Due to popular demand, I put together tips designed to help you understand what a hiring manager looks for when assessing your job application or CV. This article would be useful for people who have been previously employed. However, graduates can also benefit from a few tips. Everyone has their opinions on how to go about looking for a job, here are just a few of mine.
Register and upload your CV on specialist job sites. For example, if you work in finance, register on GAAPweb, Financial Jobs, eFinancial, etc. Hiring Managers/ Recruitment agencies pay a premium rate to advertise their roles as the audience is specific to the niche.
Also, you should approach specialist recruitment consultants to assist with your job search. When someone understands what you have done in your previous role, it greatly enhances your search experience. Expert industry recruiters can give more accurate advice as they understand your background.
When applying for vacancies, READ the requirements! As a recruiter/hiring manager, it is evident when you go through an applicant’s CV whether they took the time to read through the requirements. We appreciate that candidates want to find employment soon and some job boards make it easier in two simple clicks once registered, with your CV stored in their database. However, you should not waste your time applying for dozens of jobs in a few clicks when the chances of you getting shortlisted are ZERO.
If you have years of experience in industry, your CV becomes cluttered. Customise your CV to adapt to the position you are applying for without lying. By eliminating unnecessary tasks and emphasising your key strengths that are relevant to the role, you have a better chance of been shortlisted. It is worth investing your time if you have READ the job requirements correctly and feel you have the necessary skill sets to apply for the job.
Add a set of achievements on your CV. It shows the reader that you are capable of thinking outside the box, especially achievements that have saved the company money and time!
In each employment section on your CV, add a reason for leaving... "Contract ended, redundancy, better prospects, career break even the famous phrase - travelling". By doing this, the reader can understand your work timeline better. If you preferred contract roles in the past and have now decided to apply for a permanent position, your experience will be made up of many companies over short periods of time. By stating a reason for leaving in each section such as "contract ended", it allows the reader to understand why you moved positions frequently and not make the assumption that you may not be suitable for permanent employment because of your short work history at many companies. Remember in most cases the reader has not met you and you are evaluated by what’s on a piece of paper. Sometimes there are over 200 applicants for a job, and that is why it’s so vital to making sure you stand out on paper.
Volunteer if you are in between jobs or new to the working world. It's rewarding and eliminates unnecessary gaps on your CV.
Never leave your old job on a bad note. You never know who knows who and one day you may need a referral. Work your network without having to completely rely on a recruitment agency (yes, I am a recruitment consultant, and I said it because I’m honest). Those after works drinks are a perfect way to get to know existing colleagues socially and by earning a reputation through your hard work in the office, you would not be forgotten.
Update your LinkedIn profile. Love or hate LinkedIn, its platforms like these that will make the paper CV redundant. Skill Endorsements are a great way to recognise your 1st-degree connections' skills with one click. They also let your connections validate the strengths found on your profile.
Skill Endorsements are a simple and effective way of building your professional brand and engaging your network. A recommendation is a comment written by a LinkedIn member to recognise or commend a colleague, business partner, or student. Viewers of your profile often view the recommendations you've received on your profile to see what others have to say about your work. If you are unemployed, let hiring managers know by updating your LinkedIn profile title, "looking for new opportunities in xxx".
Congratulations if you are fortunate to be shortlisted for a position! It means you have met the criteria of what a company is looking for, so the next hurdle is the interview process to test your competence and establish company fit. You have to IMPRESS. You may think to yourself, "they’re either going to like me or not". It doesn't mean you need to go into your interview unprepared. You have spent an enormous amount of time:
a) Carefully selecting the best roles to apply for based on the job REQUIREMENTS
b) Customising your CV based on the job DESCRIPTION
c) Will spend money and time going for the interview
Do your research on the company. It's a no-brainer. However, candidates don't understand the significance of doing their homework. Research allows you to demonstrate your understanding of the business and conversation seems to flow easier as there is already some common ground about the organisation. It also allows you to ask that all important question at the end of your interview that will make you stand out from the rest of the other candidates. Avoid asking questions like, "How long is the working day? How long is my probation? How many holidays will I get?" It will not make a great impression as they are centred on you and not on the rest of the business. Ask questions such as, "I read on your website that the company has a new CEO. How has the CEO changes influenced the performance of the organisation?” Making the interviewer pause and think of an answer, is something they will remember.
Download the company’s latest financial statements (depending on your country you reside in). Companies House is the United Kingdom's registrar of companies and is an executive agency and trading fund of Her Majesty's Government. It falls under the remit of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and is also a member of the Public Data Group. All LTD companies in the UK submit company financial accounts online. The financial statements not only gives you the company’s financial position, but it also outlines the business review, future developments, principal risks and uncertainties. See link below to search a UK company free of charge.
Some businesses have very relaxed dress codes. Perhaps find out what is the dress code before planning on what to wear for an interview. You don’t want to be suited and booted going for a meeting at a design agency where there is a more casual funky dress code. On the other hand, you don’t want to walk into a corporate office, looking too casual.
Never be late! If you know the transport system is unreliable, allow enough time to get to the interview, so you avoid being late. Map out your journey in advance. Remember that depending on the company’s policy, two people have made time out of their busy day to interview you. If you are late, it is a bad reflection on yourself, and they in turn experience disruption of next meetings.
I hope that you can at least take one thing from this article and use it to find your new job. I wish you all the best in securing your next role as any new job is life changing! Why not read my other article, “Starting a new job” for tips on settling in once you secured a new position.