How To Land More Job Interviews and Job offers
If you are not being invited to enough interviews, it is likely because you are not tailoring your CV to specific jobs or you are applying for jobs you are not really qualified for. Tailoring your CV to each job you are applying for might sound like a time-consuming task, but it can significantly increase your chances of securing an interview. Here are some tips to help you get more job interviews – even in a competitive job market
Make sure you understand the requirements
If you’re looking at lots of job descriptions on a daily basis, it is easy to assume that the positions you are applying to are similar enough that you can just send off your CV without really looking into what each particular job entails. However, this is a major mistake. What one company defines as “Account Manager” or “Marketing Manager” may have a completely different set of responsibilities in another company. Make sure you only apply if you fulfil most of the requirements of the role. For example, if I am looking for a Nordic speaker and most of the candidates who apply do not speak any languages apart from English, those candidates are only wasting their and my time.
Ensure your application is keyword-optimised
A lot of companies use ATS (applicant tracking systems) which mine data from your CV by looking for relevant keywords or phrases. Make sure you highlight all of your relevant skills and experience. Your CV must contain keywords that correspond with the description in the job posting, especially if it is industry jargon. Examples of keywords might include specific computer programs or words like ‘e-commerce’ or ‘marketing communications’.
Tailor your summary/skills section to match the job description
Your summary of qualifications and skills should be different for each job you apply for. Make sure you draw the recruiter’s attention to the relevant skills/experience you have by creating a strong skills section on top of your CV.
Mention recent and relevant achievements
Many CVs I see in my recruitment job are very ‘duty-oriented’ – there are no accomplishments listed and even if they are – they are not specific and measurable. If you want to get noticed, you must list some accomplishments that demonstrate the value you bring to an organisation and what problems you solve for your employer. If you’ve hit quota for a certain number of months, streamlined a procedure or have done something that’s saved your company time/money or both – state that. You only have a few minutes to impress an employer!
Once you get the interview, how do you make yourself stand out?
It is actually pretty simple – always back up your answers with examples, quantify your answers as much as you can and make sure you have a few examples prepared of what you’ve done in your current/previous job that would benefit the employer you’re interviewing with. If there is one thing most of my clients have in common is that they struggle with answering competency or behavioral interview questions during job interviews. The questions will start with “Tell me about a time…” or “Describe a situation…” and then you might be encouraged to elaborate further with questions like “So, what were you thinking at that point?” or “What was your decision-making process?”. The interviewer will try to establish what benefits you will bring to the company and why the benefits you offer might be more appealing than those of other candidates.
Therefore, when giving examples, I’d recommend that you use the S.T.A.R. statement format:
S – Situation
T – Task
A – Action
R – Result
S.T.A.R. represents how your key skills are applied in work. Your STAR examples should illustrate your depth of knowledge, level of ability and value for each key skill.
Describe a work-related situation that you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. Be very specific and give details, but keep it short and concise.
Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did – not the efforts of the team.
Don’t say what you might do, or would do – tell the interviewer what you did.
Describe what you achieved. What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? How much time/money did you save?
Create S.T.A.R. statements from the jobs on your CV that you want to bring attention to. As you use the statements as examples, your interviewer will become familiar with the various positions you have held, and will get a good idea of your track record of success in those various positions.
By Margaret Buj
Margaret Buj is an Interview Coach and Head of Recruitment at Yieldify as well as a qualified Personal Performance & Corporate and Executive Coach.
Margaret Buj is an Interview Coach and Head of Recruitment at Yieldify who teaches professionals how to get hired, promoted and paid more. She has 11 years of international experience interviewing professionals at all levels, from students to senior executives across a number of industries, both in the private and public sector. She is also a qualified Personal Performance & Corporate and Executive Coach and can help you with developing confidence and the attitude that will make it easier for you to get any job you want.
Margaret has been featured in Cosmopolitan magazine, interviewed for The Financial Times and Management Today and is a writer for CareerAttraction.com. She has spoken at many career events and has written 2 e-books related to job search and successful interviewing.