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Job Search Advice

How to Get a Job Interview

Job Search Advice, Interview PreparationSuzie Finch
How to get a job interview.jpg

So, you've created your CV, updated your LinkedIn, sent your CV off to a bunch of recruiters and applied to some amazing dream jobs but you just don't seem to be getting any interviews, your inbox is empty and your phone isn't exactly ringing off the hook - what do you do next?

Well, searching for jobs is competitive, recruiters often receive hundreds of CVs when advertising vacancies so it's not uncommon for jobseekers to feel left in limbo, unknowing whether their application is being considered or has been just outright rejected.

It is easy to blame employers or recruiters for not reaching out with feedback, however many just do not have the time or the processes in place to deal with large volumes of enquiries, there could have been a number of reasons why you didn't get that job interview, but there is a fix to get more, you need to take the initiate, be the one in control and engage with employers.

Follow these how to get a job interview tips and you'll be surprised at the success you get...

// Set up Job Search Alerts

Jobseeking is a race, employers are looking to fill jobs as soon as possible, therefore if you are one of the first to apply for new jobs then you'll hugely increase your chances of an interview.

When registering with online job boards, you can configure email alerts that notify you when new positions are advertised, when this happens jump on them immediately. Set these alerts up across multiple job boards and google alerts and let technology do the job searching for you.

// Make sure your CV is Relevant

Do you have the skills and experience necessary to do the jobs you are applying for? If your CV doesn't demonstrate to an employer that "I can do your job" within the first 6 seconds then you'll find yourself on the reject pile.

Personalise and tweak your job application for each job you apply for. We've talked about CV Mirroring before, but it's super important to demonstrate relevancy in your job application whilst keeping your CV concise, succinct and to the point.

// Make sure your CV Stands-out

Employers can receive hundreds of applications from prospective candidates, therefore your CV / Resume (and Cover Letter) needs to make a statement and catch the attention of the hiring manager or recruiter.

Resume templates come in a variety of different designs, colours, layouts and styles therefore choosing the one that best suits your career history and personality can be a challenging task. In 9 Resumes that will take your career to the next level we’ve put together a collection of our favourite resume designs and highlighted which professions they are best suited for. For further inspiration check out our printable and downloadable Professional CV Templates and Creative CV Templates.

// Engage with Employers - via the Phone

Recruitment is a people business, therefore reach out to employers and make a personal introduction over the phone. It gives you the chance to confirm that your application has been received and get to grips with their recruitment process.

Once connected ask if they can run through your CV now or forward schedule a follow up call once they've completed their review process. If you make a strong first impression an employer/recruiter will look at your CV in a more positive light and will be much more likely to take the positives rather than any negatives.

Aim to make your first call a few hours after you have applied.

// Engage with Employers - Via LinkedIn

Follow up any initial correspondance with a LinkedIn Connection request. Ensure your LinkedIn Profile is professional, includes references and is fully up to date (it should mirror your CV).

Recruiters will typically spend large chunks of time on LinkedIn, so you want to leverage this platform to leave positive comments and share relevant content that will support your application. You want to make yourself accessible and as easy to contact as possible.

The aim is to immerse yourself with relevant contacts within your industry and make yourself noticeable. Many employers are open to speculative applications, so don't be afraid to reach out and ask if your CV could be of interest.

// Organise your job search

Track your job applications to understand your job search activity and what is working for you. Job Search Organisers will help you keep an organised log of what positions you've applied for, where you found them, the location, salary and other key details. You should also make a note of when you last spoke to them, when a decision is due and when a follow up call needs to be made.

Make these documents easily accessible so you can refer back to it quickly when an employer shows interest. Being prepared could just give you the edge!

In Summary...

  1. Set up alerts that notify you of new positions immediately;

  2. Make sure your CV is relevant and stands-out;

  3. Call employers / recruiters to introduce yourself and build rapport;

  4. Connect with the right people on LinkedIn;

  5. Schedule follow up calls and stay organised.

Good luck!

9 Things You MUST Do Before Applying For New Jobs

Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch
9 things you must do when applying to new jobs.jpg

When applying for new jobs there are a few simple things (9 in fact) that you absolutely must do in order to be prepare for your job search and give yourself the best chance of success.

Job hunting is ultra competitive therefore an organised and streamlined approach will help you stand-out, be professional and achieve more interviews.

Here are the 9 things you MUST do before applying for new jobs...

1) Clean Social Media:

// Your online reputation counts - Wise up! Either make your settings private or remove dubious photos and content...

In a recent Career Builder Survey 70% of employers check the social media profiles of candidates before they conduct interviews.

