This post is my five top tips to securing an interview.
I have been interviewing for quite a while now and have experience in sifting through application forms and pulling out those I want to interview so I thought with securing a new role myself, I would share with you my five to tips to help you to get an interview yourself.
Photo courtesy of makeup savvy
Make your CV stand out
These days, HR departments and recruiters have hundreds of CVs on file as well as all the new ones that come through when a job is advertised. Does your CV stand out? You need all of the basic info on there; name, contact details, education, job experience & references (although you can say references available upon request). A lot of people advise to have hobbies and personal achievements listed and I definitely agree – particularly if they have a bearing on your new job.
For example, someone who has an average CV but has been a football coach (and a successful one) has qualities of leadership, coaching & development that others may not have. Another example is if you have charity work or fundraising experience. This shows a drive, motivation and a charitable nature. Any type of volunteering, blogging or even helping a family member out with their business may be of use to the role you are applying for – you just need to find the relevance.
Always add a cover letter
You need to always accompany your CV or application form with a cover letter – those people who add a cover letter can often convey their skills and achievements better than those with just the CV. You can list skills such as organised or communication on your CV but a cover letter gives you the opportunity to provide examples.
For instance, “I am an extremely organised individual. While at university, I worked part time as a retail area manager and still finished my degree with a 2:1 result. This enhanced my ability to work to a deadline and be able to prioritise tasks.”
“I have always been able to communicate well with people in different roles within a company as well as customers. I have honed these skills in my current position due to preparing and delivering training sessions to different sections of the company from new starters to experienced executives. This has enabled me to tailor my communication depending on my audience.”
Examples like this help you to stand out in the crowd & help them to see what type of position you currently have. Job roles are different in each company – admin assistants may seem like they do the same job as each other but different companies require different levels of skill.
Make sure you have relevant experience
Let’s not be silly! If you are a dental nurse and you want to become a nail technician, there will be a gap in your skills and experience. If you want to make a whole career move, that’s fine – you may need to retrain and take on some unpaid work experience or internship to be able to gain the relevant experience.
Personally, I consider the experience that people have before they come on board. Retail is retail so as long as you have that sort of experience, you would be fine applying for a job with me. However, you may have been in an office but in a customer service role which is similar experience – you just use your cover letter to highlight the similarities.
Or, if you want to become a nursery school assistant but haven’t had a role like this but you have children and have looked after other people’s, you can use this as a starting point. Again, it is all about tailoring your application to the new role.
ID your missing skills
Every job advertisement should have a list of skills they require the applicant to have. Failure to highlight you have these in an application or cover letter could result in not being invited to interview. If you really want a role and have the relevant experience but there are some skills you haven’t been exposed to or need to be developed, you can ID them in your application. Honesty can help you here. Basically, if they say they want someone with coaching skills and this is something you still need work on you can say, “I have developed my coaching skills in my current role but I am looking forward to develop these further in a role which requires a higher level of skill.” OR “This is something I am not currently exposed to, but I am keen to learn and develop this skill within this role at your company.”
I would much rather have someone who shows willing to develop and learn, than someone else who states they can do everything and anything. Often companies look for people they can develop into a key member of their team, that could be you.
Be passionate & confident
One of the most difficult things to tell from a CV or Cover letter is the passion that someone has for their field. Passion, motivation and work ethic come hand in hand. If you can portray this in an application, an interview is almost always guaranteed. Simple ways to do this are to show that you have the field in your interests/hobbies. Basically, if the role is at your local football club, highlight your love of the game or team. This may not help you after the application but it may make you stand out against everyone else in the pile of CVs.
Also, if you want to work on an animal farm but you have lots of pets – mention this too.
Aligning your self with their company/company history helps too – if you see they do work with a particular charity and you do too, mention it in a simple sentence – similar values stand out.
If you have read something in online about the company that makes you interested – mention this too! It all helps.
Always finish your cover letter with a thank you and a statement to say you look forward to hearing from them soon. This shows your confidence in yourself that you can actually do this role and you are confident they will be in touch.
SO, this is it for my five top tips for securing an interview – do you have anything you have found successful?