I am getting better and better at content, particularly when it comes to engaging an audience through content marketing and being much more friendly to search engines.
Copywriting and content marketing are what I hope will be my main specialisms. Mixed with social media, I feel this is where many companies will severely enhance their digital presence and convert more people online, plain and simple.
Before this, I was a recruitment consultant. During that (around 2016, actually, before I got a job in recruitment!) I tried to set up my own recruitment agency. During this time, I wrote a couple of blogs, thinking that may help me (it didn’t). Ultimately, I ended up getting a job as a Graduate Recruiter, where I worked hard and become one of the top performers in the company, before becoming arrogant and promptly leaving.
Thankfully, I found digital marketing. My strengths are much better here, I got fed up of making excuses for other’s incompetence, but also becoming so reliant on the behaviour of others (digital is not different, my clients sometimes have some weird requests!)
So here we are. With an excellent foundation of knowledge in recruitment, and a couple of clients already building (currently doing a website for a recruitment company, and looking at their content/social strategy long-term, I hope) – I want to get more involved in the recruitment industry, particularly their content and social strategy…
What do you think? Below are six blogs I wrote two years ago, so please don’t judge them too much on the way they’re written. I’ve got much better, please take a look at some of my recent work for examples. But they’re not bad, right!?
MY AIM: NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR BLOG WRITING EXPERIENCE.
TO DO THIS: LET ME HELP YOUR RECRUITMENT BUSINESS.
Could I help your recruitment business with your digital strategy and write you some content? It would be great experience for me, and since I am a start-up business, I reckon I could do the work for a very good price. I may even consider doing the work upfront, and you can pay me only if you’re happy with the work after it’s written/published.
Let’s work something out…. below are the articles:
Top Ten Tips For Your CV
Writing a CV can be hard for anyone. Here’s some tips, from working in the industry, that will help you get more calls when searching for a new role:
1 – Keep It Simple
A CV should be a simple, straight to the point and not too complicated. Don’t include your personal passion (unless they have relevance to the career you are taking). Don’t mention that you have children or don’t include your age (do you know you shouldn’t legally tell them your age on any application?).. Keep it simple, include only relevant information (address, phone number,
2 – Keep It Clean
Make sure that your CV is readable. Some people’s CVs are just not readable, trust me. You need to ensure that is not you. Format it professionally, start with your personal objective, then your education, employment history, any professional or extra-curriculum achievements and then close with references available upon request (or your actual reference is fine, they can be golden nuggets to a recruiter, too).
3 – Personalise? Professionalise..
You should personalise the format of your CV, sure. I must say when I am going through CVs and someone has put some extra thought into the colours and the presentation, it grabs my interest. But make sure it looks professional and ensure that you can back up the claim, because at the end of the day if the credentials don’t match the job specification, you’re unlikely to get hired regardless.
4 – Don’t Lie
Just don’t lie. Don’t exaggerate and be prepared to talk about employment history and particularly explain reasons for any unemployment. Just don’t lie. Did you work somewhere for a month and then get a new job immediately and it looks bad? Don’t include that job…. That’s alright, you don’t have to include everything. Be truthful, and sell yourself appropriately.
5 – Include YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION
As a recruiter, do you know how many CVs I have read that didn’t have any contact information on there? I don’t know if these people are just trying to please the job-centre with their application or if they were serious, but include your contact information on your CV. It’s simple, email address, phone number (MAKE SURE IT IS UP TO DATE)
6 – Be Specific & Targeted
When you write your CV, you need to think about who you are going to be sending it to. Your objective needs to match something they desire to have in their organisation. On my CV, I have something along the lines of “I am a professional and enthusiastic individual who has achieved in positions in both public and private sector organisations who is pursuing a career within recruitment,” or something along those lines. It’s targeted and specific to what I am wanting to become, it’s my objective. Employers love to see you are concise and clear in where you want to be, and you should be targeting that within your CV.
