How to get the job you want!
So, after a potentially long and exhaustive search, you think you may finally have found the ideal job... or at least something with lots of potential. For most of us however, it’s an increasingly competitive world out there, and navigating the various stages of an application process can be a minefield. So how do you stand out from the crowd and up your chances of being in the running to actually get it?
Having worked with a wide range of people to help them to both gain clarity on career next steps and get through job interviews, here are some tried and tested tips to take you closer to a successful outcome:
1. Take the time to show yourself at your best on paper whilst referring closely to the job spec. It might sound mundane advice but too often I hear people say: “well it was a bit of a rush job…” The application itself is your opportunity to show your experience, working knowledge and enthusiasm for the role; how you meet the job requirements on paper and stand out against possibly tens/hundreds of others! Writing it can be a lengthy process (especially if it’s a job you really want) but don’t be tempted to cut corners at this stage.
2. I’m a big advocate of a handwritten covering letter. If you’re lucky enough not to have developed an illegible scrawl over the years of being computer and text dependent, then take time to do this! It helps you to stand out and personalises your application a bit more.
If all goes well at this stage and you’re asked for an interview, breath, believe and consider following steps three to seven.
3. Research the organisation and the job role as thoroughly as possible. This helps to establish a greater familiarity with whom you’re applying to work with, a more informed ability to ask pertinent questions, and a way of gauging how well you would fit into the role.
4. Psychological studies suggest we make our minds up about one another in a mere one tenth of a second based on attractiveness and trustworthiness. Working on the basis that attractiveness is much more than the latest designer suit, wear something that makes you feel comfortable and at your best (which will almost certainly come across to others); and try to cut through the perceived formality of the situation by above all, being your genuine self.
6) As much as subject knowledge is important (and already demonstrated in your application) focusing on how you want to come across in the interview is paramount. Being at work is a time-exhausting process and your interviewers are looking for someone they can work with: often more than anything else, they will hire someone they like! Aim to build rapport by being aware of your body language, facial expression and eye contact. Trying to mirror and match the body language of those you’re speaking to can really help with this. The more genuinely engaging you are; the better.
7) Put some preparation in beforehand to work on your inner confidence. For example, simply telling yourself repeatedly that you can get this job is actually a very effective way of training your brain to believe this. The more you can deal with any misgivings about your abilities (which will only cause nervousness to kick in on the day), the more positive the knock-on effect will be to creating a relaxed, focused, articulate demeanour!
8) Finally, make sure this is the right job for you. Most of us spend a huge amount of time at work, so it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. You are interviewing them, as much they are you - don’t be afraid to ask the questions you want answers to.