If an employer has taken the time to review your social media channels then your CV / Job Application must have sparked interest (they wouldn't take the time unless they saw something in you). Therefore you are 90% of the way there to getting that interview.

Employers conduct social media checks to look for additional information that supports qualifications for the job and whether candidates demonstrate a professional online persona.

TIP: Within LinkedIn check "who's viewed your LinkedIn profile" to see who's been snooping. You can connect with interesting people and follow up job applications directly with decision makers.

2) Get your CV proof read:

// Attention to detail matters! A small typo can be enough to find your CV on the scrapheap...

Following the advice of David Ogilvy (What David Ogilvy Can Teach Us About CV Writing) he highlights the importance of getting your copy proof read - “If it is important, ask a colleague to improve it”.

How many job adverts have you seen with the words "This role requires attention to detail"? Employers don't want slap dash candidates that are likely to make mistakes. A typo in a CV is basically telling the employer I don't check my work.

We've all been found guilty of making obvious mistakes, cut these out by getting a colleague to proof read your CV doc.

3) Be prepared to deal with Agents:

// 90% of all advertised positions are via recruitment agents, so you are going to need to get used to dealing with them. However, tread carefully...

Paid by the hiring company on the successful placement of a candidate (who stays working with that company for a minimum of 3 months), they work for the company (not you), they are obligated to fill that position and will do what they can to achieve this, and if you get a job through one, they will do what they can to ensure you stay (so they get their fee).

Put simply, Recruitment Agents are salespeople - don't be fooled into thinking that they have your best interests at heart. They earn a fee (normally a big one) based on a percentage of your annual income. The best ones are highly skilled in negotiation and persuasion, and can use a plethora of tactics to manipulate the hiring process.

When giving career counselling I typically advise job seekers to write down their core reasons for changing jobs before actively applying to positions, you can then be upfront with agents from minute one and cross check this criteria with each position you are applying for. Be true to yourself and don’t get pushed into something you might regret down the line.

TIP: It is a legal requirement for a Recruitment Agency to inform you of where your details get sent. Watch out for this and make sure you obtain hiring company names and details.

4) Have a time management strategy:

// Whether you intend to search for jobs whilst at work or plan on burning the midnight oil - organise your time and don’t get caught by your current boss!

As the saying goes fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Track all applications, interviews and contact details in one place, understand what jobs you are applying for and when you apply for them. Work to a process, log dates of when you applied to jobs and follow up with regular emails and phone calls to track progress.

We've put together the following Job Search Planner (Printable / MS Excel Download) to help keep things in order. You can save key information like contact numbers, names, salary, location, application dates etc. – when the phone rings this will become your go to bible!

5) Free up your diary:

// Make yourself available quickly for interviews, employers REALLY appreciate keenness and enthusiasm.

Once in progress a typical recruitment process can be completed within a matter of a few days, so if you get that call asking for an interview, move mountains to make it happen as soon as you possibly can.

Also, consider the competition (i.e. other candidates), if you make yourself available and interview ahead of them that gives YOU the advantage.

6) A Stand OUT CV:

// Don't let your CV get lost amongst the noise...

Employers receive hundreds of applications from prospective candidates, therefore if you want your CV to be seen (or at least get a longer look) then you need to make it impactful. A 3 page Times New Roman doc just ain't gonna cut it anymore.

Resume templates come in a variety of different designs, colours, layouts and styles therefore choosing the one that best suits your career history and personality can be a challenging task. In 9 Resumes that will take your career to the next level we’ve put together a collection of our favourite resume designs and highlighted which professions they are best suited for.

Also, be sure to check out all printable and downloadable CV Examples.

7) Strap yourself in for the ride:

// It might not all be plain sailing so be prepared for the low points.

Rejections are part of the process just stay positive and focused and learn along the way. Ask questions to gauge feedback on your CV and interview performance so you can leverage this going forward.

Always approach the job search process with a positive "I Can Do This" attitude. I've found books like The Morning Miracle by Hal Elrod as great motivators and helpful when going through change in life - a positive outlook can really focus the mind.

8) Crunch some numbers:

// We touched upon this lightly in point 3. But as part of your criteria setting exercise you need to fully understand your salary requirements.

It still surprises me to this day how many candidates enter the job market without fully understanding what their minimum salary expectations are. It can lead to some very awkward situations at the job offer stage when a candidate declares they want more than the job is paying!

Build a true picture of your minimum salary requirements, factor in things like commuting distances, additional child care, moving costs, etc. – crunch some numbers and do the research before applying to jobs!

Understanding this from the start will avoid a lot of wasted time later.