7 – Stand Out
You need to stand-out within your CV. I know it sounds hard and this kind of contradicts the previous statements, but if your CV is concise, well-presented and you have clear history and your credentials slightly match, you’ll do much better than if your CV was presented poorly yet your credentials were twice as matched towards that job. Stand out above the crowd, be concise and clear.
8 – Spellcheck.
You should spell check everything, which is something I definitely do nothing of. I tend to trust my instincts and I have had an email stating once that someone “really enjoyed the content of the website but the grammar and spelling mistakes were too much to bare… but they would revisit anyway!) – yeah, whoever sent that please ignore my complete contradiction here, I will definitely make it top of my priority list for this site to go through the blogs and change any spelling mistake… soon.
But you should spellcheck your CV, regardless of my total disregard for re-checking my work before posting it. I’ll try to practice what I preach so hopefully when you’re reading this there is not a spelling error in sight.
9 – Don’t Rely On It Purely
It’s alright sending your CV to people, but you need to follow up on it. You should be calling the people you send your CV to after maximum five days. I usually do it the day after, but that’s because I like to be highly persistent. You can too, but there’s a fine line in being persistent and being annoying. I’d advise you not to cross it, or you’ll never get hired (sorry to those annoying people out there, but nobody wants to hire you….)
10 – Send It Out & Apply
My last piece of advise would be to apply. Without applying, your CV is an electronic file sat on your computer that serves no purpose at all. Apply for jobs, it’s honestly not that hard. Apply for the job, phone them up, ask them if they received your CV, if they didn’t ask for a direct email address and send it immediately. Then, phone them up later that afternoon or the day after, and they will say “Yes, we have seen your CV and we will interview you” or they will say “Yes, we have seen it but you need to wait next week until we are shortlisting” – then you have the date they’re shortlisting, ring them when they say they’re going to be hiring… it will yield results, trust me!
Benefits of Hiring Through Recruitment Agencies
You have a third-party to help boost staff engagement
Do you continuously have new members of staff? If your staff turnover is high, then there may be some problems with how you are engaging your employees within the workplace. If you are using a recruitment agency as a client not just a customer, you are more likely to receive support from them in regards to engaging your employees and keeping the top talent within your organisation.
It saves you time that can be used on more important aspects of your company
Recruitment is a long process. You can interview ten people before you find someone you really want to hire, even more – and the selection process takes even longer. Shortlisting, first and second interviews, posting the job advertisement, all of this is valuable time that you could spend growing other aspects of your company, engaging current employees or handling your business daily tasks that really need your time. With a good recruitment agency, they will be able to really find you people that are specifically tailored to working in that particular role, giving you access to two or three quality candidates where you almost certainly have someone worth hiring.
Recruiters know your market extensively
When an agency works within a specifically industry for long periods of time and has several clients in one area, they start to really know the market effectively. They know the modern, most innovative working ways of the environments – they’re getting an insight into the life of the average employee within your sector constantly (with their candidates) as well as an insight into your competition within the industry with their other clients. Either way, they can provide you with some great tips on your market if they’re studied within it, and when working with them on a long-term basis this can really be of help, that is to know the latest trends in the market.
It guarantees you get the right person, or it should
Recruiters can generally help you find a member of staff that will be engaged, and this is because they have access to a great number of candidates and it is their jobs to match people to jobs in which they are interested, so in essence they’re not only doing your shortlisting but they’re able to assess people on a personal level before sending them to company, and that can really be great in setting up a long-term, prosperous employee-employer relationship.
Hiring through an agency can actually be cost-effective
Did you know posting a job can cost you hundreds of pounds? And what if you don’t get the employee you really want and have to settle for a sub-par candidate? Recruitment agencies have access to a database of interviewed, prepared and assessed candidates that will give you a great choice of top talent within your industry. Isn’t that much cost-effective than having to interview 10 people, only to hire someone who will eventually leave and have to do it again?
Furthermore, If they’re anything like Find Yourself, they will also offer a guarantee on their work – for example, if we place a candidate in your organisation and they leave within the first 20 week, we will provide you with a free search for a new employee and provide you with our service again. On the other hand, if the employee eventually leaves the organisation, you will have to either hire someone you previously turned down or go through the entire process again, all of which is not very cost-effective.
