A career change isn’t always about quitting your job to start your own business – sometimes you might be looking for a change of direction with a role in a different industry, a different field or just a different organisation. If you’re hoping to make a transition to a job in a new company, how you manage the application process will be critical as to whether or not you’re successful.
This is a guest post by Lauren Stiebing, an executive search consultant with many years of experience in working with candidates and hiring managers. A good recruiter will partner with you to really understand your profile and find the best match for both you and the company. Read on to discover Lauren’s tips on how to submit a strong CV, how to ace that interview, and how to accept (or reject) the job offer…
How to Get the Job with a Strong CV, Interview and Acceptance
The space between vying for an interview and landing the job of your dreams is quite a long journey. There are many steps in the interview process and it is important to show your best self at every stage. I will be sharing with you some of the areas that I believe are key to focus on, if you want to successfully go from Applicant to Employee. As an executive search consultant, I’m going to focus on the process of working with a consultant, but most of the tips will apply equally if you are in direct contact with HR or a hiring manager.
This is your first chance to show why your skills and expertise match so perfectly with the job. I have seen thousands of resumes in my career and I have also shared hundreds with hiring managers. I believe that the most important point to include, that is commonly forgotten, is your achievements in each position. Of course hiring managers are interested in the responsibilities of each role, but they also want to know what you achieved and what makes you better than the 200+ other candidates that have applied for their job.
It is also important to highlight the title of the role, time spent in role (month and year), location and geographical scope, direct and in-direct reports and any budgets or P&L that you have managed. Take a look at this resume template to use as a guide when creating your own.
Cover Letters: Are they necessary or not? Cover letters usually aren’t necessary when you are working with a head hunter because the head hunter writes a short summary of your profile themselves, or they discuss it directly with the hiring manager. It is common, however, when applying for a job directly with the hiring company that they ask for one.
[Note from Anna: If you want to make sure that your CV gets seen, optimising for the software that recruiters often use now, take a look at this infographic.]
- Attitude is critical to your success in an interview. You should come across as passionate for your work, brands, products, and life. Passion is needed to get the most out of yourself and your team, and the interviewer wants to see that. You should focus on promoting yourself, but not in an arrogant manner. In my opinion, this is done by giving answers in threes: context, action, result. Responding this way will help to highlight the results you achieved, but with a context around it so that it doesn’t sound like you are simply bragging.
- You should always be prepared to answer the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Use this as a platform to talk about your most recent accomplishments. You should also have a look online at typical interview questions so that you aren’t caught off guard with a question you don’t know how to answer.
These are the trickiest of interviews because without seeing someone, it is even harder to make a connection with that person.
Phone interviewees often make the mistake of thinking that the interview is less formal because it is over the phone. Many applicants will even go from leaving the office or a meeting, directly into the interview call. This is inappropriate because the phone interview is equally as important as a Skype or face-to-face interview and should, therefore, be taken just as seriously.
You should give yourself 30 minutes beforehand to get into ‘interview mode’ so that you are prepared and relaxed.
Although you are looking at the person through a screen, it is important that you remember to look at the camera so that it shows that you are addressing the other person. It may seem more uncomfortable this way, but it will help your connection with the interviewer.
Below are some additional tips for acing a Skype interview:
- Convey that you are comfortable. Showing comfort on camera comes across well and employers will assume you would be the same on the job.
- Dress as you would to go to a face-to-face interview. Because the interview is via Skype, you may think that the bottom half isn’t very important, but you never know when you may have to stand up during the interview. And, again, the Skype interview should be taken just as seriously as an in-person interview: Would you go to an interview in pyjama shorts?
- Make sure there is enough lighting so the interviewer can clearly see you.
- Take steps to eliminate noise. Everyone lives in a hectic world, but it is important to remember that this is serious and dog barking, kids in the background, heavy traffic etc. could shift the interviewer’s attention away from you and onto something else.
The face-to-face interview is the easiest of interviews because you are able to demonstrate who you are by using your voice, body language and touch (hand shake). In most instances nowadays the face-to-face interview is used to validate what the hiring manager liked about you in previous interviews, which means you should be yourself and your chances of getting the job are very high!
The three best additional tips for the face-to-face interview have been the same for as long as I can remember: arrive on time, give a firm hand shake and dress in business attire.
Thank You Note
Sending a “thank you” email after each interview is something I suggest to all of my candidates. Whether you get the job or not, each interview is a networking opportunity for you and it is a great way to show your appreciation to the hiring manager.
3. Accepting the offer
This is the moment that you have been waiting for: the offer! Some people don’t realise this but there is a good way and a bad way to accept an offer. Ideally, you would already have all of your questions answered and a compensation number in your mind that you would need for the job to make sense as a next step. If you do have any additional questions, let the head hunter or company know when they present the offer. What you do not want to do is receive the offer and take one, two or even three weeks to make up your mind.
The reason for this is if you wait too long to say “yes”, then the company will think you cannot make decisions quickly enough. No one wants to start at a new company with a red X on their back.
If you reject the offer after three weeks, it is very likely that the various stakeholders in the process will not want to hire you in the future. This is because they will feel like you strung them along and wasted their time. The ideal timeframe for responding to an offer is three days, which should be long enough to put your ducks in a row, especially if you had been expecting to get the job.
These are my suggestions on how to secure your dream job!
Please write any questions or comments that you may have below.