A lot of my friends and colleagues that have recently graduated have been coming to me for advice on job applications and interviews, so I thought it would be easier to just discuss a few tips and tricks I’ve found that have helped me in the past.
First off is the job application. This is the most important step because hundreds of people apply to various jobs on any given day, and in this economy it can be quite competitive. Your resume is the place to show that you are both a uniqe and well rounded individual that is more suited for a certain job than any of the other applicants.
In your resume, you want to include something about yourself will make you stand out. This can be anything from a special quality about yourself to a specific experience from your past that will help you excel in your desired job. For example, if you are applying to a job at a hospital, you can mention any previous experience in which you’ve worked with people in a healthcare related environment. This will show that you’ve been around a certain type of environment, even if it hasn’t been doing the exact tasks the job requires.
Another important factor to include in your resume is your past activities and involvement or leadership, to show that you are well rounded and able to complete a variety of tasks. Employers like to see applicants that take initiative, and people they know will help their company make progress in the future. Even if you don’t have experience in the field the job asks for, you want to show that you have the skills, mindset, and heart to excel in any position.
When you are called in for an interview, you may feel a mix of excitement and anxiety, because this is, in a way, the first and last impression of yourself directly to the employer. It is important to both look nice and feel good when you go into the interview, so it’s best to plan out an appropriate outfit and do some breathing exercises before going in to begin the process. Also before arriving, it is beneficial to look up some information about the company so you can show interest and ask your own questions at the interview as well. During the interview, it is VITAL to maintain eye contact, smile, and be confident in whatever comes your way.
An interviewer will typically ask questions to get to know your personality, so it is important to know yourself before presenting yourself to an employer. You want to make sure that the employer sees not only that you have the skills and basic requirements to complete the job, but also that you have the passion and desire to become a part of thier company. Before you go in to the interview, it’s helpful to think back at your past work experiences, and remember how you’ve handled situations in the past so that you can show you’ve learned from your past and are willing to move forward.
One of the most difficult questions an employer may ask you is to describe your weaknesses. A lot of people tend to use the wrong wording when it comes to this, and that is where mistakes happen. If you say you are bossy, it is good that this flaw has a positive aspect that shows strong leadership, but it can also imply you are difficult to compromise with. If you say you are too organized, it can imply you are not flexible enough. But if you say you are a perfectionist, it will show that you can pay attention to detail and want things to be accurate before submitting them. Using the right words can make all the difference for this, or any other question you may be asked.
The very last step is to follow up. It may not seem as important as the resume or interview, but sending a quick email thanking the interviewer for his or her time shows thoughtfulness and effort as well as dedication to the specific job or company you’ve applied to. When an employer sees constant effort, or even just comes across your name again, he or she is more likely to remember you and your chances of snagging that dream job will be that much higher. Either way, it most certainly can’t hurt.
These resume and interview tips are just the ones I’ve found to work for me in the past as well as for others I’ve spoken to who are working at their own dream jobs. In no way is this a guarantee of getting the job, of course, but hopefully they will give you a starting point and guide you in the right direction so that you can be ready and present your best self to the employer or company you wish to work with!