When an employer recruits, they want a proven performer who can hit the ground running and add immediate value to the business. In order for you to stand out in the market, it is essential to consolidate the skills and experience you have. Show potential employers you are a tried and tested candidate.
If you are a graduate, professional work experience completed during your study is a huge benefit that for you to stand out from the crowd. Even a few weeks completed during semester break gives you an advantage over fellow graduates who have not taken the initiative to gain relevant experience.
Top five tips to stand out
1. Write an impressive CV
A good CV makes a good first impression. Use a common programme, such as MS Office Word, and start with your contact details. List your education and qualifications and then your work experience in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent. If you have your own website profiling your work, include the URL, but do not submit it instead of a resume. Take time to proofread your CV and avoid any spelling or grammar mistakes.
2. Sell yourself
Highlight one or two unique selling points to differentiate yourself in your CV and in an interview, and be sure to support them with relevant examples and statistics. For example, were you one of the highest achievers in your university degree? Have you improved customer retention levels or led a project successfully?
Nothing is more important for a job seeker than having relevant experience. For seasoned professionals, this means matching your existing skills and experience with the job requirements. For graduates, this means gaining relevant industry experience through volunteer work or a study placement.
4. Use your networks
Contact a recruiter, search job websites, use social media sites and talk to your networks, industry bodies and university alumni.
5. Develop new skills
Stay on top of industry trends as a proof to an employer that as their industry and business moves forward, you are moving forward with it.
Top five mistakes to avoid
1. Arriving late for your interview
Interviewers have heard every excuse when it comes to candidates arriving late. There should be no excuse. Anticipate traffic or public transport delays and leave the house earlier than you normally would. Assume that you only get one chance to get your foot in the door.
2. Failure to prepare
It is always a must to research the organisation prior to your interview. A company’s website, professional bodies, annual reports, your networks, and your recruitment consultant will help you gain a better picture of the business and how your experience and skills match. Use this to prepare for likely interview questions and prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview.
3. Dressing inappropriately
You need to look professional, act professionally and dress professionally for your interview.
4. Inability to listen
Listen carefully, give the interviewer your full attention and answer the questions asked. If you are asked behavioural questions, such as “Describe an occasion when …” be sure to answer with a relevant real-life example. Do not evade the question as it is more obvious than you think.
5. Inappropriate use of social media
More and more employers are now extending their vetting process to include social media, particularly when they feel a candidate might not be what they are portraying themselves to be in an interview. Change your privacy settings and be sensible in the content you post online. Failure to be aware of your digital footprint is a huge mistake in today’s market.
This article was originally published on Hays.