If you don’t like what you see, their work is free
Recruitment agencies mostly work on a contingency basis, meaning that you only pay them if they fill the vacancies successfully. There are exceptions if you are working with retained search or exclusive roles, but generally you will only pay agencies for they do – and in most cases, you only pay them if they actually provide you with a candidate that fits your criteria. If that isn’t value, I don’t know what it (considering they will consult with you at many levels about your hiring throughout that process, which all could turn out to be free of charge).
It provides you with flexibility
Do you want a temporary work? Permanent worker? Maybe you need a specialist within your organisation, a leader to really take charge of a certain department or a CEO? Now, you have a choice of agencies for all situations. Some are general recruiters who can provide you with an all-round service, others specialise in certain environments. Either way, you have the flexibility to turn to an agency for any form of search you want, offering you much more flexibility than just a permanent work force.
Are Your Team Organised Strategically? Belbin’s Team Roles
Staff members tend to come to work, fulfilling our job’s requirements and working with our team members towards a common coal (your aims and objective, mission statement) without recognizing the fact that we each have our own traits that stand out, our own specific roles that we would excel within and more often than not, these traits can often determine where people fi better within organisations. Without this recognition, more often that not ability is not discovered, work roles are not complementary to our staff member’s working styles or attitudes, and we do not achieve the results we’d hope within our teams.
Thinking more about the role your employees within your team is therefore crucial if you want to enhance your career capabilities and your own awareness of the employees around yourself not only as an individuals, but how they work with others and as part of the bigger picture and the best way to utilize talent within your organisation.
This is our introduction to Belbin’s Team Roles. Introduced within his first book Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail in 1981, Belbin’s Roles are now taught within Management Courses and used in organisations worldwide. They are used to identify people’s behavioural strengths and weaknesses within the workplace, with the information then being used to:
- Develop a more productive, better performing team
- Enhance personal effectiveness and raise self-awareness
- Build understanding within teams and identify the correct candidate within recruitment stages
- Encourage more efficient working relationships
Dr Meredith Belbin designed the study to measure behavioural traits rather than personality, and defined this as “A tendency to behave, contribute or interrelate with others in a particular way.” During his research, he found that the key to the highest performing team were more balanced, for example if there were too many “Plants”, there would be a lot of ideas but no “go ahead”, whereas for example if there was a “Shaper” within that group, there would be more action and encouragement to push forward with an idea, leading to a higher performing team. I will not cover every trait and why they are important in this article, but why it is important that you recognise those traits in your employees and how to utilize people to the best of the abilities.
Why is it so important?
Recognizing what type of people your team members are will be crucial to your success as an organisation. It will allow you to give the right type of work to the right people, allow you to move your team by placing complementary people with each other on every task that will allow you to work past people’s weaknesses with another’s strength. For example, if you know one person is particularly diplomatic but is a bit of a push-over, make sure you have an hard-seller with him at every meeting to make sure your employees aren’t under-selling your company – this is just one reason it can help, there are plenty more from as little as how your team interacts within the office environment and on a day-to-day basis.
Furthermore, we can also develop those talents we see in people. By investing our time in their abilities and giving them responsibilites that align with their strengths, we will see a more engaged and motivated employee who wants to progress within our workplace, who is developing and an employee that has all the potential to grow to be more efficient and more productive within your organisation. People like to be understood, and your employees are no different – make people feel understood, tell them you can work with their weaknesses and really focus in on your supervision and appraisal sessions to allow people to train where they are weak but also develop their strengths as well.
I believe that if we embrace this model as a stepping-stone to allow for a wider thought for the bigger picutre within our organisation; how people really fit in, what their strengths are, where they work best, who work wells together and start to organise our workforce in a more strategic form, then we will be sure to get more out of our team members and push people to develop their skills, hone in their talents and really thrive within our organisations.
Personal Development Planning Is Crucial
A personal development plan offers a great way to ensure that each job role and experience feels more meaningful, offers you a purpose and gives you an amazing insight into the future and is excellent for developing an efficient long-term perspective within your career.
