Listening is key when you’re looking for a job. Learn how active listening in a job search can help you find and land the perfect position!
How Active Listening Can Help Your Job Search
“What did you say?”
Most of us feel we listen pretty well. But with all of the distractions we face these days, and long lists of things we need to get done on our minds, listening almost feels like a luxury.
The problem, however, is that not listening means we can miss a lot of beneficial—and even key—information that could be helpful when searching or interviewing for a job. Actively listening during your job search can help you connect with the right job and ace the interview.
Hearing Without Listening
Though you might think that hearing and listening are basically the same things, they are actually two entirely different concepts.
Hearing is something we just do, meaning we don’t need any special skills to hear. We hear things all day long—like lawnmowers, music, and the dog barking. Think of hearing as a passive activity. It happens naturally and without any effort on our part, like breathing.
Listening, on the other hand, is an active skill. It’s something we have to choose to do. When we listen, we do more than hear the speaker. We concentrate our attention on whatever is being said to better understand what the speaker is communicating.
And it’s something that we can choose to do. Just like we might choose to take a deep breath, we can choose to actively listen to what’s being said.
Active Listening in a Job Search
Of course, when you’re searching for a new job, it’s kind of difficult to engage your active listening skills. After all, a lot of your job search involves the written word, like when you’re reading job postings and writing resumes. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t engage your active listening skills in a job search. You just have to use them strategically.
Actively Listen to the Job Posting
Believe it or not, you can use your active listening skills when you read a job posting. As you read it over, look for clues that might help you learn more about the company before you apply. Don’t just look at the words, though. Try to identify the tone of the post. Does the job posting use formal language? Casual? Conversational? Does it use a lot of technical jargon or industry language? Does it seem frantic?
All of these can help clue you into what the job and company are like and help you decide if you want to apply.
Actively Listen When Researching a Company
Much like you’d actively listen to a job posting, you can also actively listen to the information you uncover about the company. Before you apply and interview, you should research the company to learn more about it. And, of course, the best way to research a company is to start with its website.
Actively listen to the website’s tone to learn more about the company culture. What images do they use? Are they stock photos, formal portraits, or candid images? Are there videos you can watch (and listen to!)? How formal or informal is the narrator? What do you find on social media? All of these clues can help you figure out if the company is the right fit for you.
Active Listening in an Interview
Of course, the single best place to use active listening skills in a job search is during the interview. Since most applicants are interviewing from home at the moment, though, that can be difficult.
Here’s how to refine your active listening skills whether your in-person or interviewing remotely.
Start by removing all distractions. Silence your phone (or turn it off), mute incoming notifications, and remove anything else that might prevent you from focusing on the speaker. If you’re interviewing remotely, be sure to let other people in your household know so that they can avoid any unwelcome distractions.
A crucial step, paying attention to the speaker seems obvious, but it means more than listening to the words being said.
For starters, try not to interrupt. It’s a natural instinct to want to jump in and add an opinion or correct something, but it may not be warranted. Give the speaker a chance to finish, then decide if you really need to add your thoughts.
Listen not just to the words that are being spoken but the tone of voice.
If you’re confused about something the speaker said or think the words don’t match the speaker’s tone, ask clarifying questions.
Active listening generally means listening more and talking less. While that may not be the case during a job interview, it is the case in most other situations. Try using small words like “yes” or “right” to encourage the other person to continue speaking. Body language can also help the other person know that you’re actively listening.
Learn Through Listening
Active listening skills are often an unspoken, yet highly valued skill employers want their employees to have. Not only will your active listening skills guide you to choosing better-fitting jobs, but they’ll also serve you well during the interview process and far beyond.
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This content was originally published here.