Finding a job has always been hard, but with the increase in competition, it’s now harder than ever to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Although making the cut can seem an impossible task, we’ve put together some tips on how you can bolster your job application and persuade them that you’re the best choice they’ll ever make.
When thinking about how to win over a potential employer, it can be handy to think about selling yourself in the way you would sell a product. What makes you unique, and better than other applicants? What’s the story behind you? Why are you a necessity to their team? Think about the kind of questions you’d want to know about a product, and apply them to yourself. Also consider the way you brand yourself – what words do you want to identify as, or which words would you want others to use when describing you? Make sure you not only give off this vibe when you communicate and interact with everyone (not just your potential employer), but that you prove you have these traits. This may be by gaining work experience or obtaining a reference which supports this – for example, you may want to opt for a volunteering opportunity if you want to show you’re generous, willing to put in extra time, and caring.
Before you start your CV or application, put together the basics in a list. Is it enough? Do you have enough experience? Do you have enough knowledge or expertise? It’s also worth asking if you’re different to others – if you fall into the same categories as everybody else, there’s no chance of being remembered. Take it upon yourself to do other things – doing a bit of travelling, dedicating some time to a charity or activity that contributes to your local community, or taking on extra training through an online course could be a great option.
It’s things like these that most people don’t bother with, but to employers, are incredibly valuable. Not only do they say a lot about the kind of person you are and show your dedication, but they also give you the opportunity to learn things yourself and develop your personality and knowledge. A win-win for you and your employer! It’s also important to differentiate yourself and let your personality come through in the interview – no matter how serious the situation seems, most people want to work with other humans, not robots, and avoiding sharing anything personal about you can come across as stale and even a bit boring. Even an anecdote wouldn’t go amiss, as long as it’s related to the situation – this can help your potential employer form a connection with you, as well as making it easier for them to remember you.
Do Your Research
It sounds ridiculous, but the number of people who apply for a job without knowing what they’re really going in for is bigger than you think. Some companies care a lot about this, and the harsher ones may ask you questions about their business to test your knowledge and understanding of what their journey and aims are about, so it’s important to be prepared for the harshest of interviewers. It’s also important to know exactly what you’re getting into – the job may sound great, but if you don’t know the exact role, hours, or company, you can’t be sure that this is the right job for you.
There are certain things you should always look at before applying for any job:
- Valued Skills: Before you apply, it’s important to know what sort of skills the company values – this is what they’ll be looking for most in applicants, and is important to get right. Read the job posting carefully – often, companies will either hint or outright state the kind of skills they’re looking for. If not, read the home and careers pages of their website – this should give you a good idea of the kind of company they’re promoting, and therefore the kind of applicant they’ll want to fill that role.
- News and Recent Events: It’s important to see what the company has recently been doing or been involved in – not only is this good for finding out a little more about the company, but if you reference it in an interview, it’s clear you’ve done your homework and you’re likely to impress the interviewer.
- Key Figures: You should aim to familiarise yourself with people that you’re likely to be expected to know or encounter if you’re hired. This is for two reasons; knowing the people you’ll be working with or for will give you a good idea of how you’ll fit in and whether the environment sounds good for you, and it also shows your willingness and passion to work in the company. It’s also a good opportunity to find out who your interviewer could be, or if you already know, what they’re like – this will give you a good standing with your interviewer from the start.
- Other Information: It’s also worth doing a little extra research to find out things that the company itself may not advertise – things like salary figures, company reviews, and even the hiring process itself. Using websites like Glassdoor will allow you to find out all of this information easily, meaning you’ll have some inside knowledge that most of the other applicants are unlikely to have.
Prepare for the Interview
This is something most people will do, but not necessarily in the right way. Of course, preparing for common interview questions is important, and you should go over this list of the 31 most common interview questions, but it’s also important to prepare some anecdotes or experiences which you can use to your advantage, whether that’s showing your range of experience, demonstrating a specific skill, or gaining their trust and forming a connection.
Although the content of the interview is, of course, incredibly important, it’s also important that you make a strong first impression. Dressing smartly is incredibly important – you want to show that you’ve made an effort, and want to be seriously considered. For most companies, a suit or smart dress is the way to go; even if it feels like you’re overdressing a little, it shows you care about the impression you’re making. Of course, some companies are the exception to the rule – if you’re applying for a job at a local café, for example, dressing down a little isn’t going to harm your impression, although it pays to keep your outfit smart, even if you don’t turn up in business attire.
Make sure to keep on top of personal hygiene too – lacking in this area can be a major problem for employers. You want to come across as friendly and approachable, especially if your job requires you to work with people, whether that’s in a team or with customers. This makes smiling incredibly important to show you’re someone people would like to work with, as well as showing you’re interested and passionate in the company – turning up with a straight face could make you appear cold, boring or difficult to talk to. Pay attention, and try to ask a question at the end to show you’re interested and engaged.
Making yourself the ideal candidate can be a difficult task, but with this guide you’ll be sure to make the impression you want and secure that dream job. Good luck!
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