How to be a better jobseeker
The past few years have seen competition for roles rise beyond any of our expectations — meaning that in order to get anywhere in the jobs market, you need to get yourself noticed.
If you’ve got your eye on your next role, it never hurts to have a few pointers from the professionals about the best way to secure it. Personally, we couldn’t think of anyone who knew more about how to land your dream job than our very own branch managers, so we’ve drawn on their expertise to bring you five tried and tested top tips for being a better jobseeker.
1. Make your CV stand out
Hiring managers often receive hundreds of applications for the same position, so it’s your job to make them notice you above the others. Having a CV that’s hard to read, difficult to decipher or badly laid out will send you right to the bottom of the pile.
Provide a short, punchy paragraph for your personal statement at the top (explaining your main skills and how great you are), place your qualifications below that if they’re relevant or worth shouting about, and when listing your career history, make the important information stand out by including key responsibilities and achievements using bullet points. Try to keep your CV to two sides of A4, use a standard font like Ariel or Times New Roman, and don’t cram too much information into one space. Tell them what they need to know in order to capture their interest, then use your covering letter to fill in the blanks.
2. Avoid common interview mistakes
Even if you’re the perfect person for the job on paper, you need to convince your interviewer in person — which means avoiding these common interview mistakes:
- Failing to prepare: before an interview, make sure you fully understand the job role and prepare for some commonly asked questions with your recruitment consultant#
- Failing to research the company: a prospective employer won’t be very impressed if you don’t know anything about what they do. Research the company, their history, and their main competitors — along with their values, culture, and what they’re hoping to achieve in the coming months
- Not knowing where the company is: if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going to be late. From that point, you may as well kiss goodbye to your chances. If you’re driving, find out where the parking is; or, if you’re relying on public transport, research your times and always allow for delays
- Dressing inappropriately: this is your one chance to impress your interviewer and convince them that you’re a consummate professional, so turning up in something too casual or revealing is not going to stand you in good stead
- Forgetting to turn your mobile off: if your phone goes off in the middle of an interview, you’re going to come across as unprofessional and unprepared. Make sure it’s switched off — or at the very least, on silent — before you arrive
- Moaning about your last job: it can be really tempting to let loose when talking about your current job or employer, especially if you’re unhappy where you are, but this will only sound alarm bells for a potential employer. They don’t want to be the next company being badmouthed, so stay positive when talking about your reasons for moving on
3. Phone interview tips
Phone interviews can be a tricky business: without meeting someone face to face, you can’t read their body language, and it can be difficult to engage with them. But there are some rules to stick by if you’re being put through your paces over the phone:
- Go somewhere quiet so you’re not distracted by background noise
- Speak clearly so that your interviewer can understand you
- Take the time to think about what you’re saying before you speak: your interviewer will expect you to need thinking time
- Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer to repeat a question if you’ve not heard them the first time: it’s much better than answering the wrong thing
- It might be a phone interview, but you should still be given the chance to ask your own questions at the end. Think about what you’d like to know, then have the confidence to voice your questions at the end
4. What to do after an interview
Closing an interview is the interviewer’s job, but how you act at this stage is just as important as the rest of it. As with the phone interview, you should be given the chance to ask your own questions at the end, and it won’t look great if you have nothing to say.
Whether it’s asking about the team you’d be working in or finding out more about the direction in which the company is heading, think of something in advance that you want to know. When saying goodbye, politely shake the interview’s hand and thank them for their time — then wait until you’ve left the building before getting your phone out. You need to look professional to the last.
5. Things to consider before accepting a job
Without stating the obvious, the biggest consideration before accepting any job is whether it’s right for you. Think about the job role, the people you’ll be working with, the location, and whether the direction of the company compliments your own career ambitions.
If you decide you want to go for it, you’ll need to be clear on your notice period with your current employer; and when handing in your letter of resignation, thank them for what you’ve learnt there. You don’t want to burn any bridges or leave a bad impression in your wake, so always be positive and polite (even if you can’t wait to get away from the place).
If you need to talk to one of our friendly recruitment consultants for more personalised advice on becoming a better jobseeker, drop us a line. We always love to hear from you.