Tips to start - and end - the job interview process

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(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY Last week I wrote about some of the less obvious aspects of writing and posting a job search cover letter. It generated a lot of mail -- both comments to the post and a fair amount of direct email. A lot of people had questions (and some misconceptions) about the job hunt process, and few folks seem to think about it from the hiring manager's perspective. With that in mind, here are some more tidbits of advice to help you land your next job.

Don't be afraid to repost. Want to get better traction from the resume you posted to a job site? Lifehacker recommends reposting it every few days, so your resume repeatedly bubbles to the top of the heap. Recruiters don't have a ton of time to look for candidates, and will often only scan the newest entries. If they missed you when you first posted, re-posting it might help you catch their attention.

Don't repost a job application at a corporate website, though. If you're applying directly for a specific position, apply once and only once. You might want to follow up with HR a few days later, but never repost your resume and cover letter -- that's spam, and it's a guaranteed trip to the virtual recycling bin.

Don't be bombastic. Last week, a few readers took issue with my assertion that a cover letter can reveal personality traits. In fact, it's almost as if some people took this personally. That said, I stand by my position. I'm not saying that I can work up an FBI criminal profile based on a cover letter, but arrogant, pretentious, and bombastic cover letters often are accurate predictors of the people who wrote them. I've seen enough of that sort of thing that I've stopped bringing in such candidates for in-person interviews based on the "attitude" of the cover letter alone. Do I feel like I've missed out of awesome candidates? No, not really. There are many superbly qualified candidates for most positions, and if I can weed out people who are difficult to work with, that makes everyone's job easier.

Make a professional voice mail message. Recruiters will be calling you after they find your resume online. Identify yourself (first name and last) and make it sound professional. If it's not clear who you are when the recruiter listens to your message, they might not even leave a message. Opportunity lost.

Send thank you notes. Every time you progress to the next stage of the interview process, write a brief and simple thank you email. I do mean at every stage -- the informational phone call, the first round of interviews, the second round (if there is one). Some people only bother sending thank you notes to the hiring manager and other key decision makers, but that's a lost opportunity. If you spend an hour with the worker bees who will constitute your peers, send them all notes. Word will get back to the hiring manager -- make no mistake -- and it shows you are diligent, polite, and genuinely care about getting the job.

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