Job market

Nail that job, with this no sweat workout.  7 exercises to improve your Applications and Interviews.

Reach your goal, build your strengths, show you are a good fit, without even stepping foot into a gym! These tried and tested exercises will help you shape up your job Applications and Interviews, no sweat!

Network Connect with people and create networks, this activity can be extremely powerful in the recruitment process.  Reach out, show a keen interest, attend events, careers fairs, presentations (both online and in person) and join LinkedIn, all great ways to start connecting and building your contacts.  When it comes to writing good cover letters and interviews, you can concisely explain to employers that you have been proactively networking as part of your research to find out more about working there. Show how you have gone the extra mile to make connections and build rapport politely with people inside that organisation.  What did they say that particularly appealed to you and inspired you to want to apply?  This will not only demonstrate to employers you are genuinely interested in working for them, but will show that you can communicate, research, connect and relate to people effectively. 

Do your values align with the company you are applying to?

Our Values – Look at the recruiter’s website, find their core values.  Do your values align with their values? As well as demonstrating in your applications and interviews that you have the required knowledge, skills and strengths for the role, consider showing how your values align with theirs.  Get to know their values inside out.  Imagine they have stated that ‘Environmental Sustainability’ is one of their core values. How will you show you have been doing your bit to help the environment?  You could, for example, briefly explain how you take part in the beach litter pick recycling group each week and the local tree planting community scheme.  Back up your claim that your values align with theirs with some genuine evidence.

Strengths – feel good about yourself, increase your self-awareness, improve the chance of success with your applications and interviews.

Get to know your top strengths. It’s easy and right now (at the time of writing this blog) it is free to discover a sample of your top strengths by completing this tool.

Of course, there are lots of different theories around Strengths (we are not talking about building muscles or weightlifting here!).    I am referring to the concept of Strengths profiles developed by   Dr Alex Linley and Nicky Garcea, who founded CAPP the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology in 2005 (now known as Cappfinity).  Strengths are defined by three pillars of Performance, Energy and Use. Behaviours you perform well at, enjoy doing and use often are your Strengths.

Using your strengths means you will be happier and more productive…

More and more graduate recruiters globally are now convinced that it matters to recruit people who are a good match in terms of their Strengths.  Employers are looking for genuine authentic Strengths in applicants because, as the theory goes, if you play to your strengths, you will be happier, more confident, less stressed, have higher self-esteem and experience many more positives. A win, win situation that benefits both the employer and the employee.

To develop strong applications and prepare for strengths-based interviews it is vital it is to be self-aware and know what you can do and what you love to do, so you can showcase your strengths effectively in the recruitment process.  Strengths profiles help you unlock your unique strengths and unrealised potential, getting to know what they are will help build your confidence and enable you to make a strong impact.

Weaknesses – It is important to know your weaknesses and how to answer the question ’What are your Weaknesses?’ in interviews.

If you have completed the above strengths profile tool, in addition to your strengths, it will generate a weakness for you to consider.  If you agree with the weakness, think about if this is going to be vital for the job you are thinking of applying to.  The idea is to minimise how often you use your weaknesses.  If you were to use your weaknesses all day, every day, the chances are you would become drained and experience burnout in that job.  Instead, choose to apply for opportunities that play to your strengths, it takes less effort and will be more energising and rewarding for you. 

Energised, Enthusiastic, Enjoy, Excel, Excited – Show what you can do and would love to do by using the language of strengths in your applications and interviews.  These ‘E’ words will help you convey positive emotions.  If you genuinely feel excited and enthusiastic, allow this to shine through in your applications and through your body language, smile and show your genuine, authentic enjoyment. This unspoken part of communication can reveal your true feelings and give more impact to what you say in interviews. 

Always proofread!

Accuracy and Attention to detail.  Ensure your application is immaculate, so it is not discarded at the first hurdle.  Always proof-read, check all spelling, grammar and punctuation before you submit it.

Tailor your CV to the Role – show you are a good fit.   All employers will judge how well your application matches the ‘person specification’ for the position you are applying to.  The applicants who most closely match the person specification will be the ones shortlisted for an interview.

To stand the best chance of receiving an invitation demonstrate that you have the knowledge, skills, strengths, and experience as stipulated within the person specification and provide clear examples. Always adapt your CV to show how you meet the person specification of the post you are applying for.

7 Application and Interview workout exercises. Tick? …. and breathe.

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