Employability skills are essential to landing a job, but the approach you take to applications and interviews is equally vital. The office furniture company Furniture At Work has spoken to career experts to find out the most important things to do, and what not to do, to give yourself the best possible shot at your dream role.
An obvious yet often disregarded rule is to be honest, both on your CV and in your interview. Sure, exaggerating your skills or experience may give you a slight edge, but if you are found out then your credibility could be gone forever. A key trait of employable people is honesty, so as career coach Matt Somers explains, lying really isn’t worth it.
“Just don’t do it. Ever,” Somers says, “Rather than wonder if you can get away with a small lie on this CV or that online application, just resolve never to lie. That way you’re never under pressure at an interview to remember what you lied about. Interviews are stressful enough as it is!”
Just as you wouldn’t talk about an ex-partner on a first date, you also shouldn’t insult your former employers in an interview. Not only could that cause a potential employer to worry about how you will talk about them, it adds unnecessary negative energy to the conversation which could reflect badly on you. If you had a serious issue with a former employer which you feel must be brought up, then do your best to lay out the situation dispassionately and professionally.
An important thing to remember about a ‘dream job’ is that often, to those in the field, it’s just a job. This means that there is no need to act like they are doing you a favour by considering you for a role. If you’re qualified and confident, then why present yourself as lesser than what you are? Simon Roderick, Managing Director of Fram Search, explains why confidence is key.
“The first thing about applying for your dream job, is to actually apply instead of holding yourself back and worrying! Have the confidence to think ‘If not me, then who?’ Back yourself and you may be surprised at the outcome,” Roderick says.
So, we know that lying, smack-talking old bosses, and letting nerves take over are never conducive to landing a job, but what should we do?
Amanda Augustine, career expert at TopCV, believes that personalising your CV to the target role is paramount. Not only does it show that you’ve done the research to find out what the role requires, but it allows a potential employer to see only relevant information. Imagine you’re going through CVs – aren’t you more likely to interview an applicant who has already made your job easier? Augustine also emphasises that a good referral can make all the difference.
“You’re 10 times more likely to land the job when your application is accompanied by a referral,” Augustine says, “Use your personal and professional connections and social media platforms such as LinkedIn to find and connect with people in your target field and industry.”
If your personalised CV with a solid referral are enough to land an interview, it is important to prepare. Friends and family can help you run a mock interview, and they may ask a question that you don’t have a ready answer to. There’s no denying that ‘winging it’ can work, but why take the chance?
If all has gone well, the interview is complete, and you’re playing the waiting game, there is still work to be done. Always send a follow-up email after an interview. Don’t spam them of course, but a quick email thanking them for their time and expressing your enthusiasm can’t hurt.
Advice can be extremely useful, but when all is said and done, it comes down to you. You write your CV, you apply online, and you sit in the interview chair. Therefore, have some confidence when applying. Don’t just skim your CV but read it and look at all you have accomplished. And why not go for that dream job? After all, you’ve made it this far.
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