Being able to stand apart from the competition is critical to be assured of success in your job search. If you are looking for your first job, not only do you need to write an impressive CV there are also a number of other things you need to do to make a positive impression with a prospective employer.
Research – Make sure you do your research before you apply for specific positions and prior to interviews, so you can explain why you wish to work there in your application. Employers want you to want their job, not just any job.
Keep a log of your applications – So you can remember the job easily if you are contacted for an interview. There is nothing more off putting for an employer if you have to ask them which job they are referring to.
Be ready to respond – Keep checking your emails and phone for any responses to your applications, respond quickly to them and ideally if you have been invited for an interview, pick up the phone rather than email back (unless they have specifically asked you to respond in a different way). Having a conversation is a great way to start building a rapport and impress them early on, plus speaking to them before an interview will hopefully remove some of those pre-interview nerves.
Enthusiasm – This is an essential behaviour all employers will be looking for. Demonstrating a keen desire to learn is an unquestionable expectation from a prospective employer. If you are asked to complete any pre-interview assessments, do so willingly and complete them promptly.
First impressions – Be well dressed and well-presented. Look the part and show a prospective employer that you are serious, keen and committed.
Be proactive – Where possible, visit the company you wish to work for, taking your CV and a speculative cover letter explaining why you wish to work for the company in an unsealed envelope. Make sure ‘by hand’ is written in the top right hand corner of the envelope.
Ask to speak to the person who is responsible for recruitment. If they are available, ask them if they are currently recruiting and explain that you are keen to be considered for a job opportunity with the company. Make sure you are prepared for their response.
If they are not available, ask for the name of the person responsible for recruitment and pop their name on the front of your envelope and ask if your CV can be passed on. Always ensure you follow up your visit with a phone call. Some companies will ask you to apply online as this is their company process.
Body language and communication – To create the right impression, ensure that you stand up straight, keep your head up, maintain eye contact, have a firm handshake and be confident. Your ability to communicate will demonstrate your eagerness to get the job. Preparation, practice and research will help you with building your confidence.
Finally… Be yourself! The more you research and prepare will increase your confidence and if you are not successful with the first job you apply for, treat it as a learning experience to help improve your approach for the next one.