The hunt for a new job can be daunting, with the demands of looking for suitable vacancies, creating a CV and preparing for the inevitable face-to-face interview.
When you do get the interview a little self-confidence will go a long way to impressing a potential employer and can get you closer to landing the job.
To get yourself ready, you need to take care of a few things; here are three ways – from the initial application through to the interview itself – to help you sell yourself.
Step 1: Create a killer CV
The first and most important step is one you don’t want to get wrong. Your CV is what will get you in front of your potential new employer, so it’s crucial to include your strongest attributes and outline your skills and experience in detail. However, there’s a fine line to tread.
Include all the relevant information, but keep things brief. Be as succinct as possible. Write short, simple sentences that express your current skills, experience and future ambition.
Writing a successful CV is an art but it’s not rocket science, just ensure it’s well-crafted and avoids clichés: we’re all “hard-working” and “focused” – and employers read these words all the time.
They’re boring, so try to be original.
Recruiters aren’t mind readers so explain all your relevant experience and showcase your strengths and expertise in plain, easy-to-read English. Outline the best things about you, making sure that each application is tailored to the individual role wherever possible.
Step 2: Work on your interview technique and body language
In an interview situation your potential new manager will already know you’ve got the skills to do the job – that’s if you’ve been truthful on your CV – but they will want to know you’ve got the confidence and personality to fit in and fulfil the requirements of the role. They will use the conversation to gauge this and ask questions such as:
- What would your current colleagues say about you?
- Where do you see yourself in one year?
Be positive when answering, speak clearly, slowly and communicate with confidence. If you already know the answers to the questions they’re about to ask, you will be well placed to sell yourself and do well.
You also want to dress to impress, that’s a given, while body language accounts for 93% of all human communication.
Stick to the old favourites: smile, give a firm handshake and sit up straight, while during the interview you should keep eye contact with whoever’s across the table from you.
Step 3: Don’t worry about talking about yourself
Finally, many candidates aren’t comfortable speaking about themselves during interviews, when in reality bragging is the aim of the game.
Don’t let modesty stifle your own self-promotion. Prior to the interview, make a list of the required responsibilities and give examples of how you meet the criteria. List how your skills match the job description and give examples of when you’ve successfully used them – writing them down beforehand as if you were doing some revision will help trigger your memory so you’re not left sweating and thinking of examples on the spot.
Remember that in this situation you’ve got permission to “blow your own trumpet”, but learn to sell yourself without being arrogant.
Practice makes perfect in interview situations and the more prepared you are the more successful you’re likely to be in what to many of us, is an unusual and awkward situation. If you’ve got a friend or relative you can run through your answers with before the interview date, go ahead and assess how you sound and if necessary, tweak what you’re going to say.
Be friendly throughout and try a couple of ice breakers to help you ease into proceedings – you only have one shot at the interview, so make it count.
Andy Williams is a Content Writer for Portfolio CBR, providers of compensation, benefits and rewards jobs throughout the UK.