The employment market is challenging to breach on your best day; you’ve worked hard to pass through the revolving doors of fortune, investing three years and several part-time jobs into furthering career prospects. You’re responsible, reasonable, punctual, and culturally adaptable, so what went wrong? Why hasn’t a warm voice of promise welcomed you into the fold?
Every application and interview is unique. Instead of categorizing your approach as wrong or perfect (because don’t we all wish to be the best candidate?), consider what gave the successful applicant an edge. It’s time to get the job you want. Discard entry-level templates, shrug off your excuses, and follow these five tips to ensure the next time is the last time you disappear down the will-they/won’t-they employment rabbit hole:
What Do Your Qualifications Say About You?
The choices we make post University can either bolster or undermine our piece of paper. While a degree in engineering or planning may attract the attention of boutique recruitment companies like One Key Resources, a lack of volunteer work or engaging extra-curricular activities may count against you. Companies and agencies feel comfortable with hiring candidates who reflect their philosophy, embrace teamwork, and show initiative, beyond the pedestrian qualifications and degrees.
Highlight your differences – you have exactly ten seconds to make an impression as a person and a professional; don’t waste time with unreadable fonts and pointless layouts. If you’re a tad under-qualified, make it clear you’re a student of life and experience, enthusiastic to learn all you can from a reputable company. They might be impressed with your hustle. If in doubt, supplement your qualifications with relevant TAFE or vocational courses.
It’s All Here, In Black & White
Tailoring a brand CV and cover letter to each specific role may be boring, time-consuming, and a little counter-productive. After all, if your pages don’t pass the glance test, is it time wasted and better spent elsewhere? No. An up-to-date, targeted CV speaks volumes about its applicant.
Your cover letter will be scrutinized – did you manage to address your application to the right name? What salutation did you use? Have you dated and structured the letter correctly? Have you responded to the criteria or just sent through a template, with a few details swapped out for good measure? The smallest details can and will get you over the line.
Look Who’s Calling!
Cultivating and managing lasting professional relationships is essential to career progression. Sounds like a lot of work, huh? It will pay off. If you’ve had issues in the past or you didn’t particularly get along with your past employer, leave them off the reference list.
Instead, record a senior member of the company that you worked with and seek their permission to use them as a reference. It sounds simple, but a lot of job seekers forget to notify their referees about the call that may be coming. Keep everyone in the loop, let them know about the job you’ve applied for and why you think you’re good for the position – selling yourself to someone you know will help you down the track, if you reach the interview stage.
Preparation Is Key!
Everybody hates interviews. You have exactly ten minutes max to make an impression, build an easy rapport, and communicate why you’d be amazing in the role. Understandably, many candidates feel nervous. Arm yourself with knowledge; research the employer, read the job criteria in detail, and anticipate questions they may ask.
Also, talk to friends who may be in similar positions or know somebody who is, join online boards, and start asking around about interview experiences. Get to know the company and project yourself into the position… What will you bring to the role? Ask a mate to run a mock interview with you and let them throw a few curve balls, it will get you thinking on your toes. Go in with three teeth-chattering questions to ask your prospective employer – you’re also interviewing them! You’re investing a good part of your entry-level career and skills into their business, so make sure they resonate with your goals.
Remain Humble And Follow Up
The interview is done! Thank goodness; all you have to do now is wait, right? Not so. After making a sterling impression and leaving the office with your head held high, wait an hour or two and send a follow up e-mail, thanking the interviewer (again by name) for his or her time and letting them know once again how excited you are by this prospect. Don’t be afraid to verify any information discussed at the interview and create additional value in your application. Remember, every interaction will be judged! If you’re unsuccessful, be gracious and ask HR to keep you in mind for any future roles in the company.
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