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“How To Stand Out From The Crowd in Your Job Applications” – Keren Mitchell from TheJobCrowd.com

When we asked Keren Mitchell, Co-Founder of TheJobCrowd to write a guest article for TheEmployable, we were keen to see if he had some timely advice for Graduate applicants applying for jobs in this tough market place. Check out Keren’s article below and comment below on any of the points he makes if you feel there are additional suggestions that could be made.

“With constant media reports of hiring freezes and a record 83 applicants being reported for each graduate place this year, university leavers could be forgiven for despairing a little over their chances of even being invited for an interview, let alone securing a great job offer. But all is not lost, in fact far from it. While the negative statistics make for a good story, there are still literally hundreds of thousands of jobs being recruited for and filled this year.

As the saying goes, someone has to get them and TheJobCrowd is here to help you make sure that that
someone is you! TheJobCrowd.com is a graduate job review site where graduate employees share their candid experiences and advice on graduate jobs. Because all the insights come from people who have been through the experience of landing the job, we think it provides an unrivalled source of advice on landing the job yourself. We’ve sieved through all the advice provided in the thousands of reviews on the site to provide a checklist of the very best things you can do to sell yourself to a prospective employer:

1. BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
Before you even make your decision about the career and companies that you are interested in, let alone start firing off applications to every firm on your (long) list, there are some key things you should do:

i) Use your careers service – Careers Services can really help you to research, choose and prepare your applications so take the time to pay a visit if there is one available to you.

ii) Load yourself up with competencies – There are some core competencies that almost every job will want to see (like organisation, responsibility and teamwork) and others which will be specific for your industry or role (like maths skills, computer knowhow etc.) so ensuring you develop real-life examples to show that you have these will be time very well spent.

iii) Get experience – Our reviewers urge potential applicants to do as much work experience in the industry as possible. It gives you the opportunity to get to know the profession better and decide whether or not it is for you while showing commitment to the sector.

2. PREPARING TO APPLY
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail! The number one thing that our review writers advise is that you do “research, research and more research!” prior to applying. Make sure to spend a good amount of time researching:

  1. The company:
  2. The role
  3. The market

Good ideas include reading the company website extensively (to get an idea of what they do and what they are looking for), experiencing the company’s products and services (for example by going into their store if available) and speaking to people working in the industry for extra insight.

3. YOUR CV
Your CV is your one chance to convince your prospective employer to invite you to the next stage so avoid any silly mistakes and make sure that you really sell yourself:

  1. Keep it short – No more than 2 pages so as not to crowd out the key points.
  2. Ensure there are no errors – Typos or spelling mistakes will probably ensure it ends up in the bin! Read it through several times and maybe even ask someone else to look through it.
  3. Make it relevant – Make sure your CV is tailored to the specific company and industry that you are applying to, highlighting the competencies that are relevant to them.

4. THE INTERVIEW
If you’ve made it through to an interview, your foot is firmly in the door so be sure to do everything possible
so that they end up holding that door wide open for you!

i) Prepare – Know what type of interview it is (e.g. a competency based test or more of a chat) and be clear on the competencies and skills the employer is looking for.
ii) Be professional – Be on time, dress smartly and be friendly and positive (at the end of the day they will be choosing someone who they want to work with!)
iii) Have examples – Have real life examples well prepared for answering the inevitable questions on competencies (e.g. “Give an example of when you have demonstrated initiative…” etc.)
iv) Have an opinion – Demonstrate that you have an opinion on key issues affecting the company and their market to show both a genuine interest and an analytical mind.
v) Treat the interview as a 2-way affair – Build a rapport with the interviewer and remember to ask questions!
vi) Sell yourself – Show that you really want the role and highlight those points that make you better than every other candidate.
vii) Be honest – At the end of the day, if you aren’t right for the job, you won’t enjoy it. Interviewers have enough experience to see through an act so be yourself!

We hope you find the above list useful. It is just a brief summary of the advice that graduate employees give in their reviews on TheJobCrowd.com. The site hosts thousands of anonymous reviews from graduate employees at hundreds of leading employers. The reviews cover all aspects of employees’ experience in their roles from what the job is like on a day-to-day basis to what hours they work and the salary they earn. To read the reviews in full and get the insider’s perspective on hundreds of careers and employers, visit http://www.TheJobCrowd.com ”

Thank you Keren for you time and hopefully the advice you give helps a few applicants to stand up and stand out! 

Click here if you wish to look at all of TheEmployable Top Tip articles!

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