The initial application
- Tweak your résumé (often referred to as CV/Curriculum Vitae here in the UK) according to the job you are applying for. Have several versions you can use based on the type of role and company. For example, if the role stresses excellent IT skills, don’t bury your IT expertise several lines below less relevant information. Include examples of the way you have used technology in a practical, work-relevant way. Likewise, if the role stresses people skills, highlight the teams you have worked in and any group projects you have undertaken.
- If you have some great references from past employers or tutors, consider including the best quotes from these with your résumé or covering letter. You can even list them on a separate sheet if you have enough.
- Create a professional LinkedIn profile and get peer recommendations and endorsements. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile with online applications (remember, don’t link to your personal social media accounts if these show a less professional side of you).
- Get a recruitment professional to look over your résumé and provide their honest feedback; ensure it highlights your strengths in a clear, concise, easy-to-read manner.
- If you have a completed your ABE qualification, remember to highlight that you have a recognised professional qualification that has given you practical business skills. Emphasise those learning outcomes that match the requirements of the job.
- Re-read the job application and research the company.
- Think about the questions you are likely to be asked. Prepare your answers in a way that highlights your skills and personality, and then applies these to the role. For example, most employers like to see that you are ambitious, but don’t give the impression that you will leave if not made a director in the first month! Talk about your ambition to take ownership of the role and make a difference in the department, as well as long-term ambitions.
- Get a friend to give you a mock interview, or practice in front of a mirror. Make sure your answers aren’t just about you, but about how you can apply your skills to the job.
- Turn up on time. If you’re late to an interview, it gives the impression that you don’t care enough about the job to arrive on time.
- Dress appropriately.
- Make sure you sure you have the name of the person you need to ask for when you get there. This sounds obvious, but it’s a surprisingly easy mistake to make.