a potential growth of the company.
    Concluding, if you show confidence and show the employer how you can help the company grow, the job is yours.

    Daniel Mihai - ENGL 1001-16

  16. Being able to read about this article made me realize what employees are looking for when hiring people. It gave me a better understanding of what I should when I apply to a higher position job. I really thought it was a good idea to give a business card. It shows that you are vey much interested in the job.

  17. I feel like this article is quite important especially for college students because most college students are job seekers or even future job seekers. I also connect with this article because before my interview method was to use a sob story to get the job. Then if I got the job I would be able to surprise them with my skills on the job. But lately, I've found this method to be ineffective. So I decided to use a different approach. You need to seem sincerely interested in the job, make is seem like you have goals and you getting a certain opportunity will help you further reach your goal. I also usually do back on the part where you should follow up after a interview. I find it hard to fit in time into my schedule to actually call them.

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