A Message to Candidates
Whether you have just graduated university or searching for your next professional role, job hunting during a pandemic can be a stressful experience. I recently took that jump right in the middle of the first lockdown, having spent a copious amount of time speaking with both clients and candidates – I’ve decided to share my insight from these conversations to provide some useful tips for candidates who are currently actively looking for their next career opportunity.
1) Keep That CV Updated
Whilst this might seem the most obvious, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of giving an agency the green light to use the CV they’ve located online when applying for roles. Whilst this method might seem the quickest to get your name out there, if the CV being used is not up to date potential employers won’t see a true reflection of your current skillset.
Like many, if you’ve been completing online courses during lockdown make sure to amend your CV accordingly. First impressions are everything, and during the recruitment process your CV reflects this to potential employers.
2) Keep Educated With Market Knowledge
Whichever industry you currently work in, keeping up to date with current market trends and hot topics will boost your success rate from first interview to second interview. Being able to demonstrate passion about the industry you work in during your first conversation will show the company the value you can add and that you have a genuine interest in the industry.
3) Be Organised
Keep on top of all applications. The more information you can extract from your agency/the company the more prepared you will be for any interviews. Keeping a folder/file of job descriptions, company profiles and interview notes will help you to prepare for interviews and give you extra confidence that you know exactly what you will be talking about with potential employers.
4) Be Honest
If you are using an agency, make sure you are completely honest with them. An agency can only work on the information that you’ve given them. Make sure you set realistic salary expectations. Not only with the agency, but with yourself! Have a clear understanding of exactly the type of role you are going for, otherwise you will keep interviewing with the wrong company!
Make sure to be proactive with chasing for things like interviews and feedback. If you’ve been told about an interview but not yet received any information, don’t be afraid to chase up your agency/company for the information. The more time you have to prepare for a conversation – the better! With the uncertainty of this pandemic, there are a lot of candidates on the market at the moment. Subsequently, agencies will be busy speaking to a majority of these candidates. So make sure to keep a good relationship with your agency and receive regular updates on any CVs sent, interviews booked and general job updates.
6) Tailor Your CV
Having a generic CV that you can send to related roles is a quick way to get your name noticed by potential employers. But, taking the time to tailor your CV to specific job roles is likely to get your application more attention. Drawing on relevant skills, knowledge and experience will certainly boost your profile! Obviously, be honest and don’t start adding skills you don’t have as this could catch you out in an interview.
But, personalising your CV as much as possible to a specific role will certainly help get your name noticed. Additionally, it will show the company you’ve taken the time to demonstrate your most relevant skillset and you are adding value at the earliest stage possible.
7) Interview Preparation
Again, a fairly obvious point. But, if you can nail your interview preparation you will feel a lot more confident going in to a interview. Research the company – learn about their culture and values, what projects have they got going on at the moment? You can really learn a lot about a company on their website, once again this will show in interview you have a genuine interest.
If you know the interviewer, quickly look them up on LinkedIn! You may have worked for the same company in the past, have similar interests or simply know similar connections! This will help you build rapport at the start of your interview – consequently, the following conversation will seem more natural.
Running through potential interview questions will certainly help prepare. Whether it’s with a family member or friend, or even in the mirror. The more prepared you are for the conversation, the more confident you will feel.
Make sure you are always on time for interviews. With the current situation, a majority of recruitment processes will revolve around online video interviews. If you are speaking with a employer over Teams/Zoom , make sure to log on to the meeting at least 10 minutes beforehand. It only takes a minute or two to do this, and at least then you will be there ready when your interviewer joins.
Knowing that most people are at home, if you are unable to join an online meeting in time – it doesn’t set a good first impression that you have good time management.
If you do face any technical issues and are unable to join, at least you’ve set enough time aside to be able to reach out and address this issue.
9) Use Feedback Effectively
If you are unsuccessful with any applications, make sure to use the feedback to your advantage. Never take it personally, feedback is a great way to help improve your future applications.
Always reflect on previous feedback when going in for an interview, to make sure you are constantly improving.
Most importantly, make sure you do receive the feedback! Lots of candidates I’ve been speaking to recently are advising they are not hearing back or receiving feedback, so linking in to the previous point of chasing – make sure you get feedback from any interviews you have!
10) Stay Positive
Simple. Be very positive during these strange times. It’s easy to give up, but as long as you stay on top of everything and approach everything with a positive mindset you will achieve success!
When one door closes, another one opens!
Written by George Covello | 07435 549470