Congratulations if you have got an interview, be proud! Statistics today show that only about 2% of applicants receive an interview and making it this far is impressive.
Are you sat there worrying about how you will demonstrate your skills, capability and experience to the interviewers? This blog will give you some hints and tips on how to show that you are the right person for the role.
#1 Research the Company
Often you will be asked what you know about the company usually through a question such as “What do you know about the Company?”. The interviewer is looking to see that you are you curious about the company, ask the right questions and know how to ask the right questions.
Tip 1: Look at the company values, mission statement, company news, board reports and blog posts so that you can demonstrate that you are fully aware of what makes the company different and how you would apply your qualifications and interest not just to the job, but also to the company as well.
#2 Research the Interviewer
Find out a little bit about the interviewer or hiring manager through LinkedIn. Do you have any shared interests or connections?
Tip 2: Take a look at the profile prior to the interview but I would recommend holding off connecting until after.
#3 Review the Job Description prior to attending the interview
Look at the skills required – how do your skills align to these and think of some examples where you have excelled at this.
Tip 3: Create a table with the following headings to assist you in reviewing the job description.
#4 The length of your responses – remember to be concise
A general rule is to speak for no less than 30 seconds and no more than 2 minutes per answer.
Photo from Pexel
Tip 4: Consider using STAR & CARE when responding to answers (see section later on
#5 How to handle the introductory questions often asked
1. Tell me about yourself
Rather than giving a long-winded answer and risk rambling when asked this question consider responding by saying “I’ve had a lot of different experiences in my career, where would you like me to start?”
2. Why did you apply for the role?
Remember your research on the company and job description. The interviewer wants to give you the opportunity to show your wisdom, insight and understanding about the job. Ensure you show:-
3. What are your goals over the next 5 years?
Focus on the value this role has on your career: how it will help to develop your skills and how you are passionate about helping the company to achieve its objectives.
Tip 5: Remember an interview is a 2-way process! When answering the question on your goals it is perfectly acceptable to ask to interviewer at the end of your response what growth path they see for the role.
#6 Owning the Interview
Start the interview as you mean to. You need to show the interviewer why you are the best person for the job.
1. Express your appreciation for the opportunityFor example, “I’ve been really looking forward to this meeting today. I think that <insert company name> is doing great work in <insert particular field, work or project> and I am really excited by the prospect of being able to contribute”.
2. Prepare 3-5 key selling points in mind
3. Anticipate any questions around gaps in your knowledge or experienceFor example, “I know you may be thinking that I might not be the best fit for the position because (insert reservation) but you should know that (why they shouldn’t be overly concerned).
4. Pause before answeringWhat are they really looking for you to answer. If you are not sure about a question it is perfectly fine to ask “did you mean?” or “could you rephrase the question”.
Tip 6 : You must sell yourself in creative ways and every answer you give should be tied with how it will benefit the company or the job.
#7 Shifting your answers from operational responses to more strategic thinking if applying for management roles
This is very much about showing your ability to look forward, encompassing both internal and external factors and setting a course of action for the business to yield the best results.
1. Think strategically
2. Talking strategically
4. Be open to criticism
Photo from Pexel
Tip 7: Rather than only thinking short-term and focusing on what’s right in front of you, consider long-term, big-picture questions. This will expand your thinking and help you gain a broader perspective.
#8 Follow-up after the interview
Many people fall into the trap of thinking that your work is done once you leave an interview. In a highly competitive recruitment market that exists in some sectors, it is important to stand out and demonstrate that you serious about the role. Send an email to the interviewers within 24 hours to re-iterate your passion for the role.
Tip 8 : An example of what you could send can be found below:-
Subject: – Interview on <Date> at <Time>
Thank you for your time <yesterday / date of interview>. It was a pleasure speaking with you about <insert job title> role. I am very excited about the opportunity to join <insert company> and making a difference in <insert details>.
I particularly enjoyed learning more about <insert any specifics or stand out from interview>.
I'm convinced that the position is a perfect fit for this stage in my career and that my experience, qualifications and strengths will allow me to fulfil the job requirements effectively and support your company’s objectives.
I very much looking forward to receiving an update from you. Also, feel free to ask me any follow-up questions that may have come up since we last spoke.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Originally posted to the British Association of CV Writers (BACVW) website on 7th October 2021.
LinkedIn is one of the most untapped resources for people to utilise to raise their profile, whether seeking to build network connections or indeed to find a job. Whilst a large majority of people create an initial profile it often gets left alone until there is a need to find a job. This blog will give you some easy and quick wins on how to make your profile work for you even when you are asleep!