Firstly, the definition of a personal development planning is “the process of creating an action plan based on awareness, values, reflection, goal-setting and planning for personal development within the context of a career, education, relationship or for self-improvement.” In the terms we’re looking at within this article will be focused on improving your career and employability, but there are of course many other ways a personal development plan can be crucial.
Now, whilst a lot people have a clear plan in their head where they’d like to be (that may not always be true – often people will land jobs and go into jobs out of coincidence or just because they cannot see their own true potential), putting that plan into an actual form can be enlightening. Suddenly, rather than a fussy idea and the wish to be something you have yet to start training towards, or have yet to be successful within, you have a clear and defined plan that will help you along the way. Sounds simple, right? That’s because it is.
Another strong advantage from having a personal development plan is that motivational levels have been repeatedly seen to increase upon the creation and implementation of a plan, often used within the business sector with employees, it is used to motivate staff and give them a critique whilst providing the means in which to improve their behaviours, or to enhance their career prospects within the company as an whole. Either way, study after study showcases that Personal Development Plans work.
There are many other benefits, including:
- Better organised thoughts
- Allows for excellent self-reflection
- More positive feeling about your current employment (since it fits within an “overall plan”)
- Helps identify current and future needs Each job feels like it has a purpose attached within in – one that is for your betterment
Furthermore, if used in the context of your own life and career, the results can be riveting. Here are some tips on creating your own personal development plan:
Set SMART goals
Setting SMART goals will help in any business decision, but it is the same within your personal development. SMART goals are certainly something at work, evidenced by the way it is used within organisations and taught throughout schools worldwide. They encompass everything we need to ensure that we do not fail within our goal-setting, and for those who need an explanation:
SPECIFIC – be specific in the goal which you set. For example, don’t say “answer the telephone quick” but “answer the telephone within three rings”
MEASURABLE – ensure that the goal is measurable. For example, don’t say “increase sales” but “increase sales by 50%” – it helps, trust me. Some context: you set a goal at work to “increase sales”, and they go up 1%. Was the goal achieved? Well, yes. But if you were more precise, that could be something you could measure easily – I.e. “we need 20% extra sales to generate enough revenue to survive”,0 so our goal would be to increase sales by 20%.
ACHIEVABLE – ensure the goal is achievable. This is really about setting yourself an achievable, realistic goal. You are not going to be the first man to the moon, for example, and if you’re 35 you probably shouldn’t be trying to get into professional football.
RELEVANT– is the goal relevant to the objective? Aims is the company’s purpose, the objective is the way in which you will do so and the goal is what is to be achieved so the objective can be what we’d call a “success.” Making sure the goal is relevant to the solution to the problem and the overall aim of the plan is therefore crucial.
TIME – set a time limit. How hard can it be? Setting a time limit gives us something to work towards – a target. Rather than state “we need to increase sales 20%” and then wait 3 years until you finally increase the sales rate, you should state “we need to increase sales 5% every month” or “increase sales 20% within this 2016.”
Increase your level of self-awareness
Self-awareness is crucial to any personal development planning. Without it, you’ll surely fail, as your plan will consistently change. If you have a plan to be a wielder, start the course and look around for work experience, then six months later you realize that actually you wanted to be a wagon driver, there’s six months and a course worth of money that can never be brought back to you.
“Know thyself” has been preached to us since the biblical times, and even before. Even if you’re not religious (and I’m not myself, just let inform you) it has to be said that there must be some real meaning to the saying that we’ve been chanting it for thousands of years. Knowing yourself is crucial to just about any personal development, and self-awareness is a phenomenon within the 20th and 21st Centuries.
I feel this is the most crucial point of the whole topic. Even if you don’t set a plan, and you’re still going with the “plan that’s in your mind” – take action. You could create a hundred and ten plans, or even a million and ten, but if you do not use them and apply them to your every day (or weekly, monthly, yearly) lifestyles then you will not achieve your true aims and goals and never will you make your dream turn into reality.
