In this competitive world, especially now that we are in a recession, the chances are that any advertised job is going to attract a number of applicants. This means that, no matter how highly qualified and suitable you are for the job, you are going to be up against a number of people who could be just as highly qualified and suitable. To land a job against strong competition, you are going to have to pull out all the stops.
Do your research
Before you even start to prepare your CV and cover letter, research the job and the company. Begin with the Internet and see what you can find out there. If you know anyone who works for the company, then make contact with them and question them about their job and management techniques. If you don’t know anyone, then you could consider ringing the company up and asking them for a chance to talk to someone who works there – at the very least, it shows that you are committed.
Work on your CV and cover letter
Once you have a good idea of what the job involves and the aims of the company, then start to work on your CV and cover letter, carefully tailoring what you include to link the company’s needs with your own personal experience. Once you’ve written it, check it and then check again. Give it to someone else to read through – it is amazing what a pair of fresh eyes can pick up. Then if you are preparing a hard copy, print it off on good quality paper and you are ready to go.
Plan and practice your interview techniques
Think about the sort of questions that you could be asked and prepare your answers – obviously not word for word, but in a way that you can answer naturally. Stand in front of the mirror so that you can see what you look like when you are being interviewed. If you still feel unsure of yourself, ask a friend to mock interview you and give you feedback. You may feel a bit silly, but it is all good preparation.
Be polite and friendly to everyone you come across
Once you get to the interview, don’t forget to treat everyone you come across as if they were the interviewer, from the doorman to the receptionist through to the interviewer him or herself. You may feel nervous, but politeness costs nothing and it will ensure that you stand out in people’s minds. You never know who the interviewer is going to ask for their opinion of you once you have gone.
Be confident and smile
Confidence is catching. Take time to ensure that your appearance is smart – it will immediately make you feel more sure of yourself. Smile, even if you are terrified, and try not to fidget too much – sit straight with your hands in your lap. Make eye contact with whoever is speaking to you and lean forward to show that you are both listening and interested in what they are saying. If you know you will be nervous, then again, practice in front of a mirror or friends before the interview.
Ask intelligent questions
You should always have some questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview. Write these down and take them with you into the interview – you should be able to easily come up with at least five, having researched the company. During the course of the interview, you may find that some of the questions are answered, but you may also come up with some new ones, so again, make notes so that you remember them.
The key here is to prepare. The more you prepare for an interview, the more relaxed you feel and that will come across in the interview along with your obvious knowledge of what the company does.