1.Make yourself memorable with great stories
Your LinkedIn Profile needs to be a living, breathing document that clearly represents at all times who you are and what makes you unique.
a. Share updates on topics related to your field adding your advice and insights on this to reinforce your experience.
b. Make your profile visual by using videos or infographics to enhance your posts and add these to your featured posts.
You could use your stories to advise network connections that you are seeking a new role.
2. Building Connections
Image by Gordon Johnson at Pixabay
When LinkedIn was initially set up it was designed primarily as a networking tool, effectively a Facebook for business! It is a great way to stay up to date with the latest developments in your field and to share information with others in your field. There are a few ways of building connections.
a) Connecting with people you don’t know
When connecting with someone you don’t know on LinkedIn, such as a person who works in a similar role at another company, add relevance by letting them know why you’re messaging them. You might say, “I’ve seen your posts and noticed some of your work. I really appreciate your perspectives and would love to connect.”
LinkedIn has a section called “People also viewed” which gives you suggestions of people in similar fields or industries that you might want to connect with.
b) Using the search box to find people from past organisations you worked in
Building connections with people you know is particularly useful as you will able to ask them to complete a recommendation and give credibility to your profile.
c) Choose to follow certain organisations
You could use the search box by clicking on companies and selecting location and stating where you would like to look.
d) Join LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups are a great method to find like-minded professionals in your job role or industry. You can use to share ideas and discuss key topics and show your engagement and expertise within your chosen field. You also can use these groups to further expand your connections. You never know if one of these connections holds the key to your next role!
3. Using LinkedIn to find a job
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
LinkedIn has two main advantages when looking for a job.
1. Use your network connections to let them know that you are seeking a new role. You could do this by writing a post to add on your profile which says something like
Hi everyone – I am seeking a new role as …………………….. and would appreciate your support in finding my next opportunity. I have x years of experience as a ………………… plus qualifications in …………………………………
What makes me different?
Insert your key strengths / key skills
Thank you in advance for any connections, advice or opportunities you can offer.
#opentowork #journeytoajob #jobsearch #jobhunting
2. Find a job via LinkedIn
Many organisations have recognised the power of advertising their roles through LinkedIn Jobs portal. As a candidate you can use the search box to restrict your search using elements such as job title, location and type of role (such as Hybrid, Remote or Onsite – a recent update to LinkedIn).
Just one final point …..Remember your online footprint
Think about what other sites you are on and your security profiles for these. Are there any posts on sites such as Twitter that might affect your employment in the future? Posting something at the age of 16/18 could have repercussions for the rest of your employment life. Think before posting and ensure that your settings are secure and only accessible to your friends and not friends of friends.
Some recruiters now check out candidates as part of the recruitment process to see that they fit with the visions and values of an organisation.
#linkedin #linkedinprofile #linkedintips #linkedinjobs #opentowork #linkedinstories
Originally posted to the British Association of CV Writers (BACVW) website on 7 October 2021.
As of 2021, LinkedIn had over 756 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide and is an incredible platform for networking. That is 756 million people who could help you with finding your dream career or helping to develop that skill you have always wanted to do!
Think about LinkedIn as a gigantic spider’s web that stretches around the world multiple times and allows you to show people your value, skills and achievements in multiple locations not just in the UK. In the age of technology remember that “the world is your oyster” and you don’t necessarily need to be based in the country that the company is based in.
Your LinkedIn profile is your 365 day a year window for recruiters and network connections to truly tell your story about who you are and what you want to be known for. With LinkedIn “first impressions count” the more complete and professional your LinkedIn profile looks the better the impression you’ll make to a prospect, contact, recruiter or potential employer.
You need a great LinkedIn profile that draws attention, says the right things and helps you really connect with the people who can help you expand your career. The following tips will help you on your journey to creating an “All Star Profile”.
a.Have a profile photo
Put a photo as this puts a face to your name and makes it more likely for people to view your profile as people buy people.
b.Have an eye-catching headline
This is the first thing that profile visitors read and often people will leave it with just their current position. You have 220 characters that you can use as a small advertisement for you and what you do. Consider your target audience and show them what you do, what you bring to the table and shows your credibility.
c.Use the Blue/Green banner/cover photo to enhance your profile
Remember to make a good first impression with this and make it as inoffensive as possible. There are a few options available to you.
iii. Use words or a quote that sum you up
iv. Use it as a call to action with details of key strengths, skills and contact details.
d.Craft an interesting summary for the About section
You have 2,600 characters to use to show what you do well and what you can bring to a new employer. Paint a picture of what makes you unique and how you can fix the problem that an employer might have.
