How to land a job interview


So you know what you want to do when you grow up, finally. But getting started can be tough. It all depends on getting your foot in the door. Career consultant Maggie Mistal explains how to land a job interview.

How to land a job interview

Who can help you get a job interview? How do you make an initial contact for an interview? What can you do if no one is getting back to you? Career consultant Maggie Mistal has great advice on how to land that job interview.

  • Network, network, network!
  • Seek out others who are doing the kind of work you’d love to do. Ask their advice or personal experience — people want to help and love to talk about themselves if you’re genuinely interested. This can help greatly with getting a job interview within a particular organization or in an industry you haven't been in.
  • Leverage alumni associations, trade organizations and friends at companies where you might like to work. Many companies have employee-referral bonus programs.
  • When networking, develop a 15-second “pitch” that tells people who you are, what you’re good at, what job you’re suited for and how someone can help you land a job interview.
  • Know how to search and apply for jobs online but don’t underestimate connecting “face to face.”
  • Recognize that you are valuable and you are talented. Focus on the skills you have, even if you’ve been out of the workforce for a while.
  • If you feel out of touch, get back with others in your old work network. Find out what people in your old job are doing. Has it changed? If so, how?
  • Consider enhancing your skills through classes at a local college or university.
  • If no one is getting back to you at an organization don't take it personally. See if you know or can arrange to meet someone who works there. If a company has an employee referral program there is added incentive for someone internally helping you get a job interview.
  • Good grammar and spelling are essential! Whether submitting your resume online or in writing, make sure to spell check.




DENISE: Hi there I'm Denise Richardson and this is We're talking about how to get that all important interview. My guest is Maggie Mistal--she's a life purpose and career coach and she can be heard on Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius. First time out, you want to make that impression, you want to get that first interview--what do you do? How do you go about it?

MAGGIE:  I like to focus people on either their alumni networks or even associations. This is where they can meet people who have done or are doing the types of work they love to do. Because these are folks you really want to hear from and if you were going to go up to someone, Denise, and say you know what, Denise, I really--I read your bio online and I heard about you from so and so. Your career sounds fascinating to me--and it's got to be true.  Right? Which it is actually. Your career sounds fascinating to me and I'd really like to learn more. Chances are if you say that to someone and you're genuinely thinking that they're going to say sure what do you need to know. What can I tell you. People want to help and they also love to talk about themselves which can be a real leg up if you're looking to get into an organization or even into a new career that you, you know, you've never experienced before. 

DENISE: Let's talk about the writing part of this. Do you send a cover letter with your resume? Do you email a request? Do you make a phone call? How do you go about making that contact? 

MAGGIE: Right, well every generation is different. It's very interesting. Right now there's four different generations in the workplace. The most ever that we've had. And for folks who are newer to the workplace, they're used to doing everything online. So they're used to emailing, they're used to text messaging, they're not really used to the face to face quite as much as say Generation X or even the Baby Boomers. So one of the things I recommend no matter what you're age or level is to really be able to do a mix of things if you're going to job-search. Know how to search online, know how to go to Monster and submit your resume there. But also, know how to network in person face to face and know how to be able to do that 15 second pitch. A great friend of mine has established an organization called where you really develop who you are, what you'd be good at, what job you'd be suited for and how that person can help you get it. If you have that pitch and can talk to somebody about it face to face that can also open up doors. So it's really a combination of all of those.  

DENISE: There's so many women who are coming into the marketplace a little later in life. They've taken time out to raise their children. They're coming back a little anxious because it's difficult for them. What do you suggest for those women?

MAGGIE: I tell a lot of those women to first take a look at what skills they do have. They often feel like they've lost pace with technology or even the workplace in general and they tend to minimize or diminish the skills that they have. And I tend to say recognize that you are valuable and you are talented. Don't let, you know, the fact that you haven't been in the workplace for a few years take any of that away. However if you're feeling the need that you need to bolster some of that and find out what people are doing. Are they doing the exact same job that you were doing five years ago or have things really changed that dramatically? Find out the facts as opposed to just going on the feeling, and if you do find that in your industry you need a brand new set of skills, more and more universities as well as corporations are getting involved in getting women back into career tracks and offering classes.  

DENISE: It can often be demoralizing--you contact a myriad of human resources departments, you know, personnel departments and nobody gets back to you. 

MAGGIE: First off, I say don't take it personally, especially if you've been spending it online. The second way I say is do you know someone in the companies that you are applying for? Or can you meet someone who works there. Because what are lot of folks don't know is that if you work at a company, there's often employee referral bonus programs. So if you're going to bring in candidates to HR and they get a job, the employee gets a bonus. 

DENISE: Good grammar, good spelling essential here. 

MAGGIE: Absolutely. Use that spell check.

DENISE: Maggie Mistal thank you so much for being with us. 

MAGGIE: Thanks Denise.

meet theexpert
  • Maggie Mistal

    Maggie Mistal Career Coach, Martha Stewart Living Radio Maggie Mistal is a certified life purpose and career coach. Her passion is her career consulting practice, working with individuals to identify their ideal careers and helping them make career changes. more about this expert »

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