8 Ways To Feel More Fulfilled About Your Job
Change the way you look at your employment
It is easy to fall into the category of looking at employment as hard work, seeing your job as the object of ensuring you keep the money in the bank, roof over the head, material goods available for purchase. But really, what is work about? What is it that defines your work for you?
We should be looking at our employment in terms of our professional development; our current employment is an opportunity we have taken to get valuable experience we need to get to where we wish to be within our careers. Each experience we have at work can be used to advance our interests – everything can be used as an example of how you are such an hardworking, enthusiastic individual who works in a team. Think about those experiences and learn from them – from the smallest interaction with colleagues to the fine details in your job, every application requires you to “work in a team” or “have attention to detail.”
We often forget what we do at work because it becomes “natural” but every action we take at work can be used in future job interviews, our CV, as well as improving relations at work if we allow ourselves to become more enthusiastic and engaged with our new mind set on our employment – remember, it’s all a journey to your dream career!
Start to look at the positives within your job
To continue on that theme, within this new mind-set it may also help you look at the positives within your role. There can’t be a soul reading this article who has taken a job that they believe has zero positives. Even if it is the money – you need to be able to look at the positives that are at work, otherwise you really won’t be motivated, nor will there be any enthusiasm and guess what? There won’t be a promotion either.
Looking at the positives in your jobs, you get a better break than the place over the road, they give you a better salary, you enjoy your colleagues and work friends, there is a great social-aspect to your job as a a waiter or bartender, whatever it is, it’s there, there’s a positive within your job role somewhere.
They may be hard to find, but they’re there, and looking at those positives will make any negatives a lot easier to deal with, but also allows for you to be within a new mind set, which shows to people around you and creates a much better atmosphere when people are making conversation. I remember when I was working for the Probation Service and it was a stressful period, I was venting my frustration to a co-worker who had the same role as me and he just calmly stated “But if you look at the experience we get at working with offenders, it all makes up for it in the end.” How I envied his mental state, because by God I could not get that filing out of my head (in my defense we were doing it for two weeks straight!)
Take up voluntary work
Voluntary work can give you that little more to work for. Particularly if you are missing crucial experience within the sector you wish to be working within, voluntary work is always a great way to give work a new meaning, or give yourself more motivation. Not only are we “doing something for free”, but we’re serving a bigger purpose (most likely a charitable purpose in voluntary work), and because we are doing it for free, often it is something we have interest within and are passionate about.
Not only does it make you appreciate your own job a lot more (or does the opposite – drives you away from the job because you want something more relevant to your new passion), it gives you crucial experience when allowing for new roles, particularly again if you are wishing to get into a new sector of work, such as mental health or something niche (nursing, teaching, counselling and not forgetting many trades that take up voluntary work quite regularly) but is something to take to any interview, regardless. Stating you have done voluntary work gives you a great impression to any future employers.
Enroll on a new college course
When I was really disliking the work I was getting (mostly manual, warehouse jobs), I took a new course at College. It cost me £325 (barely a good night out, right?) but it set me on a path that eventually landed me a job working with offenders at the Probation Service. Not bad to say the year before I had take an apprenticeship at £330 per month, yet this apprenticeship at the National Probation Service was offering me £15,000. It was also a much better experience and gave me some crucial skills and experience I have taken to my current role and will continue to be able to use.
To enroll on a new college course not only gives you a new qualification, but it can allow for further studies, and all of this can be done alongside full-time work. From experience, I know that’s hard work, but after doing this for the last three years I have achieved a Level 3 in Counselling and a Level 3 in Management and Leadership – all since September 2013. I don’t think that’s too bad, considering I was working full-time too.
You can quite easily do this, given you motivate yourself and ensure that it fulfills your personal development plan so you don’t end up wasting precious time and money on a course and qualification you never make a use for.
Attach a purpose to your job
As I’ve just stated above for the college course, “ensure that it fulfills your personal development plan.” Don’t have a personal development plan? That’s a bad idea, but please just think about this for a second. Attaching a purpose to your job – often we have zero purpose to be within our jobs besides financially. We need the money, so we stay within our job roles – besides, we’re comfortable, the people at work are a great laugh and it’s just become “routine” now, so why would you leave?