e.Highlight your experience
Rather than just regurgitate every duty completed or responsibility held in your current and/or past roles use this section demonstrate the impact you’ve made along with 2-4 interesting and impressive bullets for each job.
f.Customise your URL
Your URL is the web address for your profile and is set up with your name and some gibberish numbers. Try to make it more relevant and memorable. You can adjust it within the edit your profile URL down the right-hand side of your profile.
g.Ask for recommendations
This section is key when looking for another role as employers want to know that others have approved your work. By asking for recommendations this gives real examples of how you made a difference to previous organisations.
h.Make yourself accessible
Being clear on how a network contact or recruiter can get in touch is really important especially as most people only have the free version and are restricted at sending messages. It is therefore important to list your email and phone number in both your contact section along with prominently within the about section. Remember to weave any specific words or phrased that are used within your industry or job role as this will help you appear more within searches.
i.Avoid using Out of Work or Unemployed or Seeking New Opportunities in your Headline
Recruiters don’t use words such as out of work, unemployed, seeking new opportunities or job seeker in their searches. There are a couple of options available to you.
location and type of work e.g. hybrid, remote, office based etc.
iii. If you are unemployed create a role listing the job titles you are interested in and open to opportunities or seeking
Download this free checklist to check that your LinkedIn Profile has all of the required elements to make it an “All Star” Profile.
The LinkedIn profile page is the foundation for your personal branding and needs to form part of your weekly strategy, whether using it for networking or indeed searching for a job.
#linkedin #linkedinprofile #linkedintips #opentowork
Originally posted to the British Association of CV Writers (BACVW) website on 2nd August 2021.
Are you at a career crossroads and don’t know what to do?
Are you new to the world of work and don’t know where to look?
The driving force guiding your career must come from you and requires you to clearly think about what you truly want by treating yourself as a business with a product to sell and show why an employer should attract, hire and retain you.
The following steps will ensure that you will be set up for a successful job search before you even start applying.
#1 Know what you are looking for
The key in any career review that will enable you to move forward is to analyse your past, being honest about what was good and what wasn’t so good so that you can plan your future career pathway. This applies even for new entrants into the world of work as you should analyse what you are ideally looking for from a job.
Analyse the why to bring clarity to what the right job will look like for you. Don’t just assume that the grass is always greener…..!
Ask yourself ….
Sometimes roles are not advertised with salaries. The following sites will let you research the average salary for jobs and give you an idea of where the role might be positioned.
Establish a clear vision for what you want your ideal role to be. This will help align your professional interests, aspirations and skills to the jobs that ensure that you perform at your best. What is your wish list for your next role? Try to be specific as this helps narrow down search parameters and means that you are more likely to find your dream role. Would you be content and confident in this role?
#2 Spruce up your documents and social media
Do your CV, LinkedIn Profile and other social media showcase your brand appropriately? Is there anything that could affect your application?
There is a good chance that a future employer will check out your online profiles, both personal and professional, before making a job offer and sometimes even before interviewing. Employers are also using LinkedIn to find candidates.
Do your CV and LinkedIn profile show how you can fix the problem that an employer has? Weave your narrative into what they are looking for. Try to work on your personal brand. Write down what you want to be known for and what you want people to think of when they look at your profiles.
#3 Fill in the gaps
Having completed initial research into your dream role are there any gaps in your knowledge?
Before you start approaching businesses and/or network connections you need to be able to clearly articulate the question “tell me about yourself”. This can be achieved through creating a great elevator pitch which is engaging, short and tells a story clearly and concisely.
#5 Network/schedule informational interviews
70% of jobs are filled by employers using their connections and networks, the so called “hidden jobs market”. Below are some examples of different sources of networking opportunities.
•Colleagues – past and present
•Parents and teachers at children’s schools
•Fellow worshippers at a place of worship
•Volunteers in a community project
•Referrals from people you know
•People from social clubs or sports clubs
•Neighbours – past and present
•Book club members
•Fellow dog walkers
•Online friends in social media groups
•People from other social gatherings
•People you meet in your job search through referrals/cold calling
•People you meet through volunteering, hobbies, community events etc.
#6 Handling job rejections
The journey to finding your dream career may not be a smooth affair. You may be faced with receiving rejections which can be a bitter pill to swallow, especially if you have prepared a lot as it was your dream role. With the right mindset you can turn this is into a career development opportunity which will help you in the future.
In conclusion, the journey to a job could take you between 3-9 months so the overall key is to build resilience – you need to try to develop a thick skin and recognise that things happen for a reason and that it might take time to find and secure your dream job.
