First off, apologies for the lack of posts lately – 2017 has been very busy so far! I’ve been ticking away at work and study so my free time has been limited lately, I’m living for the summer already 🙂 But the summer will likely be a busy time for me too, as I will be starting a new job! I’m very excited for a new challenge, but the process of applying for jobs and attending interviews can be time consuming and stressful. With that in mind, I thought I would share with you all some job hunting tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the past few years.
- Pick a strong CV template and stick to it
Way back when I graduated from my undergrad, I attended a graduate fair over the summer and went to a seminar on creating a strong CV. This was without doubt one of the most helpful things for me when I started out in the world of job hunting, as I got really useful tips for what to include on your cv and how you should structure it. While my CV content has changed over the past few years as my experience has grown, I have kept the same template I first started out with, which has saved a lot of time for me in the long run. If you’re compiling your CV from scratch, I’d recommend picking a nice, clean template where it is easy to add and remove text. I’m sure most people reading this will know what they want to include in their CV, but one useful tip I would have is to have your name in the footer of each page of your CV (max 2 pages). I would suggest having your name and page numbers – for example ‘Amy Burke CV, page 1 of 2’. This is only a small part of your overall CV, but your name is on every page that the recruiter or employer will read – which could help keep you top of mind!
- Double and triple check for typos
It is so important that you don’t have any grammar or spelling mistakes in your CV. I’ve read several articles in the past, and have spoken to employers, that if they read a CV and see spelling mistakes, the candidate is then usually disregarded and their CV put in the bin. After all, if you don’t take the time to make sure you have your CV done correctly, why would an employer spend their time reading it?
- Tailor your CV and cover letter to the role
When first applying for a job, always be sure to make your work/academic experience relevant to the role you’re applying for. While you might be applying for jobs within the one industry, that does not mean that every employer will be looking for the exact same skills for their company. For example, if you are looking for a marketing job and company X has highlighted social media use as an important part of the role, while company Y is looking for someone with event management experience, you should tweak your CV for each position to make sure your relevant experience is obvious to the employer. In terms of writing a strong cover letter or personal statement, a practice I find helpful is reading through the job spec with a highlighter to hand and marking some important aspects of the role. Then when you get to actually writing, you can apply your work experience to these areas. This can show employers you’ve thoroughly looked at the role and have taken the time to strongly show your relevant skills. While working hard on your CV and cover letter won’t guarantee you getting the job, it will give you a great chance of getting called for an interview – then it’s your time to shine!
- Dress to impress
While this may seem obvious, I don’t think it can be stressed enough how important it is to dress well when going for an interview. Generally, people feel more confident when they are dressed well, and it also gives a good impression to the employer. I’d also recommend ‘dressing for the job you want’. While my understanding of this phrase means dressing well, it also means dressing appropriately for the environment you’ll be working in. If you aren’t sure of an office dress code when going for an interview, opt for a smart look. But for the likes of Google, Facebook, or media agencies in Dublin, these offices often have a smart-casual dress code; people in the company wear jeans, nice tops or jumpers, instead of trousers, shirts, ‘office’ type dresses, etc. While I wouldn’t recommend wearing jeans to an interview, I do think that if the company your interviewing in has a more relaxed dress code it gives you a bit more scope when choosing your outfit. From my personal experience at interviews in more dressed down offices, I’ve chosen to wear trousers that have a funky design pattern and paired them with a nice blouse; or opted for a nice pair of Chelsea boots with skinny trousers rather than high heels. I picked up a stylish blazer in H&M a few years ago that I find works well for a variety of interview outfits – it can make you look smart, or smart-casual, depending on what you pair it with. So having a few nice pieces in your wardrobe that can be used as go-to’s for interviews can save you time and hassle! Whatever you’re wearing always make sure you feel comfortable, as this will contribute to your confidence on the day.
- Be yourself
While this may sound a bit cheesy, I think it is so important to do the best to be yourself when attending an interview. You want the company to hire you for you, so it’s important to act like yourself in an interview. You are going to be nervous, which is normal and not a bad thing in my opinion as it shows that you care about what you’re doing. The important thing is to not let nerves take over. Whenever I’ve gone for interviews I’ve tried to approach them as though you’re just going in to have a conversation. While you need to prepare before an interview and take note of the company’s products/services, you also need to be able to interact with the interviewer, rather than stiffly reciting points you wanted to make. I find it useful to talk to yourself in a mirror, this way you also might pick up on any annoying habits (maybe the overuse of hand gestures) and can try lessen these before your interview. But it’s so important to try and act like how you normally do, even though this can be hard at times in an interview. An interview isn’t enough time for an employer to get to really know you but they can get a snapshot of your personality, and likewise you can get an idea of the employer and the company.
And that’s it! This blog post is bit different to my other posts so far, so I’d love any feedback if people found it useful or not. If you’re attending an interview soon I hope this helps, and best of luck!