That’s wrong. Your job does not define you. You define yourself. Often we look to work to give us a purpose – where a lot of the time, it fails. At least, it fails in the only way it should really succeed. Let me explain.. You see, when we look at work for a purpose, often we take that purpose from our colleagues, we let work define us and become our job title. I often see groups of friends who all work at the local warehousing unit, and their conversations are absurd. They have become the culture, and often talk about leaving work and wanting more – having bigger ambitions – but when they’re together it’s like they’ll never leave, even like they never want to leave there forever.
Now, to truly succeed in our careers, surely we need to look at our jobs and define it ourselves. We need to say “this job is a springboard – it is giving me ‘this experience’ which is great because I can use this in the ‘job role I want next’ and will apply for those jobs once I have completed ‘the college course that is relevant to the job role I want…’ It’s a huge one to understand – giving our job an ultimate purpose is a huge step, it gives us a real reason to go to work rather than the comfort of being around people we know and a job that (although we don’t enjoy) we can do pretty easily. But in the end…. what is the real purpose for the job? To advance your career, and if it is not… then why? Unless it’s for Charitable causes or you’re changing the world for the better, then you may need to re-evaluate your career plan.
Exit your comfort zone
Our comfort zone can be the death of us, or at least our ambitions – but only if we let it. Exiting your comfort zone can be a disaster….. what if it goes wrong? A new job, what if I don’t like the people? There are a million reasons why we should stay where we are, and we often rationalize in our minds why we should ever really “move on” from our current employment. We say to ourselves “well, what was wrong with last year, I had a good time, made enough money, it was fine..” Often we limit ourselves – and this is our comfort zone. It’s easy to get out of bed on a morning and do what you did yesterday, but to make a difference to your routine, Christ it would kill us! Could you imagine waking up an hour later tomorrow and having that one hour less before work? It would be mayhem – the kids wouldn’t be at school on time, you’d go to work without getting a shower (ew!) and to make it worse, you had to skip breakfast.
But those who can easily go outside their comfort zone – that is, though who woke up an hour late, made breakfast three times quicker, jumped in the shower swiftly, motivated the kids right in all the right ways all morning, handled their business calmly and who had became versatile in their moment of “I have woke up an hour late” – those are the people who succeed in business. They don’t think “I will stay in my current role because it’s comfortable and I’m used to it,” they will do something different, maybe they will..
If you cannot find satisfaction in your job, what about becoming self-employed? Now, there are many things you need to consider when you even look at becoming self-employed. First off, what is your skill? What is it you’re going to offer – and is that realistic? Not that is may not be realistic in the physical or mental terms – you could quite easily have great skills and experience, but practically, could that pay the bills? Could you really stop work and just do that and still survive? That is what you need to consider. So you thought of all that, yet still my cynical realism didn’t get to you (like any entrepreneur.. Good!
Don’t ever listen to hopeless criticism, if you have a vision then go for it!), and you still think self-employment is the way to go? Just think – what is it that is motivating you to do this? Is it just you’re sick of take commands and have workload set for you by an “employer”, because if that’s it, you have to think of the commands your customers or clients will be giving you. And they can be much more brutal than your manager or boss, that’s for sure, you don’t have “rights” from your customers, you have to maintain their loyalty to your service (unless of course those are set out in contract) – and without that, unfortunately there’s no paycheck.. And no paycheck means no food… and no food… I think you get it…
Self-Employment means hard work, make no mistake. No man who is self-made will tell you that it was easy, but if it was easy you were looking for then maybe your drive needs to be taken into a new direction, finding something you are passionate for will make it all that much easier – if you feel you have a sense of direction that feeds into your passion and love for the work you do, you’re half way there – the work you’re doing doesn’t seem to feel like “work” then, it’s your belief, your purpose….