9) Don't forget the Cover Letter:

// Often overlooked, this can be the key to opening the door.

The cover letter gives you the chance to explain WHY you are suitable for an open position, but don't make the mistake of using the same cover letter for every job application. You need to target the Cover Letter to each job application and highlight why you want to work for the employer.

A one size fits all approach will not work here, and can have the opposite effect.

I know what you're thinking - "that is going to take me ages" - granted, it will take you longer, however your approach to job hunting should be a small amount of high quality, targeted applications that lots of random approaches where your details just don't match up.

All these CV Templates come with matching Cover Letter Designs.

If you need further job search advice be sure to reach out on my contact page and I'd be happy to help :) - Good luck with the job hunting! Suzie x

7 Questions You MUST Ask In Your Next Job Interview...

Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch
Job Interview Questions

The best way to show initiative in an interview is to ask a few bright questions, go on, impress your future bosses!

7 Questions you MUST ask in Your Next Job Interview...

1) What is the working environment like?

// Employers love to talk about themselves, this is a great question to uncover what it's really like to work at the company your interviewing at. 

If your looking to make a long term career move then this question is essential and often overlooked. Make sure that the answers match up with your own ethics. Do you want a fresh, fun work hard play hard environment or perhaps a professional 9-5 and nothing else. Ask this question to find out.

If you get a sense of enthusiasm and passion then it's a pretty good bet that this is a good place to work.

2) Is there autonomy in the role - Can I use my own initiative?

// Highlight to your employer that you are willing to take the bull by the horns and to go above and beyond what the minimum requires.  Employers don't like to micro-manage employees so this is a question that always impresses.

The answer to this question is also useful in understanding whether this is the right role for you, if you prefer to work to systems and processes under strict frameworks then you’ll be looking out for a “there isn’t much autonomy”, however if you prefer dynamic, creative, senior or strategic environments then you need a resounding “YES there is tons”.

3) What long term career progression is there?

// No business likes a high turnover of staff, this question shows employers you are in it for the long haul!

At all levels employers and employees love stability, keeping business operations on track and focused towards growth.

Gauge the response of your interviewers to determine whether they have a structured career path or if it is more organic. Make notes on these answers as it may be useful to refer back to these if you actually end up working for the company.

You can also follow up with the question “What is the average length of time employees stay with the company (or the team)?” this will give you another great indicator of stability within the company and allow you to forecast your own future.

4) Why did YOU join X company?

// Highlight your curious side and gain insight into what made your interviewers join their business.

I loved being asked this question when I was in HR, it gave me a chance to relay my enthusiasm and passion for why I joined each of my companies. It allowed me to sell the company I worked for with conviction as each of my employers were great in their own ways.

It’s a great way to open up your interviewers and get them talking about their own experiences.

Look out for passion and enthusiasm in the answers to this question, if you’re confronted with blank faces then that might tell you all you need to know!

5) Can I meet the team? or What is the team dynamic like?

// Show interest in the team environment, meet them, and influence the influencers!

This question shows you are keen and that you want to know more about the company. This isn’t a question for all interviews and typically best used for team leader or management positions - you want to know who you were managing right!

6) Do you participate in any organised social events?

// Understand the bigger picture!  Employers love staff who contribute outside the office and buy into the complete corporate culture.  This question says "I'm up for it!"

This question is along the same lines as question 1 and will help you understand office culture and the environment of the employer. Many larger companies now have personnel dedicated to organising social events and creating happy environments - yep “Director of Happiness” is actually a thing.

7) What time does the office open / shut?

// Show that you're a hard worker!  This question implies that you are prepared to go beyond the standard 9 to 5.  It is also a nice way of teasing out the working hours without asking it as a direct question.

This could be followed up with is it possible to work longer hours and can I configure emails on my phone.

You want to give the impression that once on-board you are an employee that wants to succeed and get on! Obviously you need to follow this one through, otherwise management may well grumble further down the line.

And Finally…

Asking intelligent questions at the right times in the interview is engaging and shows initiative, employers will be impressed by this, but remember…

An interview is a two way thing, you need to make a good impression and convince employers you are the right fit for their open vacancy, however they need to also convince you! When I conduct interview coaching sessions with employers this is often an area they completely overlook. Many employers just don’t realise how competitive the skills market is and work on the basis that “everybody wants to work at my company“, but that is simply not the case.

If you have a desirable skill set and are actively progressing your career then YOU are the product - have confidence!

A Superb CV + Good Interviewing Skills = A Job Offer!

