Searching for the perfect job is a difficult task. There’s the matter of researching roles, putting together applications, following up with recruiters and then finally, waiting for the phone to ring. But once you’re at the interview stage, well, that’s when you’re faced with the competition of other applicants. Be sure to improve your chances of securing a role, by boosting your employability and maximising what you have to offer.
What is employability? Broadly speaking, it’s the transferable skills, achievements and personal attributes that make certain individuals more likely to go on to success in their chosen occupations. But it’s also being able to show the things you can offer in a way that presents you in the best possible light.
Create a strong CV
It doesn’t matter if you have more experience or knowledge than Stephen Hawking – if you can’t communicate this in a way that engages employers, you won’t stand out. The best CVs manage to present everything you can offer in a succinct way that’s easy to understand. This also needs to be tailored to the needs of each employer. Recruiters see a lot of CVs and can spot from a mile away, those applications that are ill-thought out or have been sent to a lot of people in one go. Check spelling, grammar and make sure the information is easy to read. Whilst your CV needs to showcase your experience and highlight your relevance for the job, it’s important to ensure that you are being completely truthful – find out why here. Ultimately, your CV is your calling card and is the only first impression you get, so make it a good one.
Consider your social media presence
Social media is a big part of our lives and it’s important to consider your presence across all networking sites. LinkedIn is obviously the social network of choice for professional purposes, so make sure your profile is up to date and sells you just as much as your CV. A survey by AdWeek found that 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn as a hiring tool, but it’s not uncommon for them to also check the other social profiles of candidates prior to hiring. Make sure you don’t communicate anything that could look unprofessional, even if this is on a personal page. According to CareerBuilder, 51% of employers decide not to hire candidates based on what they found on social media sites, so think about what you’re posting at all times.
Speaking of social media, this isn’t just a platform for recruiters to find you. It’s also a great tool that candidates can use to reach out and connect to other professionals, expanding their network and contact list. The phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” very often rings true, and you may find that opportunities arise through one of your professional contacts. At the very least, an introduction or endorsement from a co-worker or connection can help swing things in your favour. Follow us on LinkedIn to see all the latest updates and live vacancies.
Work on building your confidence
Understandably, most people feel a bit nervous at interview. But if you think nervousness is affecting how you are perceived by interviewers, it might be time to think about building your confidence. If two candidates have the same level of education or experience, all that separates them will be how they come across during the interview process. If you aren’t very comfortable with speaking in front of people, practise your interview technique and rehearse answers and examples out loud, or in front of a friend. The more prepared and relaxed you feel in the interview, the better you will communicate.
If you’re really feeling the nerves, remember the old adage – ‘fake it ‘till you make it.’ Tell yourself you feel confident even if you don’t and you may find this improves things. And always remember that a positive attitude and body language, a ready smile and a ‘can-do’ approach are just as important as technical skill and ability.
Professional development is often a pre-requisite in many industries, but even if it’s not demanded by your job, continually improving your knowledge and skill-set will look impressive to employers. If you are already in employment, find out what additional learning you can take advantage of in order to boost your employability and development. If you’re looking for a new role, soft skills such as communication, team-work and people skills will always be in demand. There are also plenty of other things you can do that aren’t specifically related to a job – for example, learning a new language, participating in a team sport or charity activity, or voluntary work, will all show dedication, enthusiasm and a willingness to develop.