Enjoy the journey, learn from the experience
I think the most important one on the list, this is invaluable. Whatever you are doing, where ever you are, just ensure that you enjoy the journey and learn from each experience. Living existentially, it is possible to take either the most mundane of tasks and turn them into a project, something that is worth talking about and an experience worth learning from.
If we are talking about becoming fulfilled within our career and wanting to be the best of ourselves, it is essential that every working moment we commit fully to the situation at hand, ensure our colleagues are appreciated and we are grateful for each bit of support we get, but most of all enjoy the journey and in the long-term learn and grow from our experiences, pushing to achieve our potential every step of the way.
Six Crucial Tips When Applying For Jobs
Often it is the case that, when I am trying to support people throughout my local area and on the internet one-to-one in gaining employment, they complain of “sending off a dozen applications and not getting a response!” This can of course be the case for many, and in this circumstance it is understandable why many people would often give up applying for jobs, or take jobs that are not living up to their expectations in regards to their potential.
Here are six crucial rules I have always stuck to when applying for jobs – well, not every time – but every time I didn’t abide by these rules I’ve experienced many problems, particularly when taking job interviews where I didn’t feel the job was right for me!
Apply for jobs that mean something to you
It is absolutely paramount you apply for the right job. When applying for a job, look at your motivations. Is it to get out of your current role where you are so miserable and you feel it would just be the “better option” – in which case, you need to re-evaluate, or is it because this is the job you feel you can adequately apply for in the search for your dream career? Or is something that has a real purpose for you – does it serve your long-term goals, will be fulfill your current needs, will it offer the right amount of challenges to compliment your professional and personal development? If the answer is no, again – re-evaluate.
Always ensure that the job you are applying for has a meaning – it can show off at any stage of the process. Suppose you were to get the interview and suddenly you have to look enthusiastic and the most motivated, best suited individual for the job role at hand, – yet you show up and couldn’t care less about the organisation and you do not show that you have a real passion for the job role at hand. How do you expect to get the job role over someone who has a real interest?
Crucial rule number one – ensure the job your are applying for is meaningful and offers as much to you as you offer to the job.
Express your interest in multiple ways
Sending off a CV and a 500 word summary of why you feel you’re right for the job won’t secure you an interview. Not anywhere close. In fact, even if you to sign up to their website specifically, describe to them anything from from your college credentials to your gender and your sexual preference and write a 2500 word essay on why you are best suited towards this role, you’re still not guaranteed an interview.
I can’t say to you that this will guarantee you an interview, it may not, but expressing your interest in a variety of different ways is crucial to any application. Look at the job – see if there is any contact. Speak to someone, anyone – the receptionist, the administrator, anyone is better than nobody. Give them your name, ask for the Human Resources staff or the store manager to give you a ring back. Specify it’s for the job, and ask about the role and the requirements of the individual. Then speak to them – tell them your credentials, who you are, why you want the job. Make yourself memorable – ensure they know who you are when they are reading through 50 applications for the single position.
Crucial rule number two – always use at least two forms of communication within any application, both the application form and a phone call will do.
Ensure you make an excellent first impression
The first impression does not come from the first time they meet you. It comes from your application, or the first phone call you make. Often, that can be it. All you need. I once rung for a job, did an application on the phone and started the following day. And it definitely wasn’t before the “recession” or when jobs were less scarce, as I’m 23 year old and left school in the midst of the global trauma we suffered after the 2008 crash.
The first impression – the application, the phone call, they must be flawless. You must leave an impression on them they haven’t seen anywhere else, and how better to do that than to show your interest, ask questions about the role and with the appropriate self-disclosure (i.e. tell them how you’re such a good sales person and would be excellent for their role of cold calling, how you’ve even worked for commission and been able to make enough to live a luxurious life, or how much the ladies at the previous care home you worked at loved you that much they put a new gift policy in place because of the amount of gifts you were receiving).
Crucial rule number three – ensure they remember your name and have a professional, long-lasting impression in the first instance; not only when they first meet you face-to-face.
Sell yourself appropriately
Ironically the previous paragraph was about sales. That was not an intention…. anyhow, this is probably again one of the most important rules on this list. Selling yourself appropriately.
