How to Change Their Minds About You

August 4, 2010 at 11:32 am Leave a comment

Sometimes, a hiring manager has a preconceived notion about you and your abilities (or lack thereof) that may no longer be accurate — if it ever was a correct picture. Other times, someone you are trying to connect with in a networking situation appears to have an image of you that doesn’t square with how you view yourself and your career goals. If these people end up being important in your job search, it could spell trouble.

So, how can you get them to change their minds about you?
This can be done but it will require some psychological strategy on your part and some effort. In some cases, it may not be worth the trouble to get them to change your mind about you — if they are only a minor player in an organization you’re considering, for instance. Yet hiring experts say it’s important to try to erase negative and especially outdated images of you, as that could hurt your overall reputation, certainly in a town like D.C. where image and reputation are paramount.
Consider these tips for getting others to change their minds about you during a job search:
*Address the issue head-on. Especially if someone has a stereotyped image of you (we all stereotype at least sometimes, even though we don’t like to acknowlege it) you might be able to change their mind by approaching this issue in a straightforward fashion. For instance, if you think a hiring manager is concerned that you may be set in your ways and not terribly adaptive to new technology (and this could be age bias as well), early in the hiring process you should show how this just isn’t the case. Describe, for example, duties in past jobs that involved handling online content, or talk to them about a Web site or blog you’ve started on a subject that might be relevant. It’s very important in this situation that you bring up this issue — by not beating around the proverbial bush and trying to dispel the image, you may be able to alleviate their worries about you.
*Have others help you quell these concerns. References or even referrals can be a big help here — and ask them to be proactive as well. Be honest with them about how the hiring manager’s worries may come up in questions they ask the reference.  You may not want your reference to bring up the issue, but help prepare them for subtle questions that may get to this. One concern that sometimes arises in a job hunt, for example, is an image that a journalist may be difficult to work with and seeks to hog the spotlight for himself or herself.
If a hiring manager has a small team where cooperation is key, they may be worried if they have this image of you. If it’s wrong or outdated, you should mention to your current references that you had a few run-ins with other reporters earlier in your career, say, but that you’ve taken steps to correct this — this can be quite effective with references who view you as a team player who has moved beyond those earlier problems. If they can tell the hiring manager they don’t see this as a problem, that can help remove that negative image. References can be a very powerful tool in this situation.
*Arm them with information. By showing, rather than telling, that their image of you is wrong, you may be able to change it. For instance, if a recruiter indicates they are worried that you don’t have a key skill they are seeking for the position, show them examples of your past work — or again, have a reference point them out to them — that will indicate this preconceived notion is faulty. Work often speaks — loudly — for itself.
*Be honest with yourself. In some instances, an image of you may be based in reality — even though it’s hard for you to admit that this is the case. If you keep hitting a wall concerning your image — say having a lack of certain skills or flexibility, or an image of you as someone who routinely has personality conflicts at work — you should take a hard look at yourself and determine whether these concerns are legitimate. If they are, you should do some serious thinking about what issues are impeding your search, and seek to fix these before you lose out on any more opportunities.

*Another warning about online scams targeted at job hunters — you can never be too careful on this score. And the scammers are getting trickier; take note in this piece at

Scammers target unemployed workers

*Here’s a fresh batch of leads to consider — a good variety today:

*HP has an opening in Herndon for a state and local proposal editor:

Editor – State & Local
HP – Herndon, VA
of proposal documents. Editors review the proposal… references in the response document Provides writing, editing, and research assistance to writers as…
From HP

*FTI Consulting in D.C. is looking for an assistant vice president of research and public affairs:

AVP, Research/Public Affairs, Corporate Reputation
FTI Consulting/ FD- Strategic Communications Practice – Washington, DC
retail, healthcare, energy, media, and communications. FTI’s Strategic Communications segment, known as FD, is a leading strategic communications consultancy…
From Quirk’s

*Ogilvy Public Relations in D.C. is seeking an account director in its social marketing group:

Ogilvy Public Relations – Account Director – Social Marketing Group
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide – Washington, DC
successful marketing communication campaigns with… with clients * Proven strategic thinking and writing skills supported by experience developing and…
From Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

*U.S. News & World Report magazine in D.C. has an opening for an online health-care reporter:

*This could be a good opportunity for a transitioning journalist looking to job the association world — the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) in D.C. is seeking a Web news reporter and editor:

*And last but certainly not least today, Spitfire Strategies in D.C. has an opening for an account executive:

Strategic communications firm dedicated to helping clients create positive social change has an immediate opening for an account executive based in our Washington, DC office. Ideal candidate has a strong work ethic, is able to work on multiple projects at once and can demonstrate significant experience in implementing and contributing to the development of strategic communications initiatives. Seeking a savvy communicator with sharp writing and editing skills, demonstrated understanding of communications, and an interest in promoting nonprofits are a must. Candidates should have three to five years relevant experience – media relations and work in a Capitol Hill office is a plus.

Position offers competitive pay and good benefits in a downtown DC, Metro-accessible office. For more information, log on to

Qualified applicants should send resume along with cover letter detailing why you are the best fit for this position to Cover letter must include salary requirements to be considered. No phone calls please.

Happy hunting!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Five Ways To Move Your Search Ahead Even in the Dead of August When You Think You’ve Made a Big Mistake

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