Every time I serve as a Speech Coach for professionals who want to become poised, powerful, and persuasive speakers, I introduce them to Roger Ailes' excellent book, You Are the Message: Getting What You Want by Being What You Are.
Ailes earned his credentials to write a book about speech communication. Now known as Chairman of Fox News, his earlier career as a Speech Coach included coaching George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan as clients, along with top industry leaders.
Here's my favorite passage from Ailes' book, with his explanation of what he terms The Composite You. Specifically: When you communicate with someone, it's not just the words you choose to send to the other person that makes up the message. You're also sending signals about what kind of person you are-by your eyes, your facial expression, your body movement, your vocal pitch, tone, volume, and intensity, your commitment to your message, your sense of humor, and many other factors.
In short: The total you affects how others feel about you and respond to you. Further, The words themselves are meaningless unless the rest of you is in synchronization.
Roger Ailes' advice applies directly to your job search. As you plan your strategy, you are likely to produce a checklist similar to your daily to-do list. Representative items might be:
Improve the voice mail message callers will hear when they miss connecting with me
Buy an impressive new outfit
Enlist a career counselor to critique and revise my resume
Acquire new software skills
Affiliate with productive networking groups
Acquire substantive written testimonials from respected leaders
Work with a Speech Coach in simulated interviews
Hire an image consultant to assure that you make a highly professional impression
Complete the DISC Personal Style Analysis, to learn more about communication styles
Read the most respected publications in your targeted industry
Those-and two dozen more you might have listed already-belong on every serious job seeker's agenda.
Yet here is my main point, in keeping with Ailes' Composite You approach: You are not likely to strike out on a job application, or at the other end of the spectrum hit a home run, because of one or two isolated factors. Ultimately, a prospective employer will evaluate you comprehensively.
For a minute, think back to reasons (or excuses, whichever term you have used) about why a desired job offer didn't come through for you. Possibly you said: Mary Ellen had more years of experience, and she comes across peppier in interviews than I do. So they hired her.
Well, although your post mortem analysis might not be inaccurate, neither are you analyzing the total picture. In essence, the executive who hired Mary Ellen was more favorably impressed with the professional blend she offered-her compound of assets and interactions.
The bottom line, as newscasters say, is this: During your job search, avoid majoring in any one area of preparation so completely that you neglect other steps and strategies. Keep your preparation even and balanced.
You had rather hear, Here's your contract, and we hope you accept our offer no later than tomorrow, rather than You had the most professionally prepared resume we have ever read, and we advise you to keep using it as you continue your job search. We wish you well, and thank you for having considered our company.
Look once more at Roger Ailes' solid counsel: The total you affects how others feel about you and respond to you.