Based on our background in communication and our experience with recruiting, we would like to give a couple of pointers to people who are currently looking for a new job opportunity. After all, when looking for a job, you are basically doing the marketing and sales of yourself. Right up our alley to give some tips and advice and we thought to put them all in a blog. Our mission: to help people with the branding of themselves.
Your marketing materials
To apply for a position, people have traditionally shared a cover letter and a curriculum vitae. For a long time, these two documents were the only sources of information available to a recruiter, along with a personal conversation and a call to references. In this day and age however, your social media profiles and activity are only a click away and will reveal a lot about you. It is often the first thing that pops up when you enter a name in a Google search. So, be sure to clean up your public information on social media and lock the info you want to keep from anyone screening you. That pub crawl back in school? Probably better to take that down.
We will keep it brief about cover letters in this blog. However, the letter is your moment to show that you spent some time learning about the company you are applying at and that your skills and experience are the ones relevant for the job. You need to write some creative and customized copy to get your letter read, keep a truthful tone and make it clear why you want the position.
Let’s now focus on the main attraction: the CV!
Your CV – the big picture
Some people consider that sending a CV is outdated and think that sharing a link to their LinkedIn profile is enough because, well, everything is there. A lot could be said about this but in short, it’s not enough. A recruiter wants to gather as much information about a candidate as possible, and a LinkedIn profile can be very generic – it is a one-size-fits-all format. It is very handy, but only a CV will do the trick. Here is why:
The layout style you pick to present yourself is a big source of information. Our advice is to match that style with the type of job you are going for.
If you apply for a creative position, handing in a CV that pops out can make a big impact. A plain MS Word document with basic formatting will diminish your chances to land that creative job.
For a more administrative position, better not to go out on a limb with bright colours and flowers. Stick to common fonts and avoid anything fancy. It might sound like we are exaggerating, but we have seen the oddest things pass by.
The same goes for a position that requires good Microsoft Office skills. Make sure your CV looks like it is made by a Microsoft wizard and you will automatically be considered a top candidate.
Your CV – polish the copy
As a general must-do, make sure you tailor the content of your CV to the position or the industry. The items most relevant for the position come first, and we recommend adding a brief summary of your expertise up top. We also advise to go for quality rather than quantity when applying. Rather than sending the same CV to hundreds of positions, think to put more effort into the jobs you really believe in.
Last, get rid of irrelevant information. That summer job back in high school won’t add much to your CV, best to leave it out.
The interview – prepare for the camera
A job interview generally includes meeting in person at the office. In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic however, interviews are typically done over a video call. The advantage is that a lot less time is spent in traffic, but a call still requires a bit of etiquette and may present some extra elements.
Being at home doesn’t make it okay to join a job interview in your pyjamas. Dress to impress as if you were going to that interview in person. Everything contributes to the impression you are making. During a video call, your private interior and surroundings will be visible to the person interviewing you. Your place is a bit of a mess? Tidy up before the interview. If possible, make sure to sit in a location with plenty of natural light. Face your camera to a wall, keep it clean. Every. detail. matters.
There is plenty to be said about job interviews, but we will keep it down to a couple of short recommendations:
- Be prepared and make sure you have done some research. This sounds logical, but can be overlooked during an interview. Part of the reason is that all it only took a click of a mouse to apply. A job interview however requires going into more depth and expanding on the research you did to customise your CV.
- Be authentic and don’t pretend to have skills and interests that you actually do not possess. This will eventually come out and reveal a mismatch between your expertise and the expectations of your position.
- Only mention what is relevant to the job when answering a question. Stay on point and focused.
- Think it through before starting to answer a complex question. Some questions are very common during job interviews, these can be prepared beforehand.
- Bring some relevant questions to the table. The interest you show is a reflection of your engagement.
Surely there is much more to say about job applications, but we hope our advice helps you to land the job you deserve.