BACVW, career journey, career pathways, jobhunting, jobrejection, jobsearch, journeytoajob, thecareerowl
Originally posted to the British Association of CV Writers (BACVW) website on 8th July 2021
The journey to finding your dream career may not be a smooth affair and it is hard not to take it personally or feel discouraged when you are hoping for a ‘yes’ but hear ‘no’, especially when you have spent a long time preparing your application or for an interview.
Rejection can often strike at the very core of your confidence and be viewed as a sign of failure, a feeling that many of my clients and myself have experienced, particularly as our world and the way that we live, work and play has changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whilst it is perfectly acceptable and understandable to wallow for a minute or two you should use this as an opportunity to deconstruct your failures and extract all of the learning points thereby creating stepping stones to build on your core strengths, address development points and ultimately find a job that suits you best.
As Aristotle stated “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light” and with the right mindset you can turn rejection into a career development opportunity, keep your spirits up and provide you with SMART solutions for handling future applications.
The tips below may assist you in how can you overcome this and move things forward.
Mahatma Gandhi wisely said “The future depends on what you do today.” — Your dreams can and will come true, it might take you a while, but you will eventually get there if you plan the steps to achieve.
BACVW, career journey, careerpathways, jobhunting, jobrejection, jobsearch, journeytoajob, thecareerowl
There are so many different elements that make up job hunting so I thought it would be useful to break it down into an A to Z listing to help you.
A Apply | Ask | Achievements | Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
B Be your Best | Bounce Back | Buddy
C Craft | Commit | CV | Cover Letter
D Differentiate | Develop | Discuss
E Endurance | Engage
F Friends | Follow up | Forgive Yourself
G Grin | Go forward | Give
H Help Yourself and Help Others
I Ignore | Invest | Interview
J Jargon | Job Description | Job Sites
K Kick Back | Keep Promises | Kindness
L Learn | LinkedIn Profile
M Motivate | Monitor | Measure
N News | Networking
O Organisation | Own Results | Offer | Opportunities
P Part-time | Problem Solving | Process | Priorities
Q Qualify | Quantity | Quick Responses | Question
R Reward | Review | Routine
S Social Media | Sell yourself with pride | Second Interview | Strengths
T Talk | Think professional | Track | Training | Threats
U Umbrella | Unleash potential | Utilise
V Value | Volume
W Work Experience | Weak Ties | Weaknesses
X X-ray | Xcel
Y You | Yes
Z Zero Response
#jobhunting #jobsearch #a-zjobhunting
Searching for a job can be a daunting experience. Where do you start? What questions do you need to ask?
This blog will give you some pointers about what to expect and what you need to do when searching for a job.
Step 1 – review where you are
Step 2 – how to look for jobs
Step 3 – follow up
If you would like some support with job hunting techniques and recommendations email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll help you get started.
You submitted your CV or application form and have now been invited to a job interview. Help … what next? This blog will give you some pointers about what to expect and what you need to do to prepare for a Job Interview.
An Overview of Job Interviews
Job Interviews are an important part of any recruitment process. But what are interviewers actually looking for?
Shining in a job interview is very much about preparation and planning beforehand and ensuring that your personality shines through.
What are the different types of Job Interviews?
How to prepare for a Job Interview
Should you just wing it or do you need to do some preparation? To be successful for a job interview it is important for you to complete the following:-
Tips for face to face interviews
Remember that first impressions count. Wear something professional and appropriate but not uncomfortable. Your handshake is important, so look the interviewer in the eye and shake firmly. A smile will often help too!
Tips for telephone interviews
Just because someone can’t see you doesn’t mean that you can’t dress up or smile. This might help put you in the right frame of mind to respond.
Tips for answering questions
Don’t panic and be yourself
Listen carefully to the question. If you are unsure of how to answer, or missed part, don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat it. Don’t try to fit your prepared answer to the question if it won’t work, take a second to think of a more appropriate reply.
Just remember the essentials of a good interview
Questions at the end of the Job Interview
Come prepared with some questions to ask at the end of the interview, such as:-
It will show the interviewer that you are interested and help you to visualise what it would like to work there.
In summary, preparing for an interview is as important as completing your CV or application form. Preparation is key to demonstrate that you are the best person for the role.
If you would like some support in preparing for a Job Interview email me today at email@example.com and I’ll help you get started.
Kathryn Hall "The Career Owl" helps you to explore your career options, whether you are seeking to enter the world of work for the first time, seeking a career change or returning back to work from a career break.