A communication expert who coaches TED speakers says these 2 acting techniques can help you land your dream job

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How To Land Your Dream Job


What do method acting and a high-stakes job have in common? More than you might think, says Gina Barnett, a longtime actor and executive coach who helps corporate power players communicate better.

According to Barnett — whose new book, "Play the Part: Master Body Signals to Connect and Communicate for Business Success," translates actor training to the business world — the same principles that help an actor deliver a heart-stopping performances can help a job seeker interview with new confidence and new success.

1. Pick an objective — and it's not "get the job."

Obviously, you want to get the job — in theater terms, that's your "superobjective." But when you go into your interview, you want to have more specific objectives in mind. You want something you can act on: Not "Be likeable!" but "Do I want to work here? I want to figure out if this a company I'm excited to be part of."

Going in with a concrete task "changes the whole energy in the room," Barnett explains, "because you're coming in and trying to suss them out, as much as they're trying to suss you out." You're no longer a powerless job candidate struggling to keep your cool before the firing squad. Now you're a curious and open person, interested in learning about these new people you're meeting.

Why does it work so well?

When you have an objective, you're able to "get your focus off of yourself and onto the other people in the room," Barnett says. And the less you're focusing inward, the less anxious you are. "I think that's one of the major contributors to tension — when people have their focus all on themselves, and they're not really taking in and picking up the cues around them," Barnett says.

2. Harness the power of your point of view.

"In theater, the term 'point of view' is used instead of belief," Barnett explains. "Point of view" is the inner belief you're carrying about yourself, and it colors every action you take.

On stage, an actor could play the same exact scene (say, the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet) using the same exact objectives (say, "to woo Juliet") and yet give drastically different performances — just by changing their point of view. Wooing Juliet while secretly believing "I never get what I want," Barnett points out, looks completely different than the exact same actions performed with the belief that "I'm irresistible."

But that's also true off stage. "You can walk into a job interview with the point of view, 'Oh my god, I hope they like me,' or you can walk in with 'I'm going to see what I learn about these people,' or 'I'm totally the person for this job,' or 'Oh s--t, I'm never going to get that.'"

Those ways of thinking about yourself can profoundly alter the way you enter the room — and what you do once you're in it.

For an interview, "try 'I'm going to be the best possible candidate,'" Barnett suggests in the book, or maybe "I can't wait to see whom I might meet."

The idea is to train yourself to adopt points of view that are going to work for you, rather than against you. Which — pessimists among us rest assured — doesn't necessarily require banishing all self doubt. "Doubt is important," Barnett agrees. "Doubt is healthy. But there's a difference between doubt and beating the crap out of yourself." The point is to shift your thoughts to "engender a sense of strength and power and courage."

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A communication expert who coaches TED speakers says these 2 acting techniques can help you land your dream job

1. Email signature.

Your email signature is possibly one of the most important branding tools you're not taking advantage of. It’s your chance to let everyone know what your expertise is, how to contact you and where to learn more about you online. Employees are often required to add the company logo, tag line and contact information to email signatures. As job seekers, an email signature is a subtle way to remind people what you do.

Quick tips: The most important information to include is your name, phone number, email address, desired occupation and link to your LinkedIn profile. An easy solution is to use an app like WiseStamp to create and insert your signature.

(Photo: Getty)

2. Active and robust LinkedIn presence. 

LinkedIn has become a go-to source for companies of all sizes to seek out talent. While your profile will be similar to your résumé, it is not exactly the same. LinkedIn is a social network where people share information. Besides having a profile rich in content and media, you should also share newsworthy articles to help build your online reputation and stay connected with your network.

Quick tips: You must have a headshot, a headline that describes what you do and a summary where you tell your story. But don’t stop there. Embed a presentation that summarizes your experience or includes testimonials. Have you downloaded the SlideShare app for LinkedIn? What about the LinkedIn Connected or Pulse apps? ​These tools give you a better mobile LinkedIn experience.

(Photo: Getty)

3. An easily accessible, on-the-go résumé

There will be occasions when someone wants you to send your résumé ASAP or when you arrive at an interview and your résumé is MIA. Save your résumés so you can easily access them and share them from your mobile device.

Quick tip: Being able to access important documents from anywhere is critical not only in your job search, but at work, too. Learn how to save and share documents using Dropbox or Google Drive, which provide free storage and are easily accessible from any device.

(Photo: Getty)

4. Business cards. 

This may seem old-fashioned, but business cards make life easier. When you meet someone new or reconnect with an old friend, just hand him or her your card at the end of the conversation.

Quick tip: Your business card need only include the information you want to share: your name, occupation (or desired occupation), phone number, email address and links to any social media profiles, like your LinkedIn URL. If you want to use something more high-tech, try one of the apps that allows you to share your card from your phone, like CardDrop. Or pick up a business card with FullContact’s Card Reader.

(Photo: Getty)

5. Your perfected pitch.

You only have one chance to make a great first impression. Don’t blow it. You’ll need it when you meet people and they ask what you do. You’ll also need one customized for every interview you take. Your pitch conveys what problem you can solve for an employer. Use words and language to ensure your unique style and personality come through. And avoid résumé-speak or jargon that isn’t universally understood.

Quick tip: Keep your pitch under a minute, and practice so it sounds natural. If you need some guidance, check out the myPitch app created by Karalyn Brown of InterviewIQ.

(Photo: Getty)

6. Target list of potential employers.

Rather than searching job boards all day, looking for the perfect job and getting lost in the black hole of applications, why not approach people inside companies you would like to work for? This route is more work up front, but it will help you stand out and rise to the top of the referral pile if you make the cut.

Quick tip: There are tons of apps for finding posted jobs, but what you really need is additional help networking. Don’t miss Alison Doyle’s new app called Career Tool Belt. It's loaded with job hunting tips, including the 30 Days to your Dream Job series to guide you day by day.

(Photo: Getty)

7. A dose of motivation.

Job searching tends to lead to frustration. Rejection is an unfortunate part of the process. Invest time doing things that rejuvenate your energy and keep you feeling hopeful, such as exercising, volunteering or learning a new skill. Keep moving forward and create to-do lists and follow-up actions every day.

Quick tip: Whether you use a calendar system or an organizational app like Any.do, mapping out your weekly activities helps maintain momentum and puts you in the driver’s seat.

(Photo: Getty)

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