Mistakes To Avoid When Job Hunting

One of the most common mistakes job seekers make is failing to master effective interviewing.  Here are some interviewing guidelines to help you wow employers, whether it being a telephonic or in-person interview.

Telephonic Interviews:

These tend to feel more relaxed and casual and the candidate can easily come across as too casual with a wishy-washy tone that could translate to the employer that they may have a slacker on board.

Try to stand and walk around during telephone interviews as to promote a proactive and confident tone of voice.

Answer ‘yes’ as honestly as possible rather than getting off the topic.

Avoid telling the employer more than they need to know as this may end up reflecting badly on you.

In-person Interviews

Avoid being overly casual and maintain eye contact upon greeting your interviewer.

Always try to make a good first impression by dressing in a formal manner. The general rule of thumb is government employees and executive positions are usually a formal dress code whereby many technology companies adopt a more casual dress code.

Do your research and ask relevant questions.

Other Mistakes are:

Avoid asking the employer about salary and holiday / leave time.

Your body language is very important and can give tell tale signs to the employer that you might find the interview boring, questions too difficult or that you may not be a team player.  Always adopt an open outlook and meet your interviewer’s eyes when answering their questions.  Avoid looking at your watch, folding your arms, eye-rolling or frowning.

Never answer your mobile phone or text during an interview, rather turn your mobile off completely during your interview.

Inflating Your CV

As tempting as it may seem to ‘beef up’ your CV in today’s competitive market, this will be a sure way to guarantee that it will be immediately binned if the employer suspects that you have not been honest about your skills and experiences.  Always highlight relevant experiences but remember it is not worth lying to land the position.

Errors on Cover Letters and CV No-No’s

Employers always look for spelling and grammar errors on both the curriculum vitae and accompanying cover letter.  It is essential that you use proper grammar, punctuation and your spelling is accurate.  Run- on sentences should be avoided as well as misplaced apostrophes and the improper use of capitalization, which will make you appear to be unqualified and uneducated.

 What to Ask in an Interview

During a job interview, it is extremely important for you to engage with your interviewer – not just by providing answers to their questions, but by asking the interviewer questions too. Why? Not only will the answers to the questions provide you with peace of mind and additional knowledge about your potential role, but you will also be showing your interest and enthusiasm about the position advertised and the company in general. You will be sure to put a massive smile on any bigwig’s face by asking the following:

• Whilst doing my research, I noticed that the company has recently partnered with [establishment name]. How has the company transformed since then and what does the future hold?
There is nothing more impressive than interviewing somebody who has done their homework. It shows initiative and genuine interest in the company itself – two huge advantages that could differentiate you and another candidate.

• How will my performance be measured?
This is important to be aware of so that you know how best to approach and succeed in your role. However, it will also show the interviewer that you are keen to do well and meet expectations.

• Aside from skills and qualifications, what sort of person do you think would best fit the role?
What many people often forget is the fact that a company hires someone based on more than just their skills, qualifications and work experience. Their personality and soft skills also play a massive part – and is often the deciding factor when it comes to offering someone the job. Because of this, knowing what kind of a person the interviewer thinks will best suit the role on offer is an advantage – you can explain to them why you think you will be a good fit in line with the personality traits which they have described. If you do not feel that you possess the traits mentioned, explain to them how you plan to work on developing them or why you think your already-existing traits will add value to the role and company.

• Is there anything that concerns you about my qualifications or my work experience?
Many people think that this question makes the interviewer uncomfortable or puts him / her ‘on the spot’. It doesn’t. It will enhance open communication and will give you a chance to explain why their concerns (if any) may be misguided. It is important that you ask this question using the right tone. You don’t want to come across as defensive. Instead, you want to seem confident in your abilities while still being open to constructive criticism and self-improvement.
By asking these questions, you will ensure that you get valuable information about the company and the position you are applying for, while impressing your interviewer at the same time. As long as you have dressed the part and have remained polite, open and honest during the interview, chances are good that you will land your dream job. So smile, carry yourself with confidence and go for what you want!

How to Structure a Professional CV

Regardless of how impressive your skills, qualifications and level of work experience may be, if your CV has not been properly laid out, you may struggle to land an interview. Ultimately, the presentation of your CV is just as important as its contents. Below, we define the points of a professional CV, focusing on specific aspects that will help you to stand out and make a lasting impression on your potential future employer before even meeting him / her face to face.

Cover Letter
Sending out countless copies of your CV to a variety of different recruiters will not do you any favours. The secret to landing an interview and, ultimately, a job, is to ensure that you make the effort to personalise your cover letter to suit the position being advertised, taking the time to explain to the recruiter why you believe you would be the right fit. A brief summary of your skills, experience and career goals – in accordance with what the recruiter is looking for – will increase your chances of getting noticed and being considered for the job.

Personal Details
It is essential that you include all of your personal details in your CV – your full name, telephone number and email address. It might also be wise to list your ID number, physical address and anything else that you may deem appropriate.

Details about your Educational Background and Qualifications
List all of these details in reverse chronological order – starting with your tertiary education and qualifications, followed by any smaller courses completed and, finally, a few details regarding the high school which you attended and any other relevant achievements.

Work Experience
Once again, state your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the company at which you are currently working or, if you are currently unemployed, the most recent company at which you were employed. List the names of the companies, the date that you were hired and that you left, as well as a brief summary of your responsibilities and skills gained whilst working in each role.

Special Skills
Any special skills, such as experience with Microsoft Office, should be listed here. However, be sure to only list skills that may be relevant to the position for which you are applying.

It would be wise to include a list of three different references, including each person’s full name, his / her relationship to you, as well as his / her phone number and / or email address.

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