I hope you’re thinking “what do you mean, ‘appropriately’?” – well, I mean that you should not under-sell yourself, which is usually the case, but you shouldn’t over-sell yourself either. I am not saying you shouldn’t not tell a white lie or put emphasis on an event to make it sound more dramatic and heroic within your job role (you must admit, asking that person to leave the store when they were drunk was pretty good, but you didn’t save the pregnant ladies wife and unborn child by defusing an escalating situation), but all of this needs to be appropriate and not sound like you’re going to go in there and start applying for the managerial role.
Let me give you an example. When I left College, I had around two years job-surfing (well, 6 hours up until now you could say – though now I am a little bit more stable!) – within these two years, I’d spent around 20 months unemployment. I went for an interview I’d got out of nowhere at the Co-Operative Store. I wasn’t doing too bad, though my enthusiasm wasn’t the greatest and my self-esteem was particularly low, until I started talking about eye-leveling market and the overall structure of the organisation. She looked at me baffled – or as though I’d just murdered her family – and proceeded to the next question. Unfortunately (or fortunately, because that was the beginning of many interviews and my road to being a successful job-hunter and eventually the idea of this website and overall business plan) I didn’t get the job, as you could probably guess. But that was my over-selling myself.
Crucial rule number four – be appropriate in what you tell the interviewer.
Note: one thing to say is that you should also keep in mind that being realistic helps. Don’t set yourself up to fail by applying for jobs where you have no way to know you would be up to doing the role. If you can’t see yourself having the knowledge, experience or ability to work within that role competently, don’t apply.
Research the job role, market and organisation
Your intention with applying for jobs are to get a new role, quite obviously. So how do you expect to be able to prove to the employer that your competent for the role without being knowledgeable on the job role itself, the market that the overall aims of the organisation? One example would be going to an interview and them asking the question “So what do you believe our aims are?” and suddenly, because you didn’t take time to research what the company is about, you seem uninterested, are stuck for an answer and most importantly unprepared.
If you have done your research accurately, you can not only answer that question, but as you’re going through the interview find a way to introduce your knowledge, offering statements such as “I know McDonald’s wants to produce the most delicious food in the world, and I see that you’ve actually been voted the third ahead of Burger King and KFC. I believe that it’s because KFC have much nicer gravy than yourselves, so therefore one suggestion I would make as Head Chef was to make better gravy and hopefully we can set the standard for the McDonald’s Franchise worldwide.” Or not, that’s fine – tell them something you actually believe, don’t make things up that you cannot commit to when you get the job, but I think you get the drift.
Crucial rule number five – ensure you have covered the organisation’s aims and objectives, the market overall and the job role you’re applying for.
Tip: Mostly importantly disclose that knowledge within the interview! The number of times I’ve walked out of an interview and thought “Damn, I didn’t say this or that!” is astonishing.
Be a Professional
Every organisation likes a professional. They need to know you have a great telephone voice, particularly if you’re going to working on phones. They also want to know you can compose yourself, are stable in your current state (i.e. you’re not going to be homeless in the next month and not be able to get to work due to sofa serving and having an hard time) and can represent their organisation in the right way when you’re their employee.
Being a professional pays off, but don’t put this to being a snob. Stay grounded, put yourself on the level playing, show you can competently do the role you have applied for (else, why did you apply in the first place?) and most importantly just remember to be yourself. There is not point in putting up a false persona, only to get the job and have to act like someone you’re not to please a manager who thought you spoke in proper English yet you quite easily fall back into your native, Yorkshire tone (I am very bad for this!)
Crucial rule number six – remain as professional as required at all times, particularly within the first impression stage, but also remember to be yourself.
There are the six simple tips I tell myself when I am applying (or ever have applied) for any job roles. Another thing to note, and something I could have maybe added a “seventh” here for, is that you should never be too hard on yourself. Don’t put massive amounts of pressure on getting an all-star, dream-like job. You should put your egg in more than one basket and be applying for roles that you think will push you in the right direction and will further enhance your employability in the years to come.