There’s much more to the job seeking process than making sure your CV is as good as possible. So how can you ensure your job search is successful?
We all know the things we’re supposed to do to help us get a job: have a great CV, include the right buzzwords in our covering letters, use the right body language in interviews etc. But none of this is much use if it isn’t under-pinned with the right mindset.
Promotion and marketing
Go into a job interview over-confident or under-confident and you’re never going to cut the mustard in the eyes of your potential employer, no matter how good all your initial approach work has been.
Preparing for job interviews (and even job searches) means learning how to properly market yourself to potential new employers. It’s crucial you believe in your skills and abilities so you can effectively present yourself in the best light during the interview. So you need to approach selling yourself like any good marketer or sales person would approach selling their product.
We’ve set out some basic questions you can ask yourself. This will help you understand how to effectively market yourself.
What are you trying to achieve?
Consider what it is you’re actually trying to achieve. Obviously the final aim is to get a job, but how do you get there? Well, confidence is the key, but don’t overdo it. Of course your product may not be perfect, but no product is. You need to learn to look past any weaknesses for now. To develop the right job interview mindset, focus on your strengths. Think about what makes you unique, in terms of your qualities and accomplishments.
It may sound a little new-agey for some, but visualising yourself in a role – whether it’s a store manager or a chief financial officer – can really help you to focus on what you can bring to the position or contribute to the job. However small you start with this process, it’s an essential part of building your confidence so you can move forward in your job search.
Make sure you’re realistic with this one though. Imagining yourself in a position is not about taking flights of fantasy, it’s about helping you to focus on your personal merits and why you’re the ideal candidate. You need to be able to close the deal, but you’re never going to do that unless your objectives are built on solid foundations of realistic expectation.
What are you trying to sell?
This pretty much carries on from the above question, but takes things a bit further. Look at yourself honestly and ask why you want the job or the move that you’re focusing on. This is a very useful question to ask yourself, as there’s a very strong likelihood you’ll be asked the same thing if you get as far as the interview.
There are, of course, no right or wrong answers here, but you still need to be prepared. This will help focus your attention on projecting yourself in the right way, and when it comes down to it, being able to answer that question effectively.
Who’s your audience?
You now know who you are and what you’re trying to achieve, the next step is to understand the people you’re actually talking to. We all know about tailoring our CVs, covering letters and interview answers to the recruiter in question, but to do this we need to really understand what they are looking for.
This means doing your research. Obviously the job spec will hold a lot of these answers for you, but you can take this a step further by researching the company, putting yourself in their position and considering what they would want to hear.
You need to present your skills and experience (and search objectives if you’re applying to a recruiter) in the best possible light. These should be carefully thought out in advance and must be realistic. If you’re applying for a job in an industry you have no experience in, you’ll need to explain how your skills are transferable. If you’re working with a recruiter you might consider asking their opinion as to the feasibility of your goals.
How can you be more proactive?
The great thing about this process is it can also be effectively applied to making your job searching much more proactive. If you know the job you want, the strengths you can bring to that position, as well as understanding the people you are talking to, you’re perfectly placed to push yourself to companies before they even know they need you.
To do this, target a few companies you feel could benefit from your skills and send out applications to them. As with any sort of cold call like this you need to follow your application up with a phone call. But be prepared, this can be a tough process, but it’s incredibly rewarding if you’re successful.
To make the process as potentially rewarding as you can, keep an eye on the jobs market. Applying to a company that’s actively recruiting – even if it is in different areas – is reducing the chances of you being flatly turned down.