Raising your game: how to be the best candidate
Whether you are simply looking for a job to help with the bills or you are still fighting to achieve the job you dreamed of as a child, it’s important to present yourself as the best person for the role in all aspects of the job hunting process.
This article hopes to offer you some advice on how to raise your game and be the best candidate.
From refuse collectors to midday supervisory assistants, dental hygienists to accountants, first impressions always count. The primary method of contact you have with the company to whom you are applying sets the tone. So, if you decide to send an email asking for further information about a position you have seen on a careers website, ensure you make it reasonably formal. Rather than beginning with ‘hi’, try to address the person by name ‘Dear Gillian’ for example. Typing it out into a word document first and ensuring it all makes sense and contains no spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors would be great; this way, you won’t hit send and instantly panic when you discover you’ve typed ‘pubic services’ by mistake!
Ensure your CV is both up to date and professional in appearance. Although the majority of job applications are submitted online, some still require printing and posting, so good quality paper is advised. Furthermore, make sure that your covering letter is not a generic one; make it fit the company you want to work with. Even if you haven’t worked in that sector before, ensure you have discussed your transferable skills i.e. what you’ve done in previous jobs that would help you in this one.
If you are chosen for interview, that’s fantastic. You obviously made a great first impression on paper, but now to make your first impression in person count. Choose an outfit that is professional, but also reflects your personality. If you opt for a trouser suit, consider a unique brooch to add a spark. When interviews are taking place, it can be difficult for a panel to remember the name of the person being questioned when it is time to sit down and deliberate later. Having a standout item, like the brooch, could help your cause: “That lady with the dragonfly brooch would fit in brilliantly; her answer with regard to the company’s carbon footprint was perfect!” Make sure you focus on your personal hygiene too. Interviews can be nerve-wracking and perspiration is an automatic side effect; be proactive and wear a top-quality deodorant.
In the long run, perhaps you are hoping to overhaul your career entirely and are considering higher education or further training in your chosen field. From nursing to anthropology degrees, do your research and find out where you could undertake it and how much it will cost you overall.
It may even be possible to get a part time job, alongside an undergraduate degree, which would allow you to gain significant experience. Making contacts along the way is also another bonus of paid work experience. Imagine knowing people you can call upon once you’ve graduated; having someone who is well-known in your area, and who can vouch for you and your work, would put you at a huge advantage. Make sure you attend relevant conferences and networking opportunities too.
Don’t make the mistake of relying on all the amazing things you have on paper; put in maximum effort in person too and you will reap the benefits.