Our top tips for Job Seeking…
1. Do your research
Researching a company gives you a greater understanding of whether the company is the right match for you or not. You can often find reviews online which may give you an insight into what other employees, or customers have experienced. A company’s website and branding will give you valuable hints as to what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Take time to find their ‘values’ section on their website, learn it and see where you can adapt it into cover letters, CV profiles, and interviews to convince the employer that you are right for the job.
2. Tailor, and include, a cover letter
Spending time to tailor your cover letter to the specific employer and job role is your first opportunity to make a human connection with the hiring manager. If you take advantage of this opportunity, you will increase your chances of getting through to an interview. This is your chance to put across your case, why is your experience relevant? Choose the 3 most important parts of the person specification in the job advert and tell the employer why your specific experience is relevant and makes you the best person for the job.
3. Get networking
Everyone has a careers network whether they realise it or not. Friends and family can give you an advanced insight to roles that are yet to be advertised, and provide you with names and contacts to make your application more personal. Tell everyone that you interact with that you are looking for a job and call on old contacts from school or University. You’ll be impressed with how useful this can be.
4. Do your homework/ Be prepared
Take time to look for the ‘competencies’ or skills listed in the job advert, person specification, or job description. These are what the employer wants in the candidate, and will form the basis of their interview questions. Before your interview, consider when you have been in relevant situations that demonstrate these skills or competencies, and set them down in a ‘STARS’ layout (See our guide below). You will answer questions more effectively in an interview if you learn to retell the situations in this order and the interviewer is more likely to hear what they are looking for. It also demonstrates that you can be self-reflective and learn from your experiences. If you choose common competencies that are core skills in several roles that you are applying for, you will find that you can apply your examples to multiple interviews, and thank your lucky ‘STARS’ that you put in the work beforehand.
‘STARS’ break down template:
S – Situation – A brief outline of the situation context.
T – Task – What did you identify as the task required to resolve the situation?
A – Action – What did you do?
R – Result – What was the result of your actions? How did you achieve the task?
S – Spin-off – If you can, add an extra ‘spin off’, something you took away or have learned that you now apply to future situations.
5. Go to every interview
If you get an interview for a job you are unsure on, go anyway. The interview is as much for you as for the employer. If the job is not for you, you still might learn what you really want out of a job and use that knowledge to improve your job search strategy. You will learn as much from an unsuccessful interview as you will from an interview that results in a job, if not more. Practice your responses and competency STARS, give your interview wardrobe a run through, and if you are out of practice, then use it as an opportunity to fine tune your timekeeping. When you do get an interview for your dream job, you will be more comfortable and confident.