Competition for jobs has never been fiercer, and in some cases you may be up against hundreds of other applicants. Some of these applicants will have better educational qualifications than you, others may have more relevant experience, and some may even know someone “on the inside”.
How do you make sure your application makes you stand out from the crowd?
What happens next when you get through the paper sift?
How will you leave a lasting impression after interview?
What can you expect once you’re in your dream job?
Be like a Unicorn, be captivating, be brave and have a point.
Recruiters have to read countless, monotonous, repetitive applications and CVs before they find a gem. Try and avoid falling into the trap of being “very enthusiastic”, “an excellent team player who can work independently”, or “highly motivated”. Everyone has these qualities listed on their CV. Stand out and capture the recruiter’s interest by explaining your motivation for applying – “I’ve proven my motivation to be a Deep Sea Diver by obtaining additional formal qualifications, demonstrating my ability and desire for safer and more efficient diving”.
On your CV make sure you have provided interesting and relevant examples of your skills. The more unique, the greater the chances the recruiter will shortlist you.
So you have successfully been shortlisted and you’re now going to an interview, congratulations! Now you need to make sure you are prepared. Ask yourself the following questions:
Nerves are to be expected, and this kind of good stress pushes you to be the best you can be. By preparing well you will be confident and give an excellent account of yourself.
Interview day has come! You’re prepared, you have arrived on time, you look smart. This is your opportunity to sell yourself and demonstrate why you are the perfect fit for the role. It is also your opportunity to interview the interviewer and ensure the company is right for you.
Use your research to express well-informed opinions, participate in a conversation and ask your own questions. Be modest and recognise you still have a lot to learn. Even though you’re nervous, focus those nerves and think positively. A good recruiter shouldn’t let nerves go against you – they’ll be looking for how you express yourself and whether you would “fit” in their company.
Kirsty is the Headmistress of Norwich High School for Girls, which is where I went to school and she was kind enough to give us a few words of her thoughts on careers from an educational perspective.
“In choosing a career, it is really important that you know yourself: your strengths – what makes you you! – What you are passionate about, and also what kind of work is likely to leave you less excited. Make the most of opportunities at school to explore options, throwing yourself into challenges, as this is a good way to discover those real strengths and passions.
Once you have that knowledge, ask lots of questions from people who have journeyed before you- your school’s alumni networks will help here- and create opportunities yourself where you can. People are usually generous in helping others understand their line of work, so once you know what you would like to gain experience of, make requests!”
You’ve done it! You’ve been offered your dream role and the nerve-wracking first day has arrived. You can never be too overdressed on your first day, so play it safe and be smart.
Demonstrate your willingness to learn, ask questions and be interested in all aspects of the role. Depending on your experience, you may have to carry out some pretty mundane tasks before you’re “let loose”. Try not to let this get you down; you’re being tested to see what you can handle. Carry out each task with your best efforts but don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo.
Just remember – You deserve this.
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