My Career Improvement Blog is packed with interview advice and CV Tips so be sure to check them out. If you’re having trouble getting noticed and winning the interviews be sure to update your CV, view these Professional CV Examples for inspiration. Oh, and follow me on Pinterest to keep in the loop - Good luck with the job hunting! Suzie x

CV Tips | 7 Tips On Writing That Perfect CV

CV Advice, Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch
CV Writing Tips

CV Writing Tips That Make The Difference!

Writing a CV can be a daunting process, especially if you haven't done one in a while! Whether you are making tweaks to your CV or starting from scratch the following CV Writing Tips will ensure you make an impact and stand-out amongst the crowds.

7 Tips to CV Writing Success...

1) CV Mirroring

// By adopting the vocabulary and tone of the employer you will make your CV appear more relevant and buzzword heavy. Mirror text used within vacancy descriptions, job adverts and LinkedIn profiles for significantly improved applications. We recently published 'This One Trick Will Massively Upgrade Your Job Search' which explains CV mirroring in more detail.

2) Clarity

// Be clear with your CV text and with your expectations. A clear definition of your expectations, skills and experience will allow employers to see the information quickly and assess key criteria efficiently. No waffle please.

3) Brevity

// Employers and Recruiters are busy people, be concise and succinct. Your CV should be no longer than 2 pages and should be a snapshot of your abilities and experience (it's not a book of life).

4) No Typos

// Attention to detail is critical, one typo is enough to see your CV thrown on the scrapheap. Upon finishing your CV, spell and grammar check the document before asking someone else to proof read it for you. Word of caution, MS Word doesn't pick up typos in upper case letters :-/

5) Differentiate

// Be sure to differentiate yourself. Recruiters often have hundreds (if not thousands) of CVs to review, so make yourself memorable, display information in innovative ways and stand-out from the crowd. These CV Designs should provide inspiration.

6) Relevancy

// We've covered keyword mirroring above, however ensure you only include relevant skills and experience. Omit unnecessary skills and experience and never repeat yourself. The less is more approach really can make a difference, remember your CV is only the introduction and a snapshot of your career to date.

7) Target

// Make sure your CV is tailored to each job application you make. Demonstrate to future employers that you understand their business, the position on offer and what value you can bring. If you can stretch the extra mile a specific Cover Letter that covers things like salary expectations, availability and locality is a real winner.

This One Trick Will Massively Upgrade Your Job Search...

Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch
Job Search Advice

How many times have you applied for a job and never heard back (not counting autoreplies), I bet it’s quite a lot, right? But despite what you think it’s NOT necessarily you...

Working first-hand with many recruiting businesses (large and small) I get to see a unique perspective on how different internal recruitment processes and teams work and when it comes down to it many are just not familiar with how to hire effectively. In-fact I’m constantly surprised by how terrible hiring teams are, a snapshot of bad hiring practices include:

  1. Robots reviewing CVs (badly);

  2. Lack of knowledge - Recruiters often don’t fully understand the vacancy;

  3. Lack of urgency.

Understanding that most employers engage in such bad practices can give you the competitive edge which you can leverage to your advantage through CV mirroring.

By adopting the vocabulary and tone of the employer you will make your application appear more relevant at a glance and buzzword heavy. Mirror text used within vacancy descriptions, job adverts and LinkedIn profiles to:

  • Increase the keyword density in your CV (to help pass stage 1),

  • To make your CV look suitable at a glance (to win over recruiters and pass stage 2)

  • To make your CV really stand-out so it gets forwarded to the hiring managers (to help progress your CV and pass stage 3).

CV Mirroring is a simple little trick but can make a huge difference to your job search. Try it today.

9 Resume Templates That'll Take Your Career To The Next Level...

CV Advice, Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch

Resume templates come in a variety of different designs, colours, layouts and styles therefore choosing the one that best suits your career history and personality can be a challenging task. In this latest blog we’ve put together a collection of our most popular resume templates and highlighted which professions they are best suited for.

Whether you are a Graduate or a Teacher, an IT Consultant or HR Manager the following overview should give you some insight into which Resume Template is best suited to you...

Resume Template 1 - The Creative CV / Designer CV

A Creative CV / Creative Resume shouldn't be too long, the main focus for an employer is to review the quality of the design work and not to deliberate over skills and bullet points.  Ensure that all job applications include both a CV / Resume and a Portfolio.  Our example...

Resume Template 2 - The  CV Template For Serious Professionals

With serious professions it is important to pick a resume template with a strong layout but without the distraction of too many graphical elements.  Keep colours neutral and focus on CV Content.  Our example...

Resume Template 3 - The  Teacher Resume

Teacher Resumes can require plenty of space to list achievements, skills and specialist courses.  These documents need to be able to incorporate lists easily and display information clearly.  Our example...

Resume Template 4 - The  Creative Intern / Creative Graduate Resume

Competition is high for Graduate roles therefore it is important your CV / Resume makes an impression and stands out from other similar applications.  Be sure to include links to portfolios / social networks as well.  Our example...

Resume Template 5 - The  Serious Intern / Professional Graduate Resume

As mentioned competition is very high for Graduate roles, your experience will be limited therefore focus on grades and achievements (don't waffle on about non relevant work history). It is essential you triple check your documents - just one typo might be enough to find your CV in the rejected pile.  Our example...

Resume Template 6 - The Office Worker Resume

We've picked a slightly creative template with neutral colours here, however we would recommend choosing a template that mirrors the personality of the employer.  If they are a corporate company consider something straight-up professional like the Newgate, otherwise if they are perhaps a trendy web start-up you could consider the Compton.  Otherwise play it safe with this, our general example...

Download this Creative Resume Template Here.

Download this Creative Resume Template Here.

Resume Template 7 - The Finance Resume

We've highlighted a strong document design which lends itself nicely to finance professions. A well-designed CV template is paramount for finance professionals as employers expect candidates to impart information clearly and succinctly (as this typically forms part of the day job).   Our example...

Resume Template 8 - Creative Types (But Not Designers)

There are plenty of professions which require a creative outlook but don't involve getting down and dirty with PhotoShop.  Perhaps you are a Creative Producer or a Social Media Executive either way this template will show potential clients you understand what it takes to stand-out   Our example...

Resume Template 9 - A CV For IT & Techie Types

CV Templates for technical roles need to handle lists of skills and be able to easily display achievements and accomplishments.  Vacancies in this sector can often be miss understood by 3rd party recruiters or internal talent sourcers therefore demonstrate your most relevant skills clearly and tailor each application for maximum impact .  Our example...

Looking for bespoke advice...

If you'd like us to recommend a Resume Template that matches your exact profession get in touch with and we'll gladly help :)

Good luck with the job search!

7 Reasons Why You're Doing This Job Search Thing All Wrong

Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch
7 Reasons Why You're Doing This Job Search Thing All Wrong

If you've been left wondering why you're not getting enough interviews or even having trouble finding the right jobs in the first place then here are 7 reasons why you might just be doing this job search thing all wrong...

1.) You're Only Searching On A Few Sites

// Not all jobs are advertised on the big job boards, look beyond Monster, Career Builder, LinkedIn etc. and you will find a plethora of riches.

There is a long tail of fresh jobs on smaller and lesser known boards, search and bookmark a range of major generalist, niche and regional sources to widen your search.

Applying to positions on smaller job sites means you'll face less competition as employers will receive fewer applications.

2.) Your CV Sucks (and is probably way too long)

// To take your career seriously you need to spend some time properly writing and designing your CV, it is a competitive world out there and you need to stand out.

Also, despite what anyone says - 3 pages is too long. Keep your CV / Resume succinct and to the point (2 pages at most) - recruiters and employers really appreciate this!

3.) You're Not Following Your Job Application Up By Phone

// I've lost count the amount of times I've heard "I’d actually discounted that candidate but after speaking to them on the phone they sounded great!" - People Hire People - Follow up on applications within 2 days by phone, speak directly to the decision makers and make a lasting impression! This tactic will improve your chances exponentially.

4.) Trusting Recruitment Agents

// Be warned, Recruitment Agents are NOT your friend! - Recruitment agencies get paid for placing you in a job, so their actions will always be based around making the highest fee possible. They will always follow the path that makes them the most money and not what is in your best interest. Tread carefully!

5.) You're Being Too Generic

// You need to tailor your application to each position you apply for. "If you try to appeal to everyone you'll appeal to no one". Be specific, actually write a good cover letter and mirror terms used in job adverts within your CV / Resume. I know this takes longer, but employers will respect you for it and you will notice the increase in interviews immediately - guaranteed!

6.) Typos! - Attention To Detail!

// As David Ogilvy (the father of advertising) once said "If it is something important, get a colleague to read and improve it." I would say your CV is pretty important, so get someone else to proof read your CV, tell them the types of positions you are applying for and if they can offer up any suggestions or find any typos / grammatical errors.

7.) You're Not Organised Enough (make Excel your best friend).

// Track your activity - keep tabs on your applications and interviews and stay organised, if you understand what's working (and what's not) you'll never miss an opportunity again. Download or create a Job Search Organiser to log everything and ensure